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SEO best practices For WordPress Websites

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  1. Fundamentals Of SEO
    3 Topics
  2. WordPress SEO Plugins
    3 Topics
  3. Local SEO
    3 Topics
  4. Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
    3 Topics
    3 Topics
  6. Structured Data
    3 Topics
    12 Topics
  8. Negative SEO
    3 Topics
  9. Practicals
    9 Topics
Lesson 1, Topic 3
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Search Engine Ranking Factors

John April 29, 2021
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Search Engine Ranking refers to a process used to determine the position of content on search engine results pages.

Current Ranking Factors

KeyWord Usage

Incorporating keywords within your content is quite vital. This helps in informing Google that your page is about that keyword.
It is hence important to perform a keyword research to identify keywords that are going to drive traffic to your site.

Mobile Friendliness

Websites that are mobile friendly have an upper hand in Google’s “Mobile-first” indexing.

Mobile-first means that Google’s algorithm uses the mobile version of your website content for ranking on SERPs.

Google provides a Mobile Friendly test tool: Mobile Friendly Testing Tool . The tool is used to check whether your website pages are optimized for Mobile.

If your site is not mobile-friendly, then it’s likely to get under-ranked.


Backlinks are links on a page of a website to a page on a different website.

They are one of the most vital factors in search ranking.

The higher the quality and number of backlinks, the higher your site ranks on the search engines.

Domain Authority Score

Domain Authority Score is a ranking score, ranging from 0 to 100 that provides a measure of how successful a site is when it comes to search engine results pages (SERPs).

The score can be measured using MozBar tool, that easily integrates with Chrome browser.

The higher the Domain authority score, the higher the ranking of pages within your website.

High-Quality Content

Developing high quality content is more of providing genuine answers to peoples’ questions. 

When creating content it’s therefore important to create it mainly to provide users a great user experience.

Google’s quality guidelines clearly define quality guidelines they are looking for:

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
  • Don’t deceive your users.
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
  • Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

Quality content attracts crawlers and boosts search visibility of a website.
There are also other aspects that can be incorporated in creating unique content which include:

1. Keeping your content fresh and updated: Regularly adding updated and fresh content is a positive indicator to search engines.
One of the ways of being conversant with fresh content is by using Google Trends.

2. Maintaining well organized and structured content: You can create well structured and organized content with the help of HTML tags such as H1,H2,H3,p,<li> tags.

This makes it easy for users to trace content they are looking for and read it, hence improving the overall user experience. 

3. The length of the Content: Long content results in higher SEO rankings. It is vital to write content that covers a topic in great detail.

Site and Page Speed

As of May 2021, Google is set to have website loading speed as a part of its Core Web Vitals.

Google wants you to serve your site visitors with a fast loading website.

Page speed can be measured using a  number of tools such as: PageSpeed Insights tool  and Gtmetrix.

There are also a number of ways to improve on your page speed. Some of these include:

Choosing a Good hosting Provider: Using a dedicated server for your website if you really wish to have a fast loading website.

Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network): A CDN works by identifying a visitor’s location and serves content from a server close to them. This mitigates challenges in deliverability of content over the Internet.

Image Optimization: Images take a big part in a page. Google is also in a position to easily identify images within a page. It is hence vital to compress and optimize theme images for a better page load load time and consequent user experience .

Website Security

The kind of URL protocol you use for your website is quite important. Google recommends the adoption of HTTPS, of which adds an extra layer of security.

In addition, Google included HTTPS as a ranking signal back in 2014 as can be seen here. If a site runs under the HTTP protocol and not HTTPS, then it is considered insecure.

It is hence important that you properly add an SSL certificate to your site.


This is the ability by search engines to access and identify content within your website page.

Search engines will not be in a position to rank your site if they are not in a position to access your content. This will in turn have a negative impact on the sites’ search engine visibility.

It is hence important to:

  • Use a Robots.txt file, of which informs the search engine Spiders on the pages, sections and files to crawl as well as not to crawl
  • Submit your sitemap to search engines
  • Utilize Google Search Console to monitor crawled data within your site


RankBrain is Googles’ Artificial Intelligence algorithm that is used to help in the determination of search results. It analyzes web pages for relevance.

RankBrain helps in sorting searches that Google has never seen before, have them related to the existing searches and then tries to find pages that cover the search content.

From the search results provided, RankBrain will then carry out some observations such as the most clicked page from the search results. Google will then provide a higher ranking to such a page and if there are more search queries from other users on the search term, then this page is what will be rendered in the consecutive searches. Else, if this page does not satisfy the initial users, then the page is dropped and replaced.

Here, RankBrain is making a number of observations:

1. Click-Through-Rate: The percentage of people who click on a page presented in search results

2. Time Spent Within the Site: This is the amount of time a user is spending on the page
3. Bounce Rate: The percentage of people who click on a page within a site found via search and quickly go back to the search results

This definitely impacts how we carry out SEO on websites. It is therefore important to create high quality content that leads to user satisfaction.

Search Intent

Search Intent is basically the goal a user intends to achieve from a query to a search engine. Search Intent is a primary Goal to Google.

If a user makes a search for specific content and the information from the search does not meet the users’ expectations, this is a signal to Google that the intent of the search results do not reflect the intent of the user.

It is hence vital to create content that users are looking for and is valuable to them.