As businesses become increasingly digital, a website becomes the new storefront. Just like a brick and mortar store, a website will only be successful if customers can find it. There’s a number of ways to make your website rank better on Google, but one of the simplest ways to get an advantage is to use WordPress.
WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms and content management systems used today, and for good reason. They offer a number of tools and capabilities that can help you reach that all important first page of results.
1. Mobile optimisation
We’ve talked countless times about the importance of a mobile friendly website. Globally, 68% of website visits came from mobile devices in 2020. That trend isn’t slowing down. If your site doesn’t look and perform well on mobile, you’re missing out on thousands of customers.
Luckily, the majority of WordPress themes are pre-configured for optimal mobile performance. With responsive web pages, mobile previews, and site speed optimisations, you can customise and perfect your site for mobile visitors. The technical aspects are taken care of for you, so all you have to worry about is connecting with your customers.
Permalinks have a ton of power in the SEO world. Permalinks are the URLs of pages on your site, specifically the end part which you have the ability to customise. For example, if your site example.com has a section about animals with a post about dog training, the URL may look like this: example.com/animals/dog-training. “/animals/dog-training” is the permalink.
By default, these permalinks are set to be numerical (example.com/p=123). This makes sense to WordPress, but it doesn’t make sense to Google or to human visitors. WordPress understands this and gives you the ability to change your permalink structure.
You can use variables such as %categoryname% or %postname% to improve your permalinks and rank better. Using these variables lets you incorporate keywords into your permalink, a key factor for ranking. It also makes it look nicer and more easily understandable for visitors.
When someone searches for “dog training,” Google is more likely to show them a page with dog training in the permalink, than a page with just random numbers. The searcher is also more likely to click that page because they can see that it directly relates to what they’re searching.
The simple act of changing the permalink structure can lead to massive improvements in Google ranking.
Website metadata is the data that describes what is on a webpage. It consists of the page title and meta description, both of which are instrumental in helping Google understand what your page is about and how relevant it is to search queries.
Few things in SEO are more important than metadata and WordPress allows users to optimise this easily. Through helpful plugins, you can edit the meta description for your webpage and see how well both the description and title fit with your target keyword(s).
A title with relevant keywords will indicate to Google that your site should be on the first page. A well written, keyword-rich meta description will tell users exactly what to expect on your page and why they should visit. As click-through rates increase, so will your Google ranking.
4. Site speed
The attention span of most website visitors is short. If your website takes a long time to load, they aren’t likely to wait around for it. This leads to an increased bounce rate from your site, which, in turn, can affect your Google ranking.
A lot of factors go into site speed, including media size and type, host, content caches, and more. WordPress websites take all this into account to optimise your site speed as much as possible.
Almost all themes are designed to load and perform quickly across devices. With features like lazy load images and content caches, the most important elements of your site can be loaded easily. There are also numerous plugins that boost site speed and performance.
While speed itself may not be a ranking factor, it has a big impact on the user experience. A better user experience nearly always means better ranking.
One of the biggest benefits of a WordPress website is the ability to customise it. That ability is thanks in large part to plugins. Plugins are bits of software installed into your website that gives it added functionality and features.
WordPress has over 55,000 plugins available to users, more than any other website platform. Many of those plugins are critical to ranking well on Google. For example, one of the most popular plugins is Yoast SEO. This lets users easily set a meta description and create better content by evaluating readability and keyword relevance.
Other plugins help images load more quickly, define site navigation, or even cache content for easier access. Properly used plugins enhance your site for not only human visitors, but search engines as well. This pays off in a higher Google ranking.
Google rankings are tricky to understand and even trickier to master. However, with some well planned strategies and a WordPress website, you can give yourself the best chance to be found by potential customers.
Give us a call to talk through your website and SEO needs with our team.