Is your WordPress site buried several pages deep in the search results? Powering roughly 27 percent of the internet, the open-source platform offers a plethora or benefits. It’s fast, cleanly coded, customizable and search engine friendly. However, achieving a top search ranking with WordPress still requires some basic search engine optimization (SEO) and content creation.
To make your site’s URLs more search-engine friendly, change the permalink settings to reflect the post or page’s title. This is done by clicking Settings > Permalinks > Post name. Rather than using a generic URL structure for your site’s posts and pages, this setting uses the title; thus, helping search engines and visitors understand what your site is about.
Install Yoast SEO Plugin
You should also install the Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress site. Developed by Joost de Valk, this powerful plugin offers a variety of SEO features, including page analysis, keyword optimization, XML sitemaps, meta tags, breadcrumbs, RSS optimization and more. While there are other SEO plugins available for WordPress, Yoast is the undisputed leader. As of writing this, it has more than 5 million active installations and a perfect five-star rating.
Allow Visitor Commenting
Some webmasters disable WordPress’ native visitor commenting feature, believing it opens the doors to spam. Granted, you’ll probably attract some spam comments with this feature enabled, but you’ll also attract genuine comments — and those offer real value. Every genuine comment a visitor makes on your site is fresh, new content. When search engines crawl your site, they’ll discover this content and possibly increase your site’s ranking as a result.
If you’re worried about spam comments getting through, set your WordPress site to manually approve all new comments. This way, you’ll have the option to approve, trash or mark comments as spam.
The frequency at which you publish new posts will affect your site’s search rankings. According to a study conducted by HubSpot, companies that publish at least 16 new blog posts per month generate almost three and a half times more traffic than those who publish zero to four posts per month. Thankfully, you don’t have to log in and manually publish every new post. WordPress has a built-in post scheduler that allows webmasters to schedule publish dates in advance.
Structure Your Content
When creating content for your WordPress site, don’t just write a large wall of text. Instead, break up your content into small sections separated with subheadings. In WordPress’ what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor, there’s a drop-down menu for headings. Here, you can choose from H1 through H6 headings.
Resize Images Before Uploading
WordPress has a nifty tool for resizing images. Rather than using a graphics editing program like Photoshop, you can click the “”Add Media”” button and upload and resize an image directly from your computer. The problem with using this tool, however, is that it still forces visitors to load the image in its original size. Therefore, using this tool may increase the file size of your web pages and subsequently contribute to long load times.
Instead of resizing your images in WordPress, resize them prior to uploading them to your site. And if you really want to reduce the file size of your images, run the resized version through an optimization tool like Optimizilla.
You can toss up a WordPress site or blog in less than five minutes. However, achieving a top search ranking requires hard work and dedication. By following the SEO and content creation tips here, you’ll encourage higher search rankings for your WordPress site.