WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) on the planet, dwarfing all other platforms at 62% of websites that use content management systems earning the title seven years in a row. It is no wonder that over 30% of the web and 455 million websites currently utilize WordPress. If you as a WordPress owner and or operator are serious about your website traffic, then you should pay attention to WordPress SEO best practices.
Many experts do recommend using WordPress because it is SEO friendly for this very reason is why so many people choose WordPress. The CMS does make sure that the code it generates follows SEO best practices, but there is so much more you need to do if you want to maximize your SEO efforts to the fullest.
I have outlined below a number of action items that you can take to properly optimize your WordPress SEO.
What is WordPress SEO?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization, a strategy used by website owners to achieve higher search rankings in search engines. Optimizing your website is not tricking Google or spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on paid aids. You need to optimize your code and format your WordPress to make search engines easier to find you. When individuals search the web for a topic you write about, the “Search-engine-optimized”,content will appear higher in the search results and will get you more people clicking through to your website.
WordPress Visibility Settings
- Check the Settings > Reading and make sure the Search Engine Visibility is not checked. This will hide your WordPress from search engines.
WordPress SEO Friendly URL Structures
Using SEO Friendly permalink structure improves your chances of getting better positions in search engines results. SEO friendly URLs contain words that clearly explain the content of the page, plus they are easy to read by both humans and search engines.
- Check the Settings > Permalinks page. Select the post name option and then click on the “Save Changes” button to store your settings.
WordPress SEO Plugin
WordPress is an awesome tool and there is a plugin for pretty much everything, SEO is no exception. You could install plugins to complete all these individual SEO tasks but I have narrowed it down to two free SEO plugins. When it comes to choosing the best WordPress SEO plugin, you will most likely narrow your choices down to the two most popular solutions: All in One SEO (AIOSEO) or Yoast SEO.
Add a XML Sitemap to WordPress
An XML Sitemap is a specially formatted file that lists every single page on your website. This makes it easy for search engines to find all of your content.
While adding an XML sitemap does not boost your site’s search rankings, it does help search engines find the pages quickly and start ranking them. If you’re using the AIOSEO plugin, then it will automatically create an XML sitemap for you.
Categories and Tag in WordPress
Categories are meant for the “broad” grouping of the posts. If your blog was a book, then your category would be a “Table of content.”
Tags are more specific keywords that “describe” the contents of an individual post. A blog post under the food category may have tags like salad, breakfast, pancakes, bagels.
By utilizing categories and tags properly you make it easier for your users and search engines to browse your website. For a more in depth guide check out categories vs tags and SEO best practices for sorting your content.
Internal Linking, Make it a Habit!
The search engines assign each page on your website a score (page authority). How this is done is kept secret so people cannot manipulate the search results. One of the most common things you can do is interlink each page and post together to raise your page authority. This will help you boost your pageviews, increase the time users spend on your site, and ultimately will improve the SEO score of your individual blog posts and pages.
WordPress Speed and Security
You can follow all the WordPress SEO tips and tricks I outlined above, but if the performance of your website is slow or it is hacked, your search engine rankings will take a big hit. You need to have a solid security solution in place plus a caching plugin setup and configured correctly.
In the end we leaders in the WordPress development field have to ask ourselves?
If serving is beneath us then leadership is beyond us.
Adam M. Victor is one of the co-founders of A VICTOR’s WORLD, feel free to reach out to him directly at email@example.com with any questions.