Search Engine Optimization is all about the strategies you implement to climb higher in search engine rankings. If your site pops up at the top when someone searches for something related to your content, that means you’re nailing your SEO!
Consider this interesting nugget from a Sistrix study, which took a deep dive into over 80 million keywords and billions of search results. Their findings? Nearly 50% of people browsing the internet click on the first or second search result they see. What does that mean for you? Well, it’s simple, being at the top matters.
So, how does your website stack up? Are you ready to make your WordPress site the go-to spot for your audience? We’ve got 13 practical steps to optimize SEO on Your WordPress Website.
Step 1: Conduct an SEO Audit (Including Content and Tech Checks)
Starting off on the right foot with your website’s SEO means rolling up your sleeves and diving into a detailed SEO audit first.
This process is crucial for spotting any issues that could be holding your site back in search engine rankings. Monitor how your site stacks up on search engines like Google and Bing to pinpoint what needs tweaking.
Starting a complete SEO check-up means using tools that look closely at what your site says and how it’s built.
Essential SEO Tools:
SEMrush and Ahrefs: These powerhouse tools offer a top-to-bottom audit, checking your WordPress site’s performance. They dish out handy tips to buff up your SEO in key areas.
These tools are your go-to for dissecting your site and competitors, covering everything from keywords, content strategies, backlinks, to rankings.
Google Search Console: Google’s own tool lets you peek at your site’s indexing status, search terms, and any crawl glitches.
It hones in on technical snags that might be making your website less sparkly. Plus, it lets you track Page Experience metrics (a slice of Google’s ranking recipe) and Core Web Vitals. These are like health checks for your website to make sure it’s a smooth and happy place for visitors.
Google emphasizes the 3 Core Web Vitals for SEO since they’re now part of the official Page Experience ranking factors.
WordPress Plugins for SEO Auditing
Yoast and All-in-one-SEO: These popular plugins are your allies in optimizing content and keywords. They conduct a thorough SEO check-up of your site and serve up a report spotlighting areas ripe for improvement, both in content and behind the scenes.
Post-audit, you’ll have a clear map of what to enhance in your content and the technical tweaks needed.
2. Index Your Pages
Have you thought how your website ends up on Google? It all starts when Google’s own ‘Googlebot’, think of it as a digital detective visits your site. Its job is to look around, poking into your content, figuring out what’s on your page, and then storing this info in Google’s massive library, known as the index. When your page makes it into this index, it’s like getting a golden ticket to appear in Google search results.
That’s why it’s crucial to make sure Googlebot can find and understand all the pages you care most about. But remember your website has pages that aren’t for just anyone’s eyes.
Think about those areas you’d rather keep under wraps, like a ‘thank you’ page after someone signs up, or exclusive pages. It’s all about making the call on which pages get the green light to go public and which ones are better off staying out of the search engine spotlight.
3. Fix 404 Pages
When a page on your website is missing, users and search engines are greeted with a 404 error, signaling that the page they’re looking for can’t be found. This might be because the page doesn’t exist anymore or the link they followed is broken. To prevent any negative impact on your site’s traffic and its internal link structure, it’s important to handle these errors smartly.
The ideal solution is to use a 301 redirect, which permanently points the old URL to a new, relevant page. If a similar page doesn’t exist, then sending visitors to your homepage is the next best thing. For WordPress users, there are a couple of straightforward methods to manage 404 redirects:
👉 DIY Method: Direct all 404s to the homepage yourself.
Look for a 404.php file in your theme. If it’s not there, you’ll need to create one.
Use a file management tool, like Filezilla, to edit or create a new file in your WordPress theme folder.
Add a specific line of code at the top of your 404.php file. (Make sure to save your changes and re-upload the file to your theme directory.)
👉 Use a Plugin: If you’re not comfortable with coding, WordPress has plugins to help:
404 to Homepage: This plugin is user-friendly, automatically redirecting any broken links straight to your homepage.
Redirection: This is a versatile option if you want to redirect only certain pages with outdated links.
Remember, by fixing your 404 pages, you’re not just keeping your site tidy; you’re creating a better experience for your visitors.
4. Set Up an XML Sitemap
Think of an XML sitemap as a treasure map that leads Google through the most important areas of your WordPress website. These sitemaps are super helpful for SEO, that’s like giving your website a megaphone to shout out to search engines, “Hey, look over here!” It helps them spot your top content fast and get the memo when you’ve spruced things up with new updates.
Now, not every page needs to be in the spotlight. Pages like the “thank you” page after someone signs up for your newsletter can stay backstage, away from Google’s gaze.
A smart move is to plug into a WordPress plugin that crafts this map for you. It’s like having a savvy guide telling search engines which parts of your site are the star attractions. Take “Sitemap Generator for Google” for example – it’s a tool that doesn’t just create a basic map. It rolls out the red carpet for all kinds of content on your site, from news articles to videos, making sure they’re ready for their close-up in the SEO rankings.
👍 Sitemap Generator for Google – Not only does it put your best pages forward, but it also keeps your content in the SEO spotlight with various sitemap formats, including page, news, video, HTML, and RSS. Keep things simple, and let this plugin be your guide to better visibility online.
5. Enhance Your Website’s Speed and Optimize Images
Did you know that a speedy website can climb up the Google search rankings? That’s right! Google favors quick-loading sites, especially on mobile devices, because they offer a better experience.
The latest buzz in SEO is Google’s Page Experience, which includes Core Web Vitals. These are the nuts and bolts that measure how enjoyable your site is to use. You can check how your WordPress site measures up with tools like PageSpeed Insights.
Often, websites crawl because of issues like clunky code, slow servers, too many complex scripts, oversized images, and a lack of caching.
6. Opt for a Mobile-Compatible WordPress Theme
It’s crucial to understand that the design of your website isn’t just about looks. It’s also key to your site’s search engine performance. Sites that are mobile-friendly not only tend to load more quickly but also get a nod from search engines, potentially improving your rankings.
Virtually all page builders out there—like Elementor or Page Builder let you tailor your site for mobile viewing. So, choosing themes that work well with these tools is a wise move.
Want to see if your theme plays nice with mobile devices? It’s easy to check:
✔️ Run a Mobile Optimization Test with Google – it’s a simple way to gauge how mobile-friendly your site is.
7. Use Categories and Tags in WordPress Properly
In WordPress, categories and tags are the essential tools you use to sort your content, much like a book uses a table of contents and an index to help readers navigate its pages.
Categories are the broad chapters of your site, helping not just visitors but also search engines get a clear picture of your site’s layout and the themes you cover, boosting your site’s SEO in the process.
Imagine categories as the big signs in a library, guiding you to the right section. For instance, a category might be “Marketing Tips” pointing your visitors in the direction of all your marketing tips content.
8. Choosing Easy-to-Read URLs for Better SEO
Imagine your webpage’s URL is like the title of a chapter in a book. It should give a clear idea of what the chapter is about, right? That’s how your URLs should be for both people and search engine as it helps them understand what to expect on your page.
For the best SEO-friendly URLs, think of going to your website’s settings. It’s like setting up your address in a way that makes sense: Go to Settings, find Permalinks, and then select Post name. This way, your links are neat, clear, and ready to welcome more visitors.
9. Boost Your Site’s Connectivity with Better Internal Links
Think of internal linking as the roads between the pages on your WordPress website. These pathways help Google figure out what your site is all about, how each page relates to the next, and which results to show people searching online. Essentially, these links are the backbone of your website’s layout.
When you’re inserting these links, remember to make the link text (or anchor text) feel like a natural part of what you’re saying.
✔️ Make it a habit to check your internal links with tools like Google Search Console and consider using a WordPress tool such as Internal Link Juicer. This little helper can enhance how people experience your site by making sure your content connections make sense.
✔️ Additionally, a tool that crawls your site can shed light on how your pages link together. It’s like getting a bird’s-eye view of the roads within your site, which can help you pass more “link juice” around and keep your pages well-connected.
10. Develop an SEO Content Strategy
SEO Content Strategy is all about sorting your website’s content into topics that matter to make sure your site pops up on the search engine. This is to fine-tune the content on your WordPress site so that people find you naturally when they’re surfing the web. Think of your strategy as a tripod, standing on three essential elements:
- Map Out Your Site’s Blueprint
Imagine you’re organizing a digital library. It’s all about having a clean setup where everything is easy to find. Set up a logical pecking order and direct paths through your categories and web pages. You want your visitors and the search engine bots to get what your site is about and effortlessly spot the info they’re after.
- Do Keyword Research
Think of keyword research as a fun word treasure hunt. You’re on the lookout for those magic words that people are typing into search engines. You’ll be creating content that hits the mark, perfectly aligned with what people are searching for online. We’re not talking about random visitors; this is about drawing in the crowd who’s truly interested in what you’re dishing out.
👍 Handy Tools for Keyword Research:
Semrush – Your go-to for digging up top-notch keywords both locally and globally, and peeking at what the competition’s up to.
Ahrefs – Think of this as your personal SEO spyglass, helping you to see how well a domain is doing, from the number of backlinks to the strength of content and the keywords that are bringing in the audience.
Keyword Planner – Keyword Planner is a nifty tool that helps you uncover the right words to use in your online content. It’s like having a personal assistant who knows all the secret words people use to find what they’re looking for. With Keyword Planner, you can fine-tune your content strategy and attract the right audience to your website.
11. Boost Your Website’s Performance with Optimized Images
When it comes to optimizing your WordPress website, don’t forget about your images. By optimizing your images, you can improve your site’s ranking and make sure your photos provide the information users are searching for. One way to do this is by using Image-Alt-Text.
Search engines read Image-Alt-Text, which are descriptions of your images, to determine the relevance of your site. If you’re not sure how to add Image-Alt-Text to your pictures, don’t worry! There’s a helpful plugin called SEO Optimized Images that can assist you with that. Simply check the features of your current plugins to ensure they allow you to add Image-Alt-Text.
When you’re adding Image-Alt-Text, you’ll typically find a section labeled “Alt text.” This is where you should enter your description. If your description consists of multiple words, it’s best to separate them with dashes. This let’s search engines know that you’re using different words in your description.
Remember, optimizing your images can go a long way in improving your website’s performance.
12. Secure Your Website with SSL
SSL, also known as Secure Sockets Layer, is a vital security measure that ensures the encryption of the connection between your website and its visitors. This means that any information shared is protected from interception by hackers. Not only does SSL provide peace of mind, but it also has a positive impact on your website’s search engine ranking.
Imagine two identical websites: one with SSL and the other without. Search engines like Google prioritize websites with secure and encrypted connections, so having SSL can give your site a boost in rankings.
13. Choosing Between WWW or Non-WWW for Your Website
When it comes to accessing websites through URLs, there are two main options: you can either include “www” in the search (e.g., www.digitalfeet.com), or you can leave it out (e.g., digitalfeet.com).
It’s important to note that search engines consider these two URLs as separate websites. So, it’s crucial to make a choice and stick with it. There’s no right or wrong option, and it won’t affect your SEO. It’s simply a matter of preference. Once you’ve decided, it’s best to be consistent to enhance your site’s SEO.
Choosing between WWW or non-WWW also benefits your visitors. It makes things simpler and more straightforward for them. So, it’s a win-win situation. To make your choice, go to your WordPress dashboard, click on “Settings,” and find the form fields for your URL under “General Settings”.
Improve your WordPress SEO today
Anyone can boost their WordPress website’s SEO with just a few simple steps. By implementing the tips outlined in this guide, you’ll strengthen your website’s authority and improve its ranking on all search engines.
And guess what? Once you achieve these SEO gains, you’ll start seeing a surge in website visitors, more leads, and increased conversions.
It’s time to optimize your WordPress website for SEO. Get ready to attract more organic traffic, engage with a wider audience, and achieve your online goals. Start optimizing your WordPress website for SEO today!