Search engines are generally the largest source of traffic to a website and WordPress is no different. Even if you’re planning something that prioritises different traffic sources, it makes sense to build the site with SEO in mind – it’s a sustainable and cheap form of traffic. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a whole industry and we’re not aiming to cover everything here. What we want to do is to give you an overview to SEO for your WordPress site, and cover Pragmatic’s default approach to SEO for your consideration.
Components of WordPress SEO
SEO can basically be split into:
- Content and
- Inbound links
Let’s have a look at each in turn to see how WordPress can be optimised.
WordPress is already well-optimised for SEO out of the box, offering permalinks, valid markup (depending on the theme being used), speed and a templated structure that promotes good internal links and content structuring. On site, we’ll configure WordPress by:
Using semantic link structures within the site – e.g. www.domain.com/page-title/subpage-title (where permitted by the content strategy) through the use of permalink settings
Using an XML sitemap and robots.txt file to ensure optimised search engine indexing
Writing valid HTML mark-up
Giving you the ability to control on-site SEO through the use of an SEO plugin (we recommend SEO for WordPress by Yoast) which is both the best plugin and the best-documented plugin. We’ll create basic settings to cover best practice, but you’ll be able to extend this easily through the CMS by using the tutorials. Or, we can provide further SEO work – just let us know if you want an estimate.
Content is the most complex and challenging component of SEO. For the sake of this article, we’ll split it into initial content and ongoing content strategy.
When we plan a website, we use content strategy to help us plan the structure and substance: the aim is to make sure your site says the right things in the right way. We’ll:
- Make sure your key search terms are reflected in the site’s content structure
Use meaningful titles and page content to make sure each page is optimised appropriately
Set up strong internal links
Ongoing content production is vital to good SEO performance. Google likes to see a site that’s regularly updated with relevant content that links within the site to relevant pages and attracts incoming links and social media activity. Your ongoing content production should basically aim to maximise traffic to your key landing pages which will generally be static. Because key landing pages are often static, they don’t generate any “newness buzz” – it’s far more likely that a new piece of content will attract social media sharing and newsletter clicks. Imagine sending the same product page to your customers every week – it’d get tired quickly. But, send customers news that talks about your products in an interesting and relevant way and it’ll never get old!
By default we don’t include ongoing content production as part of our proposals, but it’s something we’ll gladly work with you on.
Once your site is technically competent with SEO and your content reflects the search terms you want your site to be found for, it’s time to become authoritative. The way that web pages gain authority is through incoming links – other sites linking to yours in a relevant way. So if you want your site to be found for ‘Sussex Baker’, your site needs to talk about making bread in Sussex, but it also needs other sites to link to it with terms like ‘baking in Sussex’, ‘baking near Sussex’ and ‘Sussex Baker’ in the link’s anchor text, or at least close to the link itself. Preferably those links will be from sites that talk about bread, Sussex and baking already. Think of incoming links as votes for your site.
Pragmatic doesn’t offer link-building services by default, but we’ll happily discuss your requirements and recommend an approach.
Want more than the basics? You can check out some ways we can beef up your site’s SEO on our optional extras page – just let us know what you’d like estimates for.
Hopefully this has been a useful overview about SEO for WordPress sites. If you’ve asked us to build a WordPress site for you, this post explains what we’ll deliver as standard and how we can work with you to extend your new site’s SEO performance. If you’re not a Pragmatic client yet but like our approach, just contact us and let’s chat.