Search engine optimization and WordPress can go a long way together if you know how to implement all the important steps and increase your visibility, traffic, header and footers, text structure and use the proper SEO plugins.
As a preferred platform by many, WordPress is an easy way for anybody to create their website in just a matter of minutes. Of course, creating it is not enough, if you want to receive the full package of its capabilities, especially when it comes to user-friendliness and easy process of putting out new content, you have to create a checklist on which to cross all the important SEO steps with which you can gain authority, optimize your on-site performance and gain traffic while all the accessing users are pleased with your WordPress website speed, responsive design, sitemap, image quality and uniqueness of content.
We picked up eleven tips that affect your SEO which to us are “a must”! Yes, there are hundreds of smaller details you can improve with your WordPress-based website but the following we are labelling them as “essentials”. They are not only going to improve your visibility, but some of them are crucial for even putting your website on “the map of search engines”, especially Google.
Now let’s get to straight to the point, starting with the one thing no website, no matter the platform can survive if the support is not adequate.
Choosing the proper web host
Hundreds of hosting companies are out there claiming to provide exceptional hosting and support service for prices going below 2 dollars a month. Is this truly the point?
Sadly, we do not think so. The starting goal for your WordPress website is to find the ideal hosting provider and plan suitable for you.
For example, if you are a regular blogger who wants to have a single WordPress-based blog and put out content daily or weekly, this would work. Okay, there are cheap hosting plans for that and you can add just one domain. Simple, easy and just what you need.
But, let’s say you are running a business and have tens of registered domains which can crash at any moment and you need perfect support 24/7. You need to get advice from people who are already working with such web hosts and are sure of their professionalism.
Picking up the right plan is key, according to your goals, you can adjust how much money you can spend your monthly and yearly subscription. Do your research, take advice from colleagues and people with working experience in that field. We assure you it will be worth it.
Let’s get back to the point on why hosting companies are crucial for your search engine optimization on WordPress:
- Website speed / you do not want to make users wait forever/
- Backup servers / you do not want to lose any of your files, content, information/
- Excellent support staff / you need to communicate easily and solve problems/
After the WordPress-based site is all good and running, it is time to pick up the theme for it.
Choosing or creating custom SEO-friendly theme
The theme of your website is the next step to the puzzle, we think. If you do not have a theme structure on your WordPress website, then you can’t start with putting content.
There are a few options you can do to choose among from:
- Choosing a free theme
- Choosing a “paid” theme
- Creating your theme
We know all of you would see that creating a unique theme is the obvious choice but let’s not forget that not all of WordPress users are developers and professional designers. This means many people would love to choose among a variety of created themes that are SEO-friendly, light and have a decent design. You can browse for themes on the official website of WordPress or another alternative is ThemeForest.
Download your SEO plugins
As you enter your WordPress Dashboard you will see “Plugins” on the left sidebar. Click on it and then choose “Add New”. From now on, you can add any plugin you think that will help your WordPress website go faster, lighter and make it more optimized.
The “must” have plugin for us is this: “Yoast SEO”. The plugin makes it incredibly easy to optimize the overall score of your website, meta-descriptions and more. Some people on our team would prefer “All in One SEO Pack” and we would totally agree. It is a perfect alternative. You can’t go wrong with any of these plugins.
Fix your “Permalinks”
Adjusting your permalinks is also an important step when launching your WordPress website. You can do that easily by going into your Dashboard, click “Setting” on the left sidebar and then choose “Permalinks”. After that, you only need to choose the structure you want to have on your URLs. You can pick among these or create a custom one:
- Day and Name
- Month and Name
- Post name / our choice and actually, it is “perfect” from an SEO point of view/
All other options can negatively affect your SEO, so go with the simple choice of “Post name”, also it looks a hundred times better and more optimized. It goes something like this:
Creating an .xml sitemap plugin
If you are starting a blog that will only put out content once or twice a month, then a .xml sitemap would not be needed in most cases. But if you have a website with hundreds of pages on WordPress, then a good .xml sitemap is crucial, not only for search engines but for users as well. They both need to navigate easily through your website and find the needed information.
If you have a bigger website with tons of content, then simply consider installing a .xml sitemap. Indexing your website will go only faster and faster.
Caching plugin for speeding up the website
A great plugin for your cache on WordPress is W3 Total Cache. It has a lot of features such as data caching, browser caching and object caching. Also, the point here is to make your website lighter and faster – as you can already guess.
Internal linking is good and useful
Having internal links on your WordPress website is another step you can follow easily and benefit from it. When you have a series of pages that are similar in the content you can always link to them. This helps with navigation for users and bots and stands a virtual map.
Not only that, when you choose the right anchor text, but you can also set the tone for exactly what you are linking to, making it easier for yourself, the users and Google to find out what the page is all about.
Optimizing your images
Images are going to be a huge and pivotal part of your WordPress-based website. Not only because they are good from an SEO point of view but because they can give visual information to users. Also, Google bots love to crawl images that have a well-put “alt text” description. Make sure you update yours always when uploading a new image. This helps them understand better the purpose of the image.
Revisit our on-page SEO guide and see what you can do to improve this area.
When it comes to optimizing your images, you can use a bunch of tools to compress their size without losing much of the quality. It is extremely helpful with page loading and overall site speed. Think of that when you need to upload your pictures. Optimize smart.
Fix all broken links
Broken links are can make it impossible for users to find the information they are looking for. Installing this particular plugin “Broken Link Checker” is key and it will tell you in a matter of seconds which links need to be fixed. Also, another great alternative is Screaming Frog SEO Spider. Having all links functioning well is another step you have to make to make your WordPress-based site more optimized for search engines.
Headings and Meta-descriptions
We already talked about heading and meta-descriptions in some of our previous posts, so are just going to mention them again. They are extremely important for bots to crawl and see what is going on your page. So, get your heading right and write keyword-optimized meta-descriptions. This is the proper way to get the maximum from your WordPress-based website.
And last (for now) but not least – quality content
Content, as we have already talked about, is the key to brilliance when it comes to running a successful website. People do want to read something unique and search engine algorithms are looking for the same. So, optimize your content strategy wisely, search for keywords that are useful and have less competition, write your texts and dominate both users and engines.
Revisit some tips from our article about quality content creation in SEO.
You have a variety of tools and plugins which can help you with optimizing your content and keywords. Put out new content regularly, share it, it is extremely easy with WordPress and its amazing plugins. You can use social media buttons for easier sharing and user experience, so that would not be a problem at all.
The benefits of having a WordPress website are many, as an SEO-friendly platform, it is getting easier and better with time. It is a continuously changing sphere, so you need to be in touch the latest updates, regulations and tools you can use to turn your WordPress site into a successful one.