A Guide to WordPress SEO in 2021. Are you looking for WordPress SEO tips? If yes, then read this blog post till the end.
Did you know that there are currently 75 million websites made on WordPress? In fact, WordPress has a 40% of market share in the website creation fields and content management systems. All of this makes it one of the most popular CMS in the world.
So, let’s say you have a WordPress website that doesn’t seem to be ranking on Google. Or, it isn’t getting enough organic traffic. Whatever the case, we know you want to fix it.
With that in mind, we created this amazing WordPress SEO Guide. Thanks to it you’ll be able to optimize your site and achieve a good position within Google. Rest assured that by working on your WordPress SEO, you will take your website to the next level.
However, you should note that WordPress is not SEO-friendly by default. There’s a lot of work needed to achieve the best rankings. It isn’t enough to just install WordPress, create the best setting, and optimize your posts.
Any website you create with WordPress needs to be SEO optimized from scratch. Only in this way will Google’s bots easily crawl and index your site. Luckily, with this guide on WordPress SEO, you’ll be able to easily do this.
So, without further ado, let’s begin.
Basics of WordPress SEO
We can categorize WordPress SEO into two parts;
On-page SEO is something that you can easily work on with the help of WordPress plugins and content. It generally involves optimizing your content, title tag, meta tags, and URLs. This way, Google’s bots can easily understand the context of your content.
Off-page SEO refers to the SEO activities that you do to increase the credibility and authority of your website on the internet. Such activities involve link-building via guest posting, article submission, and many other techniques.
How can you optimize your WordPress website?
1. Check the visibility settings of your site
The very first thing which you need to check is the visibility of your WordPress website. For this, go to settings and select reading options. There, you must scroll down to come across an option like this;
Ensure that this box remains unselected. Otherwise, search engine bots may not crawl, scan and index your WordPress website.
If you have just started with WordPress, you can tick on this option as your site may not be fully ready. You might need to add a theme, create important pages and design a little bit.
Once you have done this, make sure to untick that option.
2. Www vs non-WWW
The next important task is to determine whether you want to go with the WWW version of your website or the non-www version of your site. You can’t go with both versions as the search engine will consider this as two different variations of your website.
This may create a duplicate content issue which means that you must select just one version. For this, you must go to settings and select the general option. Once there, you’ll find an option like this;
Here you can type which option you would like to go with. Even if this doesn’t impact your SEO ranking, we recommend choosing the non-www version. By doing this you will ensure a small, sweet, and very much precise look.
3. Add your site to the Google search console
Now you need to verify your website on the Google search console tool.
This tool will help you improve your search performance. For this, it will assist you with important data points about your websites. For example, impressions, clicks, CTRs, critical website errors, and more.
This tool can also be used for auditing purposes as it also highlights the errors on your website. You should verify your site on the Google search console right from day one.
Use the URL prefix method to verify your site. This method will also allow you to use the Google disavow tool. With it, you can easily remove toxic or poor links from your site.
4. Create and submit a sitemap
A sitemap is the heart and soul of your website. It’s a list of all the posts and important pages on your website. The reason you need to create a sitemap and submit it to the Google search console tool is to allow Google to easily crawl and index your website.
You can use a sitemap generator tool to create one. For example, Yoast SEO is an easy-to-use plugin that allows you to generate a sitemap. Besides, it offers many other kinds of features.
To use it, all you have to do is install it and then go to features. There, you must ensure that the XML sitemaps feature is on. With the help of this, you can create your map automatically.
Now, you just need to submit your sitemap to Google’s search console tool. This way, you’ll allow Google’s bots to better crawl and index your site. You can also add a sitemap in the Robots.txt file and in the footer section of your site to get the best SEO results.
5. Do the permalinks settings
Now here comes the most important part of WordPress SEO, permalinks settings. By default, WordPress’s SEO permalink settings aren’t very SEO-friendly. Because of this, you need to change them.
For this, go to settings and select the permalinks option. Once there, you’ll see tons of options for your permalink settings. The best option is to go with a post name as it makes search engines, as well as users, easily understand the context of your posts and web pages.
This setting will also help you create SEO-friendly URLs. Here’s how an SEO friendly URL and non-SEO friendly URLs looks like;
SEO friendly URL: https://domain.com/postname
Non-SEO friendly: https://domain.com/?p=XX or https://domain.com/archive/678
As you can see, the first option looks more neat, clean, and easy to read compared to the second one.
6. Use breadcrumbs navigation
Next on this guide about WordPress SEO is breadcrumbs navigation. This is one of the most important aspects of on-page SEO, especially in 2021.
Breadcrumbs help search engine bots and users navigate your website without any effort. Here at BluCactus, we have personally seen a spike in organic traffic after implementing breadcrumbs navigation.
If you want to use them, you can use Yoast SEO. How? By selecting search appearance, and then selecting the breadcrumbs option. Make sure you can enable breadcrumbs.
Apart from SEO, breadcrumbs will help you in other ways such as;
- Improving the CTR and organic traffic of your site.
2. Reducing the bounce rate.
- Creating a good user experience and more.
7. Optimize your posts with keywords
While creating blog posts, you must optimize them for your primary keywords. If you do this right, it will help you drive a significant amount of traffic in no time.
Ideally, you should include your primary keywords in the following parts;
You should sprinkle your keywords throughout the content body. But be careful. Don’t just add keywords for the sake of better rankings. Google has become smarter than ever and it can easily detect any kind of keyword stuffing activities.
So, make sure to include keywords naturally throughout your content. For example, in a post of 1000 words, your main keywords must show up at least 10 times.
Including keywords in the title tag will help Google as well as users better understand the context of your content. A well-structured title tag can also improve your CTR and organic traffic.
Including primary keywords in the meta tag is not that important, but you must include secondary keywords. This practice can help you in ranking your content for LSI keywords as well.
Include primary keywords in URLs so that search engine bots can understand what your web page is all about.
8. Perform WordPress keyword research
Keyword research is the backbone of any SEO strategy. It can either make or break your SEO efforts. Because of this, you must play your cards wisely while doing keyword research. For this, you can use tools like SEMrush for keyword research.
This way, you will save a hell of a lot of time and help you in targeting the right keywords. Now, if budget is your constraint, then use Google’s keyword planner, answer the public or Google autosuggest.
When it comes to targeting keywords, try to target long-tail keywords as much as possible. These keywords contain 5-6 phrases and are easy to rank as they are less competitive.
Apart from this;
Long-tail keywords also have high conversion value. So, such keywords can also help you in taking your sales and revenue to the next level.
9. Always use focus keywords
The focus keyword is one of the most important features of Yoast SEO. This feature allows you to check whether your content is SEO optimized or not.
If your content is fully optimized then you’ll get a green color score in your SEO analysis which looks like this.
Besides, entering your focus keyword will give you some suggestions and recommendations on how you can improve your SEO score.
In the above-seen images, we have got most of the green color circles. In your case, you must also strive to get the same kind of result for each of your blog posts. However, even if this isn’t a mandatory task, it will surely improve your SEO and organic traffic.
10. Check for broken links
Broken links are a big no-no. They act as a dead-end for search engine bots and negatively impact the SEO performance of your site. However, with the help of broken link checker plugins, you can easily deal with this issue.
You should regularly scan your website for such broken links and fix them with the new link.
11. Use internal links
If you are serious about WordPress SEO, you can’t ignore internal links. They’re the most important on-page SEO technique, especially in 2021. For those who don’t know what internal links are, let’s explain:
An internal link is a hyperlink that points from one web page to another within the section of your website. Such a link helps in passing on the link juice or the SEO value from a high DA PA web page to a low authority one. This will automatically improve the rankings of all your low-hanging keywords.
Here’s the best strategy for internal links;
- Link from high DA PA pages to low authority pages.
- Keep all your internal links do-follow.
- Use keyword-rich internal links.
12. Use structured data
Structured data help users as well as search engine bots better understand the context of your content. In fact, they also make your search results look appealing, eye-captivating, and impressive.
Whenever a user sees a search result with structured data, they might click on that result instead of results with no generic results.
If you have created a blog post about chicken recipes, you can include a star rating, the time it takes to create it, and ingredients in your markup language.
Such result will look like this;
Looks amazing, right?
So, start using structure data and improve your organic traffic and CTR.
13. Enable SSL
You must enable an SSL certificate on your website no matter what as this is vital. And yes, we are serious about this, enable it.
Website security is a ranking factor that Google takes very seriously. In fact, it even released an official statement in regards to this. So, make sure to install an SSL certificate on your website.
Today, most hosting companies offer Free SSL certificates along with domain names. So, contact your hosting provider and ask for an SSL certificate.
14.Improve your website’s speed
Next to the SSL certificate, website speed is another important ranking factor that Google takes into consideration. In 2010, Google made website speed a ranking factor just for desktop searches. However, in 2018, it also made it a ranking factor for mobile searches. As a result, you must strive to have the best website speed.
Ideally, your website should load in under 3 mins.
Next are the tips to optimize the speed of your website:
- Use CDN.
- Migrate to a cloud hosting provider.
- Compress your images.
15. Add image alt text
Image alt text or tags is an HTML attribute that helps search engine bots better understand the context of your image. It’s also used by screen readers to allow visually impaired people to understand what a particular image is about.
Including Alt text in images will also help you get a better rank on Google’s image search. This will surely help to grow your organic traffic to the next level.
Optimizing a WordPress website can be a bit intimidating, especially if you are a newbie. But this guide will surely help you in creating the best WordPress SEO-optimized website ever.
We have tried our best to cover all the aspects of WordPress SEO including on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.
So, make sure that you follow these tips to get the best results.