More than 43.2% of all websites on the internet use WordPress. WordPress powers about 36.28% of the top 1 million websites. Twelve years running, WordPress has been the fastest growing CMS.

Ease of use, almost 60,000 plugins, and over 9,000 free themes make WordPress the first choice of every beginner blogger or small business owner to start a website. Having a WordPress website is not profitable until it has relevant traffic coming. To have quality organic traffic flowing to your site, you need to perform SEO. And in this post, I will teach you step-by-step how to perform WordPress SEO.

Table of Contents

[A] Basic requirements for WordPress website

Choose a reliable hosting provider Enable SSL certificate

[B] Setting up your website correctly

Use an SEO-friendly URL structure Choose an SEO-friendly theme & SEO plugin Go easy on plugins Check your visibility settings Submit your website to the Google search console

[C] WordPress website technical SEO

Manage your security Perform basic technical optimization Implement schema markup Optimize website speed Use a CDN

[D] WordPress website on-page SEO

Properly optimize & use tags/categories Optimize images Optimize the code Regularly update plugins & themes

[E] Final Thoughts

Basic Requirements for WordPress Website

Choose a Reliable Hosting Provider

The hosting provider also matters for your site performance. A WordPress reliable hosting has many advantages, such as:

Faster loading speed Quick server response Unmatched scalability CDN compatibility

As Google rolled out its Core Web Vital update in 2021, having a faster loading speed and quick server response improves the Core Web Vital score (Improved search engine rankings).

Set Up an SSL Certificate

A valid SSL certificate indicates that the data transferred between users and your WordPress website will remain secure. SSL enables the connection lock in the browser tab and HTTPS. Google confirmed that an HTTPS website has ranking advantages over an HTTP website. So HTTPS is an assured ranking factor.

Setting Up Your WordPress Website for SEO

Use an SEO-friendly URL Structure

After installing WordPress and enabling the SSL, your next step would be to choose the URL structure. Go to the permalink settings on the WordPress dashboard and write the SEO-friendly URL structure. Here are my recommendations for selecting an SEO-friendly URL structure:

Always use lowercase letters Use hyphens to separate the words Keep the URL short and always include the keyword in your URL Don’t include dates in URLs Use only one or two parent directories (for example…)

Choose an SEO-friendly Theme & SEO Plugin

Choosing an adequate theme with SEO compatibility is quite tricky. For simplifying your theme selection process, here is my checklist:

It must have a high loading speed score. Optimized for scheme markup. Mobile responsive. Highly customizable. Conversion-friendly design UI. Better user experience.

Along with a better theme, you need to install an SEO plugin. It will help optimize all on-page factors, such as title, meta description, OG meta, and canonical URL. Yoast SEO and All-in-one SEO are the two most used SEO plugins for WordPress.

Go Easy on Plugins

Every plugin adds code to your website and slows down the loading speed. So I recommend not installing a plugin until it is necessary. Pro tip: Use a WordPress plugin manager for better control.

Check Your Visibility Settings

You must ensure that your website is visible to search engines. For checking the search visibility option, go to the reading settings on your WordPress dashboard and uncheck the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” option.

Submit Your Website to Google Search Console

If you want your website to get indexed by Google fast, verify your website with the Google search console. Generate & optimize the sitemap of your WordPress website using an SEO plugin, and submit it to the search console.

WordPress Website Technical SEO

Manage Your Security

Google penalizes every hacked website, and they lose their ability to rank better in search results. So keep your website secure with an SSL, enable MFA for logins, and use Recaptcha on login & contact forms. Also, check for plugin security.

Perform Basic Technical Optimization

Performing technical SEO optimization for a WordPress website is simple and easy. You can optimize your website using SEO plugins. Here are some technical SEO factors you must optimize for:

Choose either www/non-www version of website Have a valid XML sitemap Use the proper Robots.txt file for search indexability Link content internally.

Implement Schema Markup

In 2011, top search engines first started collaborating to create Schema markup helps search bots understand the page data and structure. It is helpful to create rich snippets. Install a schema-optimized theme and an SEO plugin to implement schema markup to your WordPress website.

Optimize Website Speed

After the Core Web Vital update rolls out, every website must have a higher loading speed to beat its competition in search rankings. Here are my quick tips for optimizing WordPress website speed:

Optimize website code Don’t use too many plugins Use a responsive and light theme Optimize image file size Google PageSpeed Insights to find optimization opportunities.

Use a CDN

CDN is short for Content Delivery Network. Your website may load slower for users not in the same region of your server. A CDN serves the website locally, and your audience can experience a much faster loading speed.

WordPress Website On-page SEO

Properly Optimize & Use Tags/Categories

Tags/categories organize the content on your blog website. Optimize your tags/categories for SEO by adding a catchy title and helpful description. Only add the relevant posts to a Category. With this, your category page will become increasingly optimized and have better opportunities for ranking on top.

Optimize Images

Visual images in between content keep the user engaged and helps the user in retaining information. Besides this, you can’t put a bunch of pictures and get more audience retention. You need to optimize the images as well. Here are four main points about optimizing images on a website:

Alt text optimization (Write SEO-friendly alt text) Image file size optimization (Serve images in next-gen WebP format to save on file size) Image screen size optimization (height and width).

Optimize the Code

Every plugin and theme adds up the code to the website page size. It further affects the website loading speed. To properly optimize your code:

remove unnecessary plugins do not use inline CSS try to keep the CSS & JS file request as low as possible minify your code.

Regularly Update Plugins and Themes

Every time a plugin or theme gets an update, it always with some fixes to the previous version. Regularly updating plugins & themes keeps your website updated. WordPress also has an auto-update option for plugins. Use that feature and enable auto-update for the necessary plugins.

Final Thoughts

SEO is not a one-time process. You have to optimize your website regularly. Using the SEO tips mentioned in this post, you can optimize your WordPress website and rank higher in search engines. This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional. © 2022 Teerath Rajput

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