Search engine optimisation is a key factor to include in your strategy for your WordPress website. If implemented correctly, you can gain a lot of useful traffic. For many websites, a bulk of their traffic consists of the user just searching for the information that they provide. These users are also genuinely interested in the content, and hence they are likely to engage with your website.
While you will find many websites claiming that certain factors definitively affect the search results, Google itself chooses to reveal very little about the exact workings of their search ranking algorithms. Though they have, at various occasions and via various spokespersons, have suggested that content and backlinks are major factors, and dropped very measured and subtle hints about a few aspects of page rankings.
The best approach to go about SEO is to keep those broad general aspects in focus and look at the obvious rather than the definitive and specific factors which many websites promise are sure to get you to the top of the results.
We shall present a few of the obvious aspects that you should be a part of your SEO strategy.
Don’t lose focus of your users
Remember that you are making content for your users to read. Do not focus on getting to the top of the search rankings without having quality content using any shady tricks which many websites will tell you about. Many of these tricks, such as keywords stuffing, used to work in the earlier days of the search engines. But many websites popped up that just stuffed keywords into their content without even making sure that the content even made sense.
Such practices hurt the search engines, since if their users are unable to find valuable content, they risk losing the users. Thus, they made several changes to their algorithms so that such practices no longer elevate search results, but on the contrary, may be penalised.
Thus, you must just remain focussed on your users and keep providing what they want. This is the most effective long term strategy which will not just give you plenty of traffic, but also a lot of happy users.
Strive to create the best quality content you can
The main content that you have on your website is likely to be the major factor in determining how good of a user experience your users have. It quite obvious that you will be competing with other websites offering similar content. Many users will have a look at least a few sites before becoming committed returning customers. So you must make sure that your content is superior to your competition.
The content must be well presented and easy to understand. It must be clearly evident that the users’ time spent on your website was worth it. While it is important to keep them interested, trivial content only goes so far. They must be able to take away some useful information. It will also encourage more backlinks, an important SEO factor, if users like your content and are willing to point to it on social media and other blogs. Delivering such high quality will need a significant commitment from your side as a creator.
Once it is evident that you are providing something valuable, then your users will be ready to make a commitment, whether it is by buying any of your goods, services, subscriptions, making donations or in any other way.
Comprehensive content has a better success rate
Various studies show that users prefer websites offering comprehensive information rather than those offering content with a very narrow scope. Content that covers all aspects of a topic will be likely to be listed for various different keywords related to the same topic, since it will have a significant amount of varied information. This will naturally generate more traffic.
This effect has been magnified by the introduction of Google’s introduction of rich search results and intelligent answering of simple questions. Users looking quick answers don’t have to open a page at all. Those looking for comprehensive information are the ones who are clicking the search results, so cater your content to them.
Don’t completely ignore keywords
While we have been stressing about the importance of content, do not forget the importance of keywords entirely. The search engines still make use of them for page rankings. In addition to the metadata, the search algorithms also consider the keywords and keyphrases in the title tag, header tags and the first and last hundred words of your main content, so design your website accordingly.
Hook the users with a catchy headline
While most users are inclined to click one of the first three results, most also scroll down a bit, and if you can hook them with a catchy headline, you can get the click. Don’t use misleading headlines, Google checks bounce rate and may demote your rankings. Also, any mislead visitor is not likely to commit at all, so such visitor is not helpful.
Engage the users
As mentioned earlier, Google considers the bounce rate. Hence, be sure to engage the users. Make a great introductory paragraph, include a video, let the users comment, use social media integrations and other features to ensure engagement. This will reduce bounce rate, and also if the engagement is quite evident to search engines, it is an indication of good user experience. Hence, you can get your page ranking elevated.
Invest in marketing and outreach
It can be a bit difficult in the beginning to get started, so investing in some advertising initially, will provide a much needed boost. Invest in a social media campaign. Collaborate with others, you can point to their content and they can point to others. Such linking can be beneficial to both creators, since backlinks are considered an important factor for page rankings.
Don’t use cheap tricks, and be patient
We have repeatedly stressed the futility of trying to trick the search engines. Many websites claiming to know such tricks just cannot be true, since in recent times due to the use of machine learning, the systems used by Google are like a black box. In machine learning, the algorithms learn themselves by positive feedback. If a particular search result provides a good user experience, it is elevated, and vice versa. Exactly how it is determined is not exactly clear to anyone. So you must stop looking for such tricks. Just keep a genuine focus on your user experience, provide quality service, and keep doing it. Your website will slowly keep rising through the search rankings, and traffic will follow.