WordPress has firmly established itself as one of the most important website creation platforms. It allows for easy website creation, with thousands of plugins and themes to improve and customize your work.
This also means that anyone can make an appealing website in almost no time. With this much competition, it’s more important than ever to brush up on SEO best practices for your WordPress website.
Getting Started With SEO
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of SEO. No matter how well crafted and intuitive your website is, it will never reach its full potential without SEO.
WordPress as a platform is already heavily geared towards making SEO as easy as possible. There are hundreds of themes and plugins that promise to automate and solve smaller and simpler issues. However, you should also take steps to make sure your SEO is up to par.
WordPress SEO Best Practices
The best practices listed below will require a bit of time and effort on your end, but if done right, they will make a big difference for your SEO rank.
Back to Basics
The blog section of your website is the most important SEO tool you have. If you don’t already have one, add it as soon as possible.
Even with a blog section, you’ll need content if you want to improve your ranking. However, this content needs to be unique and useful.
Google is pretty strict when it comes to plagiarized content, and if you copy content from other websites, it will flag you in an instant. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t cover the same topics. Online tools can help you find out if your content matches an already existing post.
Having useful content means that readers can get valuable information out of it. Helpful and informative posts will set you up as an authority in your field, raising your SEO rank along the way.
Installing a comprehensive SEO plugin is a simple way to take care of your basic SEO needs. Plugins like Yoast will help you add meta titles, tags, and descriptions while editing your pages.
They will also analyze how you use keywords and show a preview of how the link to your page will look in Google search results.
Optimizing the internal structure of your web pages has a twofold benefit. First, it lets Google and other search engines index your website more accurately. This makes it more likely to show up in the search results list.
Second, it helps visitors use and remember your page addresses with more ease. These are achieved by optimizing permalinks and setting up an XML sitemap.
Going to Settings >> Permalinks in WordPress lets you quickly change how the URLs to your website pages will look. An example of a good permalink would be ‘www.yourwebsite.com/title-of-your-page’. This will make your page easier to find and remember.
As you upload more blog posts and the number of pages on your website grows, you’ll need a way to organize them. To do this, you need to create an XML sitemap. Creating an XML sitemap is easy, with plugins that basically automate the process for you.
Keywords are the cornerstone of SEO, and using them the right way can make or break your rankings.
When writing your blog posts, choose a focus keyword, and make sure you use it throughout the post in a natural way. If you have Yoast, this will be even easier, since the plugin will let you define a focus keyword and show you how many times you’ve used it in the text.
For instance, if you’re offering SEO services in the San Diego area, a logical keyword to use would be San Diego SEO. Make sure not to overuse your keywords, though, since Google can end up flagging your website for keyword stuffing. A keyword density of 0.5 or higher should be ideal.
Improving Website Speed
Website speed has become one of the most important factors when it comes to ranking with Google. Speed is also vital for your user experience, with 46% of visitors not going back to websites with poor performance.
There are a couple of ways you can improve your website sped. One of them is to switch to a better website host or negotiate a better package with your current one.
Another one is to perform some technical SEO. If your budget allows it, you can hire an SEO expert to do this for you since most of the changes will be a one-time thing. On the other hand, if you have the skill and the time, you can also try doing it yourself.
On the topic of performance, you should also make sure that all the media on your website is properly optimized. This means that all the images and video take are the smallest possible size while maintaining clarity and resolution.
This will directly impact your user experience by drastically speeding up your website and cutting down on the loading times.
With the steady increase in mobile browsing, it’s more important than ever to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Using a mobile-friendly WordPress theme will make things much easier for your visitors, especially if it also uses responsive design.
Google Analytics is a free tool you can use to analyze your SEO efforts, with the added benefit of seeing exactly how Google ranks your website.
It allows you to do a number of tasks, including analyzing sources and behavior of visitors, locating missing pages and broken links, and helping you fight spam.
The Bottom Line
SEO is the key to the long-term success of your WordPress website. From taking care of the basics to implementing more advanced techniques, the best practices we’ve laid out above will help your website SEO ranking and traffic reach a new level.