Let us ask you a question: Why WordPress?
Is it because you've heard that it's SEO-friendly right out of the box?
Well, we don’t blame you. It is referred to as the best CMS for SEO by a number of respectable publications, including the Search Engine Journal.
However, the reality is that merely building a WordPress website isn't enough to get a site to rank on top search engines like Google. You’ll still need to implement quite a few SEO tactics to grow your website traffic from Google. This is due to the fact that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has evolved significantly over the last ten years.
Don’t get us wrong, WordPress is SEO friendly. In fact, it offers a great user experience, allows you to create attractive permalinks, makes Metadata easy to manage, and much more. However, you still need to put in extra effort to get your website ranked on Google. Because WordPress has such a massive market share, more and more people are looking for ways to improve their WordPress SEO.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll share with you 13 actionable WordPress SEO tips that will help you grow your websites’ organic traffic consistently. If you follow our tips, you’ll notice the traffic of your WordPress site skyrocket.
So without waiting anymore, let’s get started.
What is Search Engine Optimization for WordPress Websites?
WordPress is good for SEO. There is no doubt about it. WordPress search engine optimization is key to getting websites ranked.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for WordPress websites is a tactic employed by website owners to increase traffic by ranking higher in search engines like Google. It's not about deceiving Google when it comes to SEO. SEO for WordPress is as simple as implementing the right SEO tactics to make it easier for search engines to find your website.
In other words, SEO is the practice of boosting your website's visibility on search engines like Google in order to increase its organic traffic. For specific search queries that you optimize your website for, your content is more likely to show towards the top of the SERPs.
Why is SEO Important?
Well, if you want to reach people who are actively seeking information about services and goods that you offer, you’ll need to optimize your WordPress website and its content for search engines. SEO is organic marketing, which means you aren't paying Google or other search engines to promote your content. Although SEO may quickly become technical, the benefit of WordPress is that it makes things easier for individuals who aren't technically inclined or even those who don't consider themselves to be technical at all.
Creating high-quality content for search engines is also crucial as it makes your content appear far more credible and trustworthy compared to paid advertisements on SERPs.
If you don’t have the expertise to optimize the SEO of your WordPress site, let us do it for you. We offer the best SEO services that money can buy.
13 Actionable WordPress SEO Tips for Ranking Your Website in Google
So, enough talking about what is SEO for WordPress websites.
Now it's time to put on our working hats.
Let’s check out 13 of the most actionable WordPress SEO tips for 2022 below to help you increase your organic traffic and achieve better results on SERPs.
1. Install an SEO WordPress plugin
As we mentioned earlier, WordPress by default is already SEO-friendly right from the get-go. However, we still advise WordPress website owners to use an SEO plugin as well. This gives you complete control over what Google sees when it visits your website.
The cool thing about WordPress is that it has roughly 55,000 plugins that can be installed with just a few clicks. When it comes to SEO plugins, the free Yoast SEO plugin is the clear victor in terms of popularity.
With the help of a good SEO plugin, you can:
- With page and keyword analysis, you can write better content.
- You can make changes to your meta descriptions.
- You can create XML sitemaps on the fly.
- You can enable or disable Breadcrumbs.
- You can add social and schema markup to your website.
2. Optimize title tags for click-through rate (CTR)
Include your primary target keyword in the title tag of your blog article or website page. Most SEO experts advise placing your primary keyword first in the title wherever possible, as this would give it more weightage in search engines.
Why is placing your primary keyword in your title tag important?
Well, by making simple changes to titles, you can improve your CTR by almost 20%. That is what most organic marketers claim.
For example, if you are writing about “Best engine oil for 2022”, you should place your target keyword at the beginning of the blog post’s title. This will not only give your blog post a boost in terms of SEO, but it will make it easier for your reader to understand what your blog post is about. And when your title is easy to understand, your click-through rate will naturally improve.
When creating blog titles, keep in mind that Google only shows the first 600 pixels of meta titles due to pixel limitations. While the Yoast SEO plugin will highlight your meta title with red color when it exceeds Google’s viewable limit, we find it to be not that accurate. We would suggest using www.highervisibility.com. It properly displays when your title will truncate on Google.
3. Increase click-through rates (CTR) by writing optimized meta descriptions
Just like meta titles, meta descriptions can also help boost your website's CTR. A compelling meta description can persuade visitors to click on your content rather than your competitor’s content in the SERPs.
The better your click-through rate (CTR), the more traffic you'll obtain. If visitors don't return to Google after visiting your website, it's a strong indication that your website content is high-quality, and Google is more likely to give your sites a higher ranking. In a sense, meta descriptions have an indirect impact on your website’s SEO.
Similar to adjusting meta titles in the Yoast SEO plugin, you can do the same for meta descriptions. Again, to visually see how your meta description will appear in the SERPs, we would suggest using the “higher visibility” tool that we mentioned earlier.
You may make your meta description stand out even more by using your focus keyword.
Keep in mind that Google rewrites meta descriptions based on search queries on occasion, so the meta description you provide won't always appear in SERPs.
4. Make use of appropriate heading tags
Google's crawler looks at HTML header tags to see if your site's content is relevant. Header tags start from H1 and go all the way down to H6. The ideal practice is to use a single H1 tag per post or page, followed by many H2 and H3 headings beneath it.
Heading tags are important to give your content structure a hierarchy. In the hierarchy, the H1 tag is the most important header. Your target keyword should be included in the H1 tag as it is the most significant heading tag. Other long-tail keywords and LSIs can be adjusted in other headers.
5. Create high-quality backlinks
When it comes to WordPress SEO, backlinks are super important. They are used by Google to determine the authority of a webpage.
When a website with high authority links back to you, it does a lot more for your website than you can imagine. If the number of referring domains linking to you is increasing, it's generally a good indicator. The number of unique high-quality referring domains has a direct correlation with high rankings.
Ahrefs is a great tool for tracking your website’s backlink profile. It lets you examine how many backlinks your site has, how many organic ranking keywords it has, how many referring domains it has, and much more
6. Develop a strategy for internal linking
Internal links are important for both SEO and site navigation. Internal links basically help you connect one page or post on your website to another. When referring to other content you've produced or linking to your landing pages, you'll most likely use internal links.
Why are internal links crucial for SEO?
- Assist visitors in navigating your website, resulting in higher content consumption and more time spent on your site.
- Aid in the organization of the structure of your website and your data.
- They aid in the distribution of authority across your website by distributing value through internal links.
Each article or page should have at least three to five internal links, according to experts. You could add even more depending on the length of your article.
7. Include anchor links in lengthier content for easy navigation
If you don’t know, user experience is also an SEO ranking factor. One way to improve the user experience of your content is to use anchor links.
Anchor links are great for improving the user experience because they allow readers to jump immediately to the information they need. This is especially useful in a long post when certain readers may only need a fraction of the information.
If you read a lot of long-form blogs, you've probably come across anchor links. You can use these links to move to various parts of the article. That’s the whole idea behind anchor links or jump to links.
Another benefit of using anchor links is that they sometimes appear under the title of your posts on SERPs. Check out the image below to get a better idea of what we’re talking about:
8. Use SEO friendly permalinks
Google prefers URLs that include the title or keywords of your content. As per studies, shorter URLs are generally preferable by Google.
By default, WordPress generates weird permalinks - URL structures - that are really difficult to read. If you don’t mess around with the permalink setting, WordPress will by default create URLs with the date and post/page name.
To create more user-friendly permalinks, we suggest using the Post name permalink setting because it is both tidy and beneficial to your site's SEO.
That being said, for older WordPress websites, it is important to keep in mind that once you change the permalink structure of your site, all of its internal and external links will break. You’ll need to redirect all previous URLs to the new permalink by editing your site's .htaccess file.
9. Get an SSL certificate installed
HTTPS is now a ranking factor according to Google. That isn't a new concept. One of Google's Page Experience metrics is HTTPS as it makes websites secure. HTTPS has become the internet norm, despite the fact that it is merely a minor ranking factor. If a website does not use SSL certificates, warnings will appear in Chrome and other browsers, indicating that the connection is not secure.
In order to protect online transactions and keep consumer information private and secure, SSL certificates must be installed on eCommerce websites. In other words, SSL safeguards internet connections by preventing data exchanged between two systems from being read or altered by third parties.
10. Create an XML Sitemap
Search engines like Google leverage XML sitemaps to better comprehend the hierarchy and structure of WordPress sites to ensure better indexing. Although sitemaps aren't essential, they do provide you with more reporting data about your site.
We strongly advise using an XML sitemap for WordPress websites. It will give search engines a clear image of your site's structure, which will improve your chances of getting Google site links, among other things.
Your sitemap files can be generated automatically using the Yoast SEO plugin. Yoast is a free plugin that you can install on WordPress.
11. Get duplicate content de-indexed
It may sound absurd to have two identical copies of the same information, but duplicate content occurs more frequently than you might imagine.
Having several copies of your content pieces indexed can, unfortunately, cause major SEO issues. Although Google does not formally punish you for duplicate posts or pages, it can nevertheless have an impact on your rankings.
How does duplicate content impact rankings?
Well, when Google crawls two similar content pieces, it has no idea which one to rank first.
The simplest way to resolve this issue is to de-index duplicate content pieces.
12. Optimize your WordPress website’s page experienceFor both mobile and desktop results, page experience is now used as a ranking factor.
13. Optimize your website’s Core Web Vitals
- Performance during loading
- Interactivity on the page
- Stability of visual elements
- Data taken directly from Google Chrome
Core Web Vitals also examines whether your pages are mobile-friendly, whether they employ HTTPS, and whether they contain obtrusive banner ads.
The Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console can tell you how well your pages are performing, and it rates them as 'Good,' 'Needs Improvement,' or 'Poor.'
Best WordPress SEO Plugins for 2022
The appropriate SEO plugin can make all the difference in your site's optimization, whilst faulty plugins can have a detrimental impact on search engine efficacy and performance.
To help you find the best WordPress SEO plugins, we’ve shortlisted the top most widely used plugins for 2022.
Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin
Yoast SEO is a well-known WordPress SEO plugin that allows marketers to optimize their site for search engines like Google.
It allows you to effortlessly add SEO meta titles and meta descriptions to all of your website's posts and pages. It can also be used to add metadata related to Open Graph and photos from social media to your website content.
Another great feature of Yoast is that it allows you to effortlessly create an XML sitemap of your website's content, making it easier for Google and other search engines to crawl it.
Rank Math is a popular WordPress SEO plugin that helps you optimize your WordPress site for search engines and even social media platforms.
It makes adding meta titles, descriptions, and Open Graph metadata to your blog entries a breeze. You may also use the plugin to create an XML sitemap, link Google Search Console, and restrict user access to plugin functionalities based on their roles.
Rank Math also includes the following features:
- 404 URL Monitor
- Local SEO (check out our guide on local SEO)
- URL Redirects
- Rich Snippets
- XML Sitemaps
- And more…
All in One SEO
All in One SEO is used by around 3+ million users worldwide. It's the most comprehensive SEO toolkit available, and it'll help you enhance your search ranks without having to learn the complexities of SEO.
All in One SEO plugin includes Rich snippet schema markup, smart XML sitemaps, SEO health check feature, and other tools to help you improve your search engine exposure.
For eCommerce sites, this WordPress SEO plugin additionally has built-in WooCommerce SEO capabilities.
It even provides full control of the Robots.txt editor, local SEO, Google News sitemaps, video SEO, advanced redirect manager, IndexNow integration, 404 URL tracking, and more for advanced users.
Rich snippets help your website stand out in search results, and Schema Pro lets you add them to your site. Rich Snippet is what shows star ratings, prices, and short descriptions next to reviews. Schema Pro is what you should opt for if you want to experiment with different schema types to make your site stand out.
SEOPress is another straightforward but effective WordPress SEO plugin. It's a basic SEO plugin that enables you to manage all of your post/page/post type, redirects, XML sitemaps, titles, meta descriptions, and more. SEOPress is a no-ads freemium SEO plugin for WordPress.
Its paid version offers advanced features like:
- Breadcrumbs optimization
- Redirections and 404 monitoring
- Google Page Speed v5 integration
- And much more…
WordPress SEO Checklist
Do you wish to climb the ranks on search engine results pages?
If that's the case, you'll need to ensure that your content is optimized for search engines.
To effectively optimize your WordPress website, use our checklist which covers 8 pointers to help you increase your search engine traffic. You can download the free WordPress SEO checklist by clicking on this link.
Does WordPress need an SEO plugin?
Although WordPress plugins make SEO a lot simpler, you can’t just expect a website to rank out of the box without any effort. While AI has surely made things easier when it comes to creating machine-generated content, we’re still not quite there yet where we can be completely autonomous. Human input is still needed to produce attractive headlines or for choosing keywords to target.
So answer your questions, Yes, SEO is required for WordPress but plugins make the procedure much easier. In case you want to learn a thing or two about SEO automation tools, check out this guide.
How Many Plugins Should You Use in WordPress for SEO?
Plugins for WordPress are essential for a variety of reasons. They provide a wealth of options to add functionality that your site would otherwise lack and allow you to customize your site to better meet the needs of your visitors. However, you've likely heard that too many plugins can harm your WordPress site.
With over fifty-thousand plugins to select from, it's simple to lose track and overload your WordPress site with them.
When it comes to plugins, how many should you install on your website?
The quick and easy answer is that it mostly depends on the requirements of your website and the hosting service you’re using.
Less is more. There are no hard and fast rules when deciding how many WordPress plugins you should have, but never use more than 20 plugins as a general guideline.
Plugin-related issues differ depending on what plugin you installed, what rating do they have and who created it.
The main issue with having a lot of plugins is that some of them can cause your site to slow down.
We hope that this post has taught you how to correctly optimize your WordPress site for search engines. Implementing a couple of the WordPress SEO tactics shared in this SEO step-by-step guide should help you increase your website traffic within a few months.
SEO is a never-ending game that requires continuous work. As a result, learning SEO tactics can help you position your WordPress website for better success.
In this blog, we've covered a variety of WordPress SEO tactics that are highly effective in 2022. We're convinced that by applying as many of them as feasible on your site, you'll be able to increase your organic traffic and SEO rankings.
If you have any further questions on how to improve SEO on WordPress, let us know in the comments.