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How to do SEO for WordPress Websites


SEO is a significant part of your WordPress site, and here are some tips and techniques to make your site, its pages, and content SEO optimized and SEO friendly. They will not only help your site rank better but also help you to understand how to do SEO for your WordPress website.

While manual SEO is a great thing, we will also feature a specific plugin that will help you reach heights that manual SEO alone can’t. Trust me, it is the best out of all SEO plugins out there, and it takes the proverbial SEO load off your shoulders.

 

How to Get Started with SEO on WordPress 

These tips are especially important when you start developing your WordPress website.

How to get started with Wordpress SEO


Pick a Quality Hosting Provider

Instead of going for the cheapest option out there, you should take the time and choose a hosting service that is reliable and offers good quality site speed, security, and uptime. 

These things matter for SEO, and if your site is slow or has a security issue, search engines will drag it down due to low site quality. You can use shared-hosting like Bluehost, SiteGround, or DreamHost – the hosting providers that WordPress itself recommends. These are typically the cheapest ones that still have a good performance.

If you have read our article about website speed optimization you may know that we are not a huge fan of shared hosting anymore because cloud hosting has become very affordable with providers like Cloudways. On top of the better speed performance, you will also benefit from better security as you are not sharing a server with other people which can infect your site if theirs are harmed. And lastly, you won’t have to worry about the uptime because the cloud stores your website making it available anytime.

 

SSL and HTTPS

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is used to encrypt the connection when a user’s browser communicates with the server. In short, SSL adds a security layer to your site. You can get this SSL certificate from the hosting provider of your site or from CDNs (if you use one). When a site has SSL enabled, the HTTP becomes HTTPS, and a padlock appears on the URL. 

How to check if site uses SSL

Google and other search engines have mentioned this often enough: HTTPS sites are preferred and will automatically rank better than non-HTTPS websites.

 

Setting your Domain Name URL

In your domain name, you have the option to use https://www.wesharewp.com or no “www”, https://wesharewp.com. You may think there is no difference between them, but search engines categorize them as two different sites due to the www and no www so you need to decide on one and stick to it when you’re developing your website. Once done, make sure that your secondary version automatically redirects to the primary version.

 

Update the Visibility Setting of your site

While you’re developing your site, you may click the ‘Discourage search engine from indexing this site’ in the Search Engine Visibility option in your WordPress settings. Indexing refers to your website being crawled from search engines and making them list your pages in the results pages. If you don’t want your website to be ranked because your site is under development or because specific pages should not be crawled then you can turn this option on. 

Discourage search engines from indexing site in WordPress

However, never forget to unclick it when you are launching your site. Forgetting to unclick it happens more often than you think, and it won’t let your site get a ranking on search engines. So, make sure to check this if you find your site not ranking at all.

 

Use a Theme that is SEO-Friendly

Instead of just using any theme that catches your eye, use SEO-friendly themes that don't have useless plugins and scripts. Most themes claim to work well for SEO but to be sure just use web.dev to check yours. It's a tool that Google offers to understand how your website and theme perform in terms of SEO and performance. If you are using any of the themes on our website you will not have to worry about this.

 

Use XML Sitemap & Google Search Console

While the XML Sitemap and Google Search Console don’t boost SEO for WordPress, they help you with understanding how the search engines see your content. The XML Sitemap is a formatted file where you can see all the pages of your site. XML Sitemaps help search engines to find your site's pages, and you can get them to rank your pages quicker. Use an XML Sitemap Creator to have the sitemap made for you if you don’t use an SEO plugin (you should use one, more about that later).

Then, you need to add the XML sitemap to the Google Search Console (GSC). The GSC offers data and reports on how your pages look when people search for them and tell you the number of times people click on your pages if your sites are mobile-friendly and much more. It’s a great tool to find reasons why you may don’t rank higher and to test out what works better for your SEO strategy. 

 

How to maintain your SEO Ranking

After you’ve created a WordPress site, you need to maintain it so that your site ranks better over time and that its rankings don’t drop.

How to maintain SEO Rankings


Keyword Research

If you want to make your site SEO optimized and rank higher, the first thing you need to do is complete your SEO keyword research. Keywords are the terms people enter into search engines to look for services, content, and products in any particular industry. You need to do research to understand which content people look for in your particular industry.

There are many free and paid SEO Keyword generator tools, but the most famous ones are SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and Moz, etc.

Technically there is no such thing as a “keyword generator” because if you really want to rank well you will need to figure your own strategy.

I’d suggest you check out the guide from SEMrush to really understand how you can find the best keywords for your business. This step is absolutely crucial for your success so take your time with it!

 

Build Content around your Keywords

After searching for the best primary and secondary SEO keywords, you need to add them to the particular content on your website. This can be your blog, main, category, or product pages.

To add them you should first decide if you want to restructure specific pages or if you want to create new content for your new keyword. For example, if you want to restructure a page you can replace specific terms with your new keyword. This only works if your new keyword has the same meaning as the old one you used. When you do so, make sure that your text still sounds natural and just makes as much sense as before.

When building a completely new page around a keyword it’s recommended to first check the content from your competitors (the top 10 results from Google). Read their content, compare it and see how you can create better content so that search engines recognize that.

Note: Better content doesn’t always mean longer content! You need to adjust your content towards the keyword. Is the keyword a specific product, a question about how to do something, or a quick information someone is looking for? This matters because it decides whether or not your content is truly useful for the keyword. If someone searches for “countdown timer” – the user wants a tool that gives him a timer. If someone searches for “Bolognese recipe” – the user is looking for a list of ingredients and how to cook it. If someone searches for “time difference between Brazil and China”  – the user wants to know the number.

I hope you get the point here. Sometimes you need short and precise answers, sometimes a tool and sometimes a long explanation – make sure you create your content accordingly to deliver the best result. It’s a good practice to always ask yourself first: “What would I like to read if I put this keyword in the search bar?”

Structure your content

While H1-H6 headings don’t play such an important role in SEO, they make the structure of your pages better, and breaking up the text with different headings makes it easier for your audience to read the content. Headings also indicate the importance of your text sections and you can add your keywords into these titles and subheadings.

 

Meta Title & Description

An SEO plugin may help you with this, but you still need to optimize the title and the description yourself to get more traffic. The meta title and the description will tell the search engines and your viewers what your site is all about. Hence, they play a significant factor in your ranking. The meta title for any page on your site should be around 42 to 60 characters, and it should include your main keyword to help your page rank better. You can also include numbers or other attention-grabbing details. Starting with “10 Best…”, “How to…” etc. is what makes people click – also think about that before you just try to fit in your keywords.

 

Internal Linking

Internal linking is recognized as giving your website and specific pages more authority, and you can keep your audience on your website by linking to relevant pages from one post or page. It helps your readers to navigate the site easily, and adding a link is also pretty simple in WordPress. 

Internal Link Example

Just select the text in the post you want to hyperlink, then click on the link icon in the toolbar. Then, paste in the URL of the page you want to hyperlink to, and voila, your website pages are internally linked. Remember to never hyperlink to broken pages or use it too much in your post, it will make the internal linking more efficient. 

 

Categories and Tags

Categories are broad groups, for example, in your blog, you can have different categories like food, travel, book reviews, and culture. Each category could have several posts.

WordPress Categories for Posts

However, tags are relevant to only one particular blog post. For example, in a post about the review about a book like the Vampire Academy, the tags could be vampire academy, fiction, young adult book, vampire fiction, etc. 

WordPress tags for posts

 Categories and tags are different things, but they both help in making your site easier to navigate. Moreover, they play a role in helping search engines to understand your sites.

 

Optimize your URLs

Your URLs should tell what the site or page will show to your readers. For example, if your URL is https://yourdomain.com/?p=10487, it doesn’t tell anything about what the site or page is about.

However, if your site’s URL is https://yourdomain.com/blog/food/how-to-make-pasta-bolognese, it clearly states what you’ll find on the page. This makes your site more SEO-friendly.

You can auto-set your URL name in the permalinks with the settings inside WordPress. What this does is taking your page title as the URL. To do so choose the ‘post name’ option to add the name of the post in the URL. However, don’t do it for an existing page that is already being ranked, otherwise, you’ll be at risk of losing your current ranking and even lose your count for social media shares. And if you still choose to do it, then make sure to redirect the old URLs to the new ones in order to transfer the so-called “link juice” which refers to the authority that this page has already gained over time and to not lead any visitors to an error page (because the old URL doesn’t exist anymore).

WordPress change Permalink Slug

Wordpress.com works a bit differently. Click on a post and go to the settings icon. Then, head over to the permalinks section, and change the link.  In both cases, you need to go to the permalinks parts to change the URL posting style.

 

How can a WordPress Plugin help with SEO?

An SEO plugin won’t do all the SEO optimization for you, but it can help you, and be a guide so your site can rank better on search engines. Many plugins can help you with SEO such as Rank Math, AIO SEO, and Yoast. 

These plugins will automatically create an XML sitemap, create Schema Markups, indicate missing opportunities, and so on. With the right plugin, you can get insight into the best practices for WordPress SEO and effectively increase your rankings.

Out of all plugins, there has been one rising star that took the whole market by storm – Rank Math

 

Why Use Rank Math (and why not others)? 

Rank Math Pro SEO Plugin WordPress

Yoast, AIO, etc. were the dominating SEO plugins before 2019, and developers usually used either of them for WordPress websites. But, in 2019, Rank Math changed everything, and it’s been the most popular since. 

Rank Math works extremely well with improving the on-page SEO of your site, and it can even help you find why a particular keyword is wrong for your page. It can handle the basics and even the most advanced on-page SEO practices. Aside from the automated part of Rank Math it also works well as a guide that can assist you when writing your content, meta titles, and meta descriptions. Or it can give you suggestions for what long-tail keywords to use with your targeted keywords and so on. 

Moreover, Rank Math checks if the keywords are present throughout your content, in the metadata, and the URL slug for the particular page you are looking at. It even goes so far as to check if your content is readable or not.

The reason why Rank Math is so popular these days is that the free version already offers more features than the premium version of Yoast and AOI, plus the interface of Rank Math is by far the easiest to use. Yoast for example can be hard to use, while Rank Math really guides you through and takes care of most things automatically.

 

Why and When to Use Rank Math Pro 

Why use Rank Math Pro

Rank Math offers a lot of features for free, but if you really want to invest in WordPress SEO, you should upgrade to Rank Math Pro. Individuals have the option of choosing Rank Math Pro at $59 while business owners, freelancers, and agencies have the option of the Business Pro at $199 per year. 

There are plenty of reasons to upgrade towards the pro version but before I bore you - here is a link to the list of Rank Math Pro with all the differences compared to the free version: See all extra features here

Do you also want to compare Rank Math with Yoast, SEOPress, and AIO SEO? Check this out.

 

Wesharewp Rank Math Pro Offer 

Rank Math Pro costs $59 per year. That’s is pretty costly if you run a personal blog or a small business. But instead, you can also get Rank Math Pro from wesharewp. Just click this link to see how much cheaper it gets. And yes, you will get all the features including:

  • Tracking of 100 keyword rankings,
  • Advanced audits,
  • Advanced performance tracking,
  • All advanced SEO features,
  • Strong Schema Generator,
  • License connection,
  • Automatic updates without additional cost.

Conclusion

To make your site SEO optimized from the ground up, you should look for good hosting service and make your site secure. You need to search for the right targeted SEO keywords for your pages and optimize the content according to your researched keywords. You also need to make sure that your metadata and page structure is SEO optimized and that Google is able to crawl your pages (check that you have disabled “noindex” after development).

Rank Math is a great SEO plugin that you can use to handle many SEO-related tasks automatically for you and to guide you along with the SEO best practices for WordPress. It is actually a must if you want your site to rank better.

Lastly, consider the Pro version of Rank Math which gives you even more advantages over your competition, and with the offer from wesharewp you won’t have to pay a fortune for it.

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