WordPress SEO: The Definitive Guide to Higher Ranking

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Everyone loves higher ranking in the internet marketing boat otherwise all their hard work doesn’t bring them the fruit they planned off. But getting up there, leaving all your competition behind isn’t that easy task. But it isn’t impossible as well. Here I’m sharing the definitive guide to higher ranking following that you’ll come to know the exact things to do and to care of.

If you ask me one single rule that works all the way and in every case is developing an authority blog. It works on WordPress platform pretty well, but it’s not that easy to come in. To reach an authority level, you need to share quality and engaging information on a website that is equally impressive in design and every post being shared over social network regularly.

The Definitive Guide to Higher Ranking

Let us start now. Keep on practicing the points I’m writing down here, and once you become an expert on them, you’ll start getting results you plan off.

Elegant, Simple and Authority Web Design

The design is the first thing that will make the impression on your readers. To count this point in, I’d recommend you to use a premium WordPress theme rather than the free one. I had already been sharing the list of best premium WordPress themes for different niches. You can look over them and help yourself further.

Get 20% off on the Best WordPress Themes & Plugins

Get 20% off on the Best WordPress Themes & Plugins

Having a premium theme provides a lot of great features. They are perfectly optimized for SEO, have unique design styles and typography for increasing user engagement and totally secured. If you are good at writing quality content, then a bad theme can be a steep stone between. So take care of this point.

Authority Content

The next big thing you need to look at is the content. Once you set up your WordPress website/blog with a premium theme, then next thing to get serious is at the quality of content you’re planning to share from day one. You must have read a lot about quality content, but what makes it an authority one?

An authority content is a quality one, but the reverse isn’t that true. You need to make sure that you’re driving attention of your reader toward Call to Action point so that he/she is ready to take action (in case of affiliate website) or at least become a follower. If neither of these things happening, then you need to rethink about how you’re writing stuff.

There are certain points that you can follow and in return they can turn the quality content into authority one. Make sure the title is short yet attractive. By short, I mean it should never cross the limit fixed by Search Engines (near to 60 characters). The first few lines or para should be pointed directly towards the aim of writing that article. Also, make sure that you get reader’s attention from the beginning, which will make sure that he is going to read till the end.

Don’t try to add extra lines which makes no sense (people usually do that to increase length) and try to offer complete information as much as you can.

Once content is capable enough to grab your reader’s attention and make him follow your blog, things start happening. He/she will start recommending your blog on their social network, and then lots of people will start checking your blog out (which means more traffic, right?).

I can sense that you’re looking for the answer that how it’s going to increase the ranking of your blog. Which means that you’re not aware of latest SEO practices approved by Search Engines like Google. The higher number of social sharing can boost the ranking in SERP. Voila!

Make sure every page of your blog has social icons using which readers can easily share what they liked. Here are certain WordPress social plugins that you might be interested in.

Clean Easy to crawl Theme

This is an absolute must if you want to stand any chance of getting new visitors from Search. You want the code to be as clean as possible minimizing CSS, and JavaScript loaded on your website. So some of the basics to look out far is clear header tags with the correct functions in place to support plugins like SEO by Yoast. Another must clear body, sidebar and footer tags so that bots can clearly see where your content starts. Please see our guide to choosing a search friendly WordPress theme.

Image optimization

Images are usually overlooked by webmasters, often I see images labeled with random numbers and letters. Which serves no use to search bot although the technology is getting very close where bots can recognize images its not quite there yet. So start saving your images with meaningful names also pay attention to the alt tag that is where search bots usually check to find out what the image is about. I will not go into a great details about this part of the jigsaw because we have created in-depth articles on the heading you see here. Read more about image optimation click here.

Also, see our collection of our most recommend image optimization plugins available.

Site Loading Time

These days your website speed is everything thing, think about it if you are at a till waiting to purchase your goods for serval minutes would you be happy with your the service given? You website load time works in a similar way not one wants to wait around, and Google recognizes this and rewards sites with faster load speed. We gave written serval guides around this topic to help you dramatically increase your user experience. For further reading check out:

Best Plugins to Speed Up Your WordPress SiteHow to Speed Up WordPress in 7 Super Easy Steps and our

Top 10 Fastest Loading WordPress Themes.

Avoid Duplicate content

You must also ensure that there is no duplicate content on your site as this can have a negative affect on your ranking. To keep on top of this then I strongly advise you sign up to Google Webmasters it’s if and alerts you of crawling errors duplicate titles, meta tag and so on. There is also the option to use free tools like a plagiarism checker that verifies whether your content is unique and not published elsewhere. For a more in-depth guide to duplicate content then check out http://moz.com/learn/seo/duplicate-content.

 To SSL or not to SSL

A few months back Google announced that they would be rewarding sites that host their content over an SSL connection. There as been many talks and studies as to whether this actually makes a difference. I can confirm it does we made the switch sometime in January, and we did receive a small bump in traffic. If anyone is interested in me creating a case study on this topic then please voice your opinion in the comments below.  For further reading on how to make the switch, please check out WordPress SSL Settings.

 

Measuring your performance

This bit goes without say, you can not improve what is not tracked and measured. I strongly recommend you sign up to and install Google Analytics. With WordPress googles analytics, you can track goal conversion, eCommerce’s custom dimensions such as your authors contribution to traffic and sales. Here at 85ideas we use Google Analytics by Yoast Premium, which allows us to track easily popular tags, author performance and click out and much more.

Observe the Competitors

One of the most important factors that can decide the sire of the market is how closely you’re looking to the movements of your competitors and what action you’re taking on it. The reason behind this observation is that you’ll get the way using which your rival brands have gathered the audience for themselves. Again, it won’t be too easy to sneak peek you nose in your competitor’s territory as they also keep the track of upcoming rivals like you, yet one can get what he wants from path of approach only.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

While trying to make your WordPress blog thrive, there is something more you can do then just keeping your blog updated and that is being updated what is going on in your surroundings. There are many things which can be under this point and if you’ll follow them, then there would be better chances for your blog to thrive on the internet. Here are a few points needed to be remembered:

Competitor Analysis:

You must check all the formulas that your rivals have chosen to become successful. It is also important to keep an eye on your rival regularly and the point has been explained to you already. However, this competitor analysis is a bit different, as here you do search for all the places from your competitor have started taking links and how they have done and just follow the leads.

Stay Updated About Latest Updates

The search engine giant Google, for which we are doing all the hard work, releases some update time to time about the new techniques which one should use to make the blog thrive in the market. There already are many updates available like Hummingbird, Penguin, Panda, Mobile-Friendly and much more. Also, if you’ve not made your blog compatible with them, then it’s time to start the work as soon as possible or all your work can go in vain within a jiffy.

Rich Snippet markup

Another area overlooked by many WordPress site owners are rich snippet markup which is what you shows up on search results with extra information to help readers make an inform decision. Why we care about this is because the more retail space we take up in the search results the more exposure your result get. But again it all comes now to giving your readers a much better experience. For non-technical site owners this might be one of the hardest steps to incorporate. But not to worry we have round up the best schema markup plugins to help you easily incorporate rich snippet markup on your site. You will the be able to show things like product pricing, review rating, movie showings and much more. To find out more about rich snippet visit schema.org 

Backlinks

After mastering above two (which won’t be that easy) here is the final step you need to take and then you can relax a bit as your website will start ranking higher (our main goal). This part is hard and tricky as well. You need to make sure every backlink coming towards your blog is bringing positive juice rather than another one (which can even make your blog drowned within search results).

Backlinks (also referred as Off-Page SEO) matters, and it takes a lot of practice and experience to master this part. But still I can recommend you to follow certain points that can indeed give you a head start.

Make sure that every backlink pointed towards your blog is from an authority website or at least a good one that is itself having quality content rather than crappy things. Try to dilute do follow and nofollow backlinks coming your way (this is how you keep things natural).

While creating backlinks, try to vary the anchor text. Don’t simply use a single keyword again and again, which can seriously bring a negative juice to your blog, unknowingly. So till now you need to dilute the anchor text and type of backlink you’re creating for your blog.

Blog commenting can help you bring a lot of nofollow backlinks (few dofollow as well) and it will also let other people know about the existence of your blog. The next thing you need to look at doing is to target websites that are falling only and only in your main website’s niche. Don’t try to bring backlinks from another niche that is going to hurt the natural makeover you’re trying to put on your backlink profile.

Few other practices that you can follow are guest blogging, web 2.0 links, social profiles and forum engagement. You may find many other ways too, but they all come up with their individual cons.

The Social Factor

It is well-known in the blogging world today that if you’re not popular on social media, then it would be almost impossible or extremely difficult for you to thrive on the web. The fact behind it is the user base availability on the social media and the people really are interested about learning new things, getting informed and any other knowledge that you can share, and if it’s good then you’ll be viral in no time.

There are many social networks available these days where you can get immense traffic for your website, and the leading them from the front is none other than Facebook. The other names also very influential like LinkedIn for business related websites, Twitter for short thoughts, Google+ for post sharing, Pinterest for image specific posts, Scoop it for the latest information and much more. However, making your blog popular on these networks isn’t easy at all, and you have to engage with your audience deeply to get their attention.

There are many factors which you need to be taken care off while working on any social media network and here below are the steps according to the social networks:

Facebook

While using FB, you get millions of people to engage if the work done is proper and you’ve approached the audience in a strategic way. Here are some points to remember:

  • Make a FB group and share not only links of your posts, but images and other infographics as well.
  • Make sure that you are popular among the relevant people only and other similar pages are mentioning you.
  • Try to get images and posts which are exclusive or at least shared first on your page.
  • Keep track of FB trending stories and related them to your posts.

Twitter

It is a place where you need to express yourself in just 140 words and this is not an easy task at all. Although a bit of practice can get you desired results for sure, and here are some tips:

  • Try to engage with people who are from your niche and active on the platform.
  • Analyze the time when the web is most active and people are searching new things.
  • Use popular hashtags and mention people who you think are interested in your story.
  • Get attention by not only sharing tweets, but re-tweeting and marking favorite of others’ posts as well.

Google+

Another very important social media giant, which gives you a little extra advantage in SERP rankings. Here are some points to look after:

  • Google+ communities are the best ways to engage people about your blogging niche.
  • Follow people who you find active in communities and not those who just have an account.
  • Share images, posts, answer queries, take part in discussions, reply to the comments, appreciate for the like and mention people in hashtag to stay close to your audience.

I guess the above 3 networks will bring you decent crowd and once you’re popular with them, then try a hand in others like Pinterest, LinkedIn, StubleUpon and others.

Make It Easy to Navigate

While a person comes to your website, then you must make sure that he/she is reaching to the wanted page without any hassle. Because, if it took time for visitors to reach the result, then in no time he/she will be gone with very bad user experience. Now, to avoid such mishappenings on your website, navigation from one page to another page and one post to another post should be visible to everyone.

There are certain areas which should get your attention first while you optimize navigation on your blog and website, and here they are with what step should be taken from your side.

Optimized Home Page

For easy navigation, it is must to build a home page which shows all your stuff in an organized way and visitor can find everything from there only. For instance, you can pin a trending post to show what popular, categories on home page, contact us and about us page and others as well.

Interlinking your content

While you write an article about a specific topic and want to relate it to one of your already written post so that the user should find what exactly you want to say without any useless effort, then this Post to Post internal linking is a useful method. However, do remember that never ever prompt visitor directly to click such as using the words like Click Here, instead try to use anchor text on a set of word which is related to the article topic.

While you write an article about a specific topic and want to relate it to one of your already written post so that the user should find what exactly you want to say without any useless effort, then this Post to Post internal linking is a useful method. However, do remember that never ever prompt visitor directly to click such as using the words like Click Here, instead try to use anchor text on a set of word which is related to the article topic.

Related Post Section

Whenever a visitor is reading one of your articles, he/she might want to dig out more, but doesn’t know where to go. So, in this case you can offer a related post section somewhere near the article (at the sidebar) and can list the articles in that category which have same tags or keywords. It’ll definitely improve the navigation.

Recent and Popular Posts

Another good option to make navigation hassle free on website is showing popular post and recent post to engage the user at first impression and hence guiding them to the proper page.

Well, the navigation is definitely a very important aspect to make the user experience better and hence enlightening the chances of getting better search result rankings.

XML sitemaps Creation

Another useful method to ease the navigation on your website is to create a Sitemap which will have a path for each of your major section, category and subcategory to let the visitor know where he/she is to lead. It is also recommended to have a Sitemap on your website for better SERP rankings.

 

Engaging your audience

There is nothing much more important than having the benefits of brand value to your website and if you have that, then nothing can stop you from being successful on the internet. Although, it’s not easy to make yourself a brand, but there is another way out, which is getting backed up by the all ready settled brands of your niche.

The answer of your question that why you need backup is lies within as initially you’re not a brand, but someone who is famous and big fish of the market is giving you his authority, then you’ll automatically get attention of people and once you become a brand yourself, then the mutual traffic of yours will surely get you the needed profit. But, the task ahead is not easy as you might think, still nothing is possible in today’s world, so here are some ways which you can use while attempting for that:

Meet with PR People in Person

Meeting PR professionals of a brand in person will be the most effective than e-mail or calling them. What you can get by meeting them is the information which would be available on your blog first and that would give you an edge over others for sure. However, it is not easy to get these people, but the effort is worth trying.

Offer What The Public Want to Hear

While you select a topic for blogging, it is not necessary that you’ll get required publicity as there are a few more things which play a role in it like for example, if the public is searching for a specific keyword, then you must include that keyword in your post 3-4 times per 500 words. What it will do, is make your article Google friendly and then the search engine will be sending queries to you for sure.

Create a Content Schedule

One thing that most of the new generation bloggers have to take care off is to update their blog daily to make sure that Google crawlers come regularly on your website and send visitors. If you won’t update your website daily with at least one post, then even the search engine won’t care for you and will act lazier than you. So if you wish to make your WordPress blog thrive, then update it regularly with at least one post and get the attention of search engines.

Keep a Check on Blog’s Health

It is also very important to regularly check your website or blog for any malicious links or improvements if required. There are many search operators which can be used for this purpose or you can take help of Google Webmaster Tool to make sure that you’re safe. Here are some points of the checklist:

HTML Improvement– Make sure that all the meta description, title and tags are unique and not copied. You can get the ULRs available on your blog which have such issue from webmaster and can improve them from there.

Links to Your Blog – You must check all the links that are coming to your blog for their quality and authority. And if you find any suspicious links or unwanted page, then remove it quickly before it hurts your website.

Links from Your Blog – One must also take care of the links he’s making as the website where you’re giving your link should not be under Google’s penalty radar or have any bad links or else you’ll pay the damage cost too.

Choose a Good Host for Your Website

While selecting a WordPress host for your website, it is necessary to choose a good one as the host’s service will matter to decide total uptime of your website and page download speed as well. There are many good hosts available for your website that can be used to serve the purpose and help your blog to thrive. However, if you fail to choose a good host, then it would surely affect the performance of your website as it would be down for most of the time.

Final Thoughts

I hope now you feel like having a hidden treasure. You’ll get better results as soon as you start following more number of points I mentioned above. I’ll wait to hear your side and your precious reviews in the comment section below. You can also share your thoughts and any other method or technique which you are aware of and has not been listed above. And, if you’ve any question or doubt to clear about any of the above listed point or topic, then let us know them and we’ll solve the issues for you. You can help your blogger friends by sharing this WordPress SEO guide with them. Peace.

Editorial Staff
rkim4123@gmail.com

Editorial Staff at 85ideas is a team of WordPress experts led by Brian Harris. Here to share amazing tuts, guides and collections.

5 Comments
  • Brian H
    Posted at 22:09h, 17 April Reply

    After weeks of planning and researching, we are now able to bring you this guide. This Guide was put together by myself, Pawan and Prasant a huge thank you to both of them. We hope you will find great value in this guide 🙂

  • helloJuggy.com
    Posted at 08:36h, 15 May Reply

    Thanks for the tips. Im currently trying to turn myself into a full-time blogger & its hard when you just have an idea where to start. No sense of forward direction. Thank you for sharing tidbits like this one. I will be stdying from your other posts too.

    • Brian H
      Posted at 08:45h, 17 May Reply

      Hey,

      I am happy you found value in the post. I will personal create an article to guide you and other where to start from the beginning.

      If this is something, that might be of interest to you let me know, and I will try get it publish and created asap.

  • All In One SEO Pack
    Posted at 20:16h, 27 July Reply

    Thanks for the detailed and useful post about working with SEO in WordPress. It’s definitely going to be a helpful resource for many and we’d be happy to tweet it out to our followers. I noticed that you did not mention any SEO plugins that can help users manage their SEO efficiently. We wanted to let your readers know about All In One SEO Pack, the most downloaded plugin for WordPress, and a tool of choice for many SEO professionals. Your readers can download and trial the free version at http://bit.ly/aioseopackfree, of if already familiar, go right to our pro, http://bit.ly/aioseopackpro. The Pro version gets you Pro support, upgrades, and training videos, as well as a downloadable SEO Tips guide. Hope this helps add to a great post!

  • Andres Andrade
    Posted at 04:31h, 18 November Reply

    I really enjoyed your post. Im implementing these tips into my sites and have been getting ok SEO results so far, I know its a long process but i think im getting there. I do have a question though, I heard that having a blog is helpful to SEO. Im currently using wordpress and my main site is a PAGE, and i have several blog entries, does this count as having a blog in google eyes? Or is there something else Im missing?

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