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The Essentials of WordPress SEO

The Essentials of WordPress SEO

If your first contact with WordPress SEO left you feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. It’s a hectic field with many things to do, metrics to follow, and tools to use for it all. Add to that the sea of advice you can find about it online, and you can soon start experiencing the symptoms of choice paralysis. But don’t worry — we’ve got just the thing to help you get moving again.

In this interview, we’ve talked with Ryan Scollon, a freelance SEO and PPC consultant, about the things that really matter for WordPress SEO. If you want to know which WordPress SEO plugin you should use, what mistakes to avoid, and what to include in your audit, Ryan’s the person to ask. And that’s exactly what we did. So stick around for some actionable advice.

In your experience, what important steps in WordPress SEO audits people often miss?

One of the most important things I have seen over the last year or two is around SSL certificates. Too many people are wanting to switch to HTTPS but they are not doing all of the important checks and changes once they have made the switch. It’s important to check that there are no redirect chains or complications and that they all redirect to the new HTTPS versions. It’s also crucial to update your settings in Analytics and Search Console to ensure you are getting all of the correct data.

What is the most common mistake people make when trying to improve their WordPress website visibility?

The most common mistake that I see is keyword stuffing. People often cram in loads of keywords into their page title, body content, etc. But it’s only until you read it back to them that they realise how ridiculous it sounds. With the new discussions around BERT too, this should hopefully stop people from taking that approach and get them really focusing on writing content for the users, not the search engines.

What is your no.1 tip for improving website domain authority?

To build your domain authority, you need to earn more links. But link building is becoming more and more difficult as time goes on. Your approach to link building will all depend on the size and type of your business, but my advice would be to use a link tool like Majestic to check out your competitors’ links and learn from what they have done.

What is the best SEO plugin for WordPress?

Yoast, in my opinion, is the only SEO plugin that you really need for any WordPress site. Fortunately for most basic websites, it only takes 5 minutes of configuration to get a majority of the settings sorted.

How do WordPress Page Builders affect your SEO?

They can be good, but most are bad. When I worked at an agency, we played around with a bunch of page builders over the years. The one that most WordPress themes seem to use is actually quite slow. Despite having really fast hosting, sites were still taking over 3 seconds to load. But we then discovered Elementor which is one of the best we have come across. It’s easy to use and is super-fast for website load speed.

What’s the best way to configure SEO in WordPress if you’re just a beginner?

The best thing to do is to follow a guide online as the settings may need to be different, depending on your website. Yoast has its own beginners guide and a bunch of other resources that you can read.

Which SEO tool do you use the most and why?

Screaming Frog. Simply because there is no tool out there like it. The support team is amazing and they are forever rolling out new updates and features. Also because most other SEO issues could be fixed without any tools etc., but it would be impossible to fix some of the issues that Screaming Frog helps discover if it did not exist.

What is your no.1 tip for updating old blog posts?

I think it’s always best to revisit an old blog post every 6 months and almost think about it as if you are writing it all over again. Think about the key points that you would mention this time and what resources would you include or link to. As our knowledge and experience in a particular topic expands, we think about things differently. So instead of just trying to tweak an existing post, think about it as if you are starting from scratch.

What sources do you use to keep up with the latest news and trends about SEO?

Twitter is a great way to keep up to date with trends and changes in SEO, especially as most of the chatter and discovery happens there before you see it published in the mainstream blogs.

What do you do for fun outside of work?

When I’m not at my desk, I like to take my dog for long walks through the countryside or at the beach and generally spend as much time outside as possible. I’ve recently moved from a big city out to the countryside so it’s a really nice change.

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