SEO for WordPress: The Ultimate Guide

We know SEO is huge.

It has various aspects.

But this post is specifically about WordPress SEO.

To begin with,

What is WordPress?

Simply put, it is a Content Management System (CMS).

A simple(r) platform to create websites.

Digidomain is WordPress-based.

Why should you use/choose WordPress?

Primarily, it is easy to use.

You don’t have to create a website from scratch.

You don’t need to be a coding expert.

WordPress has over 35% global market share (source: Kinsta)

wordpress share

Now, let’s say you are about to create a website using WordPress.

But just installing/creating WordPress will not help you in SEO.

Yes, you have to work on SEO continuously like any other site.

But for WordPress, you’ll need certain guidelines to follow.

In this post, I’ll take you through

-settings for basic technical WordPress SEO

-SEO plugins

-optimizing your blog posts for WordPress SEO through Yoast

-links

-image optimization

-mobile optimization

Settings for basic technical WordPress SEO

Now, once you have your WordPress account, click on Settings.

general settings

a. Now click “General”.

You get the below.

general settings page

Here, fill in the Site title, tagline, WordPress Address, and Site address.

The tagline is optional. Add it only if it helps.

This is where you add your site version (http/https & www/non-www).

Once done, click “Save changes” at the bottom.

b. Click on “Reading”

reading settings

Always uncheck “Search Engine Visibility” option for site indexing.

I have installed a Robots plugin, which appears here.

The Digidomain Robots.txt file appears like this:

digidomain robots file

There are many predefined instructions.

You need to add extra ones for your site.

 Like I have excluded the below

-privacy policy

-terms and conditions

-paginated content

-archives etc.

Save changes at the bottom.

c. Click on “Discussion”

This section is for blog comments posted by others.

discussion setting

Usually all the above will be checked by default.

But you should go through these nonetheless.

Comments play an important role in site rankings.

Hence they are crucial for WordPress SEO.

You need to properly monitor each and every comment.

Approve only the relevant ones.

And delete the spammy ones.

d. Click “Permalinks”

permalink settings

This is another very crucial option.

This is for choosing the kind of URL for your site.

Click on the Custom option.

You can check out my post on how to create the perfect SEO-friendly URL.

That obviously applies to WordPress SEO as well.

Once chosen, click “Save changes” at the bottom.

The next section on WordPress SEO is plugins.

SEO plugins

The best part about WordPress is plugins.

It has plugins for almost everything that you need.

And it will only get better.

Below are the WordPress SEO plugins that you can install

1. HREFLang tag lite

Hreflang is used to help bots understand the language of the site.

You may think that if your site is in English you don’t need this.

You are partially correct.

Even though there are millions of site in English, it is always better to help search bots.

It makes their task easy.

Which means they will “like” your site and your actions.

Which is good for your site.

Once you activate the plugin, select the pages where you want the tag to appear.

On your posts, at the bottom, you will find the language option.

hreflang tag post plugin

Fill it up as desired.

2. Lazy Load

What is Lazy Load?

It is a feature where only the viewable page is loaded, not the full page.

What does that mean?

If you visit any of Digidomain posts, you will see that they are quite lengthy.

You need to scroll multiple times as and when you read.

Lazy Load feature will enable page-loading for only the section of the entire page which is displayed to you.

So the page will load only when you scroll.

This will save time.

A major SEO factor.

3. Simple 301 redirects

simple 301 redirects

302 is a temporary redirect

301 is a permanent redirect.

You will need use redirect although it is good if you avoid it.

Once the plugin is installed, you will find the option under settings.

301 redirect

Click on it.

You will get 2 link options.

The first one is the page you want to redirect.

301 redirect plugin

The second one is the destination page.

Save the changes.

As simple as that.

4. Google XML Sitemaps

xml sitemap plugin

Your site needs Sitemap, no doubt.

This plugin will create Sitemap for you.

Once installed, this will appear under Settings.

xml sitemap in settings

Click on it.

sitemap plugin basic options

In the basic options, check the search engine notifications as above.

Scroll down.

sitemap content option

In the Sitemap content, check the ones that matter to you.

Scroll down.

sitemap frequency

Choose the frequency of sitemap crawling.

Note: This is not a directive but a hint.

Scroll down.

xml sitemap priorities

Choose your crawling priority.

What is this?

Not all your pages will be important for search engines.

Like static pages.

Example: Privacy policy, terms, About us etc

These are not as important as your main pages.

Like product pages, homepage, blog posts etc.

So you need to put these pages ahead of others.

The most important pages should have priority 1.

Followed by other pages.

You can decide on the order and assign priority numbers likewise.

Once done, click Update at the bottom.

5. Complete image sitemap

image sitemap plugin

XML sitemaps are a must.

But in 2020, image sitemap is also very important for WordPress SEO.

Or any site, for that matter.

This will generate a sitemap for only images.

You need to submit this to Google Search Console.

Along with the XML sitemap.

You can check my post on The Guide to the New Search Console for that.

6. Smush

smush plugin

As I mentioned earlier, images are crucial for WordPress SEO (and SEO in general).

All your images will be automatically compressed by this plugin.

You can also use tinypng.com for that.

To be safe, you can use both as I do 😊.

You don’t need to do anything post-installment here.

7. W3 Total Cache

w3 total cache plugin

When your page loads, a lot of code (CSS and JavaScript) will reload.

You can minify this code using this plugin.

8. Pagespeed Ninja

Pagespeed ninja plugin

Another plugin to increase page speed.

Once installed, it will appear under settings like the others.

Click on it.

Pagespeed ninja page

You will get many options under three main sections

-should fix

-consider fixing

-passed

This will give you a good idea of the issue.

Yoast SEO

yoast seo plugin

This is probably THE most important plugin for WordPress SEO.

This plugin is the most preferred one-stop SEO plugin.

Features of Yoast plugin for WordPress SEO include:

-page title and meta description ready easy-to-use template

-ready Schema implementation

-XML sitemap functionality

-automatic canonical URL implementation

-readability analysis

-device preview

Once installed this will appear in the left-hand side list.

Not under Settings, but separately.

yoast seo below settings

Click on it.

We have many sub-sections here.

We’ll go through one-by-one.

1. General settings

yoast general

There are three options here.

Dashboard

A brief status on issue(s) will be displayed here.

yoast general settings

Features

yoast general features

You can enable or disable any features displayed here.

Usually “On” for all fits fine.

Note: You need to disable the sitemap option here if you install the XML sitemap plugin and submit it on Console.

yoast xml sitemap option

Once done, save changes at the bottom.

Webmaster tools tab

This is where you add your code from respective search engines.

yoast search appearance

I suggest you add Bing and Yandex along with Google.

Save changes once done.

Search Appearance

yoast search appearance

Many options here as well.

yoast search appearance

In General tab,

Choose your

-title separator (best practice: hyphen)

-Homepage title

-Homepage meta description

-schema

Click “Save changes”.

Content types tab

yoast facebook app id

This is for default search appearance for any type of content you have.

You can fill in titles and descriptions for pages, posts, and downloads.

yoast content types options

You can keep the rest of the settings as is.

Social – Yoast WordPress SEO

Accounts tab

yoast social

Fill in the URLs of all the social media platforms your site is present.

Facebook tab

yoast facebook tab

Enable Open Graph (OG) meta data.

Add frontpage and default settings – this is pretty straightforward.

yoast facebook settings

Add your Facebook App ID.

yoast facebook app id

This is nothing but a 15 digit number.

How to get your Facebook App ID?

Open Facebook for Developers.

facebook for developers

Login with the same Facebook ID as your website’s Facebook account.

Click “My Apps”.

facebook developers my app

Click your Site name.

You will land on the below page which has the Facebook App ID.

facebook app id

Pinterest tab

yoast pinterest tab

Just like Facebook ID, you need to add your Pinterest ID as well.

In your Pinterest account, click settings.

Pinterest claim site

Click on “Claim”.

Add your website and click “Claim website” CTA.

An HTML tab will open.

pinterest html tag

Click the first option.

You will get the code.

pinterest html tag option

Copy and paste it in the Yoast plugin.

Click “Save changes”.

Connecting all your social media sites is helpful in WordPress SEO.

It will help increase your overall presence and make your site stronger.

These plugins should be good enough for you to get started.

3. Optimizing your blog posts for WordPress SEO

Now, after the above initial settings, you will start with your posts/articles.

At the bottom of every post you will find the below options from Yoast.

posts yoast seo

Add the focus keyword of the post.

It will display whether the keyword is present considerably or not.

Click “Edit Snippet”.

yoast edit snippet

Add the SEO title.

The hint that the title is optimum will be when the below brown line turns to green.

Lots of dummies below!

seo title brown line
seo title green line

Slug

This is the URL of the post.

As I highlighted earlier, treat it with the utmost importance.

Add your blog post meta description in the next section.

Create Categories

You need to sort out your posts properly.

Usually based on topics.

Creating categories is a good way of doing that.

I’ve created the below categories as of now.

-Articles

-ebooks

-seo

-ppc

-social media

-google

Every post will be under the related category.

A post can fall into multiple categories as well.

Links

Links are the cornerstone of SEO.

May it be internal or external.

Both have their respective roles.

Best practice: Open all links in a new tab.

How to do that?

For internal links

In your posts, when you highlight a word you will get the link option as below.

Link option

Click on the down-arrow.

Link open in new tab

Check the “Open in new tab” option.

Paste the URL.

Click the left-arrow.

For external links,

Follow the same process as that of internal links.

You need to do one more step for external links.

Make them as “Nofollow”.

Right?

The process to do that:

Once the text is linked,

In the post editor, click on the three vertical dots.

You get the below

three dots option

Click “Edit as HTML”.

You get the below code.

external links code

In the above code, I’ve highlighted the “rel” section.

You need to add Nofollow here as below.

external links nofollow added

Then click the three dots option again.

Click “Edit Visually”.

Convert to visual

Done!

If you have a lot of external links, you can download a plugin as well.

rel nofollow external plugin
rel nofollow plugin

Image optimization

image details

Best practice:

1. Name the image appropriately

2. When you add images, fill in the alt-text, title and description.

Mobile optimization

I thought I’ll add this that will quickly help you check for mobile optimization.

Google Mobile-Friendly test

mobile friendly test

Enter your URL.

If you get the below, you are fine.

mobile friendly page

You would get it most of the time as today almost all the WordPress themes are mobile-friendly.

If you do get an error,

non mobile friendly page

You have to prioritize that and fix it.

As soon as possible.

Google takes mobile-first indexing seriously.

If your mobile version is not optimized then your overall ranking will take a hit.

Hence, always have a mobile-friendly theme.

An important aspect of WordPress SEO.


Conclusion

Plugins make it easy for WordPress SEO.

Without the need to code.

What you need to do is,

-use the right plugins

-install them properly

-fill in the right keywords & content

WordPress is easy to install and handle.

There are plugins for almost anything.

Many of the top Digital Marketing sites use WordPress.

Like Ahrefs, Neil Patel, etc.

And they excel in WordPress SEO!

Hence, anybody with little knowledge of coding can use it.

And learn on-the-go.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *