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WordPress North East (Jan 2021) ~ SEO Fundamentals For WordPress

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SEO fundamentals for WordPress, as presented by SALT.agency at WordPress North East (January 2021). Produced by Dan Taylor, Head of R&D.

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WordPress North East (Jan 2021) ~ SEO Fundamentals For WordPress

  1. 1. Introduction To Actionable SEO Fundamentals For WordPress
  2. 2. Agenda How Search Works A brief overview of how Google, and search engines in general, work - and how we can build websites and web presences for them. Technical SEO Technical SEO fundamentals: × Architecture × Internal Linking × JavaScript & Content Discovery × Plugins × Core Web Vitals User Acquisition/Lead Generation How do we attract visitors, get noticed, and get leads/sales? × Content × Usability × Experience Forecasting
  3. 3. Dan Taylor. Head of R&D @ SALT.agency @taylordanrw
  4. 4. How Search Works An introduction to how Google works.
  5. 5. Offpage Technical Onpage Technical - How well search engines can crawl and process your “content”, how well your website is structured, site speed… Onpage - Your written content, media, and presentation. How much value it offers users... Offpage - Brand mentions, links, citations… *Content - Content can be commercial web pages, blog posts, PDFs… Anything that is crawlable and indexable by search engines. We typically refer to content however as the information (text/media) on a page.
  6. 6. Technical User Experience Marketing & PR Activities Technical - How well search engines can crawl and process your “content”, how well your website is structured and how your site speed impacts user experience Content - The value of your document (webpage) in terms of value proposition Marketing & PR - Real businesses do some form of marketing, and in turn this generates links, brand mentions… Noise. User Experience - How fast a page loads, does it shift around as things load, is there a lag when a user interacts with page elements Content
  7. 7. How Search Works CRAWL INDEX RANK RENDER
  8. 8. Crawl & Render “Before the query” Crawling the web via Googlebot (the bot), to identify new and updated HTML documents. These are then rendered (taking into account JS and CSS of the page). Google uses CRUX and RUM data to understand user experience from how the page loads. We can impact this through technical SEO practices; delivery of content, the speed of delivery, how JavaScript is rendered, website architecture, internal linking structures. There is a cross over here into user experience with site speed and Google’s Web Vitals user metrics.
  9. 9. Index The index at Google is broken up into millions of groups - these are known as shards (by Google). Thousands of shards make up the web index. The 2009 Caffeine update introduced a new indexing system allowing a more streamlined process, but an increase in storage capacity (more shards). In the Index, crawled HTML documents are analysed for their value and scored against a plethora of factors weighted against multiple queries. They’re scored, and stored. It processes billions of pages a day. It is possible for a web page to be crawled, but then not to be indexed. Through optimisations, we can influence the scoring and weighting process.
  10. 10. Rank When Google gets a query: ● Query understanding and expansion ● Retrieval and scoring ● Post-retrieval adjustments Query understanding is Google’s ability to understanding the meaning and intent behind specific words used as part of the query string. Retrieval and scoring is when Google retrieves all the documents from the relevant shards that match (pre-evaluated) and computes a score based on query+page, and then lists the top N pages by score (it ranks them).
  11. 11. Technical SEO Practical elements of technical SEO that you can use.
  12. 12. Some WordPress SEO Myths/Common Questions × There’s no such thing as a perfect for SEO out-of-the-box theme, unless you’ve worked with your developer and competent SEOs to build for SEO up. × Page builders like Divi, Avada, etc -- they’re not great for SEO, but context matters - all you need to be is a better value proposition and brand than your competitors. × Plugins can help you with functionality and improving your SEO, but there aren’t any that will do your SEO for you. On the plus side, as WordPress has such a huge community and developer base, it’s probably the easiest and best platform to work with whether you’re a small cottage business, or a global conglomerate. 12
  13. 13. Architecture & Design × Website architectures and URL structures can vary. × Subfolder depth doesn’t matter, just make it logical for users & reporting × Keywords in URLs - past the domain - don’t matter to Google × Think of your website like a filing cabinet, and use logical structures × Make sure all important content is visible on page load × Users come to pages for different reasons, so build the design and content to match a reverse needs hierarchy (next slide) × Bear in mind mobile users & usability when it comes to aesthetics 13
  14. 14. Bottom section, tertiary scroll phase Less important information to the core concepts but can be useful information for existing consumers/heavily involved potential consumers. 3 Mid-section, secondary scroll phase Cover subtopics and related/relevant questions that aren’t the core questions, but still meaningful/commonly associated. This is a good place to be more detailed and show risk/reward and pain/solution content. 2 Top of page/initial scroll Directly answer questions and satisfy search intents for the core/larger search volume queries that the page is targeting. 1
  15. 15. Architecture & Design × Not all content has to be a page or a blog × Users can feel more comfortable if pages have other labels on them, e.g. support × You can separate content types into different site sections based on intents, rather than making one big master page × Draw diagrams of your website × Think about users, and user pain points and not keywords. Keywords should come as secondary to knowing your product and your user × Build this into the site design and architecture
  16. 16. Support. Subdomain Optimization “Answer ALL the questions!”
  17. 17. Place your screenshot here Make sure all important links and information are visible on mobile. Make sure it’s usable on mobile. angren.net Google crawls your website as though it’s on a mobile device.
  18. 18. Internal Linking × Before your content can rank, it needs links. Google finds your posts and pages best when they’re linked to from somewhere on the web. × Internal links also connect your content and give Google an idea of the structure of your website. They can establish a hierarchy on your site, allowing you to give the most important pages and posts more link value than other, less valuable, pages. × When making internal links, you should think about the user, and if the link adds value. Also it’s important to vary the text you use to link to other pages to avoid excessive repetitiveness.
  19. 19. Internal Linking There are a number of plugins available for WordPress that automate internal linking. Avoid these like the plague. They can cause issues and do things from a robot perspective, not user perspective. I’d recommend reading this guide, and using a keyword tool to find variants, and naturally link variants between content: https://neilpatel.com/blog/commandments-of-internal-linking/ 19
  20. 20. JavaScript Depending on how your WordPress website has been developed, and it’s functionalities, there will be varying levels of dependency on JavaScript. In short, Google is getting better at rendering JavaScript (with the rendering process), but you should still... 20
  21. 21. JavaScript × Ensure all important links (e.g. main navigation and pagination) can be found in the plain HTML × Ensure all of the webpages main body content is visible on page load and in the plain HTML × Avoid loading unnecessary or excessive JavaScript files on pages × Ask your developers to make use of elements such as preconnect and dns-prefetch (were possible and applicable) × You can test your webpage and how it behaves without JavaScript enabled by right clicking, selecting inspect, and then CTRL + P, and disable JavaScript 21
  22. 22. Plugins × Avoid excessive plugins for functionality, as loading multiple plugin scripts can impact site speed. × Always ensure plugins are kept up-to-date. If they have been customized by your Dev, and are becoming outdated they could be a security risk so it may be time to have that functionality developed as native to the website. × Be wary of abandoned plugins, they might not be compatible or secure with your version of WordPress.
  23. 23. Plugins: Yoast & RankMath Do: Use these plugins for easy management of things like title tags, meta descriptions, redirects, indexing, XML sitemap production etc Don’t: Pay attention to things like the page traffic light score, focus keywords, cornerstone content… They don’t mean a lot and can lead you down bad paths
  24. 24. Plugins: WP Smush Big image files can can impact your page load speed, and losslessly compressing them can be a relatively quick and easy fix (which isn’t something you come across a lot in SEO). WP Smush, free and premium, is a good plugin that automatically “smushes” your uploaded images and reduces file size.
  25. 25. Plugins: W3 Total Cache W3 Total Cache, when configured correctly, can help improve your page load performance - even in conjunction with a CDN such as Cloudflare or Fastly. How To: https://www.wpbeginne r.com/plugins/how-to- install-and-setup-w3- total-cache-for- beginners/
  26. 26. Core Web Vitals Core Web Vitals are a new ranking factor concept, introduced in May 2020 by Google - and will come into force in May 2021 as a part of the Page Experience Update. It’s very rare that Google gives us a year “heads up” that an update is coming, and even more rare a “heads up” of what that update will involve. Data is available in Google Search Console, and can be made available in Google Analytics at URL level via a plugin SALT have developed.
  27. 27. Core Web Vitals Configure CWV in GA: https://salt.agency/blog/web-vitals- data-visualising-guide/
  28. 28. User Acquisition & Lead Gen Creating content to generate demand.
  29. 29. Content + SEO Let’s not focus on: × Keyword density × LSI keywords × Semantic keywords Because there is no magic keyword density %, LSI is a form of information indexing from the 80s that Google doesn’t use - and if your keywords aren’t semantic, then they’re not real words.
  30. 30. Content + SEO When producing content, bear in mind two key things: × The question the user is asking × How you can answer it, and add value with your content Producing content for the user can oftentimes mean not talking about yourself. A webpage can rank for a number of different queries, and you may need different content types to satisfy all the user problems.
  31. 31. Content + SEO × Think about the search phrases people would use to find your products and services × Think about the problems they may be having, that your products and services would solve × Think about the features, questions, and concerns that people have when determining between your product/services, and competitors × Read the reviews of competitor products/services and find out the issues competitor products have, and how you can advertise that you don’t have these problems in your messaging
  32. 32. Thank you! 🠗🠗 Further Reading Links & Deck 🠗🠗 dantaylor.online/wpne
  33. 33. Credits & Attributions SLIDES TEMPLATE This template has been used, and adapted, under Creative Commons Attribution license. More information: http://www.slidescarnival.com/copyright- and-legal-information IMAGERY & REFERENCES Imagery used in this presentation has been taken from: × Canva (premium account) × Pixabay × Unsplash All statistics and sources credited, accurate at the time of publication. All credits, and licenses, accurate at the time of publication. 33

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