How to Apply Search Engine Optimization for WordPress

WordPress is one of the best and easiest content management platforms to use. It’s also very SEO friendly. But if you’ve been using standard HTML or switched from another platform, you have to make sure you optimize your content for the search engine the right way. Here is a guide that will help you properly implement search engine optimization for WordPress and make sure that your website is SEO friendly.

Tip #1: Install an SEO Plugin

The best thing you can do to set up search engine optimization for WordPress is to install an SEO specific plugin. Some of the popular ones include Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack.

There are many others out there. However, they all focus on making the process of SEO easier by allowing you to optimize for onpage optimization factors without dealing with any of the HTML headaches.

For example, all you have to do is write a title the easy way instead of attaching a title tag to each of your posts. Depending on the plugin, it will also add keyword suggestions to your content, calculate the keyword density, and give you recommendations on how to make your post more SEO friendly.

Tip #2: Change the Permalink Structure

business man tapping search bar on virtual screen

One of the most annoying parts of working with WordPress right of the box is they way the URL permalink structure is set. Each post is given a unique number as an URL.

However, what you really want to do is to make the URL be rewritten. What you want to do is go to the settings page inside your WordPress then click on permalinks. This will allow you to change the settings to a custom structure.

This means that if your post is about blue widgets, it can be renamed as www.domain.com/blue-widget instead of www.domain.com/?p=3212 which is the default. Doing this is an essential part of search engine optimization for WordPress. This step is also helpful as it tells your visitors what the actual post is about.

Tip #3: Set the Right Canonical URL

Did you know that ‘www.website.com’ is seen as different from ‘http://website.com’ in the eyes of the search engine crawlers? If you’re building an SEO campaign, you want to make sure that you set whichever one you prefer.

If you don’t implement this step, you’ll have to deal with doing SEO for two different pages and domains. You may even deal with problematic duplicate content issues. That’s because the search engines see the two versions as separate sites. They can even penalize you for plagiarism.

SEO plugins like Yoast have a feature where you can set the proper canonical URL. It will communicate to the search engines that the URL structure you’ve picked is the preferred one.

In the end, all the SEO value like links and content will be attributed to the set URL. This is a vital step if you want to make search engine optimization for WordPress work for you.

Tip #4: Make Sure Your Onpage Optimization Is Properly Set

In order to make each page SEO friendly, you want to implement proper onpage SEO. Your keyword should be in the title and H1 tags. Your images should have alt text to describe what they are about.

Moreover, content should contain target keywords and related keywords naturally (do not over optimize). Links to other internal pages should have anchor text that refers to the keyword of that page.

You want to make sure your meta description is attractive as well. While it doesn’t have an impact on rankings, it determines whether or not a visitor will click on your site. Make sure that it gets to the point, promises something of value, and includes the keywords you’re targeting. As mentioned earlier, having the right plugin will make all of these little details easy to execute.

Tip #5: Install Social Share Plugins

Getting links and social signals is a vital part of getting a website to rank high for a target keyword. A successful search engine optimization for WordPress requires that you set your website up to attract links naturally.

Fortunately, you can install elements on your site to attract more links. In this case, you want to set up social share buttons to build social signals and links to your website.

You want to allow your visitors to share your content on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. There are many free and paid plugins to add social share buttons. There are many styles you can choose from.

Share buttons can appear on the side panel, as tabbed buttons, on the bottom of the content, or on the top of the page. Some great ones to consider include ShareThis, Monarch, AddtoAny, and Shareaholic.

Tip #6: UI and UX Optimization

adult woman dressed smart office checking smartphone while walking down the street

Search engines, particularly Google, now want to see if your website is delivering a good user experience. To start, you want to make sure that your site is responsive. This way, you make sure it is accessible to mobile users as well.

There are many WordPress themes that are responsive. You can find some good ones as free as well. If you plan on working on the design side as well, try to start with the mobile optimization part first.  That’s where Google is leaning towards as of lately.

Next, you want to create a well-designed navigation menu. That’s the only way visitors are going to find what they’re looking for without frustrations.

That should be complemented with optimizing your site for faster loading time. These 2 strategies will reduce bounce rates and improve your rankings. Finally, make sure that your page delivers exactly what it promised in the meta description tag.

Final Word

By following these simple yet essential steps, you’ll be on your way to search engine success. Search engine optimization for WordPress is far easier than traditional HTML sites. That’s because there are a lot of themes and plugins out there to help you build an SEO friendly site.

Focusing on getting the fundamentals right and then moving on to the advanced link building strategies is what will help your site succeed. Share your impressions with our readers about SEO-friendly websites in the comment section below!

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