WordPress SEO is very crucial for getting traffic to your website. Most SEO guides explain the process of improving your SEO in very technical terms that is difficult for most users. If you want to increase traffic to your website, you need to know about WordPress SEO best practices. In this guide, we will explain to you the best practices to make your site more SEO friendly and to get more organic traffic.
WordPress is an SEO friendly platform, that is one of the main reasons two-third of the live websites and blogs on the web use WordPress. WordPress usually does make sure that its generated codes are SEO friendly but if you want more optimization this guide is especially for you.
The importance of SEO:
For most websites, search engines are the biggest source of traffic. Google and other search engines like Bing etc., make use of advanced algorithms to rank pages appropriately in search results. These algorithms, however, are not perfect and still need your input to help understand what your site content is about. You need to optimize your content first otherwise search engines won’t know how to rank it. You will not receive appropriate traffic if your content is not optimized as the search results won’t show your website in its results. In order to maximize traffic, any developer or owner needs to make a site SEO friendly.
Basics for WordPress SEO:
SEO can be quite technical but if you learn a few tips your site can definitely boost its organic traffic. You don’t need to be a tech genius if you’re already running a WordPress site you can easily understand them.
Checking site visibility settings:
WordPress does offer a built-in option for hiding your site from search engines. The purpose of this option is to give you some time to get on your feet before your site becomes accessible to visitors. Sometimes, this option can be checked by mistake and your site is no longer visible on search engines. Make sure this option is unchecked. Simply log in to the admin area and under settings visit the Search Engine Visibility option and uncheck the discourage search engine indexing option. Save changes and proceed to the next step.
Using SEO friendly URLs in WordPress:
These URLs contain words that you can read and have an idea as to what the page is about. An example would be: https://www.wpbeginner.com/how-to-install-wordpress/
A non-friendly URL would be: https://www.wpbeginner.com/?p=10467
Using SEO friendly permalink structure is seen to improve your chances of better placement in search results. In order to update these settings, visit settings >> Permalinks and select post name option and click on save changes.
The best WordPress SEO plugin:
If you’re using WordPress, there’s a plugin for everything. This can also be bad for users to identify what they actually need. Here we will help you choose the best plugin and that too for free.
Choosing the best WordPress SEO plugin
You basically have two options, Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack. There are both excellent options product breakdowns are available for you to understand the pros and cons of each.
Add XML Sitemaps in WordPress:
What an XML Sitemap does is, it lists every page on your website and makes it easier for a search engine to find content. The rankings of your site are not improved using XML format but it does help search engines find your page and then rank them. Yoast SEO plugins create automatic SEO plugins and to view the sitemap go to your website using this URL (replace your site name with example) http://example.com/sitemap_index.xml
Another tool that is the Google Search Console is offered by Google and website owners can use it to see how their content is seen by the research engine. It shows your data in reports to help you better understand how your site appears in the search results. You can also view the terms people use to search for your site and how often your pages are being clicked. This helps users to identify what exactly is working on their site and what isn’t. After you’ve gathered this information, you can plan your content strategy accordingly. This tool also alerts you when there is something wrong with your website like when search crawlers have difficulty accessing your site or finding duplicate data from your website.
Optimizing your Blog Posts for SEO:
Beginners think that installing and activating a WordPress SEO plugin is all that they need. What they don’t understand is that SEO is an ongoing process if you want maximum results from your site. Yoast plugin allows you to add a title, description, and keywords to each and every blog post. You can also view how others see your website. Your title and description should be optimized to get maximum traffic. After writing your post scroll down to Yoast SEO and take full advantage of the plugin.
Install an SEO friendly theme:
The default theme for WordPress is quite dull and boring. The good news is that these themes can be changed to better-looking ones so that they are more SEO friendly and visually appealing as well.
- Choose a responsive design. Mobile-friendly content may yield better results for mobile users as well as laptop users.
- The theme should be lightweight, avoid themes with third-party plugins and scripts that will surely slow your website down without any advantage to your site.
Choose www vs. non-www:
You should ideally choose the WordPress address URL and Site address URL in WP backend. These options can be changed under Settings and General. This is done because www is Google's preferred version.
Internally link post and pages:
Internal links point to other pages on your website and they’re quite important because:
- The flow of PageRank is improved on your site.
- Your visitors are directed towards more of your content.
The links can be added using the WYSIWYG editor. Just highlight the text and click on Insert/edit link and you’re good to go.