What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of increasing the traffic to your website by increasing the visibility of your website to users of a web search engine like Google. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results (known as “natural” or “organic” results) and excludes direct traffic/visitors and the purchase of paid ads.
Basic SEO built-in
Out of the box, your site built on WordPress is already technically quite a good platform for SEO.
I give you a head start with search engines before you even add content. I use:
- Lightweight themes that create valid HTML markup and includes built in schema.org structured data. Being just 30kb, it loads very quickly.
- Yoast SEO – My web design packages come with the #1 WordPress SEO plugin installed and configured to your needs.
- Use Structured Data (FAQs, How-to) so that search engines can read the code and use it to display search results in a much richer way.
Your sites rank well in google – just add good content!
I can set up and train you to improve your SEO. – Get in touch today!
On-page vs Off-page SEO
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) includes on-page and off-page SEO. Both are crucial to running a successful SEO campaign.
- On-page SEO is what you can implement on your website to make it more visible in Google
- Off-page SEO includes everything you do outside your site to drive traffic to your site
On-page SEO includes your content and your website structure (technical). Take care of the both!
Most critical and often forgotten or neglected aspect of SEO. There is no point in creating social media and ad campaigns only for your visitors to hit the back button within a few seconds of seeing your site content. Ensure that your content is:
- engaging – no one wants to read a ton of text; keep it short and sharp, include images and videos
- easy to read – simply large chunks of text into easy to read lists
- easy to understand – write in plain English, avoid Jargon and making assumptions
- relevant and helpful – write content that is relevant to your industry
- conversion focussed – write content that will engage your visitors and turn them into customers and
- original – don’t get penalised by Google for plagiarism; it is a quick way to lose all your rankings
Watch this video on How to Write a Blog Post That Actually Gets Traffic
The way your website is built and what you add to your pages and posts has an influence on on-page SEO. Your site needs to convey the right signals to Google and other search engines. I give you a leg up by installing Yoast SEO, the #1 SEO plugin and showing you how to configure it the right way. Also, have a look at my posts below for SEO tips and tricks.
Basic on-page optimisation steps
Time needed: 10 minutes.
Optimise your pages and posts for people and your content will rank better.
To ensure that your pages and posts rank well in Google and end up driving loads of organic to your site, you need to take care of a few things when writing your posts or pages:
- Page Title and content
WordPress makes it easy to add your page title (heading level 1) and your page content.
Write great page titles that would grab the attention of people and you wouldn’t need to modify them for search engines. Similarly, after the page title add a paragraph or two to summarise your page/post.
When the Yoast SEO plugin is active, you can see a preview of how your page or post would look on Google. We can use Yoast to improve the way we look on Google and other search engines.
- Create an enticing Title Tag
When you search for a keyword in a search engine like Google, one of the first things your visitors see on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is your Title tag. It is visible as a link in blue colour.
Use your title tag to entice your visitors to click and navigate to your site. Include the key phrases (keywords) in the title tag focussed on search intent – but make it stand out. Learn more about How to Craft the Perfect SEO Title Tag.
By default, your page/post title (h1) is displayed as your SEO title on SERPs. Write great page titles and you wouldn’t need to modify them for SERPs.
Use Yoast SEO to optimise your title tag. Yoast provides a preview of what your title tag would look like on Google (both Mobile and Desktop).
Enter your title tag into the SEO title field. Keep it to around 60-70 characters to avoid your titles from being truncated by Google.
Yoast helps you by indicating with a bar below the SEO title field which will be:
– green when the title tag is of ideal length,
– orange when there is room to add more text and
– red when it is longer than ideal length and is going to get truncated.
- Meta Descriptions to summarise your page/post content
This a summary of your post or page. Search engines typically show this summary as the snippet below your SEO title. In some cases, Google may use its Artificial Intelligence to display some other text from your content as a snippet.
The Meta description (summary) helps people understand what your page is all about – and since it helps people it also improves your SEO.
I usually provide a short summary of the page or post as the first paragraph of content after the page title. I also set up Yoast on my sites to pick up the post excerpt or first few lines of content as meta description; just in case I forget to create a meta description manually. Learn more about Meta Descriptions and why they are important for SEO.
Use Yoast SEO to optimise your Meta description tag. Yoast provides a preview of what your meta description (snippet) would look like on Google (both Mobile and Desktop).
Enter your meta description into the Meta description field. Keep it to under 160 characters to avoid your summary from being truncated by Google.
Yoast helps you by indicating with a bar below the Meta description field which will be:
– green when the tag is of ideal length,
– orange when there is room to add more text and
– red when it is longer than ideal length and is going to get truncated.
- Use simple and friendly permalinks
The permalink is the full URL you type into your browser to bring up your post or page. It is a permanent link to your page/post, hence the name permalink. It includes your domain name (e.g. vjdesign.com.au) plus a slug (e.g. SEO-optimisation) which comes after the domain name.
The URL of a page should be:
– unique (to avoid duplicate content issues),
– short (easier to type, remove ‘a’, ‘and’, ‘the’ etc without any funny characters),
– simple and user-friendly (memorable and readable rather than a bunch of keywords or numbers)
The default permalink settings for your WordPress are plain and not user friendly. For example, the plain URL for this page is https://vjdesign.com.au/?p=388
Go to yoursite.com/wp-admin/options-permalink.php
and set your permalinks to Post name e.g. https://vjdesign.com.au/sample-post/
With permalinks set to Post name, WordPress helps us by making our permalink SEO friendly – To create our slug, it copies our page title, then converts the text to lowercase, removes spaces and special characters.
For example, given the page title for this post “SEO Optimisation: Increase traffic to your website – hire me”, WordPress creates a slug “seo-optimisation-increase-traffic-to-your-website—hire-me”
Use Yoast SEO to optimise your Slug. Enter a short and user-friendly slug in the Slug field e.g. “seo-optimisation”.
Yoast provides a preview of what your slug would look like on Google (both Mobile and Desktop). Like the title tag and meta description, the slug is another indicator for users – it confirms what the user can expect to see on your page when they click on your snippet in Google.
You can modify the slug directly in WordPress (without the need for an SEO plugin). From the page settings menu on the right, under the Permalink section, use the URL slug field to make your slug short and user friendly.
- Page contents
Use the block editor to create your page content. It makes it super easy to format content and integrate rich data…
Start with paragraph block for information (it is the default block), keep them short.
Use bulleted and numbered list blocks to make large volumes of text easy to digest.
Use headings block (h1, h2, h3 and h4) to provide structure to your content and highlight hierarchy. Use a table of contents (anchor links) to help users navigate to different sections of you page that contain these headings.
Use media blocks: image block, gallery block, media & text block and YouTube embeds to jazz up your post or illustrate a difficult concept.
Use tables – perfect for sharing and visualising data.
Make your content visually pleasing, use GenerateBlocks to create backgrounds, grids, buttons and headlines.
- Create Links
The internet is content connected by links.
Links can be:
– internal – to other posts/pages/PDFs on your own site. Encourage users to spend more time on your site and introduce them to more of your content by creating internal links. It also helps search engines crawl your sites and understand how your content fits with one another.
– external – to other websites. When creating external links, mark them as nofollow to prevent losing link equity or sponsored.
Creating a link is easy, simply select a piece of text and click on the Link icon.
Highlight Call to Actions using Buttons block.
- Use structured data to make your content more accessible to Google
Yoast provides 2 blocks to add Structured data – The How-to block and FAQ block help you stand out in search results (and even win featured snippet).
Learn more about How to add a FAQ page in WordPress.
Yoast implements Schema Markup that helps Google understand better your page (***post coming soon). In most cases leave the schema as default; however, you can tell Google that a particular page is your About, FAQ, QA, Contact or checkout page.
How to implement schema markup (***post coming soon)
- Website performance
Users find slow sites annoying and leave a site if it takes more than 3 to 5 seconds to load. Google considers page speed a ranking factor – they are keen to show sites that provide a good user experience.
I use themes and plugins that are lightweight and fast loading – Learn more about High-Performance service.
Another reason why websites load slowly is because of large images – optimise your images using tools like Image Optim (for Macs) or automatically compress all images that you upload to WordPress using a plugin – get in touch.
- Responsive design
Ensure that your site is mobile friendly and your content is legible on small devices. This includes ensuring that your menus, links and buttons are accessible.
With more than 50% of all web browsing happening on mobiles and Google penalising sites that are not mobile-friendly.
Learn more why Mobile-friendly web design is crucial for online presence
- Other SEO Settings that can have an impact, Yoast helps us with these
Use Breadcrumbs as a navigational aid for your visitors. You will notice that I have enabled breadcrumbs and display the same above my page title. It looks like this…
Home » Services » SEO Optimisation: Increase traffic to your website – hire me
Use the XML sitemap that is useful for search engines (not necessarily for people – create an HTML site map if your site structure is complicated or large); you can submit your sitemap to search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex etc. My own sitemap is at https://vjdesign.com.au/sitemap_index.xml
Stop getting penalised for duplicate content – Learn about Canonical URLs – What are they? How to add using WordPress Yoast SEO
Yoast also updates your robots.txt, and it ensures that only relevant pages that need to be are indexed and regularly crawled. You can control this through the Advanced settings in Yoast for each page, post or product.
Off-page SEO Services
Off-page SEO is all the actions taken outside your website that impact the rankings of your website in search engines. Off-page SEO can be time-consuming and challenging.
Off-page SEO includes things like:
- Backlinks – when some other website creates a link to a page or a post on your website your site receives a rankings boost (tiny). You can create backlinks manually by writing guest posts on other blogging platforms, helping people in forums and commenting on blogs.
To improve your Local SEO, get your business listed on top online directories for your business – simply submit your NAP (name, address and phone number). Learn more about Citations for Local SEO.
The best way to grow your backlinks and traffic is to create content that other people find invaluable, link to you and share.
- Social Sharing – Whilst Google has confirmed that social signals are not a direct ranking factor, your presence in social sites can help you build an audience. This is critical for new business. A must for any new business is Google My Business – enable reviews and comments.
If you have an eCommerce store, displaying your products on Facebook or Instagram shop would open your business to an untapped audience. Get in touch if you want me to set this up for you.
- and a lot more…
Tips for hiring an SEO specialist
If you are willing to create content – my affordable SEO packages should take care of most of your on-page SEO needs. Get in touch today!
If you are after results-focused off-page SEO and advanced SEO tactics to take your business to next level, I use and recommend FairGo SEO.
Some recent posts on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- FairGo SEO – Advanced SEO ServicesYour organic traffic is often your primary source of website traffic, and Google contributes to 75 percent of online searches in the market. SEO will build credibility and trust for your business. When done right, it will increase traffic, improve engagement, and increase overall conversions. SEO services are relatively cheap, and the results are quantifiable. … Read more
- Yoast – SEO for everyoneYoast is the #1 WordPress SEO plugin with over 25,000 Reviews and 5+ million installs Page Contents Why Yoast? What does it do? Snippet previewPage AnalysisXML SitemapBreadcrumbsStructured DataSocial IntegrationCanonical URLsOn-page optimisation using Yoast SEOLearn moreAdvanced SEO Services Why Yoast? What does it do? Yoast is the most comprehensive search engine optimization software available for WordPress … Read more
- How to add FAQ page in WordPressLearn how to add FAQ page in WordPress using a free and easy to use plugin. Also add structured data (FAQ schema) to improve SEO without code.
- SEO Content Silos to Rank Competitive Keywords & Improve Site UsabilityUse SEO Content silos to increase your search engine rankings for competitive keywords. Group related content to establish keyword-based topic clusters.
- Canonical URLs – What are they? How to add using WordPress Yoast SEOWhen there are multiple pages on your site with the same content – the canonical URL tells Google which page is original. Learn how to set canonicals, why use them, common mistakes and some FAQs.
My affordable SEO packages take care of your on-page SEO needs – you just need to write good content. Get in touch today for simple SEO that works!