WordPress SEO: Enhanced Guide (2022)
Isn’t the most important reason for choosing WordPress because it is SEO friendly? I think so too. WordPress is SEO friendly and an infrastructure that many people have experience.
All this doesn’t mean that the sites built with WordPress will get ranked well to begin with. But they can be optimized over time, I will explane why in the next point. The problem is that so many of us think that we need strong programming skills and experience in WordPress-webdesign, but it is not always essential nor does for example every designer need this to succeed since there are many tools doing the boring stuff these days which frees up time.
What matters the most is to learn how to optimize your content for high rankings by applying SEO strategies such as linkbuilding, social media marketing and things like using high-quality images, videos and other multimedia sources for your content and site.
WordPress itself makes all of this easy for even beginners since you easily edit content directly on your website and also benefit from more special features as compared to a self-hosted CMS-program.
The platform was created with SEO best practices in mind. It’s lightweight, portable and will grow with you because it’s developed to work on multiple platforms. The interface looks great on mobile devices as well as desktop computers, so your chances for increasing organic search visibility are good to go!
Below you will find the best WordPress SEO tips to help you optimize your site and enjoy SEO success. However, it is necessary to consider a small detail beforehand.
WordPress is a platform that powers 35% of all sites on the internet. It’s important to remember that it powers the world’s biggest sites, including Sony, BBC America, Time.com, and TechCrunch. If WordPress works for global giants, it’s bound to work for you. Moreover, there are very valid reasons for this.
WordPress started its journey as a blogging platform in 2003. But it doesn’t take long before it becomes a powerful and flexible solution to run all sites. It should not be forgotten that it is now also used as an e-commerce solution.
So why has WordPress become so popular? There are, of course, a number of valid reasons for this:
Of course, it is not the right platform for everyone. You should know that there are other content management systems options that are better suited to your individual needs. The commonly cited disadvantages and shortcomings of WordPress are often frequent updates, potential security vulnerabilities, and some learning process required to use bespoke themes. But WordPress is an extremely powerful platform for everyone. It also gives you a strong foundation for SEO success.
What is WordPress SEO?
The wordpress content management system (CMS) alone can never replace a solid search engine optimization strategy. Although it guarantees to use the most recent and accurate methods, you need to do the legwork or else you won’t be able to rank your site on Google.
Having a professional team at your disposal is essential to make sure that you have quality content throughout every page of your site and that users see what you want them to find immediately. Of course, if you choose WordPress for your website’s CMS, make sure that the theme is optimized for SEO so as not to go against any of its reliability standards!
As long as your choice of content management system isn’t dealing with extensive technical issues that prevent your site from being crawled and indexed, you’ll have a good chance of ranking. You should not think that WordPress is a magic weapon that does not require any more effort. SEO can be very technical at times, but considering what WordPress provides, it is possible for anyone to do it.
Using WordPress does not mean that the SEO tactics you use will change. You still need to create great content, earn great links, and make sure you optimize your site in the best way possible. However, WordPress will help you take care of many of the key features that help your site rank. For this, you can benefit from the tricks and tips you will find below.
Getting Started: WordPress SEO Basics
You may be wondering how to properly optimize your WordPress site. Especially before you start increasing your organic traffic values, you need to make sure that you are working in a solid structure. For this, you should be familiar with the following basic information.
1. Choose a Reliable Hosting Provider
You should try to host your site with a reliable hosting company. It is important to choose a hosting company that will not give you trouble in terms of site speed, uptime and security. This is one of the basic requirements that you should consider carefully to get started.
Site speed has a direct impact on the SEO performance of your WordPress site. In addition, both poor uptime and security vulnerabilities can cause site quality issues. If you don’t want to deal with performance issues, you shouldn’t think about going for the cheapest option.
WordPress itself recommends three different hosting providers. If you’re not sure where to start, just consider the options WordPress offers.
2. Install SEO Friendly WordPress Theme
When you first install WordPress, you will encounter the platform’s default “Twenty Twnety” theme. However, this theme will be a theme that you do not want to use for your site.
You can find thousands of free themes directly from the admin panel. If you want to use a paid theme, you can find different designs on various theme sites. You need to choose the theme carefully. Because you may encounter a theme that is not SEO friendly.
While many themes claim to be SEO friendly, it’s not uncommon for them to come with scripts and plugins that you won’t be using. This will negatively affect the performance of your site.
You can use Google’s web.dev tool to learn about potential performance and SEO issues before installing a theme . This will at least help you choose a theme that won’t make you fall behind.
3. Install Free WordPress SEO Plugin
Before you start optimizing your site, you need to install an SEO plugin. There are several commonly used and recommended options, both free of charge:
- Rank Math SEO
- All in One SEO Pack
- Yoast SEO
Rank Math SEO will be used throughout this content. However, I would like you to know that there are more different options between both free and paid options. I was using the free version until 2021.
Installing a plugin on WordPress is quite simple. After logging in to the admin panel, you should follow the Plugins > Add New path from the left menu. When you come to the relevant page, search for the plugin and click the “Install Now” button.
Don’t forget to activate the plugin after it’s installed. While trying to implement the best WordPress SEO tips, you will have to install different plugins. So it is very important that you keep in mind how the plugin was set up.
4. Select Preferred Domain Name
You can choose the domain name as https://www.advisewp.com/ or https://advisewp.com. Your domain name will have no effect on SEO. However, you must accept that your site is accessible in only one of them. Because these are considered different URLs by Google.
To perform checks. Log in to the WordPress admin panel and go to Settings > General. Here you can choose your preferred domain name.
The other domain version will then redirect to your preferred domain name. If you are someone who is starting a new site, feel free to choose both options. However, if you are changing an existing site, you should make sure to stick with the version you have used in the past.
You should also make sure you have an SSL certificate. You need to run your site using HTTPS. If you don’t have a certificate installed, you may want to consider contacting the hosting provider or the developer of your site. You can try using the Let’s Encrypt solution for free.
5. Check Your Site Visibility
WordPress gives you an option to prevent search engines from indexing your site. This option is often used by developers when developing a site, before the pages and content are ready.
You should not forget that this is one of the settings that remains open even when the site is ready to launch. Therefore, you need to check your site’s visibility settings. You should go to Settings > Reading and uncheck “Try to prevent search engines from indexing this site”.
6. Activate SEO Friendly Permalinks
WordPress gives you different options for configuring URLs.
WordPress uses the following URLs by default: https://advisewp.com/?p=123. These URLs are not search engine friendly. Even if it is not possible to determine what the page is about from the URL alone, this is one of the first points to look at.
If you are using WordPress, you can choose a custom URL structure. You can make your selection here by going to Settings > Permalinks. If you want to use an SEO friendly structure, the “Font Name” option will be the right option for you.
7. Verify Your Site in Google Search Console
If you haven’t done so before, you need to verify your site with Google Search Console. You may never have done this before. This is a pretty simple step. All you have to do is use one of the Google Search Console verification methods.
Follow the listed verification steps and choose the “HTML Tag” method. From there, follow the path Rank Math SEO > General Settings > Webmaster Verification to enter the settings of the Rank Math SEO plugin. Then enter the HTML tag in the “Google Search Console” box.
WordPress SEO Tips: Optimizing Pages and Posts
Once you’ve learned and applied the WordPress SEO basics, you can start optimizing your site and working on things that will make a real difference to your rankings.
First, you need to optimize your site’s pages and text before a set of advanced tips and tactics you can use to take your site to the next level.
8. Do Keyword Research
Without keyword research, you won’t know for which search terms you should optimize your site’s content. In fact, keyword research should be done at the start of any SEO project. The information obtained should then be used to plan site content and page optimization.
You can use a variety of tools to identify the keywords you should use and optimize for. The most well-known of these are Ahrefs and SEMrush tools.
I explained competitor analysis and discovering keywords in my video content that I shared below. Your review will give you serious experience to get started.
You should make an effort to learn keyword research in more detail. You may be starting to optimize your site from scratch or creating new content. It is very important to know the keywords you are trying to rank for the page.
9. Use the Hemingway App Tool
Before you start creating or optimizing the content on your site, you should consider using the Hemingway App. The tool will assist you in preparing the content for readability.
Write your content with the Hemingway App and make sure that the Grade score on the right is 4 or less.
If you want to rank high on Google with your WordPress site, you need to make sure you create great content.
10. Create Custom URLs for Pages and Posts
By default, WordPress uses the title of your page to generate the URL. This will sometimes mean that the URL is long and cut off on the search engine results page.
Let’s say you started a piece of content titled “WordPress SEO: Great Recommendations and Improved Guide”. Depending on how you set up your permalink you will have a URL like this: https://advisewp.com/wordpress-seo-enhanced-guide/
However, you know that the keyword you are targeting with the content is “WordPress SEO”. The good news here is that WordPress gives you the freedom to choose a custom URL. Just click the “Edit” button next to the URL. So you can enter your preferred URL.
11. Optimize Headers
In addition to creating the default URL for your page, the page title also defines your H1 title. You may not have any idea what it is. However, you need to learn this.
A page’s H1 header is designed as a way to provide context for what your page is about to both users and search engines. You can think of it in the same way as the title of a book.
Best practices often require the use of an H1 title (the title of the page). However, you should know that you should also use H2-H6 headings. They give structure to your content. They also break up the text into parts and make it easier to read.
If H1 is the title of your book, H2 will represent chapters and other titles will represent subsections. Page titles are a great place to use your page’s main keyword and its variations. However, you should not overdo it.
12. Create Unique Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Your page’s title tag tells users and search engines what your page is about. They are generally recognized as an important ranking factor. The title tag is what feeds the clickable page title you see in Google search results.
Rank Math SEO automatically sets your page’s title tag using your page’s title. But it’s up to you to improve it and add additional words to the title of your page. While doing this, you should generally try to use variations of keywords. I have configured my general settings as follows. In this way, I ensure that my brand name is automatically placed at the end of each title.
As can be seen in the Snippet Preview section above, Advise WP has been added automatically. In the meta description, being interesting and having a call-to-action was a move that increased the click-through rate.
13. Use Internal Links
You need to use internal links in content to help build up-to-date relevance between different pages on your site, pass authority gained from external links, and help users navigate efficiently.
Adding internal links to other pages in WordPress is really simple. All you have to do is specify the URL you want to link to and click the link button in the toolbar.
14. Optimize Images
You should use images or rich media in your content.
It’s very easy to use a screenshot or image with a useless filename. This is not something we always pay attention to. For this reason, we are often faced with images with incorrect names.
Before uploading an image to the WordPress media library, you should make sure that you are using optimized filenames. This helps give a page more context. For the SEO tools image, you should use /Rank-Math-SEO-Global-Meta.jpg instead of /images123.jpg. You just have to make sure that the image meets the typed name.
If you need to rename images after uploading them, you can consider getting support from various plugins.
15. Add Alt Text to Images
When using images in your content, be sure to include alt text for each. Alt tags offer visually impaired users the opportunity to understand images while using a screen reader. In addition, they provide explanations about content and images to search engines.
Make sure the alt tags reflect a clear description of what the image is showing. You can add alt text to any image in WordPress in the “Image Settings” section of the “Blocks” menu:
You have to be careful when adding alt text. You should take care to find sub-text that best reflects the image.
Advanced WordPress SEO Tips: Take Site Performance to the Next Level
If you follow the tips and advice above, you will quickly learn the basics of WordPress SEO. You should think of these steps as a checklist for every page and every post you create.
However, there are other things you can do to improve your site’s performance and help it rank above your competitors. You can try using any of the following advanced SEO tactics you need.
16. Install Cache Plugin
Although WordPress offers strong performance out of the box, you need to do better, especially when you consider that the speed of a site is a strong ranking factor. In other words, there are some site speed improvements that every site should consider.
You may not want to grapple with too many technical details about increasing the speed of your site. However, one of the most effective ways to increase the speed of your site is to use a caching plugin to cache your posts and pages as static files. These static files are served out-of-the-box to users instead of being created dynamically each time, and can significantly improve performance.
For WordPress, you can use one of the WP Rocket, WP Fastest Cache, W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache or Cache Enabler plugins.
17. Optimize Images
Another proven way to improve your site’s speed and performance is to optimize images. Because they are one of the most common things that contribute to your site being slow.
If you use a lot of images and rich media in your content, these can increase the size of the page significantly. However, this is often because the images are not properly optimized. A common problem with images is using a much larger version of the image than necessary. This is a sign that the image is not optimized.
You can manage to optimize the entire media library of your WordPress site and the images you will upload in the future by using the Smush or ShortPixel plugin.
18. Noindex Label Pages and Low Value Content
WordPress uses a number of different page classifications, including categories and tags. Categories serve a great purpose, especially for bringing content together. For example, you started a collection of recipes and you might want to use categories for different cuisines.
Tags are smaller. They usually focus on specific issues. For example, Parmesan cheese, pasta and butter that you will use in a recipe may be labels for you.
Tags are rarely useful for users who are not on your site. From an SEO standpoint, these pages rarely offer anything of value. Usually these pages do not need to be indexed. You don’t want them to get traffic from Google because their traffic quality is low.
The same goes for media pages and other post formats that WordPress uses. Usually you don’t want them to be indexed by Google. For this, you can use the “noindex” tags in Yoast.
By visiting Rank Math SEO > General Settings > Noindex Settings, you can choose which sections are visible or not in search engines.
You can also visit the media tab “Do you redirect attachment URLs to the attachment file itself?” Make sure the option is yes. I have shared the marking you need to do in this as a screenshot below.
19. Use Schema Formatting
Schema markup can help improve your SEO efforts by adding context to your content and data. It helps Google understand your content and present it in different and useful ways. This means improving a search experience.
Simply put, by adding context to your pages, you not only rank higher. At the same time, you increase the likelihood of getting clicks when your page gets impressions.
You can access these settings in the Rank Math SEO section. My settings are as follows.
20. Use Update Date
You need to regularly update your timeless content to make sure it’s always up to date and relevant. However, a frequently asked question comes to mind here. Instead of playing with the publication date of your page, it would be much more accurate to highlight the update date.
If you show users the date the content was last updated on the search engine results page, not the publication date, you can give them confidence that the information is up-to-date and reliable. Using the WP Last Modified Info plugin, you can easily add the last updated date information to your WordPress pages and posts.
It would not be wrong to say that WordPress is one of the most SEO friendly content management systems. One of the main reasons WordPress is so popular is because of its user-friendliness. However, the situation is not limited to being user-friendly. By installing just a few plugins, you have the chance to make your site SEO competitive.
If you’re using WordPress, you’ve made a good choice. By following the steps above, you can succeed in leaving your competitors behind. If you apply the tactics correctly, after a while, you can see yourself as the administrator of a site that achieves great rankings.