WordPress is becoming an ever more popular CMS option for businesses of all sizes across many sectors. It’s flexibility with a raft of theme choices and plugins to extend a website’s features and functionality is a great benefit. In light of the continued rise of WordPress and our experience in working on WordPress websites, we want to share our top WordPress SEO tips with you so you can make the most of your website and increase your organic traffic.
1) Use A Reliable And Fast Website Host
Choosing a reliable and fast website host really does make all the difference to your WordPress SEO. Your website’s speed is a prominent ranking factor for all major search engines including Google, especially with Mobile First Indexing and an ever increasing focus on user experience.
A poor website host will significantly undermine your SEO efforts and will often undo even the very best SEO work. Choosing the cheapest website host is a choice that many businesses later regret when it has a detrimental impact on their enquiries and conversions.
Paying extra for a high quality host will help you achieve the best possible SEO results and business results. There are a good range of quality WordPress website hosts for businesses to choose from including WP Engine and Siteground, both of which we have used for client work.
2) Install A Great Key SEO Plugin
Whichever WordPress theme your website is built with, it is likely to have only very basic SEO functionality out of the box, thus necessitating the need for a key SEO plugin. Your key SEO plugin should be able to handle all the key SEO tasks that a website requires of you including keyword optimisation, meta data optimisation, sitemap generation, schema support, readability checks and duplicate content checks. Fortunately, there are a great range of available SEO plugins for WordPress that businesses can choose from.
While there are plenty of available SEO plugins to choose from, their quality varies considerably so taking the time to research some of the plugins will pay off. In the course of our SEO work we have encountered a fair few of the options available and our favourite by far continues to be Yoast SEO. It boasts a great collection of features and a very user-friendly interface that is popular among beginners and professionals alike. For most websites it takes care of all their SEO requirements, which in turn removes the need for additional SEO plugins that add unnecessary bloat to WordPress and slow down your website.
Some websites may find the free version of Yoast SEO to be slightly limiting, in such cases it is worth considering an upgrade to Yoast SEO Premium or one of the alternative SEO plugins such as SEOPress or All In One SEO. Whichever plugin you choose, taking the time to complete the initial setup will provide you with a firm SEO foundation.
3) Activate SEO Friendly Permalinks
SEO friendly permalinks are a critical yet incredibly easier in-built feature of WordPress that will help you with WordPress SEO. The default permalink option includes using numbers as page and post URLs, both of which are non-SEO friendly.
In order to switch to SEO friendly permalinks, simply choose a custom URL structure from the WordPress dashboard under Settings > Permalinks. Most businesses will find that the post name option is the best choice as it will help you to incorporate your focus keywords into your URLs easily.
4) Always Complete Keyword Research
Completing keyword research will really help you to focus your WordPress SEO efforts and make sure that you are spending time on optimising for the best possible keywords. Not carrying out keyword research is similar to doing archery practice without having any targets, you would be using your bow and arrow without knowing what to aim for. Completing keyword research is undoubtedly one of the most important WordPress SEO tips.
To complete your keyword research you can use free tools including the Google Keyword Planner in Google Ads and Google Trends to research new and emerging keywords. There are also a great range of available paid keyword research tools from SEMrush, Majestic and Moz.
When looking for suitable keywords, it is worth considering the average monthly search volume and the level of competition for each keyword. It is sometimes best to select keywords with lower average monthly search volumes but less competition as you can usually achieve stronger keyword rankings for them in a shorter timeframe. Whereas, if you choose high average monthly search volumes with higher competition, your results timescales will increase significantly.
5) Write Custom URLs For Pages And Posts
WordPress automatically generates the URLs for pages and posts using the titles that you enter. Unfortunately, this can often result in long URLs that will not fully display in the search engine results.
In order to prevent non-displaying URLs and missed opportunities to include your most important keywords in your URLs, you can add a custom URL that will override the WordPress default option. Simply click on the edit button next to the permalink button
6) Prepare Optimised Page Headings
Page headings are a critical element of your pages and posts. Preparing optimised page headings will ensure that your content has ample keyword placements while also defining a clear and logical structure for your content. Fortunately, page headings are one of the easiest WordPress SEO tips to implement.
The first and most important page heading is the H1 heading. This sets the topic of the page and informs users and search engines about the content that is presented throughout the rest of the page. In many ways it is similar to the title of a film or book. SEO best practice is to have one H1 heading per page/post. The best H1 headings are unique, include your focus keyword and use natural language.
H2 And H3 Headings
In addition to your H1 headings, your pages and posts should contain further headings to provide a clear structure to your content while also separating out the text and improving its readability. Many websites make use of H2, H3 headings as section headings and sub-section headings respectively. Including your focus keyword in your H2 and H3 headings is a great way to optimise your content and make it more SEO-friendly provided that the keyword fits naturally within the heading text. H4, H5 and H6 headings are also available.
7) Prepare Optimised Title Tags And Meta Descriptions
The title tags and meta descriptions on your website have an important part to play in informing both search engine and prospective visitors about the contents of your website. They are considered to be a fundamental element of on-page SEO and a key ranking factor. Optimising your title tags and meta descriptions is one of the most important yet easy to action WordPress SEO tips.
If you have already installed a WordPress SEO plugin, you page title tag will be automatically generated. The automatic version is often unfocused as it does not always include your focus keywords. It is recommended that you overwrite the automatically generated version with your own version that is based on keyword research.
Meta descriptions are noticeably less important as they are not a direct ranking factor. However, they do indirectly impact your SEO performance. Preparing optimised meta descriptions is a worthwhile exercise as it will improve your content relevancy and entice website visitors to visit your website.
8) Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics can provide a treasure trove of useful information and metrics that you can use to measure the success of your WordPress SEO efforts. Once you have installed Google Analytics, you will be able to collect data that you can use to improve and enhance your SEO efforts.
Installing Google Analytics on a WordPress website is easy. If you already have a Google Analytics account and a property already setup, you can copy the tracking code either directly into your theme if the relevant option is available or alternatively you can install a plugin such as Insert Headers and Footers to add the tracking code.
9) Add Internal Links Throughout Your Website
Adding internal links throughout your website will help your website visitors to navigate around the website and find other relevant content on your website which will encourage them to visit multiple pages on your website during a single visit.
To add an internal link, simply highlight the text that you would like to add a link to and click on the link button in the WordPress editor toolbar.
10) Use Alt Tags With Your Images
Images are not as easy as text for search engines to understand. Adding ALT tags to your images helps search engines to understand their content while improving accessibility for visually impaired users. Your ALT tags should provide a clear description of what each image shows. They also offer a great opportunity to include your focus keyword or associated keywords if their placement there is logical.
Many websites include a high volume of images and if you have not been optimising your ALT tags in the past, you will need to revisit your old images and add in the ALT tags. It is possible to do this individually on each page/post on your website or alternatively, you can quickly add image ALT tags in the media library. Adding ALT tags using the media library is often the best and recommended option if you are planning to update a number of images at the same time.
Have You Found Our WordPress SEO Tips Useful?
Improving your WordPress SEO is an involved and often complex process. We hope that you found out WordPress SEO tips useful, if you have any tips of your own that you would like to share with us please leave us a comment below.
As an experienced Hampshire SEO agency that specialises in WordPress SEO we are ready to help businesses that are looking to improve their SEO and increase their keyword rankings. To discuss your SEO requirements with one of our digital marketing experts, book a free consultation or call us on 01962 458 457.