Improving your WordPress SEO is crucial for getting more traffic to your website. Sadly most WordPress SEO Tips guides are too technical for new users to get started. If you are serious about increasing your website traffic. Then you need to pay attention to the WordPress SEO best practices. In this WordPress SEO Tips, we will share the top WordPress SEO tips to help you improve your WordPress SEO and get more organic traffic.
You might have heard experts saying that WordPress is SEO friendly. This is actually why a lot of people choose WordPress to Start A Professional Blog or website.
WordPress makes sure that the code it generates follows the SEO best practices, there is a lot more you need to do if you want to maximize your SEO efforts.
We have a number of actionable WordPress SEO Tips step that you need to take to properly optimize your WordPress SEO.
To make it easy, we have created a table of content to help you easily navigate through our WordPress SEO Tips guide.
WordPress SEO Tips to Rank Your Website on Search Engines
Table of Contents
- What is SEO?
- Why SEO is important
- Starting with your WordPress Blog
- WWW vs non-WWW in URLs
- Change the default permalinks structure
- Install an .xml sitemap plugin
- Install an SEO plugin
- Nofollow untrusted and useless links
- Noindex duplicate page type
- Use a caching plugin to speed up your blog
- Use a CDN to boost your site’s performance
- Switch to a better web host
- Block spam comments
- Don’t go the PageRank sculpting route
- Writing a new Post, link to your old posts
- Link to the special content more within your site
- Disable author archives in single-author blogs
- Optimize the images on your site
- Don’t link to unimportant pages from every other page
- Tweak the post titles
- Use some of the traditional On-page SEO best practices
- Integrate Social Media sharing buttons in your posts
- Review and optimize your theme
- Switch to a responsive design
- Use AMP Pluging for Mobile users
- Customize your robots.txt
- Update your Blog frequently
- Properly using categories and tags in WordPress
- Use important keywords in the first-100 keywords zone
- Fix broken links on your blog
- Improve your content to improve user experience
- Try to create viral content to get boost in traffic
- Focus more on your blog’s Social Media profiles
- Try to write detailed, high-quality, posts
- Start using SSL/HTTPS
1 – What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” it’s used for monetizing web pages over the internet for the purpose of being indexed by search engines.
In this case, by using SEO our web pages can take a better position on Search Engines.
2 – Why SEO is important
In today’s competitive market, SEO is more important than ever. Search engines serve millions of users per day looking for answers to their questions or for solutions to their problems.
If your content isn’t optimized, then search engines won’t know how to rank it. When people search for the topics you write about, your website won’t appear in the search results, and you’ll miss out on all that traffic.
It is really important for all business owners to make their website search engine friendly so that they can maximize their search traffic.
If you have a web site, blog or online store, SEO can help your business grow and meet the business objectives.
3 – Starting with your WordPress Blog
Now You understand that what is SEO? and Why it’s Important its time to create your online blog / Website.
If you don’t know how to setup a WordPress Blog / Blog Read this Step By Step Guide. – How to Start a Professional Blog,
During Installation of WordPress, you will see an Option (Discoured Search Engines from Indexing this site).
Tick Mark this Option so that they don’t get indexed by search engines. This is useful because most bloggers tend to delete the default ‘Hello World’ WordPress post and tweak permalink structures and all, which would otherwise result in lots of 404 not found errors to show up in Google Webmaster Tools.
4 – WWW vs non-WWW in URLs
If you are just starting out with your website, then you need to choose whether you want to use www (http://www.example.com) or non-www (http://example.com) in your site’s URL.
Search engines consider these to be two different websites, so this means you need to choose one and stick to it.
You can set your preference by visiting the Settings » General page. Add your preferred URL in both the ‘WordPress Address’ and ‘Site Address’ fields.
Despite what someone else might say, from an SEO standpoint there’s no advantage to using one or another.
5 – Change the default permalinks structure
By default, WordPress uses ‘?p=[id]‘ permalinks for posts. This is not search engine friendly and you’ll lose the opportunity to put a few important keywords in post permalinks if you don’t switch to a text-based Permalink structure. I prefer the ‘yourdomain.com/post-name/‘ format, but you may choose any other similar structure.
6 – Install an .xml sitemap plugin
Installing an .xml sitemap plugin is vital for WordPress blogs. Providing search engines like Google links to all the pages on your site in a sitemap, preferably in the .xml format, helps them index your site content faster, in an easier way.
But if you use Yoast SEO Plugin it has XLM Site map Option you don’t need to install any Other Plugin.
A good plugin for WordPress to automatically create and update sitemaps is Google XML Sitemaps by Arne Brachhold.
7 – Install an SEO plugin
Installing a good SEO plugin is must because it can take good care of numerous SEO aspects of your blog automatically. As soon as you install one, you should enable the rel=”canonical” tag for pages on your blog. It helps search engines to determine the original source URLs of content on your blog. That way, it helps eliminate duplicate content issues from WordPress sites.
I personally prefer using Yoast SEO Plugin, it’s free as well premium version you can for your website to optimize your content.
Another popular SEO plugin for WordPress All in One SEO Pack by Michael Torbert. It provides users a broad range of options regarding link canonicalization, page titles, meta description, keywords optimization, no indexing categories, tags and archives, Google Plus authorship, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools verification
8 – Nofollow untrusted and useless links
Basically, a hyperlink with a rel=”no-follow” attribute on a web page means that the web page tells the search engine spiders not to ‘follow’ the link and that it doesn’t guaranty the reliability of the linked page. Additionally, adding a rel=”no-follow” attribute to a link ensures that it gets no PageRank points from the page the link was posted on.
Google advises that webmasters set unrelated links as no-follow. This includes paid advertisements on websites with links to the advertisers’ websites. Generally, you should no-follow links (such as a link to the RSS feed) that are either unrelated to the website that they’re posted on, or are not useful to search engines. You can check what Google has to say about it.
9 – No-index duplicate page type
If your blog already has a category called ‘How To’ and you still tag a post ‘How To’ then that might create duplicate content and duplicate titles issue if you don’t use different title structure for tag and category pages. A quick solution would be to no-index (that’s telling search engines not to index a page using <meta name=’robots’ content=’noindex’ />) the less important page. A very easy way to do so is to use the All in One SEO Pack plugin that I’ve already mentioned before.
10 – Use a caching plugin to speed up your blog
A caching plugin is a must for any WordPress site. Caching plugins do two useful things. Firstly, they make your website faster. Secondly, they reduce the load on your web server. Most caching plugins cache static and dynamic content to decrease the page loading times. One such awesome plugin for WordPress is W3 Total Cache which I use on TechSolutionTips and various other WordPress sites. It’s feature-rich with page caching, browser caching, object caching, database caching and minification options. A good alternative to it would be WP Super Cache, which generates and serves static .html pages to speed up WordPress sites. The goal of decreasing web page load times is to improve the user experience. Search engines also give fast sites more edge in SERPs. So, if you make your website faster, naturally it’ll be good from an SEO viewpoint.
11 – Use a CDN to boost your site’s performance
12 – Switch to a better web host
If your website remains slow even after optimizing the code, using a caching plugin, and a CDN, it’s time to move to a better web host with faster servers. You might contact your host and ask them why your website is performing slowly on their server, but if they fail to provide you a specific reason (such as your website hitting your VPS’ memory limits), you can be sure that their servers are slow in the first place.
A great place to look for a new web host is WebHostingTalk. Their members are very helpful and new members get proper guidance on choosing a web host.
13 – Block spam comments
New versions of WordPress do a very good job in no-following links posted by users in comments. You can prevent spam comments from getting posted in your blog post.
So, why are spam comments bad for your blog? First of all, they don’t contribute anything to the topic and annoy legit users. Secondly, if a post on cars gets a comment saying things about ‘cheap viagra’, search engines don’t like that.
14 – Don’t go the PageRank sculpting route
With a new algorithm update in 2009, Google targeted PageRank sculptors who controlled the PageRank flow between their sites using rel=”no-follow” tags excessively. Google advised webmasters to give more importance to proper site structure and crawl-ability than PageRank sculpting and other similar ways used to game the system.
Here’s what Google’s Matt Cutts thinks about PageRank sculpting:
15 – Writing a new Post, link to your old posts
Internal linking has been and still is a very important way to feed search engines more relevant content on your website. It works as a virtual map of related posts on your site and makes navigation within your site easier for both users and bots. Linking to your old but related posts manually using manually chosen anchor text performs better than linking to old posts using a ‘related posts’ plugin which displays full titles of your old posts while linking to them. In addition to SEO, it also helps your old posts get more traffic.
16 – Link to the special content more within your site
Do you wish to give a post on your site special importance? Is a post on your blog a result of unique research and provides great value to the readers? You may link to it more often than you do in case of other posts in new posts and/or on the sidebar to let search engines know that it’s special and deserves more user attention.
17 – Disable author archives in single-author blogs
It is best to disable author archives in single-author blogs because author archive pages will be the same as your homepage, listing all the latest posts by the same author. You can remove links to author pages in your blog by modifying your theme, or you can use the WordPress SEO plugin and check ‘disable author archives’ within the plugin interface to 301 redirect archive pages to your homepage.
18 – Optimize the images on your site
Optimizing your images by compressing and resizing them may reduce the sizes of the images to a great extent, decreasing the page sizes and thus improving page loading performance on your blog. You may use online image resizing and compressing tools as well as their offline counterparts.
Make sure the images that you upload in WordPress are already optimized, but even if you don’t have already optimized images to upload, you can use a plugin like Smush.it to optimize and reduce the sizes of uploaded images automatically.
You can also add proper image tags to images in your posts to help them rank better in image searches. You can also include additional keywords through alt tags in your posts.
19 – Don’t link to unimportant pages from every other page
Due to changes in Google’s algorithm about no-follow links, it’s advisable that you don’t include links to your contact page, RSS feed and other unimportant pages from every single page of your site. If you do that, and even use rel=”no-follow” attribute for those links, you’re still wasting some PageRank juice as not only the no-followed links don’t get the PR juice, that amount of PR juice actually gets wasted. So, don’t link to everything from your menus and footer.
20 – Tweak the post titles
Post titles still have a significant impact on SERPs, so a nice informative title containing all the necessary keywords is an advantage when your target is to make that page rank higher in search results. Place low-competition keywords in your title efficiently to get more chance to rank high in SERPs. But you need to make sure that people actually search for them. You can use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to check global and local search stats and competition levels of keywords and phrases.
Google knows the synonyms of popular English words, but as of now, it doesn’t know that the meaning of strategies is somewhat similar to the meaning of tactic. So, if you write a post with the title – “Best Strategies To Root Your Android Device”, it probably won’t show up in SERPs if the user types “best tactics to root android”. So, there has to be a proper balance of low-competitiveness and global or local monthly search volumes in the keywords that you choose for your post titles.
21 – Use some of the traditional On-page SEO best practices
Some traditional SEO practices can still be implemented even today. I’m mainly talking about on-page SEO here. If you’re using an SEO plugin like All in One SEO Pack like I do, you can set custom titles and meta descriptions for your posts for search engines. Manually written keyword-rich descriptions still hold some value in search engine ranking factors. However, modern search engines like Google now automatically generate descriptions depending on the search keywords, in most cases. You might still do that as it doesn’t harm anything.
Read More: Step By Step on-page and Off-Page SEO Tutorials
22 – Integrate Social Media sharing buttons in your posts
Most search engines including Google take help of social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. to determine what reactions a web page is getting from real users.
When you like a link on Facebook, or retweet your favorite blog post on Twitter, or give a post you liked a +1 that means you liked the post, right? Search engines these days give posts with good social reactions more priority in SERPs. A bonus would be an increased traffic from those social networking sites for your content. You can implement social sharing buttons on your website and get those advantages.
23 – Review and optimize your theme
This is more important for you if you’re using a not-so-popular free theme. But even paid ones costing more than a hundred bucks can have complicated code, which is bad for site performance and SEO. There’s not much you can do if you’re not a techie guy, but if you are, you can tell if your theme is performance oriented or not by just taking a look at its code. A highly feature rich theme that makes more queries to the server while loading a page isn’t suited for a site that doesn’t need that level of functionality. If you love your theme and it’s fairly good except in a few areas, you can patch it up according to your requirements or have a developer do it for you.
24 – Switch to a responsive design
According to an article from backlinks, Google gives an edge to responsive sites in searches from mobile devices (the 74th point). Responsive themes result in an overall better user experience. I prefer responsive themes because I get pretty much the same layout and site experience across all my devices. You might want to switch to a responsive theme to improve user experience as well as SEO on your WordPress blog. Default WordPress themes like Twenty Eleven, Twenty Twelve, and the upcoming Twenty Thirteen are all responsive designs that provide great foundations to custom themes.
25 – Use AMP Pluging for Mobile users
AMP for WP automatically adds Accelerated Mobile Pages (Google AMP Project) functionality to your WordPress site. AMP makes your website faster for Mobile visitors.
26 – Customize your robots.txt
If you don’t want Googlebot to crawl and index specific directories or pages of your site, you can block them straight from your robots.txt. Now with WP Robots Txt plugin for WordPress, you don’t even have to have an actual robots.txt file present inside your WordPress installation directory, it will automatically create a virtual robots.txt for your site that works just as well as a real one. You can edit it anytime from “Settings -> Reading”. You can use this to block specific bots to crawl specific parts of your site, thus improving the SEO of it.
27 – Update your Blog frequently
If you post five times in a week and don’t post anything at all the next week, it’s even worse than posting two posts a week consistently. Search engines love newly updated content relevant content. So if you blog on global cars and say you post about all new car launches happening around the world and the respective events, and it’s not directly copied from somewhere else, Google will love that, and you’ll probably get an edge in SERPs. This is applicable for websites belonging to any niche.
“If you need to take three weeks to do some research, and that research results in a really good blog post, those pieces of content often attract a lot more attention than follow on blog posts.”
Matt Cutts, Search Quality Specialist and Head of Webspam Team, Google
28 – Properly using categories and tags in WordPress
WordPress allows you to sort your blog posts into categories and tags. This makes it easy for you to manage your content by topics, and for your users to find the content they’re looking for.
Categories and tags also help search engines understand your website structure and content.
Often beginners get confused on how to best use categories and tags. After explaining this to thousands of readers, here’s how we approach categories and tags.
Categories are meant for a broad grouping of your posts. If your blog was a book, then categories will be the table of content.
For example, on a personal blog, you can have categories like music, food, travel, etc. Categories are hierarchical, so you can add child categories to them.
On the other hand, tags are more specific keywords that describe the contents of an individual post. For example, a blog post filed under food category can have tags like salad, breakfast, pancakes, etc. Think of these as indexes section in a text book.
For more on this topic, see our guide on categories vs tags and SEO best practices for sorting your content.
29- Use important keywords in the first-100 keywords zone
Google gives the first few paragraphs of text the most important when it indexes a page, according to that same article from Backlinko. You can take advantage of this in two ways:
- Describe what the post is going to be all about in the first few paragraphs, write them as an introduction to the post. Include the keywords that you’ve decided to use throughout the article as per point #17.
- Link to the other important internal posts within the first few paragraphs.
30 – Fix broken links on your blog
If too many broken links are found on your site, search engines will think that the site isn’t properly maintained. It might be penalized by search engines who may think it’s an abandoned site. You can use the Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin to handle broken internal and external links on your blog. This plugin can (optionally) mark broken links as ‘no-follow’ automatically so that search engines don’t get a negative impression about your site. What’s more is you can receive an email notification whenever new broken links are detected on your site and fix them up, unlink the broken links, or simply ignore them from within the plugin
31 – Improve your content to improve user experience
Google has been deeply focusing on content quality for the last few years. Algorithm updates such as Google Panda and Google Penguin have hit low-quality content farms hard. People cannot use the “post crap, build links” strategy that they successfully used in back in 2004. The best way to impress Google is to produce unique, well thought out content that your readers will love. Think about search engine traffic only when you actually have great content on your site.
Read Also: How to Write Best Quality Content
Google now uses a variety of techniques to determine if the users are loving the content on your site or not. These include social signals, on-site user-activity, the bounce rate of a page etc. So even if you manage to rank a not-so-useful page of your site high for a set of keywords, be certain that it won’t take search engines long time to know that people aren’t loving that content on your site and your rankings will get a blow as a result of negative user metrics.
32 – Try to create viral content to get boost in traffic
The problem with some bloggers is that they are often too conservative to produce excellent, unique, compelling and engaging content. At times, no matter how hard you work on your blog, your visitor’s count just won’t increase. We need to reach out to more people with fabulous content at that point of time. Just blog about what’s hot within your niche, present interesting data from a never-seen-before perspective, reach out to other bloggers and engage with your reader base if you really want to create superb content based on awesome ideas. You can take help of Google Trends to know what’s currently hot or what’s consistently rising up the hotness charts lately.
Once you’re done with the content creation part, you need to make sure you give it the promotion that it deserves. Depending on the nature of your post, you can try submitting it to social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Stumble Upon and Digg. Referring visitors from Reddit’s front page can crash even a well optimized and powerful dedicated server in active hours. You can check this guide to gain massive traffic from Reddit. Once you start getting a lot of referral traffic, naturally your organic traffic will increase too, a lot, as search engines now use visitors signals to rank web pages which I’ve already discussed.
33 – Focus more on your blog’s Social Media profiles
Social media accounts are great for increasing your blog’s reach. However, you should be careful about maintaining the social media profiles that you create. Always fill them up with as many details as possible and enrich them with graphics. User engagement on social media platforms is a huge bonus for every blogger. Blogs with strong Facebook and Twitter user bases get thousands of targeted traffic as soon as they publish new content.
It’s good to have active accounts on 3 platforms than having a dozen of inactive accounts on various platforms. If your social media signs indicate that you’re doing good, search engines will surely give your site the organic visitors boom that it deserves.
34 – Try to write detailed, high-quality, lengthy posts
As you can see in the presentation above, the average content length of any page that ranks in the top 10 in Google for any keyword is at least 2,000 words.
The further you navigate to pages 2 and up, the less content the pages listed on those SERPs will have. This explains that Google prefers content rich sites, not because they think long posts are more valuable, but because the actual readers love detailed content.
This doesn’t essentially mean you should extend non-extendable posts. When you’re reviewing a whiteboard on your blog, for example, don’t try to expand the post by writing something obvious and laughable like “the color of the whiteboard I got is white”. 😀
Instead, do some research online on the topic that you’re writing a blog post on, support it with stats and data. Link out to other blogs that support what you’re saying. I personally consider productive posts with at least 1,000 words decent to be ranked high in SERPs. There are posts that don’t need to be that long but write in a detailed way about things that your readers want them to learn about in details. For your clue, this post is more than 4,500 words in length,
35 – Start using SSL/HTTPS
The SSL certification installation on a website is easy, but you must know about SSL (HTTPS) benefits for a website then attempt to install SSL HTTPS correctly on your website. The HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.
We hope this article helped you learn how to properly optimize your WordPress site for SEO. Go ahead and implement a few of these WordPress SEO tips.
And you should see an increase in your traffic within a few months as the search engines process your changes