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21 Marketing Pros Give Killer Tips to Improve Search Results for Your WordPress Website!
by Jeff Trumble on
At the center of your brand’s universe, you’ll find your WordPress website. You put lots of sweat and tears into building your site, and you expect it to perform.
Perhaps the biggest key to boosting the performance of your site and driving actual business conversions is optimizing your site to show up higher than the competition in search results.
You can always pay to drive traffic to your site. However, paid traffic from ads and sponsored content is expensive. It’s also often ignored in favor of organic results, which are far less costly and can help you save your marketing dollars.
Organic search results garner more clicks than their paid counterpart. According to a popular survey by Backlinko that analyzed 5 million search results, the top 3 organic results receive 75.1% of clicks to add a little sugar on top. That doesn’t leave a lot left over for the stragglers.
You’d do virtually anything (legal and within reason, of course) to grab one of those top 3 spots. But what happens when you put tons of money and effort into building your website, and no one shows up? What is the true impact of SEO on your site’s performance and on your business?
What impact can a search-optimized WordPress website have on your business?
Maybe you’ve heard SEO is complex, or the concept is too technical for you. Or perhaps you’re all in on SEO, but you can’t prove the value to your boss to get the resources to make it happen. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
Before we dive into the meat of the article, let’s take a look at a few key stats that highlight the importance of having an SEO strategy in place for your WordPress website.
- The first five organic search results in Google account for 67.60% of all clicks (Impact Plus, 2021)
- 53.30% of all website traffic comes from organic search (Brightedge, 2019)
- SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate (99firms, 2022)
- Only 0.78% of Google searchers click on results from page 2 (Ahrefs, 2019)
- 70% of online marketers say SEO is better than PPC for generating sales (Intergrowth, 2021)
- The #1 result in Google searches earns 32% of the clicks (Backlinko, 2021)
Need we say more? Put these stats in a slide deck to present to your boss. At the very least, you’ll have planted the seed that can help boost your future SEO strategy and improve your search results.
We asked 19 of the top marketers in the world to give us their best tips for boosting organic traffic to your WordPress website.
This article will cover seven key areas to focus on with actionable insights and advice in each section from some super talented pros who’ve been wildly successful in boosting stats.
Know your audience and their search habits
Before you produce any content, it’s critically important to develop a deep understanding of your audience and their search habits.
Research what your audience is searching for online. Then dig into the keywords and phrases they’re targeting in those searches.
“Know your audience and how they search. Know the list of keywords and showcase your expertise. Overlap your expertise with the keywords. Find the keywords that you want to use on your website consistently.”Pam Didner, VP of Marketing at Relentless Pursuit, LLC.
Audience and keyword research should be ongoing. It’s not a once-and-done effort. The info you capture in your first go-around can change quickly, and you need to be prepared.
“Please bear in mind that your list of keywords may change as you expand or morph your offerings and how your audience search evolves as well,” continued Didner. “SEO is a continuous effort, and it never stops.”
Approach keywords strategically as a part of the editorial process
Keyword planning should be a critical part of your process. It should be engrained in the culture of your marketing team and should flow seamlessly into your editorial strategy if you want to gain any SEO value.
“We use a rolling list of 100 keywords that we target. Each month, we know where we stand on each keyword and our progress.”
Joe Pulizzi, Founder of The Tilt and Content Marketing Institute.
Marketing teams need to understand what keywords are working and how your content impacts SEO for your WordPress website. Ensure everyone involved is in the loop and has insight into what’s working and what you need to address.
“Where we are not progressing, we make sure the editorial team is aware of those keywords so we can develop rich content to match those,” continued Pulizzi. “There are a lot of quick tips to get found in search, but you need to know what the target is first.”
Host regular planning meetings with your content and SEO teams. Keep an open dialogue about what’s working and what’s not, and stay focused on creative ways to improve the performance for target keywords to help your WordPress website show up higher in crucial search results.
“Knowing what the user is searching for, the language, location, the intent, and the value of each keyword are critical to our overall content marketing plan. Without keyword research, improving our website’s business value and search results couldn’t have been possible. This is why we’ve invested in several keyword tools such as keyword magic from Semrush and other top-quality keyword tools.”
Shamsudeen Adeshokan, Blogger at CyberNaira
Suggested Reading: 16 Common WordPress Mistakes that Can Hinder Your SEO
Create content for people and search engines
Content is the cornerstone of your SEO strategy. Without consistently publishing quality content on your WordPress website, your site will remain invisible.
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that you aren’t just writing for search engines.
“While it’s important to pay attention to both on-page and off-page SEO optimization tactics, the BEST way to gain notice by search is to gain notice by people. When you create and amplify people-winning content, search engine notice is sure to follow.”
Sue-Ann Bubacz, Founder of Write Mix for Business
It’s vital to appease Google and other search engines by adhering to the 200+ search ranking factors out there in the world. The result, however, is an actual person reading your content. If you create content solely for search engines, the readability will suffer, and your website visitors will find little to no value.
“Blog traffic, interactivity like shares or comments, and overall quality in the value you deliver are a big part of finding the winning combination for standing out,” said Bubacz. “Staying current also matters, so adding and updating content is a practice to optimally serve your audience and keep you in the eye of search.”
There are a lot of technical components that go into creating content and ranking your website in search results. Sometimes, however, it’s as simple as understanding your audience and writing with their needs in mind while covering the SEO basics.
Keep content creation simple and focused
“Don’t overthink the process. Know what words or phrases you are trying to rank for, ensure you get your Meta Titles are correct.. Then build a good quality article that Google will recognize as such that also serves to answer questions and solve problems for your audience, and get to work building it.”
Corey Hinde, Growth Marketer at Good Oil Marketing
While creating content that performs and boosts your site in search takes hard work and lots of preparation, sometimes you can overthink it. When you truly understand the needs of your audience and create content with that in mind, solving a problem, you can see significant results.
“SEO is all about crafting content that solves a problem. And the solution is presented in such a way that even a novice can grasp the concept. This will decrease the bounce rate and help to boost other stats. You’ll even see a nice boost in website traffic, so make sure your WordPress hosting can handle a boost in traffic.”
Chayan Chakrabarti, Founder at SimpleFactsOnline
Focus on Google’s Core Web Vitals
Google’s new focus on Core Web Vitals has many website owners’ heads spinning. What in the world does Google mean when it says it’s focusing on Core Web Vitals as a part of assessing and ranking your site?
Core Web Vitals appeared as a part of Google’s rollout of the user experience inclusion in its algorithm. As people expect, and search engines seek to serve the best experience for searchers, Google has honed in on three main factors. These make up the Core Web Vitals.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – This looks at how long it takes a website to show visitors the largest piece of content on the page.
- First Input Delay (FID) – FID looks at the time it takes from when a visitor interacts with a website element to the time it takes the site to respond.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – CLS focuses on the various shifts that occur, like ads popping up on a site, that cause shifts unrelated to an interaction.
“If your website takes too long to load, this can lead to issues on several levels. Your bounce rate increase and other negative stats occur because a slow loading site can kill the user experience.”
Anthony Gaenzle, CEO at Gaenzle Marketing
To combat this, hosting your website with a truly fast WordPress hosting provider is vital. As you research hosting providers, do your research and find a provider that delivers content and data through a content delivery network (CDN) like Cloudflare.
Delivering content through a CDN caches your content through servers strategically positioned worldwide. When someone visits your site, that content pops up more quickly, no matter where they are in the world. This boost can lead to a positive impact on your Core Web Vitals and how people engage with your website.
“This search ranking technique is vital because if your blog or website’s speed is slow, it will negatively affect how people interact with your pages. Many visitors will leave your site without clicking, and those who read a few lines will not return.”
Moss Clement, expert writer for SaaS brands and Founder of Moss Media.
Add value to improve stats Google loves
Google loves specific stats. Time on page, direct website visits, pages per session, and bounce rate are all critical factors Google considers when ranking the pages on your website. With this in mind, you need to focus on finding ways to improve those stats.
One of the top ways to do this is to add value for your readers. Ensure that you are answering their questions and genuinely helping them in some ways keeps your visitors on your site longer. They consume more content. And, when this happens, your key stats get a boost.
“Improve search rankings by publishing in-depth content that clearly solves reader problems. Search traffic flows to highly-detailed content specifically fleshing out a single topic, publish 1500 to 2500 word posts dripping with practical tips.”
Ryan Biddulph, Professional Blogger and Owner of Blogging From Paradise.
Don’t be afraid to go into detail on a subject. The more thoroughly you cover a topic, and the deeper you delve into adding valuable insights, the better your content and your WordPress website will perform.
“Google algorithms favor specific content that seems to drill down with as many details included as possible,” continued Biddulph. “Be thorough. Take the time to publish a rich resource versus writing a 600-word post solely to satisfy a publishing schedule.”
If you show Google that your visitors value your content, the search engine giant will attribute this to your site, offering a positive user experience. Think about the type of content Google would be proud to share? Google’s goal is to serve up the most relevant, accurate, and helpful content, and if you show proof points through your website stats that your content falls into those categories, you’ll be well-positioned to gain a boost in search results.
Find out what content is ranking and create something 10x better
“Create well-written, well-researched content that will help your readers. Do a Google search for the top-ranking blog posts that are already written on the topic you want to write on, then write something even better.”
Sabina Lohr, CEO at World of Freelancers
If you’re trying to rank for a particular keyword, search and find out what content is already ranking for that term. Review it thoroughly, and expose any gaps where the piece of content isn’t fully serving the intended audience. Then, get with your content team and produce content that is 10x better for your WordPress website.
“The Google algorithm is very advanced and can differentiate quality content from not-so-good content, so create quality content, and your readers, as well as search engines, will notice,” said Lohr.
10x better content doesn’t have to look like a book. Understand what your readers want and answer their questions in as few or as many words as necessary.
“Ultimate guides and all-encompassing content can be great, but it can also be very overwhelming for the reader. You don’t need a 15,000 article to show up in the search results. Focus on one particular question/topic for your post and answer THAT specific question. When people are looking for that specific problem, YOU are the one with the exact answer they’re looking for, and they won’t have to go hunting through a novel to find their answer.”
Nick Nalbach, Host of the Nine Five to Freedom Podcast
Focus on the details
Your SEO strategy requires a focus on the details. That goes beyond the fun surface stuff like producing excellent content. It would help if you started thinking about the little things and taking care of all the details to ensure your WordPress website is set up for success.
“The most important thing you need to do to ensure your website shows up when your ideal client searches for someone who does what you do is to make sure you have a descriptive and compelling site name and meta description. Those two elements are what your potential customers will see in search results and use to make their initial to-click or not-to-click decision. So, spend a good amount of time crafting them.”
Erika Heald, Founder, and Lead Consultant at Erika Heald Marketing Consulting
Google may not actively factor your meta descriptions into its ranking factors. That said, a well-written, target meta description can convince a reader to click. Make sure you take ample time to draft up meta descriptions with your target audience members’ needs in mind. Answer their questions in a short, concise way and let them know that more value awaits them if they click through to your site.
Here’s a great example of a nicely crafted meta description from the team at Yoast.
Pick a suitable theme to boost performance
When building your WordPress website, don’t take theme selection lightly. Choosing the wrong theme can not only cause your site to look unprofessional, but it can also have a significant impact on your site’s performance.
“Choosing the right WordPress theme can serve as the strong foundation for your online business, the main job of your theme should be to offer a great user experience and point the visitors where they want to navigate on your website.”
Mudassir Ahmed, Founder and Pro Blogger at Blogging Explained
Overlooking the value of choosing a suitable theme can lead to issues with responsiveness and create a bad experience for your visitors.
“Pick a lightweight theme that is easy to adapt for various screen sizes, loads quickly, and has all the features you need,” said Ahmed. “You don’t have to worry about your theme bogging you down while you focus on business growth. So, ensure the theme is also SEO-friendly which means your website and content are optimized for search engines to rank well.”
Optimize each page from the top to the bottom
When optimizing your website for search, focus first on the most important pages. The pages that provide the most targeted info for your visitors and the ones that can lead to the highest number of conversions.
But, don’t forget all the smaller pages. You never know which page could help your site pop up in search results, so focus on all pages from the most important to the least.
Andre Palko, Small Business Marketer at Success Publishing and Marketing LLC
Pay ample attention to site structure
“When discussing how to improve content visibility and site ranking, marketers usually don’t talk about streamlining site structure and navigation. These elements are among the most crucial factors that help increase ranking.”Adela Belin, Content Marketing and Writer at Writers Per Hour
The more frequently search engines crawl your site and index your pages, the bigger the impact you’ll see when it comes to SERPs. Your team should prioritize site navigation and place a significant emphasis on helping the spiders find what they want so you can improve your ranking.
“It’s vital because optimizing your site structure and navigation makes it easier for visitors to find helpful information,” said Belin. “A simplified and optimized site structure and navigation can help search engine spiders discover and index new pages.”
Suggested Reading: 26 Digital Marketing Plugins Every Marketer Needs
Keep your content fresh
Search engines favor dynamic websites that regularly update the site and add new content. Stale sites that never change give Google nothing new to crawl.
“The best thing you can do to improve search rankings is to be consistent. The more quality content you’re putting out there for your target audience, the better. You want to make sure you’re publishing blog posts that are addressing their needs and provide a solution to their pain points. Doing this will ensure your content is showing up whenever they search Google to find answers to their burning questions.”
Madalyn Sklar, serial entrepreneur, community builder, and leading Twitter marketing expert
Focus on adding new content and building up a rich archive of older content with staying power.
“And the more evergreen, relevant content you’ve built up in your archives, the more chances you have at being discovered,” said Sklar. “That’s going to help you bring in steady traffic and can lead to conversions that make your business profitable. Before you know it, you’ll become their go-to source for information.”
Repurpose and refresh your older content
Updating old, outdated content on your website can cause Google to notice. A recent Hubspot study showed that optimized older posts gained a 106% boost in organic search.
More impressive than that, 96% of the company’s blog leads came from old, optimized content.
“I advise other website owners to update their blog posts that are over a year old or any posts that have updated information that is pertinent. When updating an old post, add a video and more in-depth content to the original blog post. Then link it from other newer articles on your website.”
Lisa Sicard, Small Business Marketer and Owner of Inspire to Thrive
Leverage technology for insights
Technology can help you gain insights into the performance of your website and then make adjustments to boost your search results.
“Use Semrush to research keywords relevant to your business. Identify terms that have a moderate amount of search volume – enough to generate some traffic but not so much as to be extremely competitive”
John Walker, Consultant at J. Walker Marketing
There are so many great tools on the market to help you improve your site’s performance and measure all the key metrics to success.
Use technology to uncover link building opportunities
Link building is a key ranking factor. Experts rank backlinks as the number two ranking factor, just below quality content. While gaining backlinks isn’t easy, technology can help you uncover opportunities.
Nikola Roza offers an example of how you can leverage insights from technology to find areas to focus on link building.
“Out of 20 articles you publish this month, 60% will do average and land on the sixth page of the SERPs. 20% will do extremely poorly and will be nowhere to be found. The last 20% will be pages that do unreasonably well.”Nikola Roza, CEO of Nikola Roza – SEO for the Poor and Determined
“For some reason, Google loves you for those keywords/topics, and immediately after indexing, you started to pick up new keywords, impressions, and even clicks for longer tail keywords,” continued Roza. Triple down on those pages. Optimize them with SEO software (I use Surfer SEO,) review opportunities to build internal links to them, build backlinks, potentially put them in the footer for a sitewide boost.”
The backlink opportunities insights you can find from tools like Ahrefs and Semrush can help you give your website’s SEO a serious boost.
Roza used this tactic to boost a recent post on Minecraft server hosting on his site. The results from those efforts can be seen below.
“One of the most important things that lead to improved SEO results is off-page SEO/high-quality backlinks. Off-page SEO helps build a website’s recognition and domain authority.”
Sameer Ahmed Khan, CEO and Co-founder of Social Champ, Inc.
Don’t wait to get started
No matter what state your site is in or how many years it’s been around, it’s never too late to start focusing on SEO. As they say, the best time to start was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Right?
With that in mind, SEO should ultimately be firmly in focus even before your WordPress website ever sees the light of the digital day.
“Start with an SEO and content strategy at the earliest, and try to optimize all pages of your website as much as possible. Don’t wait till your whole website is built to work on your SEO, as results take time to show.”
Poulomi Basu, Branding, Content Writing, and SEO Specialist at Ignite Marketing
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