WordPress SEO: 27 Tips to Improve Your Website’s Rankings
WordPress is an excellent tool for creating a beautiful website. It can help you create any type of site you want. However, it doesn’t do any good to have a great looking website if you’re not receiving any traffic from the search engines.
To help make sure you receive the traffic you need, it’s essential to optimize WordPress correctly by utilizing the appropriate plugins, themes, and tools that are available.
Here are 27 WordPress SEO tips that you can use to improve your search engine rankings:
1. Install the Yoast SEO Plugin
Installing and utilizing the Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most helpful actions you can take. It allows you to quickly write search engine optimized content that gives you full control over several SEO functions. However, it’s recommended to avoid using the Yoast snippet variables option as it isn’t optimized for CTR, character length or keywords. It’s always better to write a custom title and meta description when you’re creating a post.
Leaving the permalink structure of WordPress at the default setting will result in all of your post and page URLs looking like yoursite.com/?p=123, which is horrible for SEO. When you’re building a new site, change the permalink settings to a structure that looks like yoursite.com/post-name or yoursite.com/category/post-name.
3. Use Custom URLs for Posts and Pages
You should create custom URLs for every post and page. Simply click the “edit” button on your post title or page title and enter your preferred URL. Shorter URLs tend to rank better than long URLs.
4. Add Alt Text For Your Images
Image alt text is the text that appears in place of an image, if the image fails to load on a user’s screen. You should always add descriptive alt text for your images. It helps search engines understand what the image is about.
5. Focus on One Keyword Phrase Per Page
When you want to rank in the search engine results pages (SERPS) for a specific keyword or keyword phrase, you don’t want to use it on multiple pages or posts. This activity will cannibalize your site, and you will become your own competition. Stick to one keyword phrase per page and make sure it’s included in the title, introduction, meta description and subheadings of your content.
6. Avoid Creating Duplicate Content Accidentally
Duplicate content can be detrimental to your site. You’ll want to prevent creating it as much as possible as it can confuse Google and make it more difficult to rank your pages. By using a tool like Copyscape, you can check to see if you’ve got this problem with your site. Note that if you are operating a WordPress e-commerce site, you’ll need to write unique product descriptions for each one.
7. Manage Your Categories
When setting up your website, choose your main categories. These can act as great landing pages, especially if you’re operating an e-commerce site. If you know that a few of your categories are going to be larger, it’s best to make subcategories for them. You want to have your categories be about the same size.
8. Improve Page Loading Speed
Google likes to see fast page loading speeds, which makes it essential to optimize this factor. Utilizing more than one tool will give you the best results. Testing your site with tools like GTMetrix, Google Lighthouse, Google PageSpeed Insights and the Pingdom Website Speed Test will provide you with the data you need to make sure your site is loading quickly.
9. Check Your Site’s Visibility Settings
Clicking through the Settings menu of your WordPress site can prove to be highly valuable if you find a setting that’s incorrect. Go to Settings > Reading and make sure your Search Engine Visibility setting is unchecked. It will help ensure that the search engines can index your site correctly. Also, be sure to check your General Settings and give your site an appropriate site title and tagline.
10. Utilize Google Search Console
Another tool that can help you analyze the performance of your website is Google Search Console. Sorting through the impression data and search queries allows you to identify possible opportunities where you can improve your click-through rates.
11. Add Rich Snippets for Higher Visibility
Adding rich snippets with a plugin like Schema Pro can increase the visibility of your website listing in the Google search engine. Google ads a snippet of information below the main listing to help searchers learn more about a site so that they can see if they are interested in clicking on the link. Using this plugin can help increase the chances of Google creating a rich snippet for your listing.
12. Load Images Quickly
Images can slow down your website considerably and hurt your page loading speed. Using a plugin like ShortPixel can help you compress images so that they load faster. Anytime you can increase the loading speed of your pages, it should be done to help ensure that the person waiting for your site to load doesn’t become impatient and leave.
13. Use a Caching Plugin
Using a caching plugin like WP Rocket can provide great results on your website when you want to cache certain aspects of a website page. This type of plugin takes common elements of a website and stores them in memory so they don’t have to be loaded every time a person goes from page to page on your site. This function makes it much more enjoyable to use a website when it’s loading pages faster.
14. Utilize an SEO-Friendly Theme
Using a search engine optimized theme is another excellent way to increase your chances of ranking higher in search engines. Look for a theme that offers a clean code and fast load times. Consider using an SEO-friendly theme like GeneratePress.
15. Choose A Reliable WordPress Hosting Provider
Site speed is a ranking factor for search engines like Google. A good WordPress hosting company will make sure that your site loads fast. Check out our comparison of the most reliable WordPress hosting providers currently on the market.
16. Encourage Engagement
By encouraging your visitors to leave a comment or share your information on social media, it can help improve engagement, which also helps benefit your SEO. Be sure to ask them to write a comment by writing in an engaging way or doing it with a video. Be sure to answer any comments that are given so that you can build a relationship with your readers.
17. Improve Your Reach
Having your information included on social media sites is another great way to grow your audience and increase engagement. Increase your activity on several different social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. If you’re short on time, it’s better to just focus on one of these sites to get the biggest bang for your buck.
18. Optimize Content for Social Sharing
Another great tip to optimize your content and increase engagement is by using the Yoast plugin’s Twitter and Facebook tabs to add Open Graph meta data. You can upload custom images and also customize the title and description for these social media sites. Doing this can be beneficial if you are using boosted posts on the Facebook ads platform and want to include different text.
19. Create High-Quality Content
Creating longer content that is useful to visitors is essential if you want to be a trusted site in Google eyes. Google wants to send it’s searchers to trusted sites that provide useful information. If you can give searchers the information they’re looking for with a long post, Google will reward you. Depending on your topic, you may want to write a 2000 or 4000+ article on your subject.
20. Include a Table of Contents
Adding a table of contents to your site can have tremendous SEO benefits. It allows people to link to specific sections and can also reward you with increased time spent on each page of your website. One way to do this is by creating an HTML table of contents and adding it or using a plugin like LuckyWP Table of Contents.
21. Create More Trust With an About Page
This tip can work for both businesses and personal websites that use WordPress. One of the factors that Google deems important is the trust that a website provides to its visitors. Measuring this is done by the level of engagement you receive. When a visitor comes to your site and sees an About page, they may want to learn more about you or your company before they interact or purchase a product or service you’re selling. Writing a killer About page can help create trust and the higher level of engagement you’re seeking.
22. Add SSL
The Google Chrome web browser began showing websites as being “not secure” in 2018 if they didn’t switch to the https structure for their URLs. Configuring your site with a plugin such as Really Simple SSL can take care of this problem and help ensure that your website doesn’t get flagged for being not secure. You can imagine that this is a huge turnoff to a potential visitor.
23. Use a Responsive Design
Utilizing a responsive design means your website is compatible with several types of devices such as smartphones, tablets and PCs. If your site doesn’t show correctly on the device a person is using, they may decide to quickly exit, which kills your level of engagement. Also, it can help to focus on the main reasons why a person is visiting your website when you’re optimizing for mobile users who may be looking for directions or your phone number. Keep this type of information visible.
24. Add AMP Pages
Adding accelerated mobile pages with a plugin like AMP can help make your WordPress site load faster as well. Quicker loading pages can result in higher click through rates as your visitors won’t have to wait around for too long to access your site and get the information they are seeking.
25. Check Your Site’s Health
If you’ve been working on your WordPress site for a while and haven’t checked its health, you may want to do this by going to Tools > Site Health. It will provide you critical information about your configuration and ways to improve it. You can explore data related to your themes, plugins and much more.
26. Use PHP 7.0 or Higher
Keeping the PHP version of your WordPress site current is another essential factor that is important to address. Make sure your version is PHP 7.0 or higher, which provides a speed boost, more efficiency and modern development features. Using the latest PHP version will also help keep your site more secure and safe.
27. Analyze Performance With Google Analytics
Google Analytics provides an abundant amount of essential data that you can use to measure how well your website is working at bringing in traffic. Installing an analytics plugin to your WordPress site allows you to check visits to your site, the number of visitors to quickly leave after landing on a specific page and much more.