30+ WordPress SEO Techniques to Increase Rankings – If you want your WordPress website to get a lot of traffic, SEO is one of the things that you must learn along with a number of techniques and strategies. WordPress SEO methods also vary, from easy to those that require special skills.
30+ WordPress SEO Techniques to Increase Rankings
Fortunately, WordPress has ‘armed itself’ as an SEO-friendly CMS. If you already use WordPress, you can try various easy SEO techniques to optimize your WordPress website.
Also, read more:
- Best Easy Ways to Add Google Analytics to WordPress
- 20 Ways to Make Money Online From Internet Easy, Cheap & Effective
In this article, we outline various WordPress SEO ways to increase your website’s ranking and traffic. Starting from basic things like choosing and buying reliable hosting to on-page SEO and off-page SEO strategies, we will cover everything here.
So, happy reading, and good luck optimizing your WordPress!
Initial Preparation for How to SEO WordPress
Before discussing other WordPress SEO methods, let’s see how far the optimization steps have been carried out on your web hosting and website. This is the most basic process to ensure that the next steps can be carried out optimally. The following are things that need attention:
1. Choose a Trusted Hosting Provider
Hosting is one of the main factors that affect various aspects of a site, especially its performance and security. All of this is important because search engines generally prefer web pages that provide the best user experience.
So, you should choose web hosting that can handle all your website needs. When choosing a hosting package, consider the following factors:
- uptime guarantee. Currently, the default is around 99.9%. This means that your site should only be offline for less than 0.1% of the time.
- Resources. The bandwidth, storage space, and memory offered should support your site and its growth.
- Security features. Make sure your provider is security conscious and provides services such as regular website backups, DDoS mitigation, and a web application firewall.
- User-friendly. There must be an easy-to-use control panel for hosting management.
- Value for money. The price of the hosting package must be within your budget and commensurate with the benefits and features offered.
To fulfill all the factors above, give Hostinger service a try. All of our WordPress hosting plans come with a 99.9% uptime guarantee and LiteSpeed Server for top performance. Free WordPress hosting is also available to learn to create websites and optimize from scratch.
In addition, we also provide a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with our service, as well as a dedicated support team who will always be available 24 hours to help you.
In fact, we also provide many domains with various price ranges. Starting from the cheapest domains, such as .xyz and .online, to the more premium ones, such as .com and .co.id.
2. Always Use SSL
SSL is a security technology for encrypting connections between websites and browsers. With SSL, unauthorized parties will not be able to access sensitive information, such as payment details.
With an SSL certificate on a domain, the URL will start with https://, not http://. You’ll also see a padlock icon next to the address field, like in the example below:
Google is more concerned with HTTPS to assess the website’s page experience. A good rating can be a determining factor for a high ranking in the SERP if the content of a competitor’s web page has the same value.
Additionally, if a website does not have an SSL certificate, browsers such as Safari and Google Chrome will definitely judge it as insecure and will advise visitors not to enter any information. If you have a landing page or online store, alerts like these can likely lower website traffic and even conversion rates.
The good news is that many trusted providers offer free SSL certificates, such as Let’s Encrypt.
At Hostinger, you can install a Lifetime SSL certificate for free on all hosting plans, from the cheapest to the more premium ones. You can access it in the hPanel’s SSL tab. Just click Install SSL and select the domain that requires certification:
3. Optimize Site Speed
Website speed is another important factor that affects user experience.
Research shows that the ideal website loading time is less than two seconds. If it takes longer, visitors are more likely to leave your website without hesitation, which results in poor conversion rates.
Google prioritizes two ranking metrics to evaluate website performance. First, the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), marks the time when the main content of a web page may have loaded. The ideal LCP is 2.5 seconds since the website page starts loading.
The second is the First Input Delay (FID), which records the time the user first interacts with the website, such as by clicking a link or tapping a button, and then the browser starts processing the response. A good FID score is less than 100 milliseconds.
Google PageSpeed Insights can be the right tool to check website speed. Enter the website URL, then the tool will analyze the loading time on desktop and mobile platforms. You will also get recommendations for steps that can be taken to increase your score.
- Make sure the resources of your web hosting package are sufficient (such as bandwidth, disk space, CPU power, and memory).
- Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to speed up content delivery to visitors’ browsers.
- Update your WordPress and PHP versions.
- Check for plugins and themes that might be aggravating the website. Update and uninstall unneeded ones.
- Enable GZip compression to reduce the website file size.
- Minify your website code. In other words, reduce the amount of whitespace and line breaks for a smaller file size and load faster.
- Reduce DNS lookup, which is useful for WordPress sites with a lot of content.
4. Enable Content Caching
Website caching is another common strategy that can speed up a website. With caching, copies of website files will be stored temporarily in the visitor’s browser. So, when the user opens the website again, the browser can use this file without having to load the website from the start. As a result, the website loads even faster
If you have a WordPress website, enable caching with a plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Fastest Cache.
If you are using WordPress hosting from Hostinger, you will get a caching plugin pre-installed, namely LiteSpeed Cache. Combined with LiteSpeed Server, your website will get the best performance.
It is important that you clear your WordPress cache regularly, especially after making changes to your website. So even the browser can delete the old data it has stored and load the latest version of the page.
5. Add Domain to Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free web-based software that helps monitor how well your WordPress website is optimized. This tool can provide various insights about your website’s visibility on search engines, including:
- Average ranking in SERP.
- The number of clicks resulting from a Google search.
- Which searches specifically redirect users to web pages.
- Core Web Vitals, which is a collection of new ranking metrics from Google to measure website loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability.
To do this, click Start now on the homepage, then log in with your Google account or create a new Gmail account.
The page below will open. Select Domain or URL prefix, depending on the type of property you want to add.
If you use the Domain option, data from all URLs on your website will be combined. You can verify this type of property by copying its TXT record to the website’s DNS configuration.
You can do this with Hostinger clients using the DNS Zone Editor. Access this tool from hPanel -> Hosting Accounts -> Advanced. After that, select TXT in the Type column and paste the code into the TXT Value form. Then, click Add Record.
Once done, go back to Google Search Console and click Verify. Note that these changes may take up to 24 hours to take effect. If verification fails at this stage, try again later.
Then, you can select the URL prefix option if you want to analyze specific website addresses, for example, to get information about the mobile or regional version of your website.
For the prefix URL option, Google recommends verification by uploading the HTML file provided to your website. Other ways can use HTML tags, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, or DNS configuration.
After completing verification, click Done.
6. Submit Sitemap XML on Google Search Console
Apart from adding a domain, you can also submit your WordPress sitemap XML to Google Search Console. An XML sitemap is a file that lists the URLs of all website pages so search engines know where to find them. Here’s an example:
Although it doesn’t affect ranking directly, a sitemap can help Google crawl websites faster. Apart from that, the sitemap also tells search engines which pages are most important and which should not be indexed.
WordPress 5.5 and later includes integrated XML sitemap functionality. Users can access it by adding /wp-sitemap.xml at the end of the domain. Unfortunately, it is not easy to customize this file.
Well, you can use a WordPress plugin with a sitemap feature, such as Yoast SEO, AIOSEO, or XML Sitemaps.
After you have a sitemap, open Google Search Console and click the Sitemap tab in the left column. Enter the file URL, then click Submit. There will be a notification saying that Google will routinely crawl it and notify you if an error occurs.
7. Don’t Forget Bing and Yandex
Even though Google is now the most popular search engine in the market, it’s still a good idea to add your domain to other search engines like Bing and Yandex.
Bing still accounts for 26.5% of all desktop searches in the US and is popular among professionals who work with Microsoft products. Meanwhile, Yandex is the most popular search engine in Russia, so it is important to consider whether your website targets an international audience.
To add a website to Bing, open Bing’s Webmaster tools. Login or create a new account. Then, choose whether to import an existing site from Google Search Console or enter the domain manually.
For the last option, there are three verification methods: uploading an XML sitemap, entering HTML tags on the website, or adding a CNAME record to the DNS configuration. Hostinger users can use the last method in the DNS Zone Editor, in the same way as entering the TXT record. For this process, select the CNAME type and copy the provided code into the Target form.
For Yandex, go to the Yandex Webmaster website, then login or create a new account. Once logged in, click Add a site.
Enter the domain, then click Add. Then choose one of the available verification methods: enter an HTML file, add a meta tag, or configure DNS with a TXT record. Follow the instructions then click Check to complete the process.
SEO Techniques for Content Optimization
This section discusses how to optimize content for search engines. Here, you will learn how to SEO WordPress which includes keyword research, writing optimized articles, and using internal linking.
1. Do Proper Keyword Research
The goal of keyword research is to find search terms that your website can track and target. These keywords should be able to provide answers for terms your audience is typing into Google, and relevant to your project or business.
You can use a tool like Ubersuggest which is quite popular and free. Or, set aside a small fee to try a premium tool like Ahrefs or SurferSEO. These three tools can show the traffic potential of certain keywords, the difficulty level of a keyword to get a position on Google, and content writing recommendations.
Keywords have two types, namely short-tail or long-tail.
Short-tail keywords are keywords that are up to three words long, and generally have high search volume and the potential for greater organic traffic. Examples of short-tail keywords are: “Instagram marketing” or “TikTok ads”, which are keyword phrases suitable for social media marketing.
However, the competition for short-tail keywords is very tight, usually between websites with high domain authority and big brands, which tend to dominate short-tail keyword search results.
Long-tail keywords are keywords that consist of more than three words and usually generate less organic traffic. An example would be: “how much does Instagram marketing cost.” These keywords have lower competition and have the opportunity to rank higher in the SERPs. What’s more, users who search for something with long-tail keywords are 2.5 times more likely to convert.
If you’ve never had a WordPress website before, try using long-tail keywords because they’re easier to rank for. After getting traffic and backlinks, start creating quality content for short-tail keywords.
To choose keywords, you must first understand search intent, which is the goal users want to achieve when typing search terms on Google.
That way, you will also know what type of content users want with these keywords. Conveniently, you can find out the search intent of the results that appear now on Google and see what content is already there from competitors’ websites.
In general, search intent usually falls into the following categories:
- Navigation. Users “find directions” to a specific website by typing the name of a specific person, business, or brand into the Google search field.
- Information. Users search for information to get answers to their questions. For example, the keyword “how to sell online” means that users want to find ways to sell online. Or, the keyword “what is a domain” means they want to find a domain definition. Generally, the results for this keyword are articles or blog posts.
- Commercial. Users want to do research about the product or service to be purchased. For example, keywords like “best ergonomic chair” or “dell vs cellphone for gaming”. Generally, the results for this keyword are product reviews and recommendations.
- Transactional. The user knows what to buy, but is choosing which one is the best. An example is “selling Sony headsets” or “web developer services”. Queries like these typically return product or service pages.
So, make sure you use the right keywords. For example, if you have an online store or service business, try optimizing for transactional keywords. If using a blog for a content marketing strategy, try writing blog articles with informational keywords.
2. Write SEO-friendly content
Apart from keywords, you also have to know how to write optimized articles.
Here’s how to write good SEO-friendly articles:
- Provide clear information. Write key points that answer the most frequently asked questions of the target audience. That way, visitors do not need to visit competitors’ websites to find further information.
- Create an original article and not a copy. Your content will also be guaranteed originality, and it is very possible to provide new information that has never been discussed by competitors, from its own point of view.
- Use a language style that is easy to follow. Try to keep the language style simple and easy for the target audience to understand. Use uncomplicated sentence structures, and avoid allusions that are too difficult to understand.
- Easy to read writing. Use short paragraphs, between three and five sentences each. Or, you can also use bullets or sequential lists to get the reader straight to the point.
- Distribute keywords well. Focus keywords are incorporated throughout the content evenly, and in sentences that look natural. Don’t pile up too many keywords in one paragraph.
- Make sure the heading structure is neat. Include multiple headings to make website pages or blog posts easy to browse.
- Maximize visual elements. Add pictures, infographics, or videos to make the delivery of information more interesting.
If you don’t have any writing experience, it can be difficult to get started. Don’t worry, you can use a tool like SEMRush Writing Assistant. This plugin will rate text based on its readability, keyword distribution, originality, and style.
Or, if your article or website is in English, you can use a grammar check tool to optimize your writing.
3. Enter Focus Keywords in All Content Sections
Focus keywords are the main search terms for your articles or website pages. By entering it several times throughout the content, Google will know that your article discusses information related to that keyword.
But remember, don’t overdo it. You can get penalized by Google for doing keyword stuffing. Always make sure that you write content that should be easy for humans to read and understand, not just bait Google into ranking with those keywords.
Generally, keywords must cover 0.5% of the total number of words in the article. The Yoast plugin can help determine how many times you should include keywords in your content.
After finishing writing an article in the WordPress Editor, scroll down to the SEO analysis section in the meta area. This green indicator shows that you have carried out the correct optimization steps according to the recommendations.
The following are SEO techniques for using keywords:
- Include the focus keyword in the first paragraph. That way, search engines can immediately know what is the main discussion of your content.
- Avoid keyword cannibalization. The point is, don’t use the same focus keyword for several articles. Each article must target a different keyword. In that case, you’re in competition with your own content, and Google can’t decide which content to prioritize.
- Use synonyms to prevent repetition. Google can now see which phrases have similar meanings in their algorithm. Remember, to include keywords naturally in sentences and always prioritize the main keyword.
- Include LSI keywords. This is a term related semantically to the focus keyphrase. For example, the LSI keyword for the term “eCommerce” could be “online shopping”. LSI keywords help Google understand content in greater detail.
As we explained earlier, you also need to include keywords in the title tag and meta description.
4. Use Structured Headings
If used properly, headings will provide a logically structured structure to your content so that the information presented looks more natural. Search engines will also use it to understand the main points of your topic.
To create headings and subheadings in the WordPress Block Editor, select the block heading.
If using the Classic Editor, change the text style from a Paragraph to one of the headings.
The best SEO technique for utilizing headings is to use one H1 containing the focus keyword per page or post. When you add headings in the WordPress Editor, H1 will be used by default. However, it’s best to double-check as some themes may override this feature.
Then, you can use H2 and H3. Sometimes, H4 to H6 may be needed, even though too many headings will slightly interfere with reading comfort.
Here are tips on using headings:
- Use tags in numerical order. The H2 tag must be below the H1, then the H3 must be below the H2, and so on. To see an example of the suggested structure, you can see our table of contents above.
- Include the focus keyword or its variations. This is important for content relevant to the terms you want to target.
- Create concise headings. While there’s no set rule, it’s best to be 50 to 70 characters long.
- Use interrogative sentences. For example, instead of using “Definition of Cryptocurrency,” try using questions like “What is Cryptocurrency?” and then answer below. This format can increase your chances of getting a Featured snippet or People also ask, as in this example:
5. Add Internal Links in Content
The next WordPress SEO method is to include internal links that point to blog posts or other pages of your website in the content. This link will “divide” traffic from your content to the referred content.
The following are the benefits of internal linking:
- Shows the relationship of each page. This means that Google will know that content is related to other pages, which are also worthy of crawling and getting traffic.
- Ensure authority. Internal linking can show the link equity of your main content, so it can rank higher thematically.
- Efficient navigation. Internal links like this can provide references to readers about other related content, so they feel more at home on your website.
The content for internal links must have the same context as the current post. For example, our article on how to install a WordPress plugin contains internal links to other posts about plugin recommendations (both discussing plugins).
There is no rule on the number of internal links that may be included, but don’t interfere with the appearance of the article. Make a list of priority articles that you will include in internal linking, especially articles that you want to target with certain keywords to get traffic.
Well, in internal linking, there is something called anchor text. So, anchor text is a word or phrase that you insert internal links (such as hyperlinks). To make it easier for the reader, you should choose anchor text that explains the topic of the referred content.
For example, if you’re going to reference content about IP addresses, include internal links to the phrases “IP address” or “IP address” as well. Because this anchor text can also be counted as a keyword for the article being referred to.
To add anchor text in the WordPress Block Editor, highlight the word or phrase you want and then click the link/URL symbol. Then, enter the URL and select Open in a new tab if necessary. After that, click the Enter button.
For Classic Editor users, highlight the anchor text then select the link symbol in the tools section. Enter the URL or search for the page in the results column, then click Apply.
If you use Yoast Premium, you can use the internal link suggestion tool, which recommends related content.
6. Enter Trusted External Links
With external links, you can recommend additional material to readers. This type of link also gives Google clues about the relevance of your article’s topic to the terms you’re targeting.
The difference between internal links and external links is that internal links refer to your own website, while external links refer to and give authority to other websites.
So, the website you refer to must be credible and trusted. Look at the website’s Domain Authority, which is a score that assesses a website’s opportunity to rank in search results. A good score for external links is between 70 and 100.
To see the DA of a website, use the Domain analysis tool from Moz. In addition to scores, this tool can also show the number of backlinks a website has and the keywords it has successfully targeted.
When adding external links, consider the following:
- Referenced content must be fresh. Don’t redirect visitors to content that is more than two years old because the information may no longer be relevant.
- Avoid content that cannot be accessed immediately. For example, content that requires you to subscribe. Because there will be no point if the user can not immediately see it.
- Open the link in a new tab. That way, readers can switch between your site and external pages at the same time.
- Contact the webmaster whose link you entered. They may agree to promote your content on their platform in return, even including a backlink to your website.
Just like internal links, external links will also share traffic to the referred website. There are bound to be situations when you just want to provide additional referrals without sharing traffic. So, for this situation, set the external link with the rel nofollow attribute so that Google doesn’t share your website traffic with these external websites.
So, to do this if you use Yoast in the Block Editor, just select nofollow when adding the link:
In the Classic Editor, you can add attributes with HTML in Text mode. Here’s the code:
For affiliate links, Google requires webmasters to use the attribute rel sponsored, and rel UGC for user-generated content.
7. Take Advantage of Video Content
Video content now has its own place among website visitors. According to Wyzowl, 69% of visitors prefer video over text when learning about a product or service. The video has also succeeded in helping 82% of marketers increase the average time of a reader’s visit.
When using video as an SEO technique, pay attention to the source of your files. YouTube is the most popular, as it has the second most used search engine after Google, making it easy to expand your audience reach.
The chance of ranking on Google’s SERP will also be much higher. A recent study by Moz shows that 94% of all high-ranking videos come from YouTube.
Also, it’s easier to optimize videos for Google with YouTube, because there are built-in features like timestamp. After uploading it to YouTube, you can embed the YouTube video on your website.
8. Perform Regular Updates and Display Update Dates
Content that is always up-to-date also increases relevance to search terms. If your blog post or page contains outdated information, Google will likely remove it from search results.
So you need to review, evaluate and revise your pages and posts regularly.
To update content and pages, consider the following:
- Double-check search intents. Is the format of your article according to the wishes of potential visitors? Can your article provide information according to their search terms?
- Ensure content accuracy. Make sure your information remains accurate and presents the latest information according to your niche trends.
- Clarify the information presented. This will improve the quality of the content so that it will engage readers more and get backlinks. Provide actionable tips, include case studies, or cite credible sources.
- Change the title to make it more attractive. Change the title to make it more interesting than the previous article, or even a competitor’s article.
- Check broken links. Visitors may be annoyed if they click on a broken link.
- Add or update pictures. Make sure the images are also more updated and try adding illustrations or infographics to improve content visualization.
Finally, it’s a good idea to also display the date of the last update to show that the content is indeed fresh and has just been updated. Use a plugin like WP Last Modified Info, and customize the date display.
SEO Techniques for Website Configuration
Now that you’ve finished optimizing your web hosting and website, here are some basic WordPress SEO techniques you can apply to increase rankings:
1. Use an SEO-Friendly Theme
An optimal theme not only looks good but also provides a pleasant user experience and makes it easier for search engines to browse your website content.
Here are important considerations for finding the best WordPress themes for search engines:
- responsive. Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in its SERP. So, this point should be prioritized. Responsiveness means the theme can auto-adjust to desktop, tablet, and smartphone screens.
- Fast and light. A lightweight WordPress theme includes only the main features and lacks boilerplate code to make it load faster.
- Compatible with WordPress. This ensures we comply with the latest WordPress coding standards to prevent errors, maintain code readability, and follow web accessibility guidelines.
- Updated regularly. Ideally, theme developers should perform regular updates to address any performance or security issues.
Before installing a WordPress theme, use a website speed and inspection tool to find out if there are any issues. In addition to PageSpeed Insights, we recommend web.dev and SEO Site Checkup for this step.
2. Instal Plugin SEO (Yoast vs AIOSEO)
The core WordPress software does not provide features for website optimization. To do so, you need to install the WordPress plugin.
Yoast and AIOSEO are currently the two most popular WordPress optimization plugins. Both are available in a freemium version, you can download them for free and upgrade to the paid version to get premium features.
The free version of the Yoast plugin includes a title tag editor and meta description for posts and pages, an XML sitemap, breadcrumb pages, basic schema markup support, and integration with search engine webmaster tools.
One of the superior features of this plugin is its content analysis, which can provide suggestions so that your writing is more optimized for search engines and easier to read.
With the premium version, you’ll get access to view related keyphrases, advanced schema markup, and internal linking recommendations. The price is set at $ 89/year for one website and includes paid add-ons.
Then, there is also AIOSEO which also offers similar features. The free version of this plugin includes an XML sitemap generator, meta tag editor, integration with search engine webmaster tools, and analytics to determine how optimized your content is.
However, since this plugin is free, basic schema markup support is not available. You need the premium version to access it, which costs $49.50/year for one site.
To get started, try out the free versions of each plugin to find out which works best for your needs.
Then, for the rest of this article, we’ll use Yoast to illustrate how to SEO WordPress.
3. Activate WordPress Breadcrumbs
The next SEO technique to consider is implementing breadcrumbs on your blog posts or website pages. Breadcrumb is a link that shows the location of visitors when they are visiting a website.
Here’s an example of breadcrumbs on the Encyclopedia Britannica website :
Breadcrumbs make navigation very easy, especially on content-heavy websites such as online stores or publication sites. With it, users know which page to go to again when they want to find more related content.
Then, breadcrumb search is a very good internal linking tactic, which can help search bots understand the relationship between web pages.
In search results, a breadcrumb might appear near the page or post title like this:
If you want to activate breadcrumbs, you can use the built-in feature of the Yoast SEO plugin.
For WordPress Block Editor users, find and select the Yoast Breadcrumbs block, then drag and drop the element into the content area.
Or, Classic Editor users can enter the shortcode [*wpseo_breadcrumb*] in Text mode (remove the asterisks around the code).
Here is an example:
To apply breadcrumbs on all website pages, you need to edit the WordPress theme files. If you haven’t already done so, try looking at the theme’s documentation or contacting the developer to avoid any issues that might occur. Apart from that, we also recommend using a child theme.
On the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance -> Theme Editor. Depending on the theme you are using, you may have to modify the header.php file or the single.php and page.php files.
After finding and opening the right file, copy-paste the code below. In certain situations, you may need to remove the starting <?php and the ending? tags. >.
Once done, go to Yoast SEO -> Search Appearance -> Breadcrumbs from the WordPress dashboard. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Enabled.
Next, scroll up again to set the breadcrumb. You can customize the homepage anchor text, change the breadcrumb separator, and choose the type of taxonomy to display. Click Save changes when finished.
4. Optimize Title Tags
Title tags help search engines generate a clickable page or post names that appear in search results. It’s important to optimize them to maximize the ranking opportunities for the keywords you want. In addition, good and interesting text can also increase the chances that users will click on it.
However, keep in mind that the title tag that you have specified can be replaced in the SERP. This problem usually occurs when they feel your title is not relevant enough to the search query. The search engines then use other sources of your content to generate alternative titles.
Here are some tips for optimizing title tags:
- Keep it concise. Make sure the title describes the content of your page or post in just a few words. While there’s no set limit, it’s important to stick to less than 70 characters, which is the maximum title length that can be displayed in search results on mobile and desktop devices.
- Create specific and distinct titles. All pages must have a different title tag so as not to confuse visitors and search bots.
- Include focus keywords. This way, search engines will know which SERP page or post will appear.
To customize the title tag, you must use a WordPress SEO plugin.
If you’re using Yoast SEO, you’ll see an area for meta tags and descriptions under the Classic Editor. Or, if you use the Block Editor, click the Yoast SEO icon then open the Google preview area and enter the desired title in the SEO title column.
If the indicator has changed to green, it means that your title tag meets the optimal length limit. The SEO analysis section below will also tell you if the focus keywords are distributed correctly.
To make all posts and pages use the same title tag structure, navigate to Yoast SEO -> Search Appearance from the WordPress dashboard. Then, click on Content Types and set the SEO title section for pages and posts. Try experimenting with resetting or entering a new title variable.
5. Optimize Meta Descriptions
In the SERP, users will see the meta description just below the title tag.
A good meta description should be written specifically for each article, attractive, concise, and lets readers know what information they will find in your post or page. Then, to increase the potential for your posts to be clicked, use an active writing style that seems fishing and invites visitors.
In the following example, the description begins with a question to the website’s target audience, namely traveling lovers. Then, they use imperative verbs to “encourage” the user to take the action they suggest, and show how the website can help the visitor make it happen.
However, search engines often replace this description with the text they find in the post. In fact, research from Portent shows that Google often ignores this snippet up to 68% of the time for desktop, and 71% for mobile SERPs.
That said, it’s important that you still write unique and compelling meta descriptions, especially for pursuing high-volume keyword rankings.
The meta description is also displayed on social networks when someone shares a site page or post with followers. So, you still need to optimize this snippet to increase the potential for your post to be clicked through social media.
If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, you can edit the description in the Google preview section of the meta area. The SEO analysis section will also inform you if the number of characters in your snippet is optimal, which is between 120 and 156 characters.
6. Use WordPress Categories and Tags
The next WordPress SEO method is to use WordPress categories and tags. With these two features, the content and structure of the website are easier to search for, both for readers and search engines.
The difference between categories and tags is that categories are hierarchical (level), while tags are keywords that describe post content. With categories, you can create subcategories, for example, the lifestyle blog Brit + Co which has a Home category with several related subtopics below it:
Meanwhile, tags function like entries in a book index. For example, the owner of the food blog Cookie + Kate uses tags to group together recipes with the same ingredients:
To add and edit categories and tags, go to Posts -> Categories and Posts -> Tags in your WordPress dashboard. Here, you can customize the name, URL slug, and description of each entry.
It is also important to optimize the design of category and tag pages, especially if there is potential for ranking for certain keywords.
For example, if you have an online sporting goods store, your store might have a product category page for tennis shoes. Naturally, this page will likely rank for search queries related to the item.
Therefore, make sure that your category page design is always user-friendly so that visitors feel at home exploring your website for a long time.
Apart from online stores, this SEO technique also applies to websites such as locker directories or food blogs as it covers broad terms such as “web developer vacancies” or “rendang recipe”.
7. Prevent Spam Comments on Blog Posts
Spam comments are a manipulative tactic. Spam comment senders usually include links that point to other websites in the hope of generating backlinks from blogs with higher authority.
The following are the dangers of spam for your website:
- This can cause Google to lower the overall ranking of the website. Google wants to maintain the quality of its search results.
- Can redirect visitors to malicious websites, which affects their data security and page experience.
- Ruin the site’s reputation.
One way to prevent spam comments is to activate manual approval. That way, you can check every comment before it appears on the site.
To do this from the WordPress dashboard, go to Settings -> Discussion and check the Comment must be manually approved box. Then, scroll down, then Save changes.
There are several elements to look out for when filtering spam comments:
- Website address. By default, WordPress includes an optional field for commenters to enter their website link. Be wary of comments with domain names that are obscure or irrelevant to your niche.
- usernames. When comments appear below the article, this username becomes the anchor text for the user’s website URL. If your username contains words that don’t look like your real name, you should reject the comment.
- Message. Spam comments are usually vague, irrelevant, or non-specific, so they can be submitted to many articles on various topics.
Here are examples of comments to avoid:
Another way to prevent spam is to use a plugin. Akismet, which comes included with every WordPress installation, is perfect for filtering out malicious comments. Apart from that, you can also use this QuantumCloud plugin to remove the site URL column from the comment form.
How to SEO for Website URLs
This section will discuss how WordPress SEO relates to site URLs. The goal is for the links to each page to be clearer and more readable by visitors. Thus, both users and search engines can both understand the contents of the article or post and can find it easily.
1. Choose Between WWW and Non-WWW
One of the first and most important things for you as a new WordPress website owner is to choose between a www or non-www URL for your domain.
In fact, there’s no better WWW or non-WWW when it comes to optimizing WordPress. However, it’s important that you stay consistent because Google considers them as two separate URLs, and this will prevent duplicate content and help search engines know which version takes precedence.
To specify the address you want, go to Settings -> General on your WordPress dashboard. In the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) fields, enter the www or non-www domain. Then, scroll down and click Save Changes.
2. Configure the Website Permalink Structure
Apart from choosing between www and non-www addresses, be sure to choose the right permalink structure. Permalinks are URLs that will direct visitors to every post and page on your WordPress website.
By default, WordPress uses the usual permalink structure with the page ID number as the slug, for example, https://example.com/?p=123.
URLs like this do not provide context for what visitors will find on a page, so they are likely to opt out of visiting your website due to this ambiguity.
To change the default permalink structure, click the Settings -> Permalinks tab on the WordPress dashboard and select an option. Most WordPress SEO experts recommend post names because they make it clear what visitors will see on a page or post.
However, the post name may not always be relevant, for example on news sites because they generally have to consider the publication time of the post. Also, websites with a lot of heavy content might consider using a custom Structure and including the %category% variable to make it more organized.
Well, there is one thing to keep in mind here. If your WordPress website is more than a few months old, changing the permalink structure might cause problems, such as losing existing referral links.
If you still want to change it, make sure you do a redirect so visitors will be directed to the right page. If you use the premium Yoast SEO plugin, you can use the URL redirect feature.
3. Use Custom URLs for Posts and Pages
Apart from permalinks, you also need to optimize URLs. When editing a blog post or article, make sure that the URL slug follows the best SEO tips and techniques.
To edit permalinks individually, open the post or page whose URL you want to change and open the WordPress Editor.
If using the Block Editor, open the Settings panel. Then, select Permalink and change the slug.
If using the Classic Editor, click Edit next to the URL below the page or post name. If you are satisfied with the result, click OK.
Here are tips for optimizing URL slugs:
- Include focus keywords. For example, if you target the keyword “what is web hosting” with your blog post, include that keyword in the permanent link, for example, https://example.com/what-is-web-hosting.
- Use short and simple slugs. Google recommends against using long, complex URLs with lots of parameters because they will slow down and make crawling difficult.
- Replace spaces with hyphens. While it’s fine to use underscores, Google prefers hyphens.
- Use only lowercase. URL slugs are case-sensitive, meaning Google considers https://example.com/url-slug and https://example.com/URL-slug to be two different URLs. The use of different font sizes may indirectly result in the duplication of content.
- Note the use of slashes. As with the previous point, search engines treat https://example.com/url-slug and https://example.com/url-slug/ (with a trailing slash) as separate addresses.
- Avoid numbers and special characters. Symbols make it difficult for links to read. Additionally, some symbols are not included in the URL.
How to SEO for Image Content
This section will discuss how WordPress SEO relates to images.
1. Optimization of Your Image
Images, photos, and graphics can make a page or article more visually appealing. However, these elements sometimes make it difficult to load your WordPress website.
The first tip for image optimization is to compress files. To do this, you can use the Smush plugin, which can compress multiple images at once from the WordPress dashboard. This plugin can also enable lazy loading, which delays the loading of images until the user scrolls down.
Next, you can choose a compression method, for example, lossy vs lossless.
Lossy will reduce the file size, but affect the quality. You also cannot revert the image to its original version. This method is best suited for. JPEG images that don’t display a lot of detail.
Lossless can only slightly reduce file size, but without reducing quality. This method is more suitable for. PNG images that contain many graphic or text features.
Alternatively, you can also scale the image or resize it to fit the dimensions of your site. Thus, even the visitor’s browser does not need to download and scale images before loading them on the screen.
2. Use Alt Text for Images
Alt text is an image description that allows search engines to understand its relevance to the rest of the page. Screenreader tools can also use it to help visually impaired users understand image content.
Usually, alt text is displayed when you hover the mouse cursor over an image or use the browser’s inspect feature on an image to view the text.
In WordPress, you can add alt text from Media -> Library on the dashboard. Select an image, then fill in the Alternative Text field.
Or, you can enter alt text directly from the editor. Gutenberg Editor users can add image blocks to content areas. Select the block, then open the Settings panel. Enter a description into the Alt Text (alternative text) field.
In the Classic Editor, click Add media at the top of the content area. Upload a file or select an image from the library. Enter alt text in the appropriate field.
Here are the best tips for writing image alt text:
- Describe the image accurately. Make sure blind users can accurately understand the content from the description.
- Short, dense, and clear. The ideal alt text length is between 80 and 125 characters.
- Include keywords if necessary. Analysis from the Yoast SEO plugin will usually ask you to enter keywords in the alt text. Remember, don’t do keyword stuffing.
Below is an example of alt text:
3. Use Readable File Names
Like alt text, image filenames can also help search engines understand images. Use a descriptive name, not just “IMG_0001.jpg”.
Filenames don’t have to be as accurate or as long as the alt text, but be sure to include keywords where possible. Also, Google recommends writing filenames in lowercase and replacing blank spaces with hyphens. That way, file URLs will look more organized and easier to read.
How to SEO for Already Members
By implementing the WordPress SEO methods that we have discussed above, you can be sure that you have taken the right steps to get a high ranking for your website. If you still want to optimize it and already understand the basic concepts, you can follow the SEO techniques below.
1. Add Schema.org Structured Data
Some search results on Google use advanced techniques that make them look much more attractive. An example is the first page for the query “new 2021 iMac” below, which displays articles in a carousel format at the top:
Views like these are called rich results and they usually appear above the regular blue organic results. To create it, you need to add structured data with schema.org markup to the content.
This process usually requires that you understand coding. However, plugins like Yoast SEO now include structured data features.
To get started, go to the Schema tab in the meta area under the post or page editor. Then, select the appropriate Page type and Article type.
You can also optimize your company or brand details for rich results in Yoast SEO -> Search Appearance from the WordPress dashboard. In the General tab, scroll down to the Knowledge Graph & Schema.org section and configure the fields to your liking:
For more, install the Schema plugin, which supports other structured data for recipes, reviews, and job postings, not yet available in Yoast SEO.
2. Add Canonical Tag for Duplicate Content
Duplicate content can occur when multiple pages contain similar content or when different web addresses point to the same page. As we discussed, duplicates can appear in the above occurrences of WWW and non-WWW URLs, or when using different URLs for mobile and desktop sites.
Without proper configuration, any of this duplicate content can compete with the original content for rankings on the SERPs and confuse search engine algorithms. So, check for duplicate content regularly.
Software and plugins for optimizing websites are usually equipped with this function. Or, use a tool like Siteliner.
After finding duplicate articles or posts, determine which ones should be prioritized by search engines using the canonical URL tag, which tells bots that the page or post is the original version.
The Yoast SEO plugin allows you to add canonical tags directly from the WordPress Editor.
To do this, go to the page or post that you don’t want Google to index. In the Yoast SEO meta area, go to the Advanced section and enter the original content canonical URL in the appropriate field:
3. Use Noindex for Non-Priority Content
Articles or posts that do not contain relevant information should not appear in the SERP.
For content like this, Google recommends that you use the noindex meta tag so that these pages are no longer in the search engine’s database.
An example is an archive page that you have to set to noindex. This page usually only displays lists by date or by a certain author and does not answer the user’s search intent.
You can set no index via Yoast -> Search Appearance from the dashboard.
Depending on the website and your preferences, feel free to apply similar settings to other pages, such as categories, tags, and media.
4. Take advantage of Social Media
The next WordPress SEO method is to maximize social media. While not a direct ranking factor, social media can tell search engines that your website can be trusted.
For example, Bing’s ranking algorithm considers a brand’s visibility on external platforms, including social networks, to determine how influential and credible its website is. Account engagement factors such as shares follow and likes are also taken into account.
Google, on the other hand, maintains that social media does not directly impact your WordPress optimization. However, search engines take positive brand mentions without links into account when evaluating page rank.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to optimize social media for your business. Consider the following:
- Optimize your profile. Include as many details as possible that are useful for visitors to understand your personal or business brand. Enter some relevant keywords to increase page ranking opportunities.
- Share content regularly on social media. Apart from sharing links, insert pictures and write interesting captions to attract potential visitors.
- Install the WordPress social media plugin. That way, readers can share your posts on their profiles. Some plugins can also display the number of shares on a page as social proof.
- Engage your followers. Increase engagement with polls, surveys, Q&A sessions, or custom hashtags to generate buzz.
- Use analytics. Business accounts on social media usually have this feature. Take advantage of it to find out what your audience likes and how your content performs on those platforms.
5. Always Follow the Trends
The last SEO technique that we recommend is to always follow the latest news about optimization for search engines. Search engines make frequent changes to their algorithms, so be sure not to miss out on any important information that could affect a site’s ranking.
Visit the Google Search Central Blog regularly. Alternatively, you can also subscribe to their YouTube channel which frequently uploads news and hosts Q&A sessions for webmasters.
Plus, follow the most popular publications and influencers platforms around this field on social media for what the experts say. Sign up for their email newsletter so you don’t miss any updates.
If possible, try to attend events that discuss the topic of website optimization to connect with experts and get insights about improving site rankings. Some popular events include brightonSEO, Ad World, and MozCon.
Of all the digital marketing strategies, search engine optimization is one of the most effective. Ranking high in the SERP will increase traffic to your website, strengthen authority in the industry, and make your website more user-friendly.
So, we’ve discussed 30+ SEO techniques that you can do so that your website’s traffic and ranking continue to increase. You’ve learned everything from hosting optimization to site speed to keyword research to structured data.
For new WordPress website owners, here are the best SEO techniques to try:
- Optimization of your hosting. Google prioritizes pages that have a good web experience. This is very possible if your hosting has optimal uptime, performance, security features, and resources. We recommend choosing WordPress hosting or Cloud server services.
- Maximize site performance and performance. Enable caching to speed up website loading and install an SSL certificate to protect information and users.
- Submit website to search engine webmaster tools. This ensures your website is crawled regularly. You can also see the ranking performance with the analytics tool.
- Configure website URLs. Do this step before publishing the website to avoid redirect URLs and broken links. Choose the appropriate permalink structure and choose between non-www and www domains.
- Install a WordPress SEO plugin. This extension helps optimize ranking factors on website pages, such as the distribution of keywords and meta tags. Our recommendations are Yoast and AIOSEO.
- Install an SEO-friendly theme. Choose a theme that is responsive, lightweight, updated regularly, and complies with WordPress coding standards.
- Research potential target keywords. That way, you know what kind of results are presented for certain keywords. You can also write content that is more in line with search intent. Target long-tail keywords for new websites.
- Publish quality content. Write user-friendly and informative articles. Include target keywords, internal and external links, proper titles, image alt text, and audit content regularly.
- Optimize meta description and title. These elements determine the appearance of the page in the SERP. The text must be attractive to potential visitors and help search engines determine the page’s relevance to the target keywords.
- Apply advanced SEO techniques. Add structured data to achieve rich results, use canonical tags to avoid duplicate content, and use noindex for non-priority pages. Also, maximize your social media to increase brand credibility.
Finally, stay up to date with the latest trends and news around site optimization so that you are better prepared when Google and other search engines release algorithm changes.
If there are other WordPress SEO methods that you have tried that we haven’t discussed in this article, please let us know in the comments below.