How to make your WordPress SEO better
You know how important WordPress SEO is when you are running a WordPress website. You can’t achieve optimal ranking results without the right SEO techniques regardless of how beautiful you’ve made your website. Applying these WordPress SEO tips will help your site rank higher on search engines. But the problem is, SEO can be quite daunting for the newbie; many find it too technical.
So, we came up with the following WordPress SEO tips specifically for beginners. We made the SEO basics uncomplicated and pretty straightforward, so it’s easy to apply on your website. No more worries about how to improve SEO because we got you covered!
Why SEO Is Important
If you want to pull traffic into your website, you turn to search engines; those are where most of the action comes from. To maximize traffic to and from the site, you need to optimize and make it search engine friendly.
With millions of pages that need ranking, it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack. How can search engines identify what pages are to be placed on the top SERPs? Search engines have sophisticated algorithms that can recognize high-performing web pages. But this is just half of the equation.
Unless it’s optimized for search engines, nobody will find your website. Simply put, you are missing out on opportunities when search engines could not even find your website even though you’ve got the perfect answer to people’s needs. Making your content Google-optimized or any other search engine optimized, for this matter, should be your priority.
Here Are Your WordPress SEO Tips
Utilizing some basic SEO tips can mean a lot to your website. While there are more technical aspects of website SEO, following these tips can already boost your ranking and traffic.
1. Structure Your Headings
Headings segregate your content into bite-size pieces, making content reading much easier to read and digest, especially now that most readers are merely skimming your articles. Headings also allow the visually impaired to listen to your content through a screen reader easily.
When editing on WordPress, you’d notice that there are different kinds of headings, ordered Heading 1 to Heading 6. WordPress converts these headings to HTML tags from <h1> for Heading 1 up to <h6> for Heading 6, respectively.
SInce Heading 1 or <h1> is assigned for the title, this heading should only be used once. After all, you only have one title per article. WordPress labels major sections of your content as <h2>. Subsections under <h2> have <h3> tags, so on and so forth. The pattern follows that of the outline of your draft.
Most WP themes place the content title of a particular webpage inside the <h1> HTML tag by default. However, some themes don’t follow this order, which can cause accessibility issues. To safer, always check the heading of your post title. Make sure that’s <h1>.
2. Develop engagement to build links
To rank with specific keywords, you must first know which keywords to target. A way to do this is by searching for high-ranking blogs under your niche. Once you’ve identified those blogs, you can join in the conversation by commenting on their blog posts. Take it one level higher and create a related blog on your site and then add a link back to that blog or website.
Google Blog Search was the go-to tool for this when looking for top blogs until Google shut it down in 2011. Fortunately, you can still use this tool by following these instructions:
- Go to the Google Search page
- Write your primary keyword in the search bar.
- Click the “News” under the search bar.
- Click the “Tools” located on the same line to the right.
- Under this line, click the “All News” option.
- Choose “Blogs” in the drop-down menu.
3. Get those readers to subscribe!
Don’t forget to add the RSS feed icon to your pages. Make sure that your readers can easily found this. You can also link your RSS feed to an email service. Such will save them time as they don’t need to visit your site to read new posts from your blog. Your audience can read them through their feed reader apps or receive your updates through their emails. Your RSS subscribers are more likely to share your post on their social media platforms, too!
4. Clean up your code
Inline scripts are heavy for page loading; it slows down your webpages. The common solution is to move the CSS and JS scripts from template to external files.
5. Optimize your descriptions
Among the most critical factors in an SEO checklist is to review your meta descriptions and making sure that these are optimized for search engines. Meta descriptions are those snippets of texts found under the URL as you view the search results of a query on search engines. These descriptions tell what the audience would soon read. These texts, together with your title, hook the reader to what your content is all about. That being said, your meta description has to be relevant to the topic of your article. A better meta description can increase your click-through-rate (CTR), which directly affects your ranking with Google and other search engines.
Here are some best practices when optimizing your meta descriptions:
- Keep short but catchy. The ideal number of characters 155, but this is not a hard rule.
- Keep it in the active voice
- Make it inviting
- Include the main keyword
- Customize it according to the topic it carries
- Don’t mislead readers with the description
6. Avoid duplicate content with canonical URLs
Sometimes you can have two versions of a page with little tweaks on the design. This situation is particularly common in an e-commerce site. You can get penalized when you have duplicate content with different URLs. Canonicalization is choosing one URL to be the original one, and the rest become legitimate duplicates that point back to the assigned canonical link.
With the code “rel=canonical” plus the assigned URL as the original, you are signaling to the search engine that the one with the canonical code is a legit duplicate, and there is an original URL You add the code in the <head> section of the non-canonical page. Adding canonical URL improves SEO regardless of the duplicate. So, which should you use as the canonical? Choose the one that’s more high-performing, that is, having more visitors, comments, or more linked to.
7. Optimize the comments
The comment section is where you encourage engagement from your readers. This is the space where they can directly interact with you. It’s also where you can create lasting relationships with them. Your SEO can benefit significantly from the interaction you develop in the comment section- and while you are increasing engagement, make sure that you are using your target keywords in there. A lively comment section means a blog with high engagement. As the traffic goes up, Google would notice it.
8. Disable unnecessary archives
Every time you create a post or use tags and categories, WordPress creates and puts them on archive pages. These pages can be grouped based on the author, date, and categories and tags. Your problems with archive pages arise when you are the only one writing on the website- you actually don’t need these pages. You can use a WP SEO plugin to remove author archive pages.
9. To SSL or not to SSL
SSL used to be optional, but in 2014, Google decided to award ranking points to sites that have HHTPS and SSL certificates. Furthermore, without the certificates, websites are penalized by search engines. It’s a good practice for websites to add and use these certificates as they provide additional security.
10. Optimize your Titles for SEO
If you want to rank well on search engines, you should optimize your page title as this is the first thing visitors can see when your page is posted on search results or when they check your website content. With the right combination, page titles can entice, hook, and encourage visitors to check out your content. Make sure your keyword is part of the title. Also, ensure that this keyword is placed near the beginning of the title.
11. Linking to related posts
Your readers should stay longer on your website to increase your page views. This is one way to improve your organic SEO. The best way to keep your readers engaged, so they remain on your site is by offering related content. Related post plugins can help you with this issue as these tools check your old content by for relevant topics and posting them below the newer content as related posts.
Here are some examples of related posts plugins
12. Add XML sitemaps
XML sitemaps are like the outline of your website, where it lists all the URLs. This useful for search engines so it can keep track of your content updates, among others. Find a WordPress SEO plugin that can create, configure and update your XML sitemaps so it can inform Google that your site is brand-new.
13. WWW vs. Non-WWW
Decide whether to include “www” or omit it altogether. This means that your home page URL is different from the WordPress installation directory. To change this feature, go to General under the Settings option.
14. Interact with your commenters
One of the best methods to raise your organic traffic is by creating rapport with your audience. Always thank them every time they comment on your webpage. Also, write original content and publish it on a regular schedule. Sometimes it pays to be thought-provoking to keep the engagement going. Don’t just go overboard with it. Ask the opinion of your audience. Give a compelling call-to-action at the end of your content to encourage readers to comment about the blog.
15. Image optimization
You shouldn’t neglect to optimize your images and other multimedia content too. You should include keyword related alt tags to your images as these can help drive organic SEO to your pages. Make sure that the keyword is at the beginning of the keyphrase. Another benefit of images with enriched keyword tags is helping the visually impaired readers who rely on assistive screen readers. Additionally, make sure you don’t overstuff your alt texts with keywords as that would look spammy. One way to effectively use alt text is to describe the image in 3-4 words.
16. Don’t use stop words in your permalink
Your permalinks should have your target keywords but make these short and descriptive. That being said, you shouldn’t include unnecessary words such as ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’. Removing these words makes your posts more readable and shareable.
17. Install Yoast SEO
Yoast is a powerful WordPress SEO plug that’s easy to install and can quickly optimize your pages. It does more than on-page SEO. Most of the important features of this plugin are offered free. Here are some of the features of Yoast SEO:
- Webmaster tools
- XML sitemap generation
- Custom meta description creation
- Focus keyword analysis
- Add page redirects
- Permalink changing
- Bulk title editing
Make sure that your pages in a category don’t have issues, especially when there are already a lot of published posts. This is to guarantee the bot won’t struggle to look for particular posts when it visits your category webpage. With these in mind, your theme should support rel=”next” and rel=”prev”. Also, customize your pages so it becomes easier for search engines and your readers.
19. Comment Call To Action
To increase your engagement, include a call to action at the end of your post. Then, ask for the opinion of your readers or encourage them to share their thoughts or your posts on their social media accounts.
20. Aim for speed
How fast your page loads is a determining factor that search engines use to spider your site. The better the performance, the more pages the search engine crawls the site. There are factors you must do to improve the speed of your website.
- Optimize the pages. Make sure that the themes and plugins are tweaked to perform in top shape
- Use a CDN to serve static files such as MaxCDN
- Install a caching plugin such as the ones below:
21. Choose the right structure for the permalink
When you are still starting up and creating your website, the first thing you have to do is change the permalink settings. Doing so, later on, would only cause issues. The right permalink structure makes your pages more relevant to users and search engines. To change your permalinks structure, go to the Settings, and click the Permalinks tab.
22. Add breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are links found above the title post, which allows readers to easily navigate your page as well as enable search engines to understand your site structure more. Your breadcrumbs should link to the category of the post and the homepage.
23. Go easy on the tags
Tags are often overused because many people think tags alone help make their SEO better. Tags group similar content, so it’s easier to associate one post to others- that’s how tags can improve your SEO. You should only use one to two tags per post.
SEO for WordPress doesn’t have to be complicated for beginners. You can follow these techniques to help you improve your organic search as well as your website security. Are you struggling with your SEO? We are here to help. Contact us and we would be happy to assist you.