August 6

WordPress SEO Tips: How to Optimize WordPress Site for SEO?

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Do you want millions of people to visit your WordPress site every day and stay for longer durations browsing through?

Well, who doesn’t want that?

Website owners, whether the end goal is to make people read an article, drive engagement, earn a high number of shares or sell products or services, are anxious to attract ginormous traffic on their WordPress site.

If you are ready to extend your knowledge and get some website-transforming insights on how to do WordPress SEO, I believe that you already know what WordPress means. This means, I am not digging deep into it, will only give an overview of it.

Rather, this post is about how to optimize your WordPress site for SEO. Stick with me till the end to discover some undiscovered secrets that I will reveal to you today.

What is WordPress? 

WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) that helps build websites without coding. But if you are a well-established coder, you can possibly use codes to make a fully customized WordPress site from scratch.

Without saying, WordPress is the most popular CMS out there that hosts approximately 40% of websites running over the internet. Back in 2003, WordPress started out as a blogging platform. But sooner, it took over the internet by storm and the major internet players started using it to build and host their sites.

Why SEO Is More Important Today?

The acronym SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It means to push the visibility of a website on search engines. Almost all websites from across the world rely more on search engines to drive traffic than any other medium. The search engine traffic accounts for approximately 93% of the total traffic for a search query.

When it comes to traffic, search engines are preferred due to the enormous potential they carry. Google is the largest search engine in the world with a 92.47% market share. If you want your site to come first when users search keywords that you are targeting, you need SEO.

Google and other search engines are like Pandora-box. Nobody knows what is going behind the front end of these engines. How the Google algorithm works is still a mystery to the world. SEO will not help you to hack its algorithm, it will only take you through guidelines through which you can optimize your site.

Giving you a top rank on its first page entirely depends on Google. If the American tech giant will like the way you have optimized your site taking all the major factors into consideration, getting the desired rank won’t be a hustle. But if you haven’t kept the optimization right, you will show up nowhere on Google.

Hence, SEO is very important in 2022 and beyond. Millions of websites are listed on Google and almost all of them are doing SEO. You need to be unique in your approach and indulge in SEO practices that others are not engaged in or very few are doing at the present.

Basics of WordPress SEO

WordPress SEO means nothing fancy but optimizing a WordPress site as per the SEO guidelines. If you are a beginner, using WP could be somewhat technical. But believe me, it is not that tough to get well-versed with the CMS. You only need to learn a few things and you are good to go.

A CMS only allows you to keep things sorted. Installing WordPress and connecting it to your domain name and hosting doesn’t get you ranking. SEO techniques are prevalent to rank different web pages for different search queries. There are certain steps that you need to follow religiously to optimize the technical aspects of your WP site.

WordPress SEO Tips: How to Optimize WordPress Site for SEO?

Optimizing your WordPress site as per the search engine guidelines is what it takes to achieve great rankings on the search engine. If you are optimizing your site nicely it will never ask you to take anything else into the account to get viable numbers on Google or elsewhere.

I have discussed the important WordPress SEO tips and how you can get the optimization right without wasting your time. Keep reading and Enjoy!

1. Choose a Reliable Hosting

If you wish to run a WordPress website you need to host it by yourself. To give you a rundown about it, hosting is a place that helps in keeping your website content secure. Take it as a place on the web where every single content of your website is stored. Without hosting you won’t be able to build a self-hosted site on WordPress.org.

Note: Many people get confused between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. When you make a website on WordPress.com, the hosting is managed by the platform itself. You don’t have to buy one from a hosting provider. Unlikely, when you develop and maintain a site on WordPress.org, you need to buy hosting from a reliable hosting provider. The platform only provides you with a CMS to manage your self-hosted site.

There are many hosting providers who can help you buy reliable hosting for your site. However, you can’t just trust anyone out there. The ideal hosting should offer top-notch site speed, security and uptime. These are the most important factors you should consider right before building your site. They play a pivotal role in improving your WordPress site’s SEO.

Powerful hosting that WordPress.org itself recommends are Bluehost, SiteGround and DreamHost. You can check out their plans and choose the right one as per your needs.

2. Install an SEO-Friendly WordPress Theme

The content of your WordPress site could possibly clutter around in the absence of a powerful theme. A theme is necessary if you want to ensure a premium experience for your site visitors. The default theme that you will see soon after installing WordPress is the ‘Twenty Twenty’ theme, which is not the ideal theme for many.

Although, there are hundreds of free WordPress themes available the customization that you could do with premium WordPress themes is just out of this world. I only go with premium paid themes whenever I have to build and optimize my WordPress website for SEO.

Top 5 SEO-friendly WordPress themes which I would like to suggest you are mentioned below:

  • Astra
  • Business Pro
  • Uncode
  • Divi
  • Newspaper

One important thing you should know here is that even the premium themes can take a toll on your site speed. Almost all of them come loaded with scripts and plugins that are of no use but will put extra load on the site. Hence, it is recommended to get rid of them as soon as you install a paid or a free theme, for that matter.

Also, before purchasing a paid theme you can also run its demo on the web.dev tool to check its SEO score and performance. It will help you take the final decision on whether to buy a theme or not.

3. Install a WordPress SEO Plugin

A plugin is an add-on that lends additional optimization features to a WordPress website. An SEO WP plugin does an excellent job of optimizing your site as per Google’s guidelines. However, you should not start depending on them completely. All SEO plugins come with a lifetime-free and paid plan.

Most of the time, the free version of SEO plugins works perfectly fine. But for incorporating the advanced SEO features that these plugins have to offer, you need to purchase their premium versions. Some of the best free SEO plugins that I use for my different WordPress sites are:

  • Yoast SEO
  • Rank Math SEO
  • All In One SEO

How to Install SEO Plugin?

The process of installing an SEO plugin is as easy as using it. The steps are mentioned below:

  • Login to your WordPress Admin Panel
  • By default, the WordPress dashboard will appear on the screen
  • On the extreme left, scroll down the menu and you will see the Plugin option
  • Click on Plugin, and then select the Add New option
  • Now, search for the desired plugin in the search box
  • Your desired plugin will appear on the screen
  • Click Install, wait for a while then click Activate

Now, your desired SEO plugin is installed and activated successfully. You can set it up and do customizations as per your website requirements. This is how easy it is to install a plugin in WordPress.

4. Do Check Your Site’s Visibility Status

WordPress provides the feature to set up the visibility status of your underdeveloped site. When you have just installed the CMS after connecting it with your hosting and domain name, the site lacks valuable content that you would like to show to the visitors. Hence, this feature is useful, especially for the developers.

However, if you are using a pre-built theme to decorate your site and not relying on codes to build a highly customized and personalized website from scratch, you can simply skip it. It is not mandatory to hide the website from Google. But if you think that getting your site up and running could take more than two weeks, you can hide your site by turning the visibility off.

How to Turn Off Website Visibility in WordPress?

  • Go to WordPress Menu
  • Scroll it down and click on Settings
  • The dropdown will show you the Reading option, click on it
  • On the Reading page, scroll down to find the Search Engine Visibility option
  • By default, your WordPress site is visible to Google, you can turn it off by ticking the box beside the option.

5. Enable SEO-Friendly Permalink

Permalink is the URL of different pages of your website. WordPress offers multiple options for setting up the permalink of your desire. The default URLs that the CMS uses are not all SEO-friendly. However, you can select the permalink option of your choice. The different permalink options that the CMS offers are:

  • Day & Name: https://example.com/2022/08/04/sample-post Month & Name: https://example.com/2022/04/post-name
  • Numeric: https://example.com/archives/123
  • Post Name: https://example.com/sample-post
  • Custom Structure: https://example.com/customstructure

However, instead of too many options, the most preferred URL structure is one containing only the post name – https://example.com/sample-post. You will find this URL (permalink) structure on almost every website (an exception exists).

Google and other search engines like a simple & easy-to-read URL that clearly recites what a particular web page or a post is about. If you use any other permalink format, it will not leave a good impression on the search engines. Hence, a clear and precise URL is the ideal fit for any kind of website.

6. Verify Your WordPress Site in Google Search Console

Having a website and not verifying it in the Google Search Console is like being super-hungry and not eating the food served in front of you. It is supremely important to verify your WordPress site in the console else you will lose the game even before starting it.

How to Verify WordPress Website in Google Search Console?

There are two ways through which you can verify your WordPress site in the Google Search Console.

First Method:

The first method to verify the WordPress site in the Google Search Console is via the HTML verification file.

How to do it?

  • Log in to the Google Search Console and navigate to the homepage
  • A pop will appear on the screen with two options to choose – Domain and URL Prefix
  • Choose the URL Prefix option
  • Enter the link of your WordPress site and hit enter
  • A pop-up will appear with ‘Verify Ownership’ written on the top
  • Download the HTML Verification file
  • Upload the downloaded file to your WordPress site via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or through cPanel File Manager
  • Come back to the Google Search Console and hit Verify button
  • Your WordPress site will be submitted to the Google Search Console

Second Method:

The second method to verify or submit the WordPress site on the Google Search Console is executed through an HTML Tag via an SEO plugin. I personally prefer the Yoast SEO plugin but you can go with any other of your choice like Rank Math SEO or AIO SEO plugins.

How to do it?

  • Log in and navigate to the Google Search Console homepage
  • A pop will appear on the screen with two options to choose – Domain and URL Prefix
  • Choose the URL Prefix option
  • Enter the link of your WordPress site and hit enter
  • A pop-up will appear with ‘Verify Ownership’ written on the top
  • Scroll down to Other Verification Methods and select HTML Tag
  • Copy the Google Site Verification code
  • Go to your site’s WordPress dashboard
  • Scroll down in Menu > Click on SEO > Click on Webmaster Tool or Search Console
  • Select the Google Search Console, paste the Verification link and click on Save Changes
  • Go back to the Google Search Console and click on Verify
  • Your WordPress site will be submitted to the Search Console

7. Generate & Submit XML Sitemap in Search Console 

An XML sitemap is a file that contains the significant pages of your website. It helps in the easy crawling and indexing of a website’s published content. There are two ways to generate the XML sitemap – Manually (if you are not using any SEO plugin) and Automatic Generation (through an SEO plugin).

The moment you will install an SEO plugin on your WordPress site, an XML sitemap will generate automatically, you don’t have to put in the effort. To know whether your website has a machine-generated sitemap, open a new tab on the browser and type your website URL/sitemap.xml (example.com/sitemap.xml). If there exists a sitemap, the XML sitemap page will surface.

How to submit a sitemap in Search Console?

  • Open your website’s sitemap by following the formula mentioned above
  • Copy the URL of the sitemap page and go to the Google Search Console
  • Navigate to Console’s homepage and click on the Menu option in the top-left corner to see the dropdown
  • Click on ‘Go To Property’ in the dropdown
  • The core part of your Google Search Console will open
  • Go to the extreme left side, scroll down and you will the Sitemap option, click on it
  • Now, paste the sitemap page link you copied earlier
  • Delete the site URL which is already fetched by the Console (https://example.com/). Only keep – /sitemap _index.xml in the box.
  • Finally, click on submit
  • Your WordPress website’s sitemap will be successfully added to the linked Google Search Console account

7. Conduct an All-Inclusive Keyword Research

If you don’t have any idea about this, then let me tell you that SEO is all about keywords. The better you are placing the targeted keywords on your site the better the chances of getting online users to visit you. This SEO practice is known as on-page optimization.

Diving deep into the keyword research strategy could actually win you fruits in the near future. And what keywords you should target more often directly depends on the type of audience you have. It is important for you to get into the core of it else it would be challenging for you to optimally optimize your site for the on-page.

I have seen many fellow digital marketing experts who go crazy during the process of keyword research and add hundreds of keywords including scrap. However, this is not the right practice. I prefer going for quality over quantity. My list of target keywords always has a mix of highly competitive, competitive and less-competitive keywords.

How to do detailed keyword research?

  1. Run down a logical competitor analysis
  1. Evaluate which keywords are getting your competitors the most traffic
  1. List high, medium and low competitive keywords never go with only high or less competitive keywords, keep a mix! It works wonders
  1. Make a content strategy around those selected keywords
  1. Plan your pillar pages, categories or posts

Important Tool for Finding Keywords:

All of these keyword research tools can help you decide which keywords to target, and which should be left untouched.

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Ahref
  • Semrush
  • Google Search Console
  • Keywordtool.io

Out of all these mentioned above, my personal favorite keyword-finding tool is Google Keyword Planner. It is free and shows the most accurate data when compared with others.

8. Set Title & Meta Tags for Pages, Categories and Posts

Title and Meta tags are highly important for websites. Without a proper title and meta description structure in place, it would be hard to get those web pages crawled and indexed in Google. If you want to effectively optimize your WordPress site for SEO, you cannot exclude these crucial SEO factors from your WordPress SEO strategy.

The title tags and meta description are prevalent for two reasons. Primarily – Google bots read the meta title and description first while crawling the web pages and posts. Secondarily – when your site’s content appears in front of your users, it is the meta title and description that intrigues them to visit your WordPress site.

How to write better meta titles and descriptions?

Writing good meta titles and descriptions is not a tough job to execute. You only need to keep a few things in your mind.

  • Write title and descriptions as if you are writing a copy (a copy is written to sell something)
  • Don’t over-promise something that isn’t available inside
  • Stick to only primary keywords. Don’t overpopulate titles and descriptions with secondary keywords
  • Titles and descriptions should be unique, don’t copy and paste if you want to improve your WordPress SEO
  • Writing a variation of your primary keyword would work, but what you have written should be meaningful to read
  • The limit of meta title should not exceed 60 characters (if it exceeds it won’t create any major impact on your site’s SEO). Also, the titles should contain an H1 tag. Although, WordPress’ Gutenberg editor automatically takes titles as H1.
  • The limit of the meta description should not exceed 150 characters

10. Optimize the Headings and Sub-Headings Accordingly

The headings and sub-headings of your page and posts play an important role in optimizing the WordPress site for SEO. If you don’t want heads and sub-heads to create an obstacle in an exquisite WordPress optimization, it is better to work on them. It will help you a lot in getting your SEO strategies in place.

However, Google’s search advocate John Mueller says that it is not right to stuff the primary keywords into headings or sub-headings and think that you will rank on the search engine. The headings and the following ones are just to make the Google bots and users clear on what the entire content is about.

Hence, when Google bots are well directed about a piece of content you have written, you have the opportunity of telling them that you have what people are searching for on Google. And boom, that’s when your content could possibly rank for the particular search query. Therefore, optimizing the headings H1, H2, H3, H4 and so on will undoubtedly help you in WordPress SEO.

11. Optimize the Images with Alt Text

Websites don’t seem appealing in the absence of high-quality images. When your site is loaded with eye-alluring visuals it enhances the reader’s reading experience.

No, you don’t have to make your site a designer’s portfolio, rather. Images add to the quality of your site’s text content which is why you should use more of them.

According to a study, a blog post having more than 5 images enhances its quality further in the eyes of Google bots. However, simply populating your WordPress site with high-quality images isn’t sufficient. You also need to optimize the images. It should be in your practice to optimize your images with relevant Alt text.

The WordPress editor gives you an option to upload the image along with optimizing it through the Alt text. The Alt text possibly could be the title of the page or post. However, if you want to add a customized image optimization text, you could also do that. Just remember that it must contain the primary keyword.

12. Use Internal Linking

Internal linking means linking one page or post of your website to its other posts or pages. These links allow engines and online readers to identify and hop from one piece of content to another. In 2022, if you are skipping the internal linking strategy you are giving a reason to Google to give less value to your content.

The internal links on a website are followed by Google to discover content. It helps websites to get crawled, indexed and ranked in the SERP (search engine result pages). However, if you are thinking that by simply linking different pages of your site, you will start ranking. Then, it is not going to happen! Internal linking is one of the crucial ranking factors but not the ultimate determinant.

Google and other major search engines give due importance to internal linking. The more internal links you have on a particular page the richer it gets. Before you start dreaming of your website (web pages) ranking on Google you should think to do an effective internal linking.

When your website is well-linked internally, it passes on a message to the search engine that your web content is not scrap. Also, it helps engine bots to define the site structure. And guess what? A well-defined structure of your site is mandatory for effectively doing WordPress SEO.

13. Regularly Update Site Content 

I am sure that you might have heard this phrase somewhere before. Is it that important to keep your WordPress site updated? Well, yes it! More than before, it is now even more important to regularly update your site with unique and fresh content.

The frequently you update your site with quality content, the faster Google will index it. Apart from fast indexing, there are several other benefits of regular posting that include – improving the content accuracy, enhancing the CTR, increasing website authority, making a particular piece even more valuable, removing broken links and better optimizing the WordPress site for SEO.

Many companies and bloggers regularly update their web content even when they have zero visitors just to make sure that Google notices their hard work. I don’t know how many of you will agree with this but the best SEO practice is to make Google happy and maintain it for the long run.

However, there are some web pages on the search engine that are not frequently updated. Such sites face a bountiful of hardships to make a good image in the eyes of Google.

14. Install Cache Plugin to Enhance Site Speed 

Caching is a technology that is somewhat complex. But the best thing it does is that it helps in making the website super-fast. Caching is a procedure that stores the frequently visited data on the browser. Installing a reliable cache plugin on your WordPress site will make things easy for your users.

When you use a cache plugin it helps in loading the web content fast on the devices of the users. It is a great way of ensuring that there is no lag on the site and that every piece of content that exists on your site is served in front of the user in a lag-free environment.

The slow loading of websites takes a toll on the user experience. Low-speed websites are always put down by search engines. Every engine wants people to get what they are searching for without waiting for more than a second. Hence, if you want to keep your WordPress SEO right, a cache plugin is a must now.

5 best WordPress Cache Plugins that I recommend are as follows:

  • WP Rocket
  • LiteSpeed Cache
  • WP-Optimize
  • W3 Total Cache
  • Cache Enabler

To Conclude:

So, I have discussed the detailed WordPress SEO tips in this post. If you will follow everything written above piously you will never fall short of good SEO for your WordPress site.

I hope this post has offered you what you were searching for on the Internet about how to optimize WordPress sites for SEO.

About the author

Alekh Verma

A web marketing specialist, known for his bold and insightful approach to every web industry trend, Alekh Verma is a proud Founder and CEO of a successful Mobile App Development, Web Development and Digilat Marketing firm, eSearch Logix Technologies. His effective and inventive ideology has helped to shape the success story of his firm, which has now grown into a successful, leading digital marketing company based in NCR, India. He brings a global perspective to the industry, and has helped multitudes of businesses across the globe from all sectors create an impactful presence in the virtual world.


Tags

WordPress SEO, WordPress SEO Optimization, WordPress SEO Strategy, WordPress SEO Tips


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