WordPress SEO: Top 10 Ranking Factors for WordPress in 2019
It’s obvious. You want your WordPress site to rank higher in Google search.
But how do you do it?
An effective SEO strategy can make this happen. But is it so easy?
SEO is a dynamic process. If you want to maintain a robust SEO for your WordPress site, you must cope up with its ever-changing requirements.
That’s where the challenge resides.
Only a well optimized WordPress site can generate higher traffic, leads, and sales. It’s possible when you understand SEO well enough to control it for your website.
Therefore, in this post, I am going to show you the most crucial aspects of WordPress SEO that impact your ranking. I will teach you to step by step on how to control these factors and achieve a higher ranking in search results.
Let’s keep reading.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
It is a process for developing your websites search engine rankings.
Let’s see how Wikipedia describes it.
“SEO is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.”
Reread the bold words.
It helps to increase your site’s visibility in the search results. Most preferably in Google, which dominates 88.47% of the search engine market share.
So as a WordPress site owner, you have to prioritize SEO consistently to achieve your business goals.
How is WordPress SEO Different From Other Platforms?
WordPress is a free and open-source CMS (content management system). It allows users to build and manage websites easily. However, there are other CMS as well, which are pretty popular for website development.
Among all the CMS, WordPress is the leading one today. It dominates almost 60% of CMS market share and 34% of all websites on the Internet.
Now the question is, how WordPress SEO is different from other web platforms?
Technically, they are not different. The core SEO process is more or less similar. But each web platform requires a diverse technical solution.
For example, you can’t add a WordPress SEO plugin to an HTML or Wix site. On the other hand, an HTML site is more open for customization.
You don’t need too much coding knowledge to control your WordPress SEO. There are plenty of WordPress SEO tools to make your task easier.
Though, plugins never intend to boost your web ranking automatically. SEO tools like Yoast bring you optimization assistance like suggesting and guiding how to make your site rank higher.
When you build your WordPress site, you will find a set of customization settings. You can maximize your web pages and blog post ranking with these settings.
What Is SEO Ranking and Ranking Factor?
Ranking in SEO refers to your content position in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
Suppose, someone search about “the most valuable soccer player” and Google shows this-
The first result is showing a featured snippet. If the search engine thinks a page would make an excellent featured snippet for a user’s search request, it elevates a content in the top.
How does Google measure this? Google states clearly that:
Now, see the next image.
Business Insider is on #1 place in the SERPs for the search request “the most valuable soccer player.”
So how did Business Insider and Investopedia occupied this position in the SERPs?
The simple answer is both sites followed Google’s Ranking Factors.
A ranking factor is the criteria that search engines apply to evaluate a web page or post. After this evaluation, search engines like Google or Bing determines a web content’s ranking in a search result.
Google uses these ranking factors to rank your website in various search results just as I have shown you in the example.
How Does Google Ranking Factors Work for a WordPress Site?
Now that we have learned what is Ranking Factor, here we are going to see how Google Ranking Factors work for a WP site.
People search for something using particular words. Those words are keywords. Following these keywords, Google tries to show you the most relevant search results considering their relevancy, quality, and values.
Google uses different ranking factors in its algorithm to find the most effective search results to the user.
According to its search quality guideline, Google determines these qualities to recognize a web page or content. Some of them are-
– The purpose of a webpage
– Understanding of the content’s quality and reliance
– The reputation of the website and content creator
There are plenty of other qualities Google measures, which I will discuss later in this post. However, these are a few of the most important attributes Google uses while generating search results and their placement.
How To Track SEO Ranking Factors?
Before you get on with top SEO ranking factors, it’s necessary to learn how to track them first.
There are plenty of easy ways you can do this-
- You can manually search by keywords your customers are using
- See where your website stands in the SERP for those keywords
- List the top ranked pages for those keywords AKA competitors
- Check those websites SEO profile i.e., backlinks, keywords, contents, etc
- Check their content type, quality and also website design
- Check their loading speed, URL construction, and navigation
- Check their mobile device view as well
It demands hefty measures to do all these manually. So you will need to use the best SEO tools to execute these steps and get accurate results.
You can also get help from Google Analytic to know how your website is performing, understand your audience, learn which post and pages are most visited, etc.
The tools let you know where to optimize, how much you need to optimize your WordPress site.
I think, now you are ready to read about top SEO ranking factors.
Let’s get on with them.
1. An easy and accessible Website URL
The first ranking factor I want to mention is your website URL. It will be easier for Google bots to reach and crawl your site if you create an optimized and accessible website URL.
When you build your website, you need Google to visit your site to understand your content and page types. To help Google bots find your URL, you can do the following:
- Create a robots.txt file to command Google bots where and where not to see for your website information. For example, a bot wants to visit www.example.com/gallery. Before it visits this page, it checks for http://www.example.com/robots.txt file.
- Set up a sitemap. A sitemap is a list of all your web pages which helps Google to index them.
As a WordPress user, you can create a sitemap with any prominent WordPress SEO tool like Yoast.
2. Web Page Speed
Page speed is a crucial SEO ranking factors for many years. When you have a website that loads faster, it gives users a better experience. Google wants every website owner to deliver that.
Recently, Google announced their new mobile page speed algorithm. It will be effective from July 2019, where they stated the importance of page load speed.
This new algorithm update bides you to increase your page speed for mobile search. Google suggests you use open source automated tools like PageSpeed Insights to measure and improve your site’s speed.
This is a free tool by Google which can give you a good overview of your sites loading speed status.
3. Mobile Responsive Design
The number of mobile users around the world will reach 5 billion marks in 2019. One of the main reasons for this massive growth is the accessibility to the internet by mobile phones. People are more cozy to use the web on their mobile phones than any other device now.
Hence, your WordPress Site must be mobile responsive to rank higher in the SERPs. Google recently introduced Mobile-first indexing for all websites.
If your WordPress site is mobile-optimized, It will index faster than the site which doesn’t have a mobile responsive design.
Backlinks are the most valued ranking factor to Google for any website. A backlink is getting a hyperlink from another website. It makes your site reachable and establishes connections throughout the Internet.
Backlinks tell search engines that either a site is well recognized or not. So it has a significant impact on any website’s ranking.
You can create different types of Backlinks for your website. But first, let me show you some essential terms related to backlinks which you need to understand-
- Link Juice: the value or equity passed from one page or site to another by links
- No-Follow Link: tells search engines not to follow the links on a given page
- Do-Follow Link: Every link you add to your blog posts are do-follow links, and they pass link juice.
- Linking Root Domains: It shows how many backlinks you get from a specific domain.
- Low-Quality Links: The links come from spammy, harvested, or automated website.
- Internal Links: These are the links from one page to another or one content to another in the same domain.
- Anchor Text: It is the text you use for a hyperlink.
WordPress SEO revolves around three types of Backlinks.
- Inbound Links
- Outbound Links
- Internal Links
So how do you create or earn backlinks?
- Create informative and engaging content.
- Guest post on high authority websites.
- Collaborate with bloggers for mentions.
Suppose, you publish a WordPress tutorial, and high authority sites like SiteGround include this tutorial link to one of their relevant content. It will be more likely Google ranks your content higher. It happens because WPbeginner is a trustworthy and highly recognized website. After they give you a backlink, your authority also influenced by it.
You must link your website to high authoritative and niche sites. Random websites with low authority shouldn’t be your goal.
Link building with top websites in your niche makes your site’s authority trustable to Google as well as to the users. It also ensures the quality of your content and provokes users to share your content.
So plan your link building strategy in an actionable way to get optimum results.
5. Domain Age, URL, and Authority
Is domain age important? Yes. It is a crucial ranking signal, indeed. An Ahrefs study shows, they put 2 million random keywords searches and gained data on the top 10 ranking pages. It is found, most of the top websites are at least 3 years old.
Nonetheless, your URL needs some years to create a reputation. If you follow the SEO guidelines I’m discussing here then your site optimization is on course already.
Next, you must think about your domain name. People will find you with it. Unless having a great name, your chances of being addressed become less effective. How to choose a perfect domain name?
GoDaddy shares some useful tips before you choose a domain name. Take a look-
- Make it easy to type
- Make it short
- Use Keywords
- Try not to forget your niche
- Use no numbers and hyphens
- Create a memorable domain name
- Research before you take a name
- Appropriate domain name extension.
- Build your brand
Remember one thing. Google penalizes exact match domains if you have a spammy website with low-grade content. But, exact match domains attract people more.
So, here, what happens if your intentions are honest to build a better website? Google likes the exact match domain if your site is highly optimized, you have quality content, and you deliver real values to the users.
Now let’s talk about domain and page authority. It’s a combination of your content quality and other SEO factors like link building and social media shares. It’s one of the prime SEO signals for your WordPress site.
Your site needs to score on both domain and page authority from 0 to 100. If you score higher, your chances of being in the top search results increase.
The best way to check this ranking score is by using Moz.
6. Highly Optimized Content
Content is the way that helps the users to learn something they like. Producing quality content should be your priority. When you accomplish this goal, your website and services will gain trust.
Throughout this post, I mentioned too much about quality contents which are optimized. They are the key to turn a reader into a customer.
Highly optimized content influences your WordPress SEO. 90% of content marketers like to improve their audience’s informational needs.
Google search algorithm depends on keywords. When people are searching for something, they use keywords too. Before you want to create content, you need to research your niche and find out the most popular keywords. They help you to understand what informations your potential visitors are searching for.
While writing your content, put these keywords in there. It is essential. It will help Google to mark your content most useful to users. Nevertheless, you must create your content unique and valuable. Duplicate content will drain your search rankings severely.
7. Social Sharing Optimization
According to an E-consultancy report, 74% of companies and 82% of agencies claimed that they have either high or little social media integration to their SEO gameplan.
Only after two months of E-consultancy gathered info for their report, Googles Matt Cutt released a video where he said, social shares and likes indicate a profile’s authority, it doesn’t affect search rankings.
So, social sharing isn’t a direct SEO ranking factor. Why? Because anyone can link up their site or share content without any prior quality in social media.
But most of the high ranking pages and posts have a lot of social media sharing and public reactions. They do it by using the power of social media icons to increase engagement.
When you post content in social media, and it gets a lot of shares, likes, and comments, Google does consider it as useful and rank it top in niche search results. It helps you indirectly.
Besides your social media presence, you need to make your post option easy to share through different social media, encourage your readers to share your content, and participate in discussions.
8. On Page SEO Factors
I have discussed off page SEO most of the part in this post. For example, link building, social media marketing are the top off-page SEO. Besides this, on-page SEO is also a vital ranking factor.
To rank higher in any search engine, essentially you need to improve your on-page SEO signals.
To maintain a well balanced on-page SEO, you need to cater these things below-
A leading content page is what you need forever. Moz shares two specific criteria for a high-quality content page. They are-
i. Supply great content and create demand for more content.
ii. You must create linkable content. Unless people can’t be able to link it, your content never going to drive any traffic. Either it’s good or bad, it must be linkable.
You should use keywords in your title tags. It helps Google to find out which title is most relevant to the users. It is the second most prominent on-page SEO factor.
I have already discussed the URL factors in this post. You must ensure the post category reflected in your URL. Here is an example of an optimized content URL: www.example.com/2014/06/content-for-everybody-nobody/
There are some other particular things you should care to enhance your technical SEO.
– You should use a header tag to show content order. WordPress editor lets you use h1, h2, h3 subheaders.
– Write a meta description for each of your content. It summarizes and highlighted your topic. Help Google to index your content relevantly.
– Utilize keyword phrases in image alt tags. It will show Google how relevant your images are.
9. Authentic Business Info
When you include your real business information to your WordPress site, it will enhance your local SEO rankings. People find it necessary to get your business information through a Google search.
In 2018, 27% of customers did an online search daily to find a local business.
Google wants you to reveal your local business data. It is one of your responsibilities too. So, before you input your authentic information, you should be carefully managing these areas-
- Your name, address, and phone number
- Complete your Google My Business listings
- Listing your business in facebook
- Include the exact local search terms while listing your business in Google
10. User Experience
Since 2015, Google officially using artificial intelligence like RankBrain. It helps the search engine to asses how your business is performing, and what experience you deliver to your customers, etc.
Google takes notice of these user behavior listed below.
- Your click-through rate
- Your bounce rate
- How much time your average user is spending on your website
These factors help google to rank your site. How does it happen? When you get a low bounce rate, low CTR and people don’t like to stay on your website—Google decides your site is irrelevant to their search.
If this happens for a large number of users, eventually your ranking will deteriorate.
What is another side of the coin? If your titles are likable, you share helpful content, your design is responsive, and people love to stay in your site, you are winning. This kind of user experience tells RankBrain that your website is a great one, and you rank higher.
So, these are the most vital ranking factors you should consider seriously. I believe now you can redefine your WordPress SEO more than ever.
Do you have any questions in mind? Let me know what do you think.