How to: Improve your SEO with WordPress
How to achieve good SEO? It’s actually simple. You probably don’t need a book, an expert, watching videos. You don’t need to lose your time and/or money. Following simple and logical recommendations is all you need.
- Make sure your content is unique, interesting or useful, awesome and loved. This is the most important, by far. Don’t copy it from another website (that will destroy your SEO in the long term).
- Try to have other websites to link to your website. Ideally, those websites are playing in the same sector as you do. They must be good and genuine websites.
- Make sure your website loads fast. You need a good hosting service, and to have your static resources (like photos, scripts, etc) delivered instantly, through a CDN for instance.
- The title of each page should be good and unique (relatively to your website), and enclosed in an H1 tag. Chapters or subtitles should go in H2 tags.
- The first paragraph(s) is very important, make sure they are descriptive enough.
- Use beautiful (and, if possible, unique) imagery. Make sure their filenames are a minimum descriptive (check Media File Renamer). The ALT should also contain a description, a title, or a short list of keywords.
- Optimized for every device. Your website should be readable on a standard screen, but also on a little laptop, a tablet and a mobile phone.
- If you are using WordPress, make sure the Search Engine Visibility option isn’t disabled (in Reading Settings).
Check your SEO
You can do this by yourself. There are many services for this, but I recommend using this one: SEO Site Checkup. You will recognize the items of my checklist. You can only analyze your website once with this service (except if you pay for it), but take your time. Fix your website, try again tomorrow. Search engines will follow at their own pace too.
Your website doesn’t need to achieve a perfect score. If you are above 70, I believe that’s good. If you are above 80, that’s excellent. If you are 100, you spent too much time on achieving this feat and are probably very disappointed in not getting as many visitors as you think you deserve. In that case, work on the two first items of my checklist.
For your curiosity, Meow Apps website achieves 97. I actually didn’t work specifically on the SEO, but I am making sure naturally that I respect my checklist.
Plugins for SEO
You actually do not need to use a specific plugin for SEO. They seem necessary, but they really aren’t. They will also slow down your website and make your admin messier (and you might lose focus on the important parts of it, which is… the content). The only useful feature an SEO plugin might bring is making sure the meta title and meta description are properly written. However, your theme should be doing this already.
I have personally used Yoast SEO and The SEO Framework. I found the latter much better, and much less obtrusive. Avoid using one and simply make sure your metadata is properly written.
Hire an SEO expert
Watch out! Most of them are here because it’s easy money. Really easy money. They will add your website to a system that checks it regularly and create beautiful monthly reports. Those reports are a distraction. What matters, is your Google Analytics, your number of visitors and pageviews.
They might do a few things but often, they will use black hat techniques, which you should run away from. They will deliver results for a few weeks, or months, but then will crash your website completely.
Keep in mind that this checklist above is what really matters. An SEO expert can’t modify your content, therefore, they aren’t able to make your website substantially better. What they can do is to make sure your website is technically perfect from an SEO standpoint, and tell you how to make your content better (quality, organization).