WordPress SEO For Beginners – Where to Start if You’re a Newbie
There was a time when you needed to learn and write thousands of lines of code to set up a website, and it was still a basic HTML handle. Fast forward to this day, and you can set up a website in a couple of minutes that is loaded with all the best and the brightest features.
WordPress is at the forefront of this innovation. It has made it extremely easy and straightforward for both amateurs and professionals to create compelling web content that comes branded with their domain.
But, the race for making your mark on the internet does not stop at getting a killer website. You need to incorporate other elements into the core of your website to tap the potential of exposure and visits. Elements like SEO are crucial to keep the relevance of your content alive.
In this post, we will discuss WordPress SEO in detail and will help you in setting up your website in accordance with the best SEO practices.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a strategy that digital marketers employ to improve the worth of content on the internet.
It comprises a set of instructions and guidelines adherence to which yields more visitors to the website and overall improved visibility.
Essentially, it is about optimizing the content with a well-coded and structured website that makes it easier for search engines to extract data based on users’ search queries.
To learn more about how to optimize a content for SEO, check this guide from systeme.io
At this point, you are not expected to write code or get into technical jargon. Still, it does not mean you need to remain content on poor site structure and configurations. Having a few, basic WordPress SEO tips and techniques up your sleeves can take you places.
Here we go!
WordPress SEO Foundations
1. Site Visibility Settings
WordPress has a feature that allows you to work on your website without going public. You need to be steadfast about it and turn it on once you are done setting up your site. Otherwise, search engines will not be able to find your website nor will they index the data against keywords.
To do this, sign in to the admin page of your website and follow this trail:
Settings > Reading > Search Engine Visibility
Turn on the Search Engine Visibility option and save changes on your way out.
2. URL Structure
At this point, you are familiar with the URL. It is a unique address to a specific website that you can visit by typing it in the search bar of your web browser.
Optimizing the URL structure of your website can help both search engines and humans to explore your content more easily.
SEO-friendly URLs are clear with no meaningless numbers and characters. They have a clear structure that helps the search engines improve the search rankings of your website.
Here are examples from both ends. You can easily point out which one is desirable.
How to optimize URLs?
Settings > Permalinks
Keep in mind that tweaking URL structure on an established site could be dangerous because you will run the risk of losing your SEO rankings as well as social media count. It is best to hire a professional who can lay out redirects to mitigate the loss.
3. WordPress SEO Plugins
Even after setting and optimizing your website according to the best practices of SEO, you need an automated watchdog to document all the changes to your website with respect to SEO. This is where WordPress SEO plugins come into the picture.
They come with a suite of functions and programs that helps you in presenting your content in a search-friendly way to help search engines explore and index your website easily.
There are two most popular WordPress SEO plugins:
- All In One SEO (AIOSEO)
- Yoast SEO
Both are extremely popular in the community with millions of users.
4. XML Sitemap
When you set up a WordPress SEO plugin, you will need to make an XML Sitemap or it will make one automatically.
It is a file that makes a list of every page on your website in one place. This way, search engines will not have a hard time looking for the relevant data on your site.
Keep in mind that setting up XML Sitemap does not enhance search rankings of your website, but it helps search engines to get information quickly and rank your pages.
You can explore your site’s XML Sitemap by following the address:
5. Google Search Console
Also known as Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is a platform designed by Google to help website builders perceive their websites in the eyes of Google search engine.
- It shows data and reports on how your web pages are appearing in the search results.
- It displays the search terms and queries that users are employing to find your content.
- It also shows the frequency of visits and clicks on your web pages.
This helps the marketers and site builders to weed out flaws in their website and make it in accordance with the best search engine practices.
The best part about signing up on Google Search Console is the alert services. Once you are set up on Webmaster Tool, it will alert you promptly if something is wrong with your website, such as duplicate content, restricted resources, etc.
Another important part of setting up GSC is to add your XML Sitemap to the database. This will help Google to crawl and index your website more freely.
6. SEO For Blog Posts
SEO is an active practice that does not stop by installing a plug-in or following guidelines once in a blue moon. You need to be on top of changes in the Google algorithm to keep up with your rankings.
WordPress SEO plugins allow you to optimize, title, description and focus keywords on your posts, as well as a preview of what your post will look like when users search your website.
To do this, it is best to visit the SEO section while writing the blog post and take a look at all the indicators and options.
This falls in the category of on-page SEO and it is important to improve site rankings, bounce rate, etc.
7. Keyword Research For Blog Posts
Many beginners make the mistake of guessing about focus keywords and other search terms when they are looking for what to add to their posts. Instead of relying on hit and trial, you can access and employ real-time data.
Keyword research is a full-fledged science that helps you find the terms and keywords that people are searching content against. i.e “what is seo” or “business directory”.
There are many free and paid tools that can help you with the search. They also show the frequency with which terms are appearing and how they are connected with the intended content.
WordPress SEO Best Practices
After covering the basics and installing a WordPress SEO plugin, congratulations! It is because you are already ahead of the curve. But, as explained in the previous sections, SEO is not a stale and static process, but a dynamic system to keep refreshing and improving your content.
In this light, this section is dedicated to the best practices or pro practices that will take your websites even further in terms of SEO rankings.
1. Tags & Categories For Web Pages
You can sort your content by using tags and categories in WordPress. This helps you to keep track of your web pages. Users can easily find what they are looking for by relying on tags and categories.
In addition to that, tags and categories also help search engines understand the formatting and structure of your website and content better.
As a general rule thumb, categories address the broad range of the topic while tags are specific and targeted toward an individual post. For instance, in the category of tech, you can tag many keywords, such as smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc.
2. Aggressive Internal Linking Regimen
Search engines keep tabs on web pages by assigning them a score. Since you cannot know that score precisely, you can turn the tide in your favor by improving the page authority by linking it internally.
For long-term gains, it is best to make it a routine of interlinking your new content with the existing one. This helps the search engine to find its worth when compared to the already ranked content.
This will improve the page visits and SEO score of your blog posts and web pages.
3. WordPress Comments Optimization
Comments you get on your pages are the primary indicators of users’ engagement and trust in your website. Search engines also employ these to gauge the worth and rankings of your content.
On the other hand, spam comments can harm your website, so it is always a good idea to employ a plugin that can sort this out for you.
WordPress is an incredible site-building tool that can help both professionals and novices to create and optimize their websites. SEO is an integral part of keeping afloat in the virtual world. With the tight integration of WordPress and SEO tools, you can improve the search rankings of your website with ease by following this guide.