10 SEO TIPS FOR WORDPRESS BEGINNERS
WordPress SEO is an important topic, but it’s often difficult for beginners to navigate. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to an effective, long-term SEO strategy.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORDPRESS HOSTING PROVIDER
Here are 3 things your WordPress host should provide, and why they’ll help improve your SEO:
– Performance: The faster your site loads the better. At a minimum, your host should offer PHP 7+, HTTP/2, and some type of caching.
– Security: If your site gets hacked, your rankings will drop. Look for a host that performs routine security checks, implements a firewall and has security built-in to their platform.
– SSL Certificate: SSL certificates impact performance & security, not to mention your search engine rankings. Your host should provide a free SSL certificate, and help you load your entire site over https.
INSTALL AN SEO PLUGIN
WordPress is one of the most SEO-friendly content management systems (CMS). However, WordPress alone won’t land you on the first page of Google. You need the help of a plugin.
Here are some of the things you can do with SEO plugins: custom SEO titles & <meta> descriptions, include Facebook Open Graph & Twitter Card data, automatically generate an XML sitemap, and receive content analysis & feedback.
SETUP CUSTOM PERMALINKS
A permalink is just another term for a page’s URL. By default, WordPress permalinks are not the most SEO-friendly. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to fix this.
– Login to your WordPress admin area
– Go to Settings > Permalinks
– Change your setting to include the “Post name”
– Click Save Changes
OPTIMIZE YOUR SITE’S CONTENT
Optimizing your content is arguably the most important part of a successful SEO strategy. Writing high-quality content is not easy. Here are a few characteristics of high-quality, SEO-friendly content:
– Update your content when new information becomes available
– Routinely publish new articles. Search engines like to see fresh content.
– Link out to useful resources. This includes your own content, as well as other websites you follow.
– Include multimedia content. Video, audio, infographics, charts & graphs make your content stand out.
– Answer common questions. Find out what your audience needs help with and provide solutions.
KEYWORD-RICH SEO TITLES & META DESCRIPTIONS
SEO titles & meta descriptions appear on search engine result pages (SERPs). Search engines use these words & phrases to match your page with a user’s search query. The more relevant your title & description, the more likely you’ll show up in the rankings for a similar search.
OPTIMIZE & COMPRESS IMAGES
Studies have shown that content with at least one image ranks higher than content that lacks an image. Not only should you include images within your content, but there are several things you can do to maximize their benefit.
– Rename image file names before uploading them. Use descriptive names that include your content’s keywords.
– Add alt text & captions. Accurately describe what’s happening in the image.
INSTALL A CACHING PLUGIN
Your hosting company should offer some type of caching. In some cases, your host’s caching will be all you need to optimize your site’s speed. However, if your host allows it, you should look into a caching plugin for additional performance benefits.
ONLY INSTALL QUALITY PLUGINS
Poorly-developed plugins can hurt your site in a couple of ways. They are often the cause of performance issues, which will slow down your site. Even worse, they sometimes include vulnerabilities that allow hackers to gain access to your site.
Look for plugins that have at least a 4-star review, are used on a large number of other sites (active installs), and are compatible with your version of WordPress.
SUBMIT A SITEMAP TO GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE
A sitemap is a file that tells Google which pages on your WordPress site it should include in its results.
SHARE CONTENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media sharing will certainly increase your content’s exposure. The more active you are on social media, the more traffic your site will receive. Some of the least-suspecting content can go viral within a matter of hours.