Believe it or not, WordPress has become the preferred content management system for numerous websites. And their owners around the world are looking for more effective ways to improve their search engine optimization (SEO).
Many websites don’t follow a clearly defined SEO strategy and only apply quick fixes that work temporarily, but the results are neither effective nor sustainable in the long run.
To get your website to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), you need a comprehensive strategy covering all aspects of a successful SEO campaign. In this post, you’ll find a relatively complete WordPress SEO checklist that will help you improve your WordPress website’s search ranking and grow your business.
#1 Index Settings
Before we begin, please note that having relevant, informative, and optimized content will help your WordPress website rank higher on search engine results pages. As for on-page SEO, your website needs to be Googlebot-friendly. Google will index your website if WordPress allows it.
To enable Google indexing, go to Settings and then to the Reading section on the admin page (known as Search Engine Visibility) to see if the box is unchecked. If it is checked, turn it off so search engines can index your site. Also, your website should have a “robots.txt” that allows web crawlers to index your website.
#2 Hosting Provider
When you choose a self-managed hosting provider, you rent the hosting space or server and install everything yourself. With this type of hosting, you have more flexibility, but you have to pay more attention to the operating system, updates, and security.
On the other hand, a shared hosting provider can be a good choice if your WordPress website has hundreds of visitors every week. And once your website traffic increases significantly, you can switch to specialized WordPress hosting.
#3 SEO-Friendly Plugins
Installing an SEO plugin is the third step to completing your WordPress SEO checklist. It helps you optimize every page of your website for search engine performance. With SEO plugins, you’ve complete control over the things Google users see when your website shows up in search results.
The most popular plugins for WordPress SEO are Yoast SEO, All In One SEO Pack, and SEOPress. With a plugin, you can create keyword-rich content, change meta descriptions, enable breadcrumbs, create XML sitemaps, and add schema markup. You can use one of these SEO-friendly WordPress themes when you start with WordPress.
#4 Keyword Research & Mapping
When Google’s search and ranking algorithms calculate ranks, keywords play an essential role. Here are some tips for your keyword research:
- Find and develop relevant keywords with high search volume but little competition. Tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and KWFinder will help you do this.
- If you want to expand to an international market, pay attention to your multilingual SEO.
- Create a sitemap with the structure and hierarchy of your website. This structure will help you determine how Google crawls your site.
#5 Solid Content
Content is the engine of SEO and the king of marketing. Both your audience and Google’s crawlers love great content; therefore, it is an essential component of all successful SEO campaigns. It has long been proven that optimized content boosts search engine performance.
Longer articles help you generate more structured backlinks. They may also contain more target keywords, including long-tail search terms. Focus on evergreen content, i.e., content that will be relevant for a long time to come.
#6 HTML Tags
WordPress allows you to optimize the HTML code of your content to boost its SEO performance. For example, using content header tags helps Google recognize the hierarchy of information in your posts and content pages and makes it easier for crawlers to index your site. Also, using a target keyword in a tag and a secondary header boosts your page’s performance.
#7 Internal Linking & External Backlinks
Internal links that connect pages on your website help improve SEO and make navigating your site easier and more convenient for users. A high-traffic page on your WordPress website that links to other pages increases traffic to those pages and increases their authority. Also, backlinks from external sources bring your website up in search results.
#8 Schema & Structured Data
Adding an exemplary schema (also known as structured data) can significantly improve your CTR by displaying website information that is more relevant to your visitors. There are numerous WordPress themes with simple schema markup options. You can add schema to your WordPress website by using the accessible schema plugin that automatically adds the required coding.
#9 Optimized URLs
URLs give users a clue as to what the page is about and encourage them to click on it. So adding relevant keywords to your URLs helps your search engine optimization a bit, but the boost comes mainly from the extra traffic you have when you include understandable and descriptive URLs.
However, avoid stuffing your URLs with keywords or making them too long. Shorter URLs are easier to embed and share on blogs and social media.
#10 Your Site Speed
We cannot conclude our WordPress SEO checklist without mentioning performance and speed. Website speed has a significant impact on WordPress SEO and user experience. If your website is slow, one in four visitors will leave the site.
Almost half of the users will not return to a website that takes too long to load, i.e., more than four seconds. There are several methods to increase the speed of your website.
#11 Keywords in the Opening Paragraph
The first paragraph of a text sets the tone for the rest of it. So you need to captivate the user from the first sentence. Also, web crawlers search for relevant keywords from top to bottom.
#12 Keyword Density
Keyword density has a significant impact on your search engine ranking. To rank for a particular keyword, you need to mention it a certain number of times in your content for the search engines to include it in a specific topic.
However, you can overdo it. As a rule, a keyword density of 0.5% to 2.5% is recommended. Maintaining a keyword density based on the highest-ranked content for similar keywords is advisable.
We hope that the techniques discussed in this WordPress SEO checklist will help increase traffic to your website and improve your search engine ranking. Get in touch today if you need more information! Here at Southtown Web Design, we can help ease the process of getting your site ranking better for you with a customized website design that’s optimized for search engines and partnered with our different SEO services, equals a strong online presence for your business.