Optimizing a WordPress website can be an entirely different experience compared to optimizing an HTML site or another content management system. WordPress is a CMS that’s relatively SEO friendly in its default install but its free plugin database is what truly sets it apart. Below you will find advanced practices that can teach you how to save both time and money on search engine optimization with WordPress.
Settings > Permalinks
Your website’s permalink structure is another way of referring to its URL structure. When you create a new website with WordPress, one of the first things you will want to do is change the permalink structure. You can access this under “Settings > Permalinks.” Using “Post Name” as your permalink setting is highly recommended for SEO purposes. This means any posts or pages will use the post name for determining the URL of the page.
Use Yoast SEO or Another Similar Free Plugin
Rarely is a premium SEO plugin entirely worth its premium costs. Yoast SEO and other free WordPress SEO plugins provide all the basic features you need. The features that are left out and online included in premium versions can almost always be found in other free plugins within the WordPress plugin database.
Yoast SEO provides access to important SEO features such as:
- Page analysis (Check for image ALT text, content length, meta descriptions and keyword usage across your pages and posts)
- Technical WordPress SEO (Guided SEO settings for advanced WordPress SEO changes)
- Exclude tags or categories for Google’s search index
- Create an XML sitemap easily
- RSS optimization
- Breadcrumbs (Create navigable internal links)
- Editing .htaccess and robots.txt files
Write a META Title, Description and Image ALT Text When Publishing Posts/Pages
Rather than skipping over the META title and description and assuming you will come back to it later, optimize your posts before they go live. It’s better for your rankings to have search engine spiders index your content correctly upon their first visit. If you were to edit the post later with a META title and description, there is no telling how long it will take for search engine spiders to reindex the content and adjust for the changes.
Similarly, if the post has images, go ahead and add image ALT text to the images before publishing. Image ALT text is an important and easy to implement SEO suggestion that is better off done right away.
Write your Content Based Off the Searcher’s Intent
When you write a new WordPress blog post, consider the searcher’s intent and how you might phrase the title and description. Think about the keywords a searcher might use to locate the content you have written and integrate many different variations of those keywords into the content.
You can use the Google Keyword Planner to explore keyword possibilities.
Internally Link with the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Internal linking is essential to strong on-site SEO. This is why it’s important to internally link your articles to other relevant articles on your website. You should always have internal links within the body of your content but you can extend your internal linking habits by using plugins as well.
You can use plugins like YARPP to automatically display pages or posts that are related to the one the user is currently viewing. This allows your posts and pages to automatically get linked to other areas on the website that are useful to the reader.
Internal linking can also be accomplish by linking to more pages using your website’s navigation menu and sidebar.
Reduce Image Sizes with Ewww Image Optimizer
The EWWW image optimizer plugin can effectively lower the image file size for images across your entire website. This increases page load times and reduces bandwidth consumption, thus improving the user experience. It is a pretty effective way to improve speed and performance, which has shown to be important to SEO.
Improve Speeds with W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is the leader in caching plugins. It supports caching in the browser, page, object and database level. It also provides support for minify features and works with content delivery networks. Using W3 Total Cache, you can drastically improve page load times.
Manually Build Links to your Website’s Content
SEO companies often charge far too much for the link building and outreach methods they use. Instead of relying on a company or freelancer for link building, you can build links to your website’s content on your own. Utilize some of the below sources and syndicate your blog content there. You can package the content in different forms such as reading your article out loud to create a video or putting it into an e-book or PDF. This allows you to use the content in a variety of ways and by syndicating it to these sources, you can gain exposure and potentially more links.
- Web 2.0 Sites (Sites where you can create your own blog)
- Niche Blogs (Independently owned blogs that will share your content)
- Article Directories (Sites where you can submit articles for exposure)
- Press Release Directories (Sites that syndicate and share your PR)
- Social Bookmarking (Sites where you can socially bookmark content)
- PDF Directories (Sites where you can submit a PDF document)
- Video Directories (Sites where you can submit a video)
- Infographic Directories (Sites where you can submit images)
- Audio Directories (Sites where you can submit recorded audio)
SEO is an important step to generating traffic and increasing revenue with any WordPress website. These tips can help you save both time and money. Before you hire an SEO expert or pay for services, consider whether you are getting full value out of their work.