Here’s a thorough, step-by-step guide on how to optimize your WordPress SEO.
In this post, we’ll demystify what SEO is and how it operates, simplify the procedure for getting your WordPress SEO off the ground, and demonstrate how to optimise your site content, structure, pictures, velocity, and other factors to boost search rankings.
Is WordPress SEO easy or difficult? For many, being on the first page of Google may sound like wishful thinking, some will even tell you it cannot be done.
It’s our pleasure to inform you that you can stand out in search engine result pages (SERPs).
In this article, we’ll explain what SEO is and how it works, walk you through the steps to get your WordPress site up and running with SEO, and then show you how to optimize your content, image placement, speed, and other SEO factors for better rankings.
How does SEO work?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a procedure for enhancing the visibility of a website on search results in order to increase the volume and quality of organic or free website traffic.
The first step in comprehending this topic fully is to answer the question: What is Search Engine Optimization?
It’s impossible for humans to maintain Google’s list of websites, which is updated constantly. To maintain the list, Google uses web crawlers that systematically browse the Internet.
A search can return millions of results in a split second using these crawlers, which not only gather information but also organise it.
Google says that these crawlers pay special attention to new sites, altered sites, and dead links, so you don’t have to inform Google about your website in order to appear in search results.
Crawlers constantly searching the web automatically find and add sites to results (Keiser, 2013).
Why should you care about this? In light of how search engines gather information about your website, keeping this in mind may help you improve your ranking. Here is the first lesson: search engines will either reward or penalize your website automatically.
The first step in optimizing your WordPress site for search engines is to optimize WordPress for search engines.
How is SEO on WordPress different from SEO on other platforms? In addition to being easier to manage, as you’ll see here, it’s also more accessible and less expensive.
First of all, you should check your website for performance, settings, and everything else. Fix as many issues as you can. Here is a brief summary of the most significant things to check:
You can modify WordPress settings.
We will examine just a few settings in this section because they have a significant impact on WordPress SEO. It is still worthwhile, however, to go through your other settings such as your homepage and discussion settings.
Search engine visibility should be enabled.
Ensure that your site isn’t being obscured from search engines. In the WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > Reading. Make certain the box reading “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is unchecked at the bottom, where it is listed.
You can update the permalink settings.
The word ‘permalink’ is derived from the phrase ‘permanent link’. Despite this, you may not be shocked to learn that permalink settings should never be altered on a live web site. It is critical to deliberate carefully about which option you will select here.
You can choose a permalink structure for your site by clicking Settings > Permalinks.
Search engines do not prefer a single “best permalink structure,” rather you should strive for a logical, user-friendly link that adequately describes your content.
The most popular structure for organising content is the post-name structure.
Once you’ve determined on a basic permalink structure, you can set custom category and tag URLs on this page under the heading Optional.
Improve website performance.
It’s fine to be eager to dive right in and optimize assets, but first let’s get a sense for how your site is performing right now.
Measuring your efforts’ success later on will help you.
Make your website faster.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights is the easiest and most reliable way to check a website’s performance.
It’s a good idea to think about these things before you start building or designing a deck.
It’s usually a smart idea to make a backup of your website before you start editing it. If you’re working with a live website (with real visitor traffic), we suggest creating a staging domain.
Since staging environments and locally hosted sites are not supported by PageSpeed Insights, you can use Lighthouse—the same technology Google uses to audit your site—to measure changes there.
Google provides even more tools and information on its developer site to help you build high-performance websites.
Despite the fact that speeding up your site may seem intimidating, one quick and relatively effortless action can give you a significant boost in just a few minutes.
Normally, we discover a theme we like, install it, and then attempt to improve its performance so that our website loads faster.
It is not the most efficient method, as it takes a lot of time. Every theme advertises that it is fast, so you should test every theme that interests you rather than pick a theme and then try to improve it.
No one pays attention to updates. Be sure that your plugins and themes are updated, and remove any unused ones.
It’s especially crucial to carefully select which version of PHP to use with WordPress, because WordPress runs on PHP.
It’s also a smart idea to perform WordPress database optimisation to delete unused data from time to time.
These are only the basics, but they can make a big difference to your site’s overall and search performance. For more in-depth information on site optimization, please refer to these WordPress speed optimization tips to make your website blazing fast.
Make sure your site is mobile friendly.
We chose not to fill this section with mobile search statistics, knowing that many of them would soon be outdated, as mobile searches are increasing so fast.
75% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, and that’s one statistic we couldn’t ignore. Remember, these are locations where desktop computers are likely to be present.
It makes sense that a large percentage of people search on mobile devices, since they probably open their preferred results on mobile devices. That’s why mobile-friendly websites are emphasized by search engines.
Nearly every theme nowadays is mobile-friendly, or at least claims to be. We’ve found that some of these themes are not. To test your theme or site using another Google tool, bookmark this link: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.
Google created an open source Accelerated Mobile Pages system to give their users a better and faster mobile browsing experience.
Choose the best SEO plugins possible.
Creating SEO-friendly content requires a significant amount of code. You should hire someone to write that for you (regularly) or use an SEO plugin.
There are many SEO plugins to choose from, like many parts of WordPress. You may already have a particular one in mind.
There is no significant difference in performance between Yoast and Rank Math. However, Rank Math is much easier to utilize than Yoast.
In addition, Yoast SEO Premium has all the important features for SEO optimization, whereas Rank Math is a free plugin.
When choosing a plugin for WordPress SEO, what are some things to keep in mind? Which plugin is the most user friendly for SEO?
You don’t have to try every single one; just find the best WordPress SEO plugin to match your needs.
This plugin scans the website for security threats and identifies issues that need to be addressed. It also informs the user which actions to take in order to address the problem.
This plugin ensures that the images you uploaded on your website do not affect or slow down its speed. Saving pictures in the smallest possible file size without compromising picture quality is a method of image compression.
Having a website is all well and good, but if no one can find it, what’s the point? This step tells you how to get your website noticed by search engines.
Before you begin, make sure that your preferred search engines have already indexed your site. All you have to do is type in your domain name and hit enter. If you get results, you’re on their list (index).
Otherwise, you should submit your website to that search engine. You can locate the appropriate page for submitting your website for indexing by searching for “Bing webmaster tools” or “Google webmaster tools”.
No one wants their website’s every page showing up in search results, so we are all equally eager to appear and rank well.
Search engines can be told which pages not to index using noindex directives in HTML or HTTP headers. The Robots.txt file is not the way to prevent pages from appearing in search engine result pages, as some people believe.
Create an XML sitemap.
Sitemaps help your customers find what they want. An XML sitemap, on the other hand, allows search engines to locate and index your website’s pages, resulting in a higher SEO score.
Ensure the robots.txt file is optimised
You can use a Robots.txt file to tell search engines whether they can or cannot access certain areas of your site. Why not use it to keep pages out of results then?
Without a noindex directive, your page could still be indexed without crawlers visiting it. This might occur, for example, if other pages linked to it with descriptive text.
It is therefore advisable to utilise this file for its intended purpose: controlling/controlling crawler requests to your site.
Whether you want to use noindex directives or a robots.txt file, you must be very proficient with code or use a plugin.
Unless you have some decent programming abilities, communicating with search engine crawlers or bots is the only way to SEO.
Have your website indexed by search engines.
Make sure you submit and index your website to popular search engines like Google Search Console, Yandex, and Bing Webmaster. These search engines offer free SEO tools for your website. You can use these to monitor traffic on your website as well as get information on the number of words used to describe your content.
Having your website listed on search engines will:
Optimizing your website’s content is step four.
Users will share your site if you improve your content, hierarchy, images, and speed. Search engines will also notice this.
Optimize your content for search engine optimization.
There’s no point having a website that loads in 0.1 seconds if it has nothing on it (a blank page), or having one that loads in 3 seconds but has poor content (as good as a blank page). We begin with content because, as the old adage goes, ‘Content is King.’
Of course, content is the most important thing to optimize.
Think about what your users want and try to deliver with every piece of content to optimize it. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes or glasses to do so.
Why would anyone waste their time reading an article on WordPress SEO if there are already one hundred articles on the subject, if it is not unique, if it is not easy to comprehend, and if it does not address what was missed in the previous articles?
However, every piece of content on your website should be unique, easy to read, comprehensive enough, and match the expectations of your audience.
It’s no surprise that search engines prefer posts that:
To generate traffic to your website, blog posts are crucial. Optimizing your blog content is crucial to make your website visible to people seeking your business’s specialised keywords through search engines such as Google.
Focus keywords should be used.
The page or post should rank for the focus keyword or keyphrase most of the time. The search engine uses your optimized keyword or keyphrase to determine which content to display.
Although there are no set standards for the length of a blog post, the current Google update trend indicates that articles should be at least 1,760 words long, or, more plausibly, 2,000 words. When using an SEO plugin, you will usually see that the optimal content length for the homepage is 900 words or less.
Add schema markup and rich snippets to your site.
Design markup, which is part of Schema.org, is a type of microdata. Design markup adds delineations to a webpage (usually known as rich bits), which appear in content areas.
There are several plugins for schema markups that will add schema to your website.
Google Highly recommend to add Schema Markup on your AMP.
Create a hierarchical structure.
When connecting to a website, use a secure connection (HTTPS) rather than an insecure one (HTTP). Search engines favour sites that use secure protocols, so this is a good practice.
Should you use www or non-www for SEO?
Crawlers don’t care whether you use www or non-www on your site, but like many things in the “SEO world,” you should avoid changing it unnecessarily.
Google considers www.yoursite.com and yoursite.com to be different sites, but non-www versions offer a slight advantage in terms of length, which makes them better for sharing.
Breadcrumbs can improve your site’s ranking in search results pages by simplifying the user experience.
A breadcrumb trail shows a user’s location on a website in relation to the homepage.
It’s worth noting:
This remarkably straightforward guide, How to Add Breadcrumbs to Your WordPress Website, will help you learn about and get started with breadcrumbs.
Are search engines supportive of breadcrumbs?
Breadcrumb navigation trails can help search engines better understand the function of each piece of content on your website if they are used whenever possible.
It’s an old-fashioned win-win, besides giving search engines the warm fuzzies, when you help visitors find the content they want quickly.
Security is enhanced when an HTTPS is used, and users and search engines prefer the extra “S”.
An SSL certificate is a small data file that establishes an encrypted connection between a web server and a browser. SSL guarantees that all information sent between a website user and server remains private. In addition to guaranteeing a level of confidence for users and search engines that you are not exposing user data to the internet’s bad guys, SSL is important for ensuring that your users’ data remains private.
An eCommerce website is particularly vulnerable if you don’t keep your WordPress installation updated. Your website will be processing and hosting a lot of your customers’ data, so it’s important to keep your WordPress installation updated.
Reduce image size while keeping the same quality (Size, alt text, URL), or change the image format to something that consumes less bandwidth.
Having images optimized is all about compression, resizing, and lazy loading, and that is what it is all about.
Search engines, however, require a lot of information about pictures (context) in order to optimize them for SEO.
Individual attention should be given to each image on your site, including improving image file names, captions, alt text, and descriptions. However, please note that improving image file names, captions, alt text, and descriptions will usually benefit your site.
You can somewhat automate this process with the help of some image tools, but for the most part, you still need to check individual images.
Here are a few things to consider when doing Image SEO:
Obviously, this list is not comprehensive, and remembering everything on a long list with every upload may be difficult.
An SEO plugin can help you make sure your image SEO is on point.Images require your attention if you want your SEO to be on point, and good SEO plugins will remind you of this.
You may also want to search for the “Image SEO” plugin in the plugin directory if that sounds like something you would be interested in.
Optimizing images is a lot of work, and whether it’s worth it is an absolute yes.
It is true that image searches can be rewarding. Some sources even claim that image searches account for over a fifth of organic traffic from Google (1/5).
Remember, there are downsides to using SEO plugins, as well as upsides. We discuss those in our post on the best SEO plugins for WordPress.
You can boost your dividends even more, if you want to.
Perform keyword research.
An SEO expert usually relies on keyword research to add content to a site or blog. You may find it helpful to know what people search for online if you’re adding content. Through the data collected, you will be able to determine helpful keywords that consumers seek when looking for products or services on search engines.
In addition to using the WordPress SEO Plugin, you should also know how to optimise your blog posts. We realise that SEO is always changing, and therefore we recommend using an external plugin to optimise the title, focus keyword, descriptions, and page destination in order to maximise results.
Note that you should include a good title and meta description when choosing a focus keyword or keyphrase.
Low-quality content should be removed.
An empty or broken page on your website that provides little to no value to the user is considered low-quality content. A page that contains low-quality content may be either an empty page or a broken page. Duplicated pages are also included.
It is vitally important to keep your website content fresh. Make sure to always update the content on your website.
Other than optimizing for search engines, there are several things you can do to improve your site’s SEO.
When optimizing page categories, we typically begin with the headings. On the page’s H1, use the focus keyword that is most likely to attract clients. This is important because a page’s header helps web indexes and clients to understand what the website is about.
The comments function is provided by WordPress.
Akismet, one of the two plugins that come pre-installed with every WordPress site, indicates traffic and engagement on your website. Comment spam, however, may still be present.
It is unfortunate that having a lot of real comments on your website can affect the pace, which is also detrimental to your ranking. To avoid this issue, we suggest splitting the comments into pages.
Don’t use nofollow on external links.
Links are significant to search engines, and you might receive comments with external links in them that might negatively affect your SEO rank or “link juice.” By adding the “no follow” attribute to external links, search engines will not follow them.
A lot of duplicate content exists on the Web.
When you see the same content being repeated on different sites or on the same page of a similar site, that is copied content.
What are the best practices to follow? What should one avoid doing?
It’s impossible to list all the actions you should take and avoid taking to rank well in SERPs. Time would certainly fail you if it didn’t, and if it didn’t, it would certainly fail me.
Here are some simple yet effective methods to keep those spiders happy as they head toward your website:
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The final thoughts on WordPress SEO are as follows.
There is a prize for finishing WordPress SEO, but it is difficult. It is not impossible to rank on the first page of search results, after all.
It’s important to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day; don’t engage in detrimental SEO practices; just keep working on those best practices, and you’ll get there.
You learned about SEO in this article, how it functions, how to get started with WordPress SEO, and how to optimize your site’s content, hierarchy, images, and speed for better rankings.
Of course, we also considered the importance of having a responsive website in addition to avoiding activities that would negatively impact your SEO.
You should look into how you can select the best SEO plugin so that you can rank higher sooner rather than later if you haven’t already done so.
You can achieve even better results with an SEO friendly theme and an excellent SEO plugin. Astra is the most SEO friendly theme available today.