Once you’ve set up Infinity, your work is not complete yet. The next thing to learn is how to optimize your website for Google. In fact, Infinity is one of the best WordPress themes for SEO. It features headline tags and above-the-sidebar content positioning, which makes it easier for the engine to index pages.
But even though Infinity is an already SEO optimized WordPress theme, there’s more to do on your side. Each time you publish a new piece of content, you must run some sort of on-page optimization. And it takes more than adding keywords here and there throughout your post.
When ranking pages, Google takes into account a lot of on-page factors. You can’t just copy and paste your keyword-rich content into the dashboard of WordPress and hope for a ranking boost. Your pages must be in good order so that the engine could index them without problems.
If you are short on budget and can’t hire a professional, learn how to do SEO on your own. There’s nothing complicated, and this on-page SEO tutorial will guide you through the process.
1. Create long-form content
Gone are the days when 300-word articles could bring you a lot of traffic. Today, the best content strategy for the web is to write long, informative posts. According to the Backlinko study, pages with around 1,900 words rank first in Top 10, so that’s the length to aim for. You can benefit from long-form content in two ways.
- The longer your article is, the more keywords it can rank for.
- The more information value you provide, the more backlinks you’ll earn naturally, i.e. without paid guest posting.
Note that empty talk for almost 2,000 words isn’t long-form content. Your posts must be meaningful and provide a lot of useful info for readers. If you can express your thought in a single sentence, don’t write the entire paragraph in chase of a higher word count. The content length works only with high quality.
2. Use content formatting options
Different people have different search habits, but there’s one thing they have in common. Everyone wants to find a practical answer to their query asap. Web users don’t read every sentence of copy. Instead, they scan pages until the necessary info comes into view. If it gets lost in your poorly formatted content, most likely visitors will close the tab and land on your competitor’s site.
Here’s how to make your website SEO-friendly in terms of content formatting:
- divide your content into short paragraphs;
- wrap subheadings in H2 tags;
- use numbered and bulleted lists;
- create tables with figures.
Not only will this blog post structure make your content easy to digest, but also help it rank in featured snippets, i.e. higher than the top organic result.
3. Drive traffic from your old content
An actionable guide of yesterday is often a no-go today. Naturally, users want to learn the latest and most relevant info on their particular cases. If they see posts published in 2014 and 2018, guess which one of them they will want to read.
But it doesn’t mean you’ll have to delete your posts from previous years. There’s an easy way to update website content:
- add a new portion of info (ideas, tactics, items, whatever your post is about);
- edit the publication date;
- mention “Update 2018” in the title;
- promote the updated post all over again via a newsletter, on social media, etc.
4. Speed up your website
A forever loading website is a big problem of the web today. Kissmetrics reports a 40% bounce rate when visitors have to wait for more than three seconds. Whether you are just starting out or have been on the market for years, you can’t afford such a big loss of potential customers.
To speed up your WordPress site, follow these tips:
- downsize pages with Gzip compression for faster data transfers to the browser;
- minify JS, HTML, and CSS to decrease the amount of code;
- enable browser caching to give repeat visitors prompt access to your content;
- connect to a CDN to cut the distance between the user’s browser and your server;
- compress images (learn more about it in the next step);
- uninstall plugins you don’t need anymore.
With the help of GTmetrix, you can test your site performance for free. This online tool will detect your page loading issues and guide you on how to maximize SEO.
One of the reasons for slow website loading can be your hosting provider. If it’s something you decided to save on, you’d better review your budget. Otherwise, a lot of potential customers will go to your competitors.
5. Optimize image files for the web
Before uploading images to the WordPress dashboard, you should get them ready for the web. High-resolution pictures can slow down your site, as they are too heavy. On the other hand, you can’t use low-quality pics, as they will screw up your content presentation. The dilemma is how to optimize images for the web without losing quality. Today, there is a bunch of free online tools like Optimizilla that compress pictures, saving their original look.
After compression, use descriptive phrases to name images. Avoid this common pattern img2376455676.png. When you upload them to the dashboard, add an alt tag with your target keyword to each.
6. Link to internal and external pages
Cross-linking in SEO plays a huge role. It helps Google better understand the structure of your site and the way its pages are correlated. Internal links also improve navigation, allowing visitors to dig deeper into your posts. That way, the time they spend on your site will grow, which is a good signal for the engine.
Besides internal linking, you should also refer to other sites. It will give Google a clearer idea of your topic and signal that your content is relevant. Your outbound links must point to trusted domains with a high rating only. Sites that have a low authority will only harm you.
7. Don’t abuse a keyword-rich anchor text
Another important aspect of modern SEO is anchor text. Initially, Google used it to learn which keywords to rank content for. Back then, things worked as follows. To rank first for a certain keyword, you needed to have more backlinks with that keyword in an anchor. Due to lots of manipulations, Google rolled out Penguin to penalize sites that had keyword-rich anchors from irrelevant pages.
Does it mean you can’t include your target keyword to anchor text anymore? The analysis of 320,000 pages suggests that anchors with both exact- or partial-match keywords are still correlated with higher rankings. The closer the page is to the top, the more keyword anchors it has.
The question is how to create anchor text with your target keyword and avoid the penalty. The truth is it’s all about balance. Limit anchors with exact-match keywords to 2% and with partial-match phrases to 30%. In the remaining cases, use branded, author, and generic types of anchors.
8. Find and fix broken links
One of the ways Google analyzes websites is by crawling their links. If there’s a broken link, it’s an obstacle in its way to indexing your content. Moreover, when visitors click on a link and get a 404 page in return, they get disappointed. And Google is intolerant of sites frustrating their visitors.
Manual page-by-page audit of every link you have will take a ton of time. Luckily for you, there are special tools to identify all the broken links in one go. Here’s what this broken link checker for WordPress and other sites can do for you:
- show all the broken links on your site, both internal and outbound;
- reveal the problem with each broken link, e.g. page not found, IP address doesn’t respond, etc;
- let you check broken links by their type, e.g. dofollow or nofollow;
- detect broken backlinks, i.e. links on third-party domains that point to your 404 pages.
9. Make URLs SEO-friendly
Now, learn how to optimize your website URLs. Google prefers descriptive URLs, as they give users a clue about what the page is about. So, a target keyword is a must for SEO-friendly URLs.
What also matters to Google is the URL structure. Keep your URLs concise and free from minor stuff like articles and prepositions. They only make URLs longer without making them more informative.
To shorten your URLs, you should also minimize the number of folders.
10. Stay within SERP snippet limits
Your SEO title and meta description must fit in the SERP snippet entirely. If Google truncates your message, it will affect the click-through rate, which is a ranking signal. Here are current limits that Google set for SERP snippets:
- up to 60 characters for SEO titles;
- around 300 characters for meta descriptions.
Note that the limit for meta descriptions used to be 160 characters, but Google has extended it recently.
11. Reveal extra post details with rich snippets
The better your post looks in search results, the more people will want to read it. An engaging meta description is not the only thing that can increase your click-through rate. To add more interest to your post preview in SERP, use rich snippets. They will let you embed an extra line between your page URL and meta description. It can include anything from star ratings and votes to reading time and product price.
You may wonder how to add rich snippets to WordPress sites. The easiest way is to install a free plugin like this one.
12. Let visitors access your content at once
Here comes the final step in this do-it-yourself SEO guide. Google downgrades pages, on which mobile users can’t view content straight away. Check out the main things that block immediate access to content:
- popups that appear instantly or shortly after visitors enter your site;
- standalone interstitials that visitors have to dismiss to see your content;
- layouts that have no original content in the above-the-fold part.
The issue with popups is quite controversial. If you disable them at all, you’ll generate fewer conversions, which is not what you want. In this case, you’d better set the right timing. Make sure pop-ups appear when visitors are going to leave or at least have been on your site for a while.
As you can see, almost every step in this on-page SEO tutorial helps improve the user experience someway. So, you must focus on your audience rather than bots in the first place. Google will approve anything that is user-friendly. If you know any other tips on how to optimize your website, share them in the comments!
About the Author:
Nick Campbell is a content creator and marketer at Ahrefs with passion for technology, SEO, and copywriting. Work up every idea from chaos to clarity is his motto.