In 2003, WordPress debuted as a blogging platform that was accessible and easy to use for all. However, users and businesses around the world quickly discovered its potential as a digital marketing tool, and today WordPress powers 35% of the whole internet.
The platform has evolved into one of the best Content Management Systems out there. Recently, it entered the eCommerce field and is now competing toe to toe with giants in the industry such as Shopify and BigCommerce.
WordPress offers many advantages for businesses nowadays. It is easy to set up, user-friendly, and completely customizable. These features are time savers, and most of them have SEO-friendly default settings. However, maximizing your chances to get to the top spots of search results requires a lot more than keeping the vanilla version of your favorite template.
SEO is a constant competition that requires users to get their hands dirty from time to time by going under the hood and getting to know the beast from the inside.
But, can you do SEO on WordPress websites without having to learn to code?
Here we will reveal a few tips and tricks that will help you optimize your site while keeping your sanity intact.
Check the Theme You Want before Installing It
There are thousands of free themes you can install for your WordPress site. Most of them look gorgeous and claim to be SEO-friendly. However, many of them come cluttered with scripts and plugins that will hardly see any use and will slow your website down.
So, before you pick that stunningly beautiful theme that will make your brand stand out from the crowd, run it through any of the free measuring tools available online. We recommend using web.dev because it is free and easy to use. It can tell you which theme offers you the most speed out of the box and lets you know if they need any tweaking you need to be aware of.
Compare scores between themes and pick the one that gets you closer to a 100 points score.
Pick ONE SEO plugin
WordPress got good at pushing plugins to unwary and inexperienced users. We have seen the consequences of plugin bloat when we audit websites that have up to 10 plugins installed for SEO. They inevitably end up stepping onto each other’s toes, causing conflicts and slowing websites down. They also cause you to be overloaded with information that is sometimes conflictive, effectively paralyzing your decision-making process.
To simplify, we recommend going with Yoast. It has pretty much everything you need to keep your finger on the pulse of your website. However, the All in One SEO Pack is not bad at all.
Now, these are not instant optimizers. They won’t optimize the site for you. Their job is to point out where your site needs to be improved and how. After a while, you will start optimizing your website without even looking at them, but you need to use them as training wheels for a few months to make sure you´re not forgetting anything.
Set Your Permalink Structure Right
The default permalink structure on WordPress is great if you want to make it hard for your visitors and Google to understand your site.
Even the way your URLs are written and organized gives people clues about how much attention to detail you put into building your website. It also gives Google a better sense of what your pages are about.
To change your permalink structure, go to Settings>Permalinks. The best structure for most websites would be “Post Name” so each page contains the title you choose for them. You can also create a custom structure that includes various elements that make it easier for people to find their way through your website.
A well-organized structure will automatically create URLs organized with a clear hierarchy or even date of creation order.
Optimize Your Content
Every piece of text on your website must be optimized to accomplish two goals: Rank and Conversions.
To make sure your content will rank when your audience performs a query on search engines, you need to first perform thorough keyword research before you even typing a single word.
Many business owners still find this part of doing SEO a bit esoteric. What word do I want to rank for? Well, every word that is remotely associated with my business, industry, niche, and my dog, obviously. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately for SEO agencies, that’s not how it works.
You want to make sure you understand what your potential buyers or visitors would like to find when they are online. Not only when they search for your product or service, but also when they’re exploring related topics or even when going through Google Images.
This is where keyword research comes in. The point is to guess what phrases your potential customers use when performing a Google Search. However, it can’t be too general, because there will be a lot of competition. But it can’t be too specific, making your website rank for words that have no search volume. You have to find your goldilocks keywords or words that are specific enough to let people find you but also have enough search volumes.
There are many tools out there that help you automate this process. However, we recommend performing an SEO audit and let the experts narrow down your keyword selection to a manageable number.
After you get a solid keyword list, you can then start creating content around those keywords. You must consider creating content that targets keywords from different angles. It is important to cater to users who just want to know more about a certain topic or product. But it is equally imperative to craft copy that guides visitors to make a purchase or convert. In other words, you need to be always aware of what the search intent is when your users perform a query and always be one step ahead.
Content is not limited to blog posts or page copy. Titles, meta tags, and even alt text for images that all contain the right keywords, so Google knows that your content is geared towards certain users and displays it as a top result for specific queries. This is why it is important to have all these elements in mind when building up pages or creating blog posts. It is also a very good reason to hire SEO experts to make sure all your content is optimized for maximum performance and also provides a clear sales funnel. A clear link structure with well-thought-out internal linking structures makes it easier for visitors who already have their credit cards handy to make a purchase.
One-Step Checkout Process
This is something many people overlook when running a holistic SEO campaign. If your website does not offer a clear checkout process integrated with trusted payment methods, Google will not deem your website as worthy material for first-page results. Even if your content is great, your bounce rates will signal them that people can’t find what they are looking for on your website.
And users now want their checkout process to be free of obstacles, squeeze pages, or pop-up windows. They essentially want to have a seamless and fast checkout process that takes as few clicks as possible. We talked extensively about the best one-click checkout providers for eCommerce websites, so make sure to check that article.
This is definitely the most important factor for SEO. I know we focus a lot on content quality when designing an SEO strategy, but it is because, without content, your backlink strategy is doomed to fail.
People like to find great and unique information online, and also love having a great time while browsing eCommerce and online stores. They feel compelled to share positive experiences with all of their contacts, generating backlinks from social media posts, and eventually from pages that want to offer their readers great quality content linking back to you.
These are all high-quality links that pump up your domain authority in the eyes of Google. However, never try to buy backlinks or trust anyone who offers thousands of backlinks. These strategies will momentarily boost your standing with Google, but the minute they realize all those links are from spammy sites, your website will never see the first page of search results again.
Boost your Load Speeds
If your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, users will bounce away and click on the next result.
Our fast consumption and instant gratification culture has reached a point where users can´t afford 3 seconds of their lives. So your website must be always up and lightning-fast if you want them to stay.
Make sure your images are properly optimized. Using large images, videos, and even exotic fonts will make your website slower. Bear those elements in mind when building your pages.
Optimizing your site´s speed might require some technical knowledge. The easiest solution to bypass the steep coding learning curve is to install a cache plugin on your WordPress website. What they do is convert your pages and posts into static files and cache them. They will no longer generate dynamically each time a user visits your site. Users will be essentially looking at a picture of your online store. That´s a very nifty way to drastically increase performance.
However, if you need certain elements to work differently, you will need the help of a professional eCommerce SEO agency.
Many people are right now wondering how to do seo on wordpress websites. Whether it is for their own online stores, or just because they want to start offering this service to merchants. We only skimmed the surface of SEO for WordPress, but if you want to know more, visit our website or contact us today!