There’s a reason WordPress absolutely dominates the content management system market. Well over a third of all websites total run off of WordPress and some estimates have that percentage as high as 50%. In other words, WordPress isn’t going anywhere as they make up a massive amount of the online properties you run into any time you go online. Because of that, it’s especially important to understand some of the most important steps you can take to optimize your SEO for WordPress.
Go with a Premium Theme
There are many thousands of themes out there, and admittedly there are many really good free themes out there, however there are many reasons to go with a premium theme.
Generally speaking, premium themes tend to be better maintained, have cleaner coding, and if they are based off a popular theme framework (like Genesis) then chances are they will always be properly updated along with big WordPress updates.
In addition to this, many free themes have technical SEO or the dreaded “schema” issues that have caused otherwise great websites to get penalized through the wrath of Google. Going with premium themes helps you avoid these issues without having to make any adjustments.
Many premium themes are designed to load fast, use clean coding, and are built to be SEO-friendly. The more on-site factors that are taken care of the better, and that’s where going premium really pays off!
Get the Best Plug-Ins
When it comes to getting the most out of a WordPress website it’s true that the plug-ins really do make the site. Some of these top options are going to be really well known while others are going to change with time and new developments.
Yoast SEO is an absolute must. This is a foundation for any WP SEO optimization and that is even with just the basic version. Easy addition of meta descriptions and titles, URL optimization, and tools to check keyword density makes this tool a winner that helps you focus on producing outstanding posts and then following up with the optimization needed to get the most out of them.
If you have a large website you’ll want to find an outstanding image re-sizer to make sure your hundreds or even thousands of images aren’t too large and aren’t taking up too much space. This can reduce page load time and how long it takes to load – and good load times/hosting are a major part of SEO.
While many people use internal linking plug-ins, it’s best to do that manually if you have time. That being said, using one of these auto linkers is still better than doing nothing if that’s the alternative and you’re not going to do it manually.
A plug-in that allows you to connect your site easily to Google Search Console and Google Analytics is an absolute must. You want that data! You also want to make sure to have an XML map plug-in that connects to these tools, as well. The easier Google can crawl your website, see the organization, and follow it, the better your pages will rank.
Optimize Your Images
While this can be done manually, it’s also a real pain in the butt to do it that way. Especially if you haven’t been doing it since the beginning. The good news is that there are both free and premium WordPress plug-ins that can do this effectively.
Optimized images are going to allow for faster loading time, look better for the visitor as well as in the eyes of Google, and give more information via alt tags and file names to let Google know what each picture is of.
This is a crucial part of SEO with WordPress whether you do it manually or automate the process.
Optimize Your URLs
WordPress gives an incredible amount of control over your URLs, and you should absolutely optimize them. Try to make the URL addresses for individual posts short, keyword related, and to the point. The amount of control WordPress gives you an actually be freeing because you can optimize post titles for the reader and the URL for search engine spiders.
This means a blog post you publish title “10 Amazing International Destinations You Can’t Die Without Visiting” can have a URL like yourwebsite.com/10-amazing-international-vacation-destinations. This allows you to have a great title that really jumps out at the reader while the URL focuses on a much more direct keyword.
Take Advantage of Easy Internal Linking
Getting backlinks from other websites can be hard. However you control all the internal links on your own website. This means you can control the keyword anchor text, vary it up however you see fit, and publish more related posts to drive more internal link juice to those posts you want to shoot up the rankings.
Internal linking can take time to do well, and you definitely need to track each post so you know what each post is linking out to and where each post is receiving their links from. Internal linking is an easy way to add more link juice to various posts and for really specific terms so make sure you’re taking advantage of your site’s own authority. These will only continue to grow in value over time as your website continues to grow and evolve!
Free Bonus SEO Tip: Concentrate on Content
About 95% of questions about SEO I see are all about how to get more backlinks, how to get guest posts, how to get more links. This is the wrong approach. WordPress makes it easy to put up quality content with a variety of media – and that needs to be what 95+% of those early WordPress website builders need to focus on.
Until you have your on-site SEO in order, a quality premium WordPress theme, and a minimum of 20 really good high quality blog posts up (pages you need don’t count towards this number) then start with the content. Google said for years that content was king but had a hard time of backing it up. However, multiple studies from many SEO specialists has shown that good content makes a huge difference now, so spend that initial time on making sure the quality of the content is top of the niche.
That can overcome a lot of shoddy SEO – but the best SEO won’t rank crap content anymore.
Good SEO can be tricky, but if you are going to be creating or running a WordPress website, and the numbers suggest this is going to be a high possibility, then you want to make sure to follow these tips. Doing them right will set you ahead of many of the websites out there, while making basic mistakes up front will mean you have to work all the harder to make up for those. If it’s possible. Follow the tips given in this article on WordPress SEO and you’ll be much happier with the results.