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WordPress SEO: Latest Trends To Improve SERP Rankings in 2022

The popularity of your website depends directly on the organic traffic it attracts. Organic traffic, in turn, depends on the visibility of your website on the search engines. The higher your website ranks on the search engine results pages(SERPs), the better your chances of being seen by the target audience are. The click-through rates(CTR) on the links to your website on the SERP is a function of the relevance of your website content with a user’s search queries.

Optimizing your website for search engines is a prerequisite if you want to achieve a constant influx of visitors to your website following the organic route. Search Engine Optimization is a gift that keeps on giving, given that you follow the latest developments in the SEO industry because every year sees about 400-600(or more) changes in search algorithms, SEO tricks & techniques. Staying up to date with these trends and implementing them in your website’s SEO strategy and overall digital marketing efforts puts you in a stronger position on search engines.

WordPress is a powerful content management system(CMS) and lets you optimize your website for search engines relatively easier. But even WordPress websites require dedicated SEO strategies and staying up to date with the latest changes in them.

Do you want to learn more about WordPress SEO trends? Keep reading.

In this article, we will take you through the most influential latest trends that will boost your WordPress website for a constant flow of organic visitors in the upcoming year. We will help you prepare your website for the upcoming challenges and equip you with the knowledge required to make your WordPress website stand out from the crowd and on top of the SERPs. Let’s begin.

Focus on optimizing Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Search engines depend on title tags to generate clickable posts or page names on SERPs. Therefore, it’s quite crucial to optimize them for relevant keywords for making it to the rankings. Search engines are known to change title tags specified by you when they feel they are not relevant enough for the search queries — sources from within the website content are used for changing these links.

Title tags must be concise and to the point, describing the page as accurately as possible. Another important point to note is making them unique to grab the user’s attention. Most importantly, title tags must contain focus keyword(s).

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Right below the title tags, we find meta descriptions of the page/post on the SERPs. Logically, in addition to grabbing the user’s attention with the title tag, meta descriptions are the final deciding factor whether a user will click on the link or not. Meta descriptions that work are again to the point, unique. And concisely provide an overview of the information that users will get on clicking the link.

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Click-through rate(CTR) can be improved by including CTAs(calls-to-action) in meta descriptions. CTAs add a sense of urgency and push users to click on the link. Search engines may rewrite your meta description as they do with title tags for the same reason yet again. Irrespective, you need to make it a habit to write unique meta descriptions for your web pages and posts.

Permalink Structure of the website needs configuration

Permalinks are URLs that take users to individual pages and posts on your WordPress website. Deciding on the right permalink structure is extremely crucial for crawlers to index and rank your posts and pages on SERPs against relevant keywords. The default permalink structure used by WordPress is plain and has a page ID Number as its slug, for example, https://example.com/?p=1234.

As you can see, such a URL barely informs the users about the type of content they might be greeted to upon clicking the said link — decreasing the chances of a click on the link. It makes a lot of difference when the users have a hint about the page/post content upon looking at the URL.

You can change the default permalink structure by following these steps:

  • Click on Settings, followed by the Permalinks tab on the WordPress dashboard.
  • Choose a desired permalink structure name. (experts suggest using the name of a Post as is because it tells the user what they will be redirected to).

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Be careful about changing permalink structures if your post has been up for a while because it may risk the loss of referral links along with it. Make sure that you add a relevant permalink structure when you publish a post.

Focus on content structure: Use Categories and Tags

Website design and content structure are vital elements of user experience(UX). As Google has started putting the prime focus on user experience for search rankings(introduction of specific UX measuring metrics called Core Web Vitals), you need to ensure that your WordPress website offers an impeccable experience to visitors.

WordPress categories and tags help in making content on your website more structured and organized. Better structure translates to improved ease of navigation for search engines and users alike. Page design needs to match the specific category of a page to make it look familiar to the user. Website redesign is the way to go along with the addition of categories.

Categories are hierarchical, and therefore, you have the leeway to create apt subcategories as well as follow a parent category. Whereas tags are nothing but keywords relevant to a page or category. You may add and edit categories and tags by following these steps:

  • Click on Posts followed by Categories on the WordPress dashboard.
  • Click on Posts followed by Tags on the WordPress dashboard.

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Ensure installation of right SEO plugins

WordPress comes equipped with many SEO features, but a serious business would require more tools in the form of widely available SEO plugins offered by WordPress for optimizing their website for search engines. SEO plugins aid in optimizing targeted keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, META descriptions to make them even more palatable for search engines. Find out more about which SEO tools to use here.

A right plugin would enable Google Sitemap Generator to equip website crawlers to view and retrieve the complete structure of your website with ease and efficiency. Plugins generate a readable sitemap to be read by search engine spiders.

Therefore, choosing the right SEO plugin is of utmost importance. Make sure that the plugin is vetted and approved by WordPress and has a fair amount of popularity among users. Ensure that a plugin that you want to install doesn’t overlap with an existing one. Don’t install a plugin that has been abandoned — always check the dates when a plugin was last updated. Make it a point to check if a said plugin has good support feedback.

Look out for user reviews and the reputation of the company offering a plugin to be doubly sure that your website will be assisted by the right hands. Ensure that a plugin doesn’t affect the speed of your website inversely because of its size.

On-Page and Off-Page Optimization need to be in cahoots

On-page optimization helps in improving the user experience with the use of targeted keywords. When a user is searching for a particular topic, info on which is present on your website, on-page optimization makes it easier for the search engines to shortlist your content for the user.

You can do on-page optimization by editing the content on your website’s pages by including creative descriptions & titles. Creating internal links to the content on various pages of your website is also a part of on-page optimization.

You can also persuade search engines to improve your website’s ranking through a tried and tested method — building backlinks to your website. The process of backlinking is known as off-page SEO. This is, by far, one of the most effective ways of page ranking on the SERPs.

For building authoritative backlinks, you need to take the help of social bookmarking, directory submission, article submission, participating in forums relevant to your content, commenting and exchanging links with other blogs, sharing an opinion, and submitting videos.

Keyword optimization isn’t going anywhere: Identify and include the right keywords

SEO might have changed a lot over the last few years but the importance of keywords in page ranking has stayed intact throughout. Targeted keywords allow page crawlers to index and rank your website for search queries automatically. The first step towards keyword SEO is identifying the right keywords for your content.

Many options will help you find the right keywords, including plenty of capable WordPress plugins and other online keyword research tools. For example, tools like Google Suggest and Google Keyword Planner can help you identify long-tailed relevant keywords. Make sure that you don’t use relatively untapped and newer keywords found through social media platforms. Your keyword research must encompass multiple forums before making a final decision of what you want to use.

Now, the next step after keyword research and identification is implementation. First of all, divide your keywords into focus keywords and secondary keywords, and then use them accordingly. Focus keywords must be present in the title tag, META description, URL, H1, first 100-150 words of the body of content, and tag modifiers. Secondary keywords should be placed in other header tags. Just make sure that keywords are not overly stuffed because that alerts the search engine and puts a negative impact on your search rankings.

Optimize your website for voice search

Google’s algorithms have been heavily working on adopting AI as a core feature, and the same can be reflected in the increasing focus on improving the voice search functionality of its search engine. Not just Google, voice search has been on the radar of many companies lately and has gained popularity among the masses. The prevalence of voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Voice Assistant, Apple’s Siri, etc., in our daily lives only proves this hypothesis.

Google introduced LaMDA(Language Model for Dialogue Applications), a machine-learning algorithm that aims to leverage natural language processing(NLP) to become more conversational towards user search queries. It wants to learn the search intent behind a user’s search queries, to be able to understand the relation between the words of a long phrase as seen in highly specific questions asked by users.

The idea is to equip search engines to use AI and ML to fetch the most accurate results for a user’s search query. Given the future of search through voice, it’s only imperative that you optimize your WordPress website for voice search.

No ditching Drag and Drop Page Builders

A website that is highly functional and robust in terms of the comprehensiveness of the content it covers(including its ease of readability, navigation, and the capability to hold the attention of the target audience) is more likely to rank higher on the SERPs because of its capability to improve overall user experience.

Drag and drop page builders have been a mainstay in the WordPress ecosystem over the years, and they help you do the job of increasing the functionality of your website. These tools work without having to code or anything else nearly complicated. Instead, they are super easy to use. As the name suggests, you can simply drag and drop the elements that you want to include in or remove from your web pages.

You can see how your website will finally look after implementing the changes during the process of editing. There are various well-known plugins that you may add to your website to use drag and drop builders. Drag and drop builders are here to stay and will help you achieve your SEO goals.

Use AI and Mixed Reality experience to make UX better

Artificial Intelligence is slowly becoming a crucial element of search algorithms and SEO techniques for improving the efficacy of search results and reducing the scope of error. AI-powered tools can help you find accurate keywords, aid in content creation, help you identify errors, and make the user experience richer overall.

Augmented reality and virtual reality are similarly gaining much popularity among developers and users alike. You may use these elements to enhance the appeal of your products and services by presenting them more interactively. As the technology around mixed reality(AR and VR) is constantly evolving, the possibilities are endless. The latest paradigm shift can be viewed in the rebranding of Facebook as Meta — to equip it for a future based on mixed reality.

The idea is to enhance the overall user experience(UX), which is also a core focus area for Google search algorithms, as has been discussed above. By increasing the interactivity of digital content, you can transform the way users perceive and interact with your website, making it suitable for better page rankings.

Content must be complemented with videos and images

Images and videos add more appeal and palatability to any content, as people are wired to be more attracted to visual stimuli by default. Therefore, you must make it a point to supplement your text content with relevant images, infographics, videos, and likes.

Videos and images are capable of attracting and holding the attention of users and help in adding to the SEO efforts by improving the chances of conversions. The only caveat in using images and videos is that they need to be optimized before being embedded.

The reason for optimizing images and videos is to prevent them from slowing down the loading and navigation speeds of your website. You must ensure that you use suitable image and video formats and compress them before uploading. You also need to optimize these media forms for SEO by using the ALT and META tags, respectively. Include relevant keywords in these tags to help search engine spiders.

You must track your results

After implementing all trends and techniques, one thing that remains and perhaps holds the key to understanding the effectiveness of your strategies is tracking the results. Tracking the traffic influx and overall marketing efficacy is vital for you to identify the benefits and loopholes of your optimization efforts.

Several tools help you analyze SEO, but the one that stands out for its functionality is Google Analytics. It analyzes your WordPress website for you and represents data on all different aspects visually and comprehensively. You will be able to learn from the traffic data how users interact with your website, the most popular pages, the respective bounce rates on individual pages, etc. You can make the necessary changes accordingly.

Similarly, Google Webmaster Tool gives you a detailed report about the visibility of these pages on your website to Google. You can combine the findings of both of these tools to enhance organic traffic on your WordPress site and remove all tethers holding back its success.

Conclusion

With the help of the above WordPress SEO trends and techniques, you can ensure that your WordPress site stays on top of the search results, which will help you gain more organic traffic. Pay attention to each one of them to make your website stand the test of time and digital evolution.

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