First of all, big congrats on choosing WordPress.
There are so many options to host your website these days:
- custom development
- using a framework (e.g. Laravel, React, Flask, etc);
- other CMS (Weebly, Wix, Hubspot)
- hosting on another platform (e.g. Medium)
In my experience, WordPress is one of the best choices:
- super easy-to-use;
- very customizable;
- has a lot of integrations.
With any other option, it will hard to combine these three advantages in one CMS.
Also, WordPress has a 50-60% share of the market with some of the most popular websites using it, including – CNN, TechCrunch, Fortune, TED and so on.
Ok, where should you start with WordPress SEO?
- Reliable hosting
The value of high-quality hosting is immense.
Here are some common SEO problems, which can be solved:
- SSL certificate
- Site speed (good scores in Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom)
- Caching system (you won’t need additional caching plugins)
Believe me, it is much better to pay an additional few $ for a good hosting option, than trying to implement all of it yourself.
There are also these advantages with a good hosting plan:
- 99,9% uptime
- Staging environment
- Technical support team (sometimes, they can even help with WP development tasks).
- Good WordPress theme
Same as with hosting, you should at all costs avoid crappy WP theme.
I will leave alone all security issues you might have with a bad theme – which can ruin your business in few minutes.
These are serious SEO risks with bad WP theme:
- low conversion rates
- super slow website
- bad mobile experience
- downtime issues
Poor WordPress theme can easily cost you thousands $ in development, maintenance & customization works.
- SEO plugin(s)
In my experience, Yoast SEO plugin is one of the best options out there.Moreover, it is free. However, I would really suggest you to use Premium version – yes I like that plugin 🙂
Here is what you can do with Yoast:
- on-page SEO analysis
- readability analysis
- Meta tags
With Yoast Premium:
- multiple focus keywords
- identify orphaned content and add internal links to it
That’s a lot of value.
There are plenty of SEO techniques, but let’s focus on core strategies.
- Target long-tail keywords
Always start SEO journey with keyword research. Don’t just “put your content on the wall and hope it will stick”.Bottom line is: to get traffic from Google, your blog posts should be organized around specific keywords.To help you with this task, there are plenty of keyword research tools (both free and paid).
First, start with keywords with 30-100 monthly searches max. These are most realistic targets, especially for a new site, with low domain authority (few backlinks).
Then go after famous chocolate donuts on-page SEO markup. You can use Yoast plugin for this task and understand the power of this plugin.
Also, with tool like Ahrefs, you can analyze best performing content from your competitors. Just steal some topic ideas and keywords from these sites and try to push it on yours with a bit better, more comprehensive content. This technique works like a charm for me.
Content is important as always.
However, a lot has changed after numerous Google algorithm updates.
To be quick: RankBrain is one of the most important ranking factors.
The aim of your content should be in giving the best possible answer to a search query or keyword. All other tactics are based on this one. Try to add as many details, facts, numbers as possible. Google likes comprehensiveness – when you analyze the problem from different angles and give solutions in your content.
Also, long-form content tends to rank higher – so, your blogs ideally should be in 1500-2200 words range. But, if you provide 2000 words of “water”, without concrete answers to specific questions – it won’t work.
Also, in my experience, quality always trumps quantity in content. Five-eight high-quality blogs per month are totally enough to grow SEO at an extreme pace.
In my own experience, I tried to literally spam my blog with many new posts every day – it didn’t work.
Now, the fun part begins.
A big part of SEOs, content managers, bloggers do everything correct, right until this point.
Link building is one of the hardest and unclear SEO areas. It is also the crucial ranking factor, which (if used correctly) will give you a competitive advantage over other sites.
There are three camps among SEOs now:
- those, who don’t do link building at all – “just post content, and you will be fine”;
- black hat link building – “buy 1000s backlinks on Fiverr”;
- quality link building – “trying to get backlinks by engaging with community”.
At this moment, I belong to the third group. However, I tried all three options 🙂
What works for me?
The thing is, if you just post countless of blogs, in time they will rank, but it will take years.
Blackhat link building can bring short term traffic spikes, but it disappears after few weeks and can harm your website forever.
But, if you try to get backlinks via content exchanges, participating in community, offering free content on other sites – it works well. In my experience, when I did this – sites started to grow much faster.
Moreover, when at some point, your domain authority is build up (e.g. Moz DA > 35) – a lot of content will start to rank super fast by itself, without need of backlinks. That’s awesome!
- Install tracking
With SEO it is super important to constantly measure your performance.
Take a look at
- nr of ranking keywords
- organic traffic growth
- backlinks’ growth
Probably, the two most important SEO metrics are traffic and conversions. How many new visits from Google you get and how many of them convert into leads.
To sum it up
SEO can easily become overwhelming. There are countless ranking factors, changing every month. As well, there are countless SEO experts, who recommend “secret techniques”.
Overall, after reading a lot of these blogs, I would recommend to simplify your processes and stick to:
- SEO keywords research
- incredible quality content
- link building