Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long game that requires attention and patience. However, there are some things you can do yourself right now to improve your WordPress website’s chances of rising in search engine rankings. Here are 4 quick wins to improve your website’s SEO:
1. Install the Yoast Plugin
We recommend the Yoast plugin to all our WordPress clients. Yoast’s red light / orange light / green light system is incredibly user friendly and will highlight potential issues for each individual page and how they can be optimized. A green light doesn’t guarantee top ranking, but it will definitely improve your chances.
Yoast will break down a page or post into different areas of optimization, many of which you can address yourself.
2. Learn What SEO is Made Of
“SEO” is a blanket term that includes everything related to improving the chances that your website will rank highly for the search terms that people would typically use to find you. The list of SEO components is long, but we recommend focusing on the following:
We think of On-Page SEO as the “matter” of your site. Many of the signals that search engines use to rank web pages come from on-page elements. These signals identify whether those elements (text, headings, alt tags, etc.) are relevant to a searcher’s query. Because on-page elements are what your users most engage with, the content you create should be optimized for both human users and search engine bots.
Meta descriptions, heading hierarchy, and image optimization count as well. Once they’re set up correctly, they only require occasional monitoring to ensure they’re working for you.
Technical SEO we think of as the “manner”. It digs a little deeper to make sure your website can be seen by search engines and is user-friendly. This is the “geek-level” stuff that often requires the enthusiastic expertise of a developer like AndiSites.
Among other things, technical SEO includes making sure you have a crawlable sitemap so search engines don’t have to work too hard to find all of your content; creating an SEO-friendly site architecture; improving your website’s speed; making your website mobile-friendly; finding and fixing duplicate content; and making sure your site is using a valid SSL certificate. Some of these you can probably handle yourself; others you may want to engage a professional for.
Off-page SEO is more about optimizing your company’s overall online marketing strategy. These tactics include link building, guest posting, social media marketing, and more. For a business, this could include word-of-mouth marketing, local business listings, and customers leaving reviews on external sites.
Since these factors are outside your website and don’t require technical ability, you can often improve these areas yourself.
3. Increase the Amount of Text on Image-Heavy Pages and Posts
Although having too few words is uncommon on most websites – if anything, less is more for readability and user-friendliness – you may have pages that don’t contain enough content for search engines to “see” them properly. We recently helped a website where the homepage had less than 35 words on it because they were mainly using images and infographics, which the search engines wouldn’t be able to read.
Adding content to posts and pages is definitely one of the main tasks you can do yourself in a friendly CMS like WordPress – in fact we encourage it. Even if a page just contains a form, a brief introduction can both help the user and improve the page for SEO.
4. Get a Website Audit
Most SEO agencies offer audits, although the difference in prices can be huge. Here at AndiSites we offer both a basic free audit and an in-depth detailed analysis.
We recommend starting with the free SEO audit. This gives a snapshot overview of general site health and number of errors and warnings. You’ll also get an estimate for running a full audit, based on number of pages on your site, their complexity, and the factors discovered in the basic audit.
The full audit will give you a full breakdown of all the issues and recommendations for remediation. After that, the choice is yours whether to hire us to take care of everything for you, make the changes yourself, or have us share the load.
Importantly, the experience of getting an audit will tell you more about how a potential agency partner is to work with. Do they explain everything to you in ways that are understandable and actionable? Do they offer suggestions on usability issues that may not appear in a typical automated report but definitely affect SEO? Are they friendly, dependable, and focused on your success?