Optimise your website for search engines (SEO)

Your website made on the WordPress platform is optimised for search engines by default. But you as a website owner can do more to influence how people find you through search engines like Google. 

Search Engine Presence.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation.  SEO is the activities and website customisation that you can use to ensure your website ranks highly in the results of search engines such as Google and Bing.

In order for search engines to index your site, your site must be at least publicly available.

A public website ensures that your site will be visible to search engines, but keep in mind that it can take four to six weeks for Google and other search engines to discover a new website.

Every website owner wants their website to appear at the top of the search results. However, the processes that control this are handled by each search engine, and they are constantly changing.

Improve your search engine ranking

There is a difference between being indexed by search engines (appearing somewhere in the results) and ranking highly (appearing on the first page of results). Search engine ranking means that the search engine has decided that your website matches exactly what a person is looking for. Search engines use many criteria to determine if a website should rank high for a particular search query.

Increasing your rankings on Google and other search engines can take time. Here are some tips you can use to influence this process:
Research your keywords: figure out what keywords you want to see in search results. Use these keywords in page titles, meta tags, page content and URLs of your pages.
Describe your images. A search engine can’t parse an image, but it can read, the description to that image if you provide it with descriptive substitute image text.
Publish new content regularly. The more and more often you publish content, the higher your search ranking will be. Google loves sites that are updated frequently. You don’t have to post every day or every week – find a rhythm that works for you and stay consistent.
Share your site: automatically share your posts on social media when you publish and reach a wider audience. The more organic traffic your site gets, the better it looks to search engines.
Register your site with search engines. Register your site with Google Search Console and other search engines. This step is not required to get your site indexed, but it can speed up the process and give you useful information to learn.

SEO plugins.

Yoast SEO is a powerful plugin that will help you optimise your website for search engines. It is easy to use and provides many features to help you improve the visibility of your website. Some of the benefits of using Yoast SEO include optimising your content for specific keywords, creating custom meta descriptions and titles, and analysing the performance of your website.

If you install an SEO plugin, it will replace the inbuilt tools in your plan. Solutions like Yoast Premium offer an alternative set of SEO tools for your website.

Why isn’t my website showing up in Google?

It can take 4-6 weeks or more for search engines to show newly created sites. You should also understand the difference in a site appearing in search results and the position a site holds in search.

Make sure your site’s WordPress privacy settings are set to “Public”.

Although including your site in Google’s index is not required, connecting your site to Google Search Console can help Google include your site faster.

Why is my website information in the search results incomplete or incorrect?

After making changes to your site, it may take some time (a few days to a few weeks) for Google to update the site preview provided by Google.

Google decides what information to display as a preview in search. You can experiment on your site and update the headings and see what will be displayed, Google ultimately decides.

Is it possible to analyse my website’s SEO?

There are many tools you can use to audit your site’s SEO, including Google Search Console. WordPress is optimised for SEO on a technical level and you, as the site owner, can optimise the content.

How do I edit the robots.txt file?

By default, every website made on WordPress has its own robots.txt file that search engines will recognise. You have several options if you need to add additional settings to your robots.txt file.

You can create your own robots.txt file and upload it to your root directory via FTP.
Plugins designed to improve SEO (such as Yoast) also include settings to edit the robots.txt file.

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