Building a new website is not enough to get people to visit it. To get visitors, you must use a variety of different marketing strategies and approaches, with one of the most effective being SEO. A good SEO strategy will, over time, bring organic visitors to your website from Google search.
How do you SEO a new website, though, particularly one built in WordPress? The following on-page SEO checklist will help.
The starting point is to research keywords to find the phrases that people type into Google when looking for the products or services you offer.
When you find the keywords, you then need to order them, taking into account a number of key factors. This includes:
- Search volume – how popular is the keyword?
- Competition – who are you competing against for the top positions in Google?
- Search intent – what is the likely intent of a person when using a keyword?
With the above information, you can develop a list of priority keywords to target on your website.
Create a sitemap and match it with keywords
The sitemap of your website gives it structure and organises the pages. It also shows how your pages link together.
Once you have a sitemap, you then need to assign the keywords you identified in the previous point to the pages on your site. You should have one primary keyword per page in addition to some secondary keywords where applicable.
Is the navigation easy to use and understand?
The sitemap created above will form the basis of your website’s navigation. The navigation should be simple and easy to understand to provide the best possible user experience. This will also create a structure that is SEO optimised.
Ensure the design is responsive
If you are serious about SEO in Wellington, your website must have a responsive design. This is straightforward when building in WordPress, particularly if you use a professional developer.
Install an SEO plugin
There are several SEO plugins available for WordPress that will help you optimise your website. They won’t do the work for you, but it is still very useful to have an SEO plugin installed. One of the most popular is Yoast.
Create unique content for every page
Every page on your website must have unique content.
Keyword optimise each page
This involves including the primary keyword in the main heading of the page in addition to including it in the content. If you have secondary keywords for pages, include those as well.
Ensure each page has high-quality content
The content on your page must be easy to read with short sentences and paragraphs. There should also be plenty of sections and/or lists to break up the text.
You need to make sure you have enough content on your pages too. For most pages, anything under 200 words won’t be enough and, for some, the word count will need to be much higher.
Add internal and external links to your content
Internal links help Google find your content and connect it all together to give it a better understanding of your website.
External linking to high-quality sources provides Google with additional context and information about your website.
Optimise filenames before uploading images
Instead of using the default filenames provided to you by a photographer, your camera, or your phone, make them more readable. In most cases, this means describing the image in the filename as this helps with SEO.
Add alt tags to images
Image alt tags help too, although their primary purpose is not SEO (alt tags are an accessibility feature).
Add social sharing icons
Once you get your website up and running, SEO optimising it for a Wellington audience (or any audience) means building powerful backlinks.
Adding social sharing icons can help with this process as the more people who share your content, the more who will see it. With more people seeing your content, you increase your chances of getting backlinks.
Use header tags properly
You should use header tags for the sub-headings on your pages rather than doing things like making text bold and changing font sizes.’
Remember as well that header tags have a hierarchical structure, starting at H1. Each page should only have one H1 with the rest of the headings on the page being H2, H3, etc.
Optimise page titles
Page titles on your WordPress site should be short, descriptive, and they should include the primary keyword for the page. SEO plugins like Yoast (mentioned above) let you create custom page titles.
Optimise page URLs
The default URL setup for most WordPress website builds is not SEO friendly. Therefore, you should change the setting by going into the Permalinks part of the settings section. Changing the setting to post name is usually the recommended approach.
Remember as well that you can manually change the URL of individual page and post titles in WordPress.
Where relevant, add schema mark-up
Schema mark-up can help give Google a better understanding of your site as well as enhancing the way your site looks in Google search results.
Install a cache plugin
A well-configured cache plugin will help your website run faster.
This generally means reducing the file size. The objective is to make sure images look clear on the screen but are as small as possible. This reduces page load speed.
Review page load speeds using an online tool
You should also check your page load speed using one of the many free tools that are available. Correct any issues that are reported.
Add an SSL Security Certificate
An SSL security certificate will change your site from HTTP to HTTPS, enhancing its security.
Install/Set-up Google tools
This includes Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
One of the most important things to remember with all aspects of SEO, including on-page SEO, is that it must be ongoing. The above checklist will ensure you have the right foundation to improve rankings and increase organic traffic levels, but you must continuously optimise and improve.