WordPress SEO 2020 - a beginners guide
If you have a WordPress website it won’t be long before you start thinking about SEO or Search Engine Optimisation or, put another way, once I’ve built my website, how will the search engines find it and what do I have to do to rank above other sites? This article will help you understand SEO and what you, as the maker of the website, can do to make it as SEO-friendly as possible. Let’s just start with a simple fact. If you make a website and make it publicly accessible, the Google ‘bots will find it and index it without you adding an SEO plugin or doing anything special, that’s just the way the ‘bots work. With SEO, what we’re trying to do is to accelerate that indexing process and tune our website so that Google ‘bots like what they see and can understand what our website is about. In other words, we’re ‘Optimizing’ the indexing opportunity.
Gold snippet#1 If anyone tells you they can guarantee you a #1 slot on Google, they’re telling lies.
SEO - the 12 million, trillion words
I’ll wager that in the history of the world wide web, more has been written on the subject of SEO than any other topic and, if you use the very search engine we’re trying to impress, you’ll find articles and information dating back a decade or more. I’ll also wager that at least 80% of the information, tutorials and articles you discover about SEO are just plain wrong! They may have been right once upon a time but, not any more. We also have the added complication that there are thousands of firms and lone guns out there advertising themselves as “SEO Experts” and offering you top rankings in exchange for your money. No doubt about it, SEO was once a real money spinner and for anyone with an ounce of knowledge and a few free tools they could make good money and, some still try to do so. In your search for SEO enlightenment, you’ll also discover hundreds, perhaps thousands of online and offline tools to help you research keywords and improve your SEO, of course, in exchange for money but, just like the human “SEO experts” virtually all of these tools are now outdated and misleading in some way.
Google changed. In fact, the machine algorithms Google use to evaluate and then rank websites automatically changes quite often and the latest (at the time of writing) update is called “BERT” but we’ve also had Fred, Panda, Possum and other furry creatures over the years and in each iteration, Google changes the emphasis of what’s important. Wayback in the day, we used to tell the search engines what our website was about by embedding key words (keywords) in the site’s HTML and these were called meta tags. The trouble with that approach was that too many people tried to spoof Google by using ‘trusted’ keywords but then leading the viewer to a porn site or other unsavoury content. Over the years then, We, and Google, have moved through 180 degrees from a situation where we told Google what our site was about and expected them to believe us to the current position where Google analyses our website and draws its own conclusions about the validity, usability and content quality of our website and ranks or de-ranks it accordingly.
E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness)
Content is king!
Back in the days when all we had to do to make a website rank highly was to stuff it full of all the right keywords, life was pretty simple. Today though, Google takes a much more holistic view of our sites and takes into account many factors to determine relevance.