WordPress is one of the best (and easiest, with a little time and patience) website builders on the web. It’s responsive, customizable, and does a lot of the legwork for you as far as getting your site published and ready for the world to see. Still, search engine optimization doesn’t just happen with any website. Although you’ll need to put in some work to get search engines to notice your site, WordPress does a fantastic job of making the process as straightforward as possible.
12 WordPress SEO Tips to Improve Your Inbound Marketing
From built-in WordPress settings to the platform’s ability to integrate plugins and other add-ons for customization, it’s not difficult – even for WP beginners – to improve their site’s SEO. The following tips will get you started:
1. Use Keywords Wisely
A few years ago, website owners focused so heavily on keywords as their primary SEO tactic that they ended up keyword stuffing their words and phrases into their content. Google penalizes this practice now, favoring content that reads more naturally. In other words, choose your focus keyword and build it into your content naturally, along with some variations and long-tail keywords.
2. Use a Plugin That Streamlines SEO
Yoast SEO is the go-to WordPress SEO plugin that content marketers rely on to keep their SEO flowing. The plugin tells you if you’ve used your focus keyword enough times in your content, if you have enough headings to break up your text, and if your content is readable and easily understood by most people who will visit your site. You can even use it to general an XML sitemap to help search engines crawl your site for information.
3. Create Effective Permalinks
Permalinks – the URLs that are given to your site’s pages and posts – are easy to configure in WordPress. You can set them to follow a specific format automatically, but the best SEO practice is to keep them short and sweet. It’s a good idea to create a custom slug – the area after your domain name – for each piece of content that includes your focus keyword, eliminates unnecessary words, and is concise.
4. Don’t Skip Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are snippets that appear in search engine results that describe what your post or page is about. Your meta descriptions can increase your search engine rankings and your click-through rate. You can customize your meta description in WordPress using Yoast SEO, which will even let you know if you’ve gone over the recommended number of words.
5. Compress Images
Images are some of the most significant contributors to long website loading times. You can use a plugin like Smush to compress them quickly and easily, speeding up your site in the process – something Google considers heavily in its ranking algorithm.
6. Build Backlinks
One of Google’s ranking criteria is backlinks. Quality backlinks, to be precise. A backlink is a link to your site from another site that helps search engines learn what your content is about. When it comes from an authority site that also ranks well, it increases your content’s credibility. Read our backlinks guide for beginners to learn more about building a backlink strategy.
7. Choose the Right Theme
SEO-friendly themes are ones without a bunch of extras that bog down your site and cause slow loading times or messy formatting. Choose a lightweight, responsive theme that can load quickly and point people where they want to go on your site. WordPress has plenty of free themes that fit the bill and are still easily customizable for your brand and design needs.
8. Say “Yes” to Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are yet another feature you can turn on using the Yoast SEO plugin (see how important it is for your WordPress site?). Breadcrumbs are a series of links that help visitors navigate your site. They also help Google and other search engines scan your website for topics and categories to allow it to understand what it’s all about, which leads to more accurate rankings.
9. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
A non-mobile-friendly site can also load slowly if a visitor accesses it with their mobile device. Make sure your theme is catered toward mobile users, too, to give them quick load times and clean formatting. Plugins should be optimized for mobile, also, like our share buttons. After all, more than half of internet traffic comes from users on mobile devices, so catering to the needs of those visitors is a must.
10. Don’t Let Spam Through
WordPress lets you decide if you want to let all blog comments through or approve them manually. Stick to the latter. Spam can bombard your site and lower its credibility. To turn on manual approvals, go to your Settings, click on Discussions, and check the box.
11. Add Image ALT Text
ALT text is a description of your image. Search engines crawl this information when searching for relevant results, so your images even have the power to get more people on your page and can help improve your search rankings, too. WordPress lets you add ALT text easily through its media uploader, where you’ll also add your images.
12. Integrate with Google Analytics
Google Analytics gives you just about every detail you need to know about your site’s traffic, which allows you to tweak and improve what you’re already doing. You can use our Google Analytics plugin to keep the information handy within your WordPress Dashboard.
WordPress already has many excellent SEO-focused features built into its platform, but it also allows for plenty of customizing to get your site’s SEO flowing just the way you want it to. Remember to add follow buttons and share buttons for WordPress to connect your visitors to your social media channels and simple sharing for organic growth, and install the Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress plugin to keep tabs on your most crucial SEO metrics without having to navigate away from your WordPress dashboard.