SEO is a big thing in 2019. Whether you see it or not, every successful business is currently optimizing (one way or another) WordPress SEO marketing strategy. Why? I’ll tell you why:
- 94% of the world’s organic traffic goes to Google. And that was in 2017!
- 75% of search engine users use only the 1st page of search results, never moving to the second.
- Search engines receive over 6,5 billion searches on a daily basis.
- 80% of online consumers tend to read reviews found through search engines before making any purchasing decision.
SEO is a powerful weapon for every possible entrepreneur, small businessman, or marketing employee. In case you’re not using it yet because you have no idea how to start, this post should help you get settled immediately. Let’s begin.
What is WordPress SEO?
SEO is the art of optimizing online marketing performance with the purpose of driving organic and targeted traffic through the help of the search engines. Basically, you “satisfy” king Google and your pages will rank higher in the SERP (search engine ranking page).
SEO is a process and not a result. It involves mainly two big categories:
- On-Site SEO (website-related optimization)
- Off-Site SEO (outreach and external marketing)
When you hear “Wordpress SEO”, people talk about search engine optimization practices that are specifically useful for WordPress websites.
Perform insightful keyword research
SEO starts with keyword research. Since people search for information by inserting various keywords and key phrases into the search engines box, you’ll be able to “target” relevant prospective customers by choosing and implementing your keywords wisely.
If you’re new to keyword research, I’d highly suggest you leverage some of the basic KW research tools out there. You can find many for free, and they’ll help you get started. Remember to prioritize your keyword research, as the keywords you choose to focus on are the foundation of your entire SEO marketing campaign.
Focus on SEO content
There is no SEO without content. In fact, Backlinko (and mostly all famous SEO blogs) show that content is among the top 3 ranking factors that webmasters and businesses should focus on.
Content is king, they say, and they’re totally right. Since the competition’s getting worse every day, brands need to find various ways to improve their content marketing game.
Tactics like roundup posting, long-form content, infographics, and videos have become the norm and a necessity for brands, as the consumers are hungry for more.
Google and the rest of the search engines have gotten really good at analyzing a piece of content’s quality. Today, achieving a great SEO performance without enough focus on content marketing is hardly achievable if not close to impossible.
WordPress SEO Tips 2019
Every year brings new opportunities for marketers and entrepreneurs to finally make a significant change in their SEO game. If you’re starting in 2019, here are some useful SEO tips:
Install an SEO-friendly theme
If your investing time and money in your SEO efforts, you should definitely choose a WordPress theme that is strictly optimized for SEO performance.
An SEO theme will provide you with various tools (within the dashboard), it’ll load much faster, and has an easily “indexable” code that helps search engines crawl your site faster.
You can find free and paid WordPress themes online, on various marketplaces and platforms. Since most come with templates that you can implement by clicking the “Activate” button, you’ll save a lot of time and win a lot of functionalities.
I’d highly suggest you study more themes without rushing it. When you’ve chosen it, find all the documentation and tutorials on it. Go through the theory once then start taking action!
Make sure the bread crumbs are connected
Leveraging breadcrumbs is an excellent way to improve your site’s UX. If users understand the website better and they can follow through your content easily, your performance indicators increase and so your rankings will also increase.
Breadcrumbs aren’t very popular, even though they are quite helpful in terms of rankings. Google will understand the hierarchy of your content and the “entire message” you want to send through your categories and breadcrumbs. The more relevant keywords you use the better!
An easy way to activate breadcrumbs on WP is to use the “Yoast SEO Plugin”.
Go to “SEO”, click on “Internal Links”, and enable the breadcrumbs by ticking the box. However, for your breadcrumbs to work, you’ll need to place a shortcode in the PHP file that supports the page you want to modify.
For example, if you want to insert breadcrumbs in your blog posts pages by default, the single.php file will usually be the one that needs to be modified.
Here’s how you get that shortcode:
Scroll to the bottom of the “Internal Links” page that you have just accessed and copied the piece of code that’ll be placed in your PHP files. Here’s how it should look like:
Use Filezilla or any FTP tool to access your main theme’s files and eventually access the PHP file that generates the pages you want breadcrumbs in.
Set correct URLs for pages and articles
Every time you publish a new page, post, or category, double-check your URLs. Ideally, they should contain a single main keyword that tells search engines exactly what your content is about.
Mistakes can be made all the time. However, their effects can be diminished if you’re accessing the right tools. For example, Sitechecker.pro can help you detect website health problems and provide insightful solutions. Then even if you set the wrong URL that leads prospects to 404 errors, this too shall immediately help you fix any technical SEO issue.
Configure internal relink
The internal links are simply the hyperlinks placed on your blog’s content that send people to other articles on your site. External ones send the traffic towards different pages.
Internal links are as important as external links (backlinks). You cannot rank high unless you focus on both. On the other hand, internal links help you connect all the relevant posts to each other, thus improving their reach and consumption.
Moreover, writing evergreen content allows you to create a flow of traffic inside your site. For example, if you write an article on “how to lose weight”, you’d better include some internal links that explain different yet very connected topics such as “what to eat during mornings to lose weight”, “best exercises to lose weight”, etc.
Ideally, you should create an internal linking system before you start posting a lot of content. Here is an excellent tutorial on how to perform your internal linking strategy.
What is blog commenting?
Without complicating it too much, blog commenting is simply the relationship between websites and traffic, or between bloggers and blog readers.
Whenever people leave a comment on your posts and pages, Google is going to index that too, just to see what keywords your fans are using and to better classify your site in the algorithm.
Some sites prefer to leave their comments’ feature on, while others don’t. Make your pick. If you do, you’re going to reap some pretty benefits in the long run. You can use plenty of good commenting plugins to change the way comments are shown and written.
On the other hand, you can start commenting on related blogs that do not represent direct competition. In case you choose to create backlinks through blog comments, make sure you provide enough value before inserting any link. If your comment will benefit the blogger’s audience, you’ll have no problems. If it won’t, you’ll hardly get any backlinks from this technique.
By “optimizing” the images you insert in your website, you’re making sure that your site loads as quickly as possible without consuming irrelevant resources on big-sized images.
Nowadays, you can find lots of minifying and compression tools for images, even in the form of plugins. Make sure you keep your images’ size as small as possible while preserving the highest quality. Here are some tools that should help:
You can also click here to have a more look at plugin reviews for image optimization in WordPress.
Secondly, before you post an image, rename it and place a keyword instead of a random word. Believe it or not, optimizing your images’ file names is beneficial for your search engine rankings! You can see more a few tips to optimize the image for better SEO here.
One piece of advice would be to try using high-quality, unique images. Most people can tell the difference between stock photos and unique pictures, and they’ll always be attracted by the latter.
Switch your site to HTTPS
An SSL certificate is a proof that your website is “Secure”, or that it runs on a secure connection. If the SSL is activated, your website will load with the “https://” prefix. If not, it’s going to be “HTTP://”.
There are two ways to get an SSL for your WordPress site:
1) Purchase it from your hosting provider or a 3rd party company
2) Use LetsEncrypt to do it for free.
The second variant is a bit more complicated, especially if you’re not tech-savvy. However, due to the numerous guides and tutorials present online, everyone should be able to get it done in a matter of a few days through trial and error.
Optimize site loading speed
Google has officially started (a long time ago) that website loading speed is an important SEO ranking factor. Nowadays, if your site loads slowly, users will definitely notice and feel it. Not just users but Google too as everything gets tracked.
Slower load speed means a lesser quality UX. When your traffic is having problems loading various pages and your visitors need to wait one minute to consume your content or reach your offers, well, it can’t be worse than that.
There are many site page speed optimization strategies tactics that can be used to improve your WordPress website. After you’re done with the site optimization, you can use Google’s Speed Insights page to see the effects and get some feedback.
WordPress SEO Tools and Resources
Since SEO is no longer a “should” but more like a “must” for every business whose strategy relies on organic traffic, lots of SEO digital marketing tools have been created. Each of them solves a few specific needs, problems, while also helping you to automate different SEO-related tasks and responsibilities.
Here’s a list of some of the most relevant free SEO tools and resources in 2019:
- Google Search Console (your #1 advisor)
- KWFinder (amazing keyword research tool)
- MOZ (all-in-one SEO software)
- Yoast SEO (most used SEO WordPress plugin)
- Ahrefs (comprehensive SEO software – keywords, analytics, audits, content optimization)
- SEMRush (best SEO competitive analysis tools)
- Lots of other SEO plugins
Taking your SEO performance to the next level in 2019 is definitely a wise choice, especially if you’re planning for long-term business growth. As a final thought, I’d highly suggest you always keep yourself updated with the latest SEO trends and do your best to be the first who adapts to them. Other than that – cultivate patience and be consistent at all times and you’ll eventually reach your SEO goals.