SEO optimization on WordPress sites: how does it work today?

Index

Among digital marketing insiders, we often hear about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a discipline that is constantly evolving and therefore has changed profoundly over the years. However, there remains no doubt that-for those who have made a profession out of it (and for clients who, with a little patience, have reaped valuable results from organic activity)-SEO is still an important, if not essential, piece of the puzzle in order to best certify the web presence of one’s business.

How, then, to do SEO optimization at its best nowadays? Let’s take one of the most popular content management systems in the world – WordPress – and see together how to take action on websites built with this CMS to improve search engine visibility, trying to provide users with the best possible content based on the manifested search intent.

WP and SEO: the importance of user experience

It has always been Google’s goal to make website usability simple and effective, both to facilitate the browsing experience (primarily from mobile devices) and to provide visitors with relevant, clear, and quick answers. The inclusion of Core Web Vitals as ranking factors – starting in May 2021 – is a significant sign of Big G’s willingness to base domain evaluations and rankings on indicators increasingly related to performance and UX.

In fact, the main metrics of Web Vitals–found in reports from tools such as Google Search Console, Google PageSpeed Insights, and Google Lighthouse–measure the behavior of a site’s pages in relation to 3 factors (loading speed, response time, and layout stability):

  • LCP – Largest Contentful Paint – the time it takes to load the main (above-the-fold) content of a page.
  • FID – First Input Delay – the time it takes users to interact with elements on a page.
  • CLS – Cumulative Layout Sh ift – the way in which shifts in layout might cause users to inadvertently click on other elements on a page.

The advice to avoid penalties on WordPress sites that have an active SEO project is to take some design and development steps such as:

  • Avoid the insertion of very intrusive content that appears in the site’s opening viewport. Therefore, videos, images, banners, and pop-ups with a width greater than 250 pixels are banned;
  • avoid unnecessary splitting of the code into multiple loadings or loading an excessive portion of JavaScript in advance in order to keep user interaction time with the page below 100 milliseconds;
  • Maintain layout stability and minimize the shift caused by resizing elements on the page after loading the site area.
  • Avoid loading resources that are too heavy and oversized, thus keeping the page size within 500 KB;
  • Limit the number of resources on the page to 50 maximum.

SEO for WordPress: how authoritative is your website?

Often we focus headlong on technical optimization-very important and basic-but neglect an activity that is complementary to On-site SEO and equally important in getting a website to acquire higher rankings: link building.

Backlinks-that is, incoming links from external sites-are one of the main factors taken into account by Google’s algorithm for ranking in SERPs. Building and maintaining a rich, quality link profile capable of increasing the authority and online reputation of a domain (and the brand associated with it) requires a great deal of time and energy, including human and relationship activity. If then, due to lack of skills or haste, one deviates from Google’s guidelines, adopting techniques aimed at unscrupulously acquiring links from SPAM and unvaried websites, one risks damaging the visibility of one’s site and incurring algorithmic penalties from which it is difficult to get out.

Suggestions for best optimizing the Off-site SEO sphere of a WP site consist of prioritizing link building techniques and link earning based on the creation of valuable content that can maximize the probability of generating natural and constant mentions over time from external domains that-preferably-are relevant and operate in the same subject area. By relying on professionals in the field, it is then possible to optimize inbound links by taking care of technical aspects such as anchor-texts and No Follow / Do Follow attributes that allow you to take full advantage of link building activities.

Structured data: how to attract the user’s attention in the SERP

As Google search acquires more and more distinctly semantic traits, structured data-such as those offered by the Schema.org ‘vocabulary’-become increasingly essential in ensuring better communication and User Experience on the Web.

Markup – added correctly within a WordPress site – is useful for supplementing organic search results with additional information rendered in the form of rich snippets, which increase attractiveness and click-through rates by users. Markers help both the search engine and the user interpret the subject matter within a web page by categorizing content such as articles or news, recipes, events, products that can be purchased online, organizations, reviews, and more. Each marker enables code snippets enriched with extra details on the search results page, such as reviews, price and quantity of an item available within an e-commerce or the date and location of an event.

WordPress provides many themes with a pre-set markup and, alternatively, allows you to add the structured data useful for boosting SEO ranking through special plugins (YOAST SEO, SCHEMA, AIOSEO).

SEO optimization for WP (and other CMSs): the user at the center

SEO strategies change and evolve in conjunction with Google’s algorithm, which tends to frequently change the factors that contribute to website rankings. Over the years, alongside technical and structural elements geared toward facilitating domain scanning by bots, increasingly human and relational aspects that put the browsing experience at the center have gained importance.

Today, SEO optimization for WordPress and other technologies should not only be geared toward achieving top Google rankings, but should recreating an optimal online experience in which the user benefits from using the site, gets the answers he or she seeks, and returns in the future to repeat a satisfying customer journey.

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