As the most widely used content management system (CMS) worldwide, WordPress is extremely SEO-friendly. That much is clear. However, this does not mean that the mere installation of the software promises a good ranking.
But don’t worry: traditional search engine optimizations can be carried out without a lot of effort and expert knowledge. Check out this guide to learn the best WordPress SEO practices.
Basis of a SE-optimized website
No matter how cleanly SEO measures are implemented. If the basis for a search engine-friendly website is missing, success will not be achieved.
Factors such as loading time are a very important ranking criterion on Google. You can achieve a short loading time and, as a result, the best possible SEO performance by relying on the best web hosting services with modern server technology. Failures and long loading times lead to a severe loss of ranking. If you are dissatisfied with the performance of your website, a web hosting comparison and a possible move of the WordPress website are worthwhile.
Another basis is an SEO-friendly WordPress theme. The most important criterion here is responsive design, which has become even more important due to Google’s switch to the mobile-first index. The source code of the theme should be clean and compact in order to successfully reduce the loading time. Also, make sure that the theme is continuously developed. This closes security gaps quickly, which is unavoidable for a good ranking.
You should also use an SSL certificate. These certificates, which are usually available free of charge, enable encrypted transmission between a visitor’s browser and the webserver. You can recognize it by the HTTPS: // in front of a URL. Security is very important to Google. Accordingly, without a valid SSL certificate, you have poor chances of good placement in the search results.
Allow search engines to index your website
Before you optimize your WordPress SE, you should definitely check whether your website is even accessible to Google. Put an inconspicuous tick wrong – and the search engines will be prevented from crawling your website. You can check this setting in the backend under “Settings”> “Read”. The item “Visibility for search engines” must not be ticked. Provided, of course, that you want your website to be found on Google and Co. If the website is still under construction, it can make perfect sense not to let it crawl for the time being – especially if you still want to make changes to the URL structure. You can adjust these without redirects, as long as your website has not yet been indexed and does not receive any backlinks.
URLs with or without www.?
In terms of search engine optimization pune only, www does not offer any advantage in the URL. A www address does not automatically benefit from a better ranking. In the past, however, www was an integral part of a URL. For ease of use, many webmasters, therefore, tend to use a www domain. If the shortest possible domain fits your brand perfectly, you can simply leave out www. Google treats the www and non-www variants of a URL as separate references to different pages.
In order to avoid duplicate content, it is therefore important that you choose a version to decide. You can tell Google your preferred URL structure – for example using a sitemap or the HTTP header rel = “canonical”. In the WordPress backend, you also have the option of setting up automatic redirection to your preferred version. To do this, set your desired address in the fields “WordPress address (URL)” and “Website address (URL)” under “Settings” → “General”. Then redirect the other variant.
Create speaking URLs
A simple, powerful way to increase organic traffic is to set up optimized permalinks. Take a look at the following URLs:
Without a doubt, the lower, so-called speaking URL, is more popular with users. Readable URL structures are more appealing and increase user-friendliness. Accordingly, they are more likely to be called up in the search results. Google can also understand these more easily.
By default, WordPress assigns URLs as shown in the example above. You can easily adjust the permalinks under “Settings” → “Permalinks”. You have the choice between different variants such as B. the post name or you create custom URLs.
As soon as you change the URL structure, you have to set up a corresponding redirect. Otherwise, users will receive an error message if they want to go to the affected page using the old link – including using Google search. Accordingly, you will lose ranking positions until Google has re-indexed the page. You can set up redirects, for example, with the RankMath plugin.
Install the SEO plugin
Probably the most important point to bring your WordPress SEO up to date is the installation of an SEO plugin. With the help of these plugins and their numerous functions, even technically less experienced users are able to carry out SEO best practices. However, simply activating an SEO plugin is not enough to place a website in the valuable top ranks on Google. It is important to use the optimization options skilfully. Some of the most important functions are:
- Keyword analysis and optimization
- Readability check
- Snippet optimization
- Detect duplicate content
- Deactivate archives
- Define title tags and meta descriptions
- Internal link suggestions
- 301 redirects
This is just a small list of examples an SEO plugin can help you with immensely.
The most popular right now is Yoast SEO with over five million installations, followed by Rank Math with over half a million installations. Both plugins have a 5-star rating. For a long time, Yoast SEO was considered to be the clear front runner, but Rank Math is enjoying increasing popularity. The reason for this is, among other things, that the plugin is a real lightweight – which leads to a shorter loading time.
Another up-and-coming SEO plugin is The SEO Framework. It is more recommended for advanced webmasters, as it is limited to technical factors. Many functions that tech-savvy people can easily perform themselves have been left out. The plugin remains quick and clear.
Disable attachment pages for images
One unwanted feature of WordPress is creating an attachment page for each media file. If you upload an image or another attachment, the CMS generates its own subpage. Only the respective attachment can be seen on this page and therefore does not provide any added value for users or search engines. Google is extremely reluctant to see such pages with thin content because they are uselessly consuming the crawl budget.
You can remove or forward the attachment pages with an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO. If you have activated the plugin, you can find the setting under “SEO” → “Display in search” → “Media”. Select the “Yes” option.
Set focus keyword
First and foremost, you should keep your site visitors in mind when writing a post. It is a mistake to write exclusively or mainly for the search engines and to include the main keyword in the text as often as possible. Google recognizes an unnatural occurrence of a keyword better than other search engines like Bing. Therefore, make sure that the keyword density is not too high.
Nevertheless, it is important to target every page that is supposed to generate traffic through Google for a keyword. After all, keywords still mean something to the algorithm. Natural use of the keyword is ideal. You can also check this with Yoast SEO. The plugin allows you to set a focus keyword and analyzes factors such as keyword density.
Optimize Google Snippet
When it comes to search results, what moves users to click on your website is the Google Snippet. It consists, among other things, of the title tag and the meta description. The title tag is the blue heading in the snippet, you will find the description, the so-called meta description.
Oftentimes, the Google snippet is the user’s first point of contact with your brand. An appealing snippet increases the click rate, which in turn can lead to a better ranking. You can customize it with any popular SEO plugin. By default, the title and description cannot be changed in WordPress.
The best thing to do is to optimize the snippet beforehand using the SERP snippet generator from Sistrix. The tool lets you create snippets and preview them on desktop and mobile. You will be warned if the title or description is too long and may not appear in full in search results.
So-called rich snippets are particularly eye-catching in the search results. These are snippets that contain, for example, rating stars, recipe images or an FAQ box. You can implement this with a Schema.org markup. The easiest way to do this is to use a plugin like RankMath or Yoast SEO.
Improve the loading time of the website
Pagespeed is an important SEO aspect that you shouldn’t ignore. Especially if you want to land on the first page of Google search results. Because long loading times worsen the user signals and thus a particularly important ranking factor. According to a Google study, a loading time of one to five seconds increases the user bounce rate by 90 percent.
You can check the loading time of your website using Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom. The tools provide you with a precise analysis of what causes your website to fail to load optimally. There are some suitable caching plugins for WordPress that can drastically improve page speed. The most popular include W3 Total Cache, WP Fastest Cache, and WP Super Cache.
With WordPress SEO to sustainable results
WordPress offers you a great basis for implementing SEO measures that are effective in the long term. Provided you start using the right practices. It takes a while until your website is completely optimized and you can post the first rankings in the front places. Still, it’s worth sticking with it. Because you will see: high-quality content and a technically flawless page are rewarded by Google with good rankings.