One of the most common reasons for choosing WordPress as the blogging platform is that it is mentioned as SEO friendly.
This is due to the way WordPress is structured. This makes it SEO friendly.
But, that is just the basic. You need to put in extra effort to make your WordPress blog/website take maximum benefit of SEO.
We at tinkoor use WordPress for website development of lots of our clients. As it also includes the traffic building as part of the project, the focus is always on using the best of practices that actually produce results.
This checklist based guide is based on (and constantly updated) SEO practices that work in 2018.
This guide is divided in these topics:
SEO friendly URL structure:
This one is the first thing you must change in the settings section of your WordPress site. The default setting in any wordpress installation is domain/post-id (where post id is some random number). This doesn’t work in current webmasters guidelines.
Your URL structure should be designed in such a way that it includes the Keyword that you are targeting for as well as give an idea to your reader what the page is all about.
For example you can look at the URL of this page itself.
Head over to settings>permalink and pick(or customize) the SEO friendly URL structure.
Our favourite is: domain/post-name or example.com/category/post-name
If you have a site that includes lots of post on same topic, then it is good idea to include id at the end to separate one post from the other. For example any job portal, entertainment site may need such setting.
For SEO purpose, having keyword in URL is one of important factor. So, before you publish your post, do look at the URL of that post/page.
When your page is shown as search result for a query, the visitor is expecting to get the answer first. And then maybe also read the whole article.
Hence, it is not a good idea to make him scroll through an article with headings, sub headings and paragraphs all the way down.Besides, such article have less chance to be featured in snippet.
Google will love you if you help your readers to get to the important material as quick as possible.
Anchor text helps you in doing that. I found this Kinsta article to be quite helpful. If you use chrome that you use this plugin for chrome and watch the video below about how to use it quickly. No extra plugin required.
[Video link here]
Long tail keywords used as subheadings
This one is little tricky to apply. If you are blogging consistently for more than 3 months than you know that targeting for keywords alone doesn’t work.
Keyword stuffing should be avoided. It can actually harm your site in medium to long term.
You need to target the associated long tail keywords to be able to start ranking for that keywords. Now, the good thing is if you are able to find a long tail keyword which can be a subheading, then you are in the sweet spot.
You don’t need to think these long tail keyword on your own these days. Rather use the search intent queries that Google suggests when you look for a keyword.
Just like the subheading in the previous section: Best URL structure for WordPress SEO. This is a long tail keyword for WordPress SEO.
Same goes for semantic keywords & LSI. Use them in couple of headlines to improve On-Page SEO
Use of matching phrase
This part of SEO comes with practice. You see not everyone searching for any keyword will use the same sentence structure.
For example, even for WordPress SEO the various variations searched will be:
” Best SEO wordpress site”
“WordPress site SEO settings”
“How to setup WordPress for SEO?”
and many other.
The intent is same in all the queries. And Google is quite good at understanding the intent of search and will provide most relevant result for same.
The best approach we have seen working is to rephrase your sentences to include various variations when you are explaining the concept is detail.
SSL is bare minimum for any site to set up right in the beginning. Google has made it amply clear that it will prefer SSL sites as compared to non-SSL sites going forth.
With Chrome highlighting unsecure websites prominently, having a https site is bare minimum to rank your website higher.
Besides, with Let’s encrypt based one click SSL certificate available on hosting panels, it is no brainer to make your site secure from day 1.
Hosting solutions like Bluehost( get one free domain with this link)[affiliate link] just scroll down to Let’s encrypt option and click to add the certificate to your site.
About me page
Google in their recent update has started pushing for site which show authority on the topic.
One of the factors being used for the same is About me/us page. Take your time and fill this one up nicely. That shows Google how to consider you as an authority on that subject.
If you have received any mention somewhere or published anywhere, please include link for the same too.
A well designed About me/us page is huge authority builder.
Here is a complete in depth article by Neil Patel about how to create a perfect about page.
Consistent Content Creation
And last but not the least, you need to produce content consistently to be able to come on top of your SEO game.
Unless you are delivering something that is so unique in the niche/domain that no body else is delivering that, then you might make it to the top.
Else, get down to a plan and churn out articles on consistent basis. This doesn’t mean everyday.
Rather, even 2 or 1 article per week is fine. And I am talking about good quality 1000-1500+ words article at minimum. Anything below that will need more regular schedule.
This advice goes against the common advice being dolled out that only quality matters. No it doesn’t
Quality & Quantity, both matter.
You can’t predict which one your article will get viral, if it does.
The only other scenario is targeting a complete range of your main keyword and related keywords and phrases. And this can happen only when you have articles dealing with each one of them. Thus the quantity part.
But, don’t compromise on quality for quantity sake.
If your blog publishes long form articles, more than 1500-2000 words, then it is good idea to publish less frequently but regularly. It is better than publishing more frequently as compared to a, let’s say a news or entertainment site with article length less than 800 words.
Inlcude images in your articles with alt attributes
Your content need to have visual content. There is no doubt about it.
But, Google doesn’t ‘see’ images. It reads Alt attribute of the image. So, for proper SEO, include images and also make sure to upload them with proper attributes.
Responsive & Optimised images
In continuation to above point, all your images need to be optimised.
Even if you are running a image heavy website. With mobile-first index, the site loading speed (told in next point) is effected by images which are optimised as well as responsive according to different screens.
The content and whole layout of the website needs to be responsive too.
Site loading speed
If your site has loading time of more than 5 seconds, say good bye to 50% of your potential traffic. No kidding.
It is frustrating to see a loading icon for more than 5-6 seconds. Take every step possible to improve the loading speed of your website.
It is not always about hosting, but there are many other small issues which can effect the site loading speed.
A Mobile SEO audit is something that should be done on regular basis, to find the potential issue with the site and work to sort it out. ASAP.