Often approached with confusion and trepidation, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) involves a number of incredibly intricate processes that, when broken down, become far more manageable.
In Episode 23 of Divi Chat, a group of key figures in the global Divi and WordPress community joined together to discuss the topic of SEO. This blog post recollects the Divi Chat episode and lists all of the related resources mentioned during the show.
If you’d prefer to watch the video, just click on the play icon below, otherwise, scroll down for the article.
Included in Episode 23‘s panel are:
What Is SEO?
Google receives thousands of search queries per second. If you’re a business or a brand with a website, Google wants to know who you are, what you do and what value you can offer to prospective clients.
As the client, or, as the web developer acting on behalf of the client, it is your job to make sure that the website you are working on has been made available and visible to both web users and search engines.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of ensuring that your website displays accurately within search results in order to gain more ‘unpaid’ or ‘organic’ traffic.
Easier said than done, there are a number of practices and strategies that can be employed to help either your or your client’s website begin to display more favorably over time.
Remember: search engines view WordPress pages in the exact same way as posts, so when reading the points below, try to apply them to both of these forms.
SEO Best Practices for WordPress
At the heart of well indexed, well-written and well-received content, are a collection of well-researched keywords.
Keywords can be researched through the use of a number of tools, however, before you dive straight into keyword research, make sure that you’ve identified a target audience or niche group to which you’d like to steer your marketing efforts.
Once you are ready to do keyword research, use one of the following online tools (note, some are free, some are paid, some are really costly so opt for a free tool if you’re just starting out):
Some of the more advanced keyword research tools will help you see not only what your potential customers are searching for, but also see what your competitors are ranking for, and possibly, what they’re buying ad space for.
As well as standard keywords, there are also:
- Long Tail Keywords: Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases that are comprised of 3 – 4 words, and are a more specific search term to what your potential customer may be searching for.
- LSI Keywords: LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keywords are essentially related keywords that are synonymous with other combinations of terms that your potential customer may be searching for. Use LSI Graph to research LSI Keywords.
Both standard, long tail and LSI keywords will have an effect on how your piece of content performs, so aim to do even a little bit of research before writing.
Frequent content publishing and the attentive marketing thereof is a surefire way to increase your volume of search results.
Once you’ve got a collection of great keywords, it’s time to get cracking on writing your content. There are a number of tactics that should be employed to help these content pieces perform better with search engines.
When writing content, try to keep the following in mind:
- Keywords must flow naturally. They should be added into the page or post content (title and body copy) in a natural sounding way, and in general, content should be written to please human readers, not search engines. The use of too many keywords (standard, long tail or LSI keywords) can result in what is deemed as “keyword stuffing” and can be penalized by search engines with harmful effects to rankings.
- As mentioned above, search engines view pages and posts as identical. With this, try to add as many of the HTML heading tags (h1 – h3) within as many pages and posts as possible. It may not always be possible to include the h4, h5 and h6 tags within a page or post, but definitely try to add the h1, h2, and h3 tags. The chosen keywords should be included in the title and a few times throughout the body copy.
- Of the HTML heading tags, the h1 tags are the most important, however, a page or post should only have a maximum of one h1 tag per entry. This h1 tag, as the page or post heading, should have the keyword appearing at least once. The h2 tags have no restriction and should be used several times throughout the body copy as paragraph headings.
- If this is confusing, think back to high school essay writing, where your submission had to have a title and a series of paragraphs. Plan out your content and assign the h1 tag to the title and give the content paragraphs an h2 heading.
If possible, try to add an LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keyword as an h3 tag within the post content.
If the above points are a bit overwhelming, or you’re still new to the concept of content writing and publishing, prioritize the writing of content above all else. And, in this case, don’t stress too much about keywords, if you can do some keyword research, excellent if not, don’t let it hinder your writing and publishing process. Write naturally, with purpose, and always aim to be as relevant as possible to your audience.
There are a number of SEO plugins that are readily available for use with a WordPress website.
Much of a muchness, while All in One SEO Pack is amazing, Yoast SEO is a great starting point for beginners.
Not only is Yoast SEO really easy to use, but it’ll slowly, over time, teach the user the basics of what good quality, optimized web content looks like, including how keywords should be used both in the body copy and in the various metadata entries.
In the beginning, the traffic light system may be a bit overwhelming, but use it as a guide, not a law, as you can always return to your web pages and posts at a later stage to reassess and improve certain aspects thereof.
Again, content should be should be written for humans, not search engines.
SEO Best Practices for Divi Specifically
- Shortcodes: Divi’s shortcodes do not affect SEO. The shortcodes are executed on the server, not the page, and search engines will only see the content that the shortcode itself produces. The only time that a shortcode would be a problem, is in the event that the plugin that is serving the shortcode has been deactivated.
- Images: The Divi Builder does not automatically pull in the image title or alt text from the media library. If you are adding an image with the Image module, you will need to enter the title and alt text in the module setting itself. If you’re not sure as to whether the title and alt text have been added, preview the page and use the browser’s Developer Tools to inspect the image element, and assess whether the alt and title tags have been included. Remember: renaming the actual image file to something of significance before it is added to your Media Library will help your website return favorably in image search results.
- Hidden Content: Previously, Google would ignore content displayed in tabs or accordions. Now, however, the content is accounted for.
- Written Content: It’s important to make sure that you have at least one h1 tag on each page and post that you publish. It sometimes is a bit tricky with Divi as – especially for new users – it’s not always clear which heading tag is pulling through for each bit of text. Nevertheless, when you are making a PAGE, make sure that you include a title of sorts by either setting this manually in the text editor or, adding the Post Title Module at the top of your page. If you are publishing a POST and you are using the Divi Builder not the native WYSIWYG editor, look for the Divi Post Settings box on the right-hand side and set the ‘Post Title’ option to ‘Show’. Alternately, you could add a Post Title Module here if you’d like.
Other SEO Tips and Tricks
- Social Media: When posting on social channels, make sure that you include a link back to your website. This link must include https://www. before the domain and link. In the post also include the relevant keyword/s as well as hashtags.
- Website Images: As well as resizing and optimizing web images to help site speed and performance, remember to rename the image file to a name of significance, one that includes the keyword. Also, give the image a title and alt text when you upload it to the media library. As mentioned above, Divi’s Image module does not automatically pull in the title and alt text from the media library, so, enter it in the Image module settings as well. Particularly for local SEO, if you’d like an extra bump in image search results, consider adding EXIF data with either Photoshop or Google Photos. This process will embed your address or location into the EXIF data of the image, and also, you can include 2-3 keywords per image. Use the keywords with caution here and don’t keyword stuff. Finally, when assigning alt tags, make sure that it matches the keyword or key phrases as close as possible to the web page upon which the image occurs.
- Reviews: To help you look even more credible in search results, reach out to previous or existing customers and ask them to review your product or service on Google.
- Website Speed: Another mountain of a topic not to be taken lightly is website page speed. Having a fast loading website also plays a part in how well a website ranks, so be sure to pay attention to the speed of your website and ways in which you can improve its performance.
- Search Engines: As well as submitting an XML sitemap to Google through Google Search Console, you can also submit your website to a number of search engines through Free Web Submission. Some of these search engines will fail but don’t stress, these are random search engines of lesser importance.
Using SEO Principles for Long-Term Success
In order to keep returning better in search results, it is important to keep engineering your website, copy and content strategy.
Google acts in a very “cause and effect” sense, where, if you execute action x, Google will acknowledge your move, run it through their algorithm and respond in a particular way.
In some cases, your search ranking may improve, in other cases, it may do the opposite.
This shouldn’t come across as a scary thing, in fact, it should be something that brings a bit of relief and wiggle room to the business. The great thing about SEO is that it’s a long-term strategy and that there are always interesting and creative ways to help a website display better in search.
In paying attention to the results generated over time by Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you’d be able to figure out new and cool ways to innovate with your website and its content.
For example, if you’re not getting the exact results that you want for a particular phrase or a collection thereof, you can re-engineer the website in order to employ a new strategy. This may come in the form of changing or enhancing certain elements on a web page or adding more content to the site.
If you’re curious about certain things, test them out and see how Google responds. Again keep a close eye on your Analytics to pick up changes.
If it’s your own website that you’re working on, you can make tweaks and adjustments wherever you’d like in order to see which tactics bring success and which don’t. If you’re a web developer, you could possibly add a collection of services into a higher tiered website maintenance package for your client and make some sweet recurring revenue.
Great SEO Resources
To help you stay on top of your SEO and web development game, have a look at the resources below (some should be referred to relatively regularly):
We hope that you enjoyed reading this and that some of the advice shared in Episode 23 of Divi Chat has helped you in your WordPress web development journey!
If you have any questions for the Divi Chat team, post them below and we’ll notify them! If you want to get in touch with the Divi Chat team directly, you can email them directly: firstname.lastname@example.org (link opens email client).
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