If you have started a blog on WordPress and now writing articles to rank #1 in Google, then this detailed guide on WordPress SEO tips is going to help you. As a beginner, you must understand how SEO works in real-time and implement things gradually to increase your search engine ranking.
The biggest question newbies are searching after starting a blog is ‘How to get more traffic to WordPress sites from search engines?’
The answer to these questions is very simple. By doing SEO!
Bloggers frequently share tips on the WordPress SEO best practices to get on top of the search engine. The methods may have been right and worked well for them. Yet, they write their guide in such dense jargon, that it kills the purpose of guiding newbies.
Here I am sharing the top 10 WordPress SEO techniques for beginners so that they can comprehend it easily.
Almost all bloggers use WordPress to start their blog because it is the easiest to use and maintain. If you haven’t started your blog yet, I highly recommend you do so as soon as possible.
Note: These SEO tips are specially targeted for “WordPress Users.”
What Is SEO and How Does SEO Work?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization.
Bloggers use a variety of strategies for getting traffic to their blog. However, SEO is the best way to get highly targeted traffic to a site. It’s FREE, and the good news is, the traffic generates from SEO can easily convert into your customers and loyal audiences.
SEO encompasses various techniques, including On-page and OFF-page strategies. These strategies are used by website owners to get a higher ranking in search engines, and consequently, more traffic.
If your content is highly valuable and optimized with proper formatting, it is easy for Google crawlers to index your article.
Simply put, if people search for a keyword already added in your article, Google will display your website to the searchers. As a result, your site will get traffic.
Why is SEO so Important?
SEO is the most significant way to get a good deal of traffic to a website without any cost. As that traffic is highly targeted (hot traffic), It easily converts into subscribers and customers.
Search engines like Google and Bing use different algorithms to determine website positions in SERP (search engine result page). Though these search engines have advanced algorithms, they want website owners to help them understand the content as well.
If your content is not optimized according to Google’s ranking factors, it’s difficult for Google to understand your content and rank accordingly. You will be missing heaps of traffic if your blogs do not show up in the search results.
Hence, website owners must optimize their site based on search engine ranking factors.
Let me clear one thing. You may have lots of advanced SEO knowledge, but your article can’t rank higher in search engines if the basic setup is not perfect.
15 WordPress SEO Tips For Beginners
I agree that SEO is technical, but the good news is that you don’t need to be a techy geek to do it. Just a primary setup of your WordPress site can bring a noticeable boost in both rankings and traffic.
If you are a WordPress user or plan to use it soon, then the steps below for WordPress site optimization will be very helpful for you.
Let’s dive right into it:
1. Get A Fast WordPress Hosting
Website speed is a very important SEO ranking factor. And to speed up your WordPress site, the first thing you need is a good WordPress hosting. Yes, buy a WordPress hosting, not a regular shared hosting plan. You can read the comparison between web hosting Vs WordPress hosting to understand the differences.
Now while picking the fast WordPress hosting, I always recommend SiteGround WordPress Hosting plan only. It’s quite costly for beginners, but their hosting plans (GrowBig or GoGeek) is really amazing and provide a lot of amazing features to speed up your website.
In case you are looking for a cheap WordPress hosting, then go for Bluehost. I am using both the hosting so that I can easily find how good is their services. Bluehost is also the #1 hosting as per WordPress.org/hosting.
Right now for our readers, you can avail of an exclusive discounted price of $2.95/mo using this link. Go for 3 years plan to save maximum on Bluehost.
2. Install A Fast Loading SEO Friendly Theme
Your website design is another important SEO factor. The more simple, easy to navigate & well-coded theme you can create, users will find it useful. User experience is a very important ranking signal as well as it impacts dwell time, the bounce rate of a webs page.
There are various free & premium WordPress themes available with which you can easily create an SEO-Friendly design. But I only recommend GeneratePress & Genesis Framework.
But don’t use heavily featured themes as they will add more unnecessary codes and your website will load slow. This will rather impact your website SEO settings.
3. Check the Site’s Search Engine Visibility Setting
WordPress provides an in-built option to manage your site visibility in search engines. This option allows you to work on your website before it is ready.
When your website is under construction, it has many broken and unwanted pages/posts. If Google crawler indexes this inaccurate data, it will create errors and warnings in the search console later when you remove it from the site.
However, sometimes you may forget to uncheck or accidentally check this option. It then makes your WordPress website unavailable in search engines.
Almost all beginners make this mistake once in their initial days. What you can do is that if your site does not appear in the search engine, then you should check this option first.
Simply navigate to the site admin panel Dashboard » Setting » Reading » Search Engine Visibility: Make sure this option is unchecked.
If this option is already checked, you need to uncheck it if your site is ready to get published. After that, don’t forget to click on the “save button.”
4. Create SEO-Friendly URL (Permalink)
Do you know, a short and straightforward URL is one of the search engine ranking factors? They are easy to read for humans and also for the search engine crawlers.
SEO-friendly URLs not only explain your content, but your audience also finds it easier to remember.
SEO friendly URL Example:
As you can see, this URL type is easy to read and remember, and they perfectly explain what the page is about.
Non-SEO friendly URL Example:
This type of URL has lots of numbers and is difficult to read and remember. Neither they explain what the content is about.
Though this is a tiny change, it makes a noteworthy change in website ranking.
If your WordPress site URL is not SEO friendly, then Simply go to Dashboard » Setting » Permalink Setting: Select Post Name Option and click on the “Save Changes” button to make your URLs SEO friendly.
#ss (permalink setting)#
Note: If you have already published a few posts on your blog, I suggest you not to change the permalink structure. If you still want to change it, don’t forget to redirect the old blog post URL to a new blog post URL.
5. Install An SEO Plugin (Yoast or RankMath)
More than 4128 plugins are available in the WordPress plugin directory only for managing site SEO tasks. However, it is complicated for newbies to choose the best WordPress SEO plugin.
I will help you to choose the best SEO plugins that will do much of your work at FREE of cost. When it comes to SEO, only two plugins come into mind: Yoast SEO or RankMath.
6. Verify Your Site with Google Search Console
Previously, Google Search Console was also known as the webmaster tool. This tool is offered by Google free of cost to manage the website in Google search engine.
This tool provides your website data like search keywords, traffic, backlink source, and so on. It even alerts you when something goes wrong on your site. For instance, it notifies any page that is unable to crawl in search engines, the presence of duplicate content, or other website errors.
This information helps you understand what’s working on your site. You can plan your future content strategies according to this data.
Coming to the basics, you should submit a sitemap and robot.txt file when you add your site to the search console.
Go to the search console » Index » Sitemap: Add a new sitemap by using this sitemap_index.xml.
7. Create XML Sitemap in WordPress
XML means an Extensible Markup Language. An XML sitemap is a .xml file, which includes your website blog post and pages data. It assists the search engines crawler to get all information in one place.
XML sitemap does not increase your website ranking, but it helps search engines to index your site quickly.
Although, if you use Yoast or RankMath SEO plugin, it will automatically create an XML sitemap. This helps new websites a lot as they have lower discoverability.
8. Optimize Your Blog Post for Focus Keyword
Often beginners think just installing and activation of SEO plugin can rank their website in search engines. Understand that SEO is an ongoing process, and you need to update your content frequently to get maximum results.
All SEO plugins allow you to add the Title (Heading1), description, and targeted keyword in every page and post. An SEO title and description will appear to the users when they Google your website.
As I have already said above, SEO is not a one time process. Therefore you need to learn new strategies and implement them.
When it comes to writing a Title and Description, always use power words with your target keyword in title and description for maximum clicks.
Want to check your content score via the SEO plugins? Simply scroll down your page and go to Yoast SEO or RankMath SEO section. There you will see your post’s SEO optimization score.
I highly suggest that you must do thorough keyword research to find the right focus keyword or keyphrase before writing a blog post.
9. Avoid High-CPU WordPress Plugins
We have plugins to do anything on the WordPress website. But the problem is that if you use lots of plugins in your site, it will also increase your WordPress site load time.
Some plugins are necessary to install and are recommended by WordPress itself. We must install plugins that only helps to improve WordPress site speed. Make sure the plugins you are using are from a good developer and they are updating regularly to avoid security issues.
Here are a few of the High-CPU usage plugins which you must uninstall now and look for a better alternative.
- AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
- All-In-One Event Calendar
- Backup Buddy
- Beaver Builder
- Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
- Broken Link checker (use Dr. Link Check)
- Constant Contact for WordPress
- Contact Form 7
- Contextual Related Posts
- Digi Auto Links
- Disqus Comment System
- Divi Builder
- Essential Grid
10. Optimize Your Images
A blog post without an image is worthless. Nowadays, if you simply write content without adding any meaningful images, then your content will lose attention even if it has much valuable information.
Now while uploading images on WordPress, we must follow few of the very important image SEO tips. Let me share them here.
- Choose the right image format like png, jpeg, gif as they are the best file format and supported by all popular web browsers.
- Always compress the images before uploading them to your WordPress site. You can use websites like TinyPNG, Compressor.io, etc.
- Use the Image Optimisation plugin. You can get this feature with SiteGround SG Optimizer Plugin and WP Rocket plugin.
- Activate Lazy Load images so that you can render image loading and speed up your website loading. For that, you can install any Lazy Load Plugin or if your website is on SiteGround, with SG Optimizer you will get this feature. This can be done with WP Rocket Plugin also.
- Use long-tail keywords on image Alt Tags, Captions & description. This is the most underrated SEO practice that people forget. Don’t ignore this image SEO tip as it’s very effective.
11. Use Heading Tags
Header Tags are very powerful when we write content. Most people use only 1-2 header tags and avoid the rest of them. If you want to write a complete SEO optimized blog post, you must use these header tags starting from H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.
By default, most good WordPress themes set H1 tag as blog post title, so you don’t have to worry about that. So, consider from H2 tag and use the rest of them as per the content structure.
E.g. in this article, I kept all the main topics as H2 and then sub-topics as H3 tags. In case there can be further sub-topics under H3, then use H4 tags as well. I generally use such detailed tags on all my web hosting related articles.
Using the header tags in this manner will also attract your article for Google featured snippet or zero position. We all know what is the meaning of getting such positions.
12. Optimized Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
When I am saying title tags, I am talking about the SEO title of a blog post. If you are using any of the WordPress SEO Plugin, then you can easily create a different title that will be visible to readers and a different title for search engines.
This way you can easily target the different versions of the main keywords in 2 different titles and enjoy SEO benefits.
On a similar note, don’t ignore the meta description as well. Don’t simply stuff keywords, rather write a meaningful paragraph with necessary terms that will actually tell the summary of the content.
Good & optimized meta tags will help you to increase your CTR or click-through rate in search engines. So, don’t ignore this WordPress SEO tips.
13. Inter-linking Old Posts
Internal linking is another powerful WordPress SEO technique that many beginners ignore. We all know the power of creating high-quality backlinks from relevant authority websites. But it is a continuous process and it takes time.
But to boost your website ranking, one quick way to create good backlink is by linking your own website pages to each other. Make sure to use the optimized anchor texts or keywords while linking. This way your high authority pages can easily pass the link-juice to your low authority relevant pages and help them to rank better.
14. Fix Broken Links & Use Redirects
Broken links are a huge drawback for user experience. Time to time we must audit our website broken links, 404 errors and fix then asap.
This can be easily done with the help of Rank Math SEO Plugin. Rank Math itself has a 404 page not found an error-monitoring system with a redirection module attached.
That means as soon as you linked your Google search console with Rank Math, it will start collecting all 404 errors in one place. And then you need to redirect them one by one to a valid page. You can also set up a blind-redirect to either homepage or any specific page.
15. Increase Social Reach
The last point I want to mention here is social media. Yes, social media plays a huge role in growing a website and it indirectly impacts your WordPress SEO as well.
Create all the social profiles and make sure to be active on those profiles. Share your blog posts regularly and get the audience to engage with your posts. The more audience will share your content on social platforms your blog or blog posts will receive good social signals which is nothing but a positive vote.
This will further help you to increase your website pages authority & usefulness. That means your search ranking will increase.
We hope this WordPress SEO guide will help you optimize your WordPress site for better performance. A good website structure always gets appreciation from readers as well as the search engines. You can check out another article on website SEO practices to get a detailed idea.
Go ahead by implementing all the steps mentioned above. You will surely see remarkable changes in your site ranking within a few weeks. Feel free to write a comment below and share your feedback or anything that you want to share about WordPress SEO.
Note: This is a guest post by Zara Humaid, further enhanced & edited by myself. Zara Humaid is the founder of Inflatic.com and ZaraHumaid.com. He is a passionate blogger by heart. He helps other bloggers and small business owners grow their business online. You can connect with him on Twitter, Instagram.