Did you know that there are currently more than 455 million WordPress users worldwide? That number is growing steadily, as more than two million people create WordPress pages every single year.
WordPress is among the most popular content management systems because it is user-friendly and boasts SEO-friendly. Strong WordPress SEO ensures your content reaches the right people.
Whether you’re new to using WordPress or have been using the CMS platform for a while, here is all you need to know to optimize your WordPress Site for SEO and ensure success for your WordPress site in the future.
What is WordPress SEO, and Why is it Important for my site?
SEO also called search engine optimization, is how you improve your site to increase search visibility when using a search engine to find a product, business, or service to bring in new clientele.
For example, someone searching for the “best coffee in Chicago,” a Chicago coffee shop would want their business to come up in the first few results to bring in more customers. To do that, they would ensure that their website uses those words, called “keywords,” throughout their content.
SEO targets unpaid and organic search engine results rather than paid content. By increasing your ranking, your business is more likely to reel in new customers. Now that we’ve defined SEO and why it’s important, here are five ways to optimize your WordPress site.
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Start by Checking WordPress Settings
You can have the perfect copy, but it doesn’t mean a thing if your settings are keeping your page from being found. Sites like Google do something called “indexing.” Search Engine Indexing is when bots analyze your site’s content and put it in their search indexes.
Why does this matter? If Google isn’t able to index your site, it can’t rank your site. To ensure your WordPress site is search engine visible, head to Settings > Reading. Under the Reading tab, you’ll look for “Search Engine Visibility.” Under that section, there is a box that says, “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.” Make sure that box is NOT checked.
Set Up Permalinks and a Preferred Domain for Your Site
Permalinks, or permanent link, is a URL that is not expected to change. When setting up permalinks, make sure they tell the reader what the content on the page is about and that the URL is short and to the point.
As for preferred domains, it’s important to know that Google sees www.website.com and website.com individually. To ensure your WordPress Address and Site Address are the same, go to Settings > General. Under General, you will see the WordPress Address and Site Address options. Enter your preferred domain in both spaces.
Install SEO Plug-Ins
WordPress has almost 60,000 plug-ins available for use. Here are four SEO plug-ins you should be using to increase your ranking.
The Redirection plug-in is fantastic for redirecting old URLs to new URLs. So if you had an article called “the best coffee in Chicago in 2020” but have updated that for the current year, you would want to use the Redirection plug-in to ensure readers are getting sent to the current, updated version.
The ShortPixel plug-in is a great option for WordPress sites that use images in their content. ShortPixel optimizes and compresses images as they are put into the WordPress platform. By making your image files smaller, they load more quickly for site visitors. Large photos can slow down the user’s website navigation time, frustrating them, and pushing them off your site more quickly.
WP Rocket Plug-in
The WP Rocket plug-in is a web performance plug-in that also assists in boosting page speed. Some of the optimizations WordPress Rocket makes include server-caching and browser-caching. By caching, this plug-in improves the SEO, as well as conversion rates.
The Yoast SEO plug-in is an awesome tool for SEO beginners. This plug-in gives real-time SEO tips and tricks for improving your content, title, slug, and keywords. Yoast SEO offers several tools that help to boost SEO. Yoast is incredibly user-friendly and even uses a color-coded smiley face system to show readers what is good and what can be improved.
Make Your Title, SEO Title, Slug, and Meta Description Shine
Once you’ve checked your settings, set up permalinks and a preferred domain, and plug-ins, you’re ready to move on to your content.
In looking at your title, it’s important that it sums up not only what the readers can expect to find in the content below but that it is also a highly searchable phrase.
For example, if you run a local coffee shop and are using WordPress, your site might boast “the best java on the west side” as its title. This is a good title, but it may be harder to find because users are more likely to search the word “coffee” over the word “java” and “Chicago” over “west side.” Simple title changes like this can help a business to jump higher on the results pages.
A title should be strong and include the keyword or main topic of discussion. A title should never lie or trick a reader into clicking on your link.
Next, you’ll want to check your SEO title and slug. On WordPress, your SEO title is comprised of the title, page, a separator, and a site title. This can be changed to user preference very easily, which is another reason web users love WordPress over other content management systems.
The slug is what you see after the backslash in the search bar when you’re on a website. For example, if your site is called MyWebsite.com and you click on the “about us” page, the URL will change to “MyWebsite.com/aboutus.” The slug should include your primary keyword and be descriptive, but not so long that the URL gets truncated.
Last, you’ll want to look at the meta description. The meta description is the descriptive text that appears under a website’s name on the search engine results page. The meta description should be in an active voice and give a short and sweet summary of what the reader can expect to see should they click on the link.
When there are pages and pages of search results available to a searcher, your meta description needs to be strong to grab the reader’s attention and get them to click on your page for more information.
Learn to Link Internally and Externally
Next, it’s time to add links. Internal and external links are an important addition to your content and help to optimize your ranking. Always try to include a few links that are relevant to your content.
For example, if your Chicago coffee shop is doing a pop-up at a local bookstore soon, you can link out to that bookstore. As for internal links, you can link to relevant articles, blog posts, or business services that will take a reader from one minute on your page to 5 minutes on your site.
Aside from linking out to keep readers on your site for longer periods of time, linking can also be a helpful tool for the user. If your WordPress Site offers services, you can link the word, phrase, or phone number.
It is also industry standard to include a call to action along with any website content. A call to action, also called a CTA, is when you try to make the reader do some kind of action at the end of reading your content. Whether you want someone to call your business for a quote, call your store to place an order, or fill out a contact form, using a link can make that easier for both parties.
By making your call to action a clickable item, users are more likely to engage with a page, which will, in turn, boost its ranking.
Neur Designs Services
Along with WordPress Migration Services, we provide many services to assist you with your business and WordPress site.
If you need help making your WordPress SEO stronger, we’re here to help. Check out our WordPress maintenance services. We offer a free website audit to show you not only where your business is but also where it can go. Along with custom web design, we provide fully managed SEO solutions to make your search engine optimization stronger.
Using WordPress is a great first step, but we can assist with making SEO even easier. We also assist with keeping you current when it comes to keyword research, website audits, link building, and more. Get started today.