WordPress SEO Guide - For Beginners
If you want to increase the traffic to your WordPress website then you need to do SEO. WordPress is SEO friendly and it makes sure that the code generated follows SEO best practices.
SEO is about creating a website with optimized code and formatting so that the search engine can find your website easily. SEO can help to improve your rankings and more people will click through your website. You can approach a WordPress SEO services provider to optimize your website. Or you can follow these SEO tips you can get a notable increase in your traffic:
WordPress SEO tips
1. If your website is not appearing in the search results then the first thing to check is the visibility settings of your website. If this option is checked then your website will be unavailable to the search engines. This option should be unchecked.
2. Use SEO-friendly URL structure so that it clearly explains the content on the page and it is easy for humans and the search engines to read. For example, the URL
Is more readable than the URL
From this, the user will not be able to guess what the content of the page will be.
3. If you are just creating your website you can choose between the www and non-www versions of your website. The search engine considers them to be different websites so you should pick one version and stick to it.
4. There are many WordPress SEO plugins available and you should choose the best plugin rather than selecting a different plugin for separate SEO tasks. The most popular WordPress SEO plugins are Yoast SEO and All in One SEO (AIOSEO).
5. An XML sitemap lists all the pages on your website and makes it easy for search engines to find your pages. When you create an XML sitemap the search engine will be able to find your pages quickly and start ranking them. You can use the AIOSEO plugin to automatically create your sitemap.
6. To know how your content is seen by the search engine you can use tools like Google Search Console. It can give you reports and data about how your pages appear in the search results. You can find out the actual search terms the users type in to find your website, how often your pages are clicked and more.
All this information can help you decide what is working right on your website and what is not. Based on the data you can build your content strategy.
Google Search Console also offers alerts when something is wrong on your website like when it finds duplicate content or when the crawlers are not able to access your website and more. You should check Google Search Console once a week and gather insights and check your website’s progress.
7. SEO is an ongoing process and you will have to do it regularly to get the best results. You can create blogs and optimise them for SEO. All the WordPress plugins allow you to add a title, meta description and a primary keyword for every blog you create. You should optimise your blog to get the maximum number of clicks in the search results.
8. To find your primary keywords you can use research techniques used by SEO experts known as keyword research. Using this technique you can find the keywords that the users enter to find your content, products and services. You can use these phrases or keywords in your website content. You can use the SEMRush tool for keyword research.
WordPress SEO best practices
Following WordPress SEO best practices can help you get better results even though you may have already done SEO for your website.
1. In WordPress, you can sort your blogs by category and tags so that the users can find the content they are looking for easily. Categories and tags help the search engine to understand the structure of your website and your content.
Categories are meant for broad grouping of your posts and tags describe the content of an individual post.
2. Search engines give a score (page authority) to each of the pages of your website. The most common signals of page authority are links. You should link your own posts whenever possible. If you have multiple authors then you can create a blog post checklist where they have to interlink to other blog posts.
This will help to increase the time users spend on your website and boost your page views. This will improve the SEO score of individual blog posts and pages. Use the AIOSEO plugin for internal linking.
3. The comments on your website indicate user engagement. Engaged users mean more links back to your website and more traffic. You should make sure the comments are genuine and not spam. Spammers submit comments with bad links which can affect your website rankings. Use the plugin Akismet to combat comment spam.
4. Links help the search engines to decide which pages are important. Links to a website pass some of the SEO scores to the website called the ‘link juice’. For better search ranking you need to get more link juice from the other websites. Use the ‘nofollow’ attribute to external links to instruct the search engines to not follow those links. This will help to save the link juice.
5. WordPress links to your posts from the home page, category archive, tags archive, date archive, author pages and more. By default, the full articles are shown here. Search engines may find it as duplicate content and it may affect your SEO. So you should show summaries or excerpts rather than the full article.
Showing the full article will make your archive pages load slower and it will also affect your page views.
WordPress website speed
1. You may follow all the rules but if your website loads slowly then it will impact your website SEO. Experts say that the users decide whether to stay or leave a website within seconds. This means you only have a few seconds to present your content and engage the users. For this, your website should load fast.
Google also prioritizes websites that load faster and these websites are ranked higher. To improve your website speed you can use a fast WordPress hosting provider like SiteGround or Bluehost.
2. You can use images on your website to engage the users but images take a longer time to load. You should be careful about the size and the quality of your images otherwise your website will slow down.
You should optimise your images so that they load faster. You should use descriptive titles and alt-text with all your images. Alt tags help the search engine to understand what your image is about. It is also useful for vision impaired users as the screen reader can read the alt-text. WordPress allows you to do this easily when you upload an image.
WordPress website security
All your SEO efforts will be wasted if your website gets hacked. Therefore the security of your website is also important. You should use SSL/HTTPS for your website. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a technology that encrypts the data between the user’s browser and the server. Thus adding a layer of security to your website. You can use Sucuri to protect your website.