WordPress SEO: The Ultimate Guide

You want your website to work as hard as it can right?

Acquiring traffic and generating leads for your sales team to convert into clients.

And the best way of doing this is?..

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

Whilst the topic of SEO is almost endless, in this guide we’re going to focus on just one of the most popular website platforms out there:

WordPress.

This will hopefully make it a bit more digestible and provide you with real actionable tasks to improve your WordPress site performance today.

So without further ado let’s dive right in.

Contents:

How to Make Your WordPress Site Work Harder with SEO

This guide tells you everything you need to know to get the most out of your WordPress site.

From basic fundamentals to more advanced techniques you will learn how you can improve your site performance in organic searches. 

Chapter 1 – Basic WordPress SEO Fundamentals 

Chapter 2 – Blog Post Optimisation

Chapter 3 – URL Optimisation

Chapter 4 – Site Speed Optimisation

Chapter 5 – Sitemaps.xml and Robots.txt

Chapter 6 – Accessibility and Image Optimisation

Chapter 7 – Meta Title and Descriptions

Chapter 8 – Top SEO WordPress Plugins

Chapter 9 – Top SEO Friendly WordPress Themes

Chapter 10 – What’s Next? Advanced SEO Techniques

Short on time?

Try downloading the offline version for reading later or download this handy WordPress SEO Checklist.

Alternatively perhaps you’d prefer the tl:dr version.

 


Getting To Grips With WordPress SEO Basics

In order to understand and benefit from advanced techniques and strategies it’s imperative you have a good grasp and implementation of the basics.

A good WordPress site starts off with a SEO friendly base theme (see chapter 9 for more details). You can then use free and paid plugins for improved functionality and SEO performance (see chapter 8).

You also need to make sure your blog posts are optimised (chapter 2) and so too is site load speed (chapter 4).

The following resources will help you get up to speed with the basics and provide you with a better understanding of what’s involved in SEO for a WordPress site.

Resources:

1. https://torquemag.io/2014/10/wordpress-seo-101-basics-search-engine-optimization/ 
2. https://efficientwp.com/wordpress-seo-basics-on-page-optimization 
3. https://www.sitepoint.com/beginners-guide-to-wordpress-seo/ 
4. http://www.themezilla.com/beginner-seo/ 
5. http://www.build-your-website.co.uk/wordpress-seo-basics/

 


How To Make Your Blog Posts More Visible In Google 

Whether you run a small business site, e-commerce site, blog or corporate site you likely have a blog at the core of your content and inbound marketing strategy.

To get the most out of your well thought out content it’s important to make sure each blog post is optimised thoroughly utilising modern best practices and strategies.

You’ll need to ensure your permalinks are short, punchy and informative (chapter 3). You will also want to make sure your meta title and descriptions are captivating and convincing (chapter 7).

The following resources will give you a bit more information on optimising your blog posts with further chapters giving more advanced techniques for specific tasks.

Resources:

1. https://moz.com/blog/optimizing-your-wordpress-blog-posts 
2. https://yoast.com/seo-basics-how-to-optimize-a-blog-post/ 
3. http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/properly-seo-functions-wordpress-posts/ 
4. https://moreniche.com/news/affiliate/affiliates-one-guide-optimising-wordpress-blog-posts/ 
5. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/seo-friendly-blog-post-checklist-ht

 


How To Make Your URLs User And Google Friendly 

Proper URL or permalink optimisation will help make your WordPress site both more user and Google friendly.

People and Google both love short and informative urls:

For example, aim for something like this:

example.com/top-seo-strategies

Rather than:

example.com/posts/2017/seo/?id=23-2017-seo-strategies-for-wordpress-websites

The following resources will teach you the details of url or permalink optimisation in WordPress and how to action these for your site.

Resources:

1. https://digwp.com/2010/07/optimizing-wordpress-permalinks/ 
2. https://yoast.com/wordpress-seo-url-permalink/ 
3. https://managewp.com/wordpress-permalinks-guide
4. https://ithemes.com/2015/09/17/how-to-use-wordpress-permalinks-like-a-pro/

 


How To Shed Seconds Off Your Page Load Times And Improve Google Page Speed Score

Page Speed is more important than ever. Google has even developed a tool so you can see how you measure up:

Google Page Speed Insights Tool

Or you could try:

Pingdom Speed Test Tool

Whatever your benchmarking tool, it’s important to get your site up to scratch.

The following resources will walk you through the process of shedding seconds on your page load times as well as improving your Page Speed Insights Score by up to 40 points!

Resources:

1. https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/optimizing-google-pagespeed-to-100-in-wordpress–cms-25804
2. https://www.keycdn.com/blog/google-pagespeed-insights-wordpress/ 
3. http://www.wpbeginner.com/wordpress-performance-speed/ 
4. https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/why-trying-to-get-95-on-google-pagespeed-insights-will-drive-you-mad/
5. http://www.bloggingwizard.com/free-speed-enhancing-wordpress-plugins/

 


How To Improve Site Crawling And Indexing With Optimised Sitemap.xml And Robots.txt Files

Whilst Google will get around to crawling and indexing your site, you can give it a little helping hand and a nudge by making sure you have a fully optimised sitemap.xml and robots.txt on your website.

Make sure your sitemap.xml is fully optimised and its location listed in your Robots.txt file.

Let Google and Bing know the location of your sitemap and they’ll get a nudge to index your site. You can also use Google’s robots.txt checker too!

The following resources will help you fully optimise your sitemap.xml and robots.txt to get your site crawled and indexed.  

Resources:

1. http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-optimize-your-wordpress-robots-txt-for-seo/
2. https://www.shoutmeloud.com/what-is-robots-txt-file-and-how-to-optimize-for-wordpress-blogs.html
3. https://cms2cms.com/blog/what-is-robots-txt-in-wordpress-how-to-optimize-it-for-seo/ 
4. https://yoast.com/wordpress-robots-txt-example/
5. https://www.smartactiveblogger.com/how-to-optimize-wordpress-robots-txt-file-for-seo/
6. https://moz.com/learn/seo/robotstxt

 


How To Make Your Website Load Quicker
and More Accessible 

Humans are very visual.

That’s why images are a big part of modern website content. Often able to portray a message or story more succinctly than text alone.

However, it’s important to make sure your images are fully optimised.

You’ll need to make sure they’re compressed to decrease page load times as well as adding alt tags for improved accessibility.

The following resources will guide you through the process of adding alt tags and methods for optimising and compressing images.

Resources:

1. https://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/tips-tricks/optimize-images-for-your-wordpress-website
2. https://themetrust.com/how-to-optimize-images-in-wordpress/
3. http://www.wpexplorer.com/optimize-images-wordpress-guide/ 
4. http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/speed-wordpress-save-images-optimized-web/
5. https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/speeding-up-wordpress-image-optimization–cms-22057

 


How To Increase Organic Conversion Rates With Improved Meta Descriptions

Ahh the human element of SEO.

Meta descriptions don’t directly affect search engine optimisation, however they do have a huge influence on click through rates which will have a bearing on page rankings.

A carefully worded and constructed meta description will help you convince searchers to click on your listing, turning them into potential customers.

In the same breath, pages with higher click through rates will be looked on favourably by Google and improve page rankings.

The following resources will teach you the techniques and strategies to crafting the perfect meta title and description to improve your click through rates.

Resources:

1. https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/titles-and-meta-descriptions/ 
2. https://yoast.com/meta-descriptions/
3. http://www.seoblog.com/2014/06/optimize-wordpress-meta-title-tags-seo/ 
4. https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/05/26/how-to-write-meta-descriptions-for-seo-with-good-and-bad-examples/
5. https://www.siteground.com/tutorials/sem/meta_tag_optimization.htm
6. https://www.shoutmeloud.com/how-to-write-perfect-seo-optimized-blog-post.html

 


How To Elevate Your SEO with These Free Powerful WordPress Plugins

Wondering what makes WordPress so popular?

One word:

Plugins.

WordPress is a very powerful and flexible platform largely due to the huge array of plugins available to you.

There is an almost infinite list of plugins so finding the best ones to use can be a tricky process.

Should you use Yoast or maybe SEO Framework?

Simple 301 Redirects or Redirection?

Luckily the following resources will guide you through the top SEO plugins available for WordPress and help you decide which ones you should be using and perhaps which ones you should give a miss (for now atleast).

Resources:

1. http://www.wpbeginner.com/showcase/9-best-wordpress-seo-plugins-and-tools-that-you-should-use/ 
2. https://www.sourcewp.com/best-wordpress-seo-plugins/ 
3. http://neilpatel.com/blog/seo-wordpress-plugins/

 


How To Give Your Site a Solid Start By Picking an SEO Friendly Template

Most content management systems or website platforms boast as search engine optimised.

What they really mean is that they’re Search Engine Friendly.

Whilst this is a good start, a lot of work is still required to make them fully optimised.

Though WordPress comes under this bracket, your base theme can have a big affect on the amount of work required to get it fully optimised.

If you’re not able to pay for a developer to build your own template you might want to consider the following base themes described in the following resources to give your website a good start. 

Resources:

1. https://colorlib.com/wp/seo-optimized-wordpress-themes/
2. https://athemes.com/collections/seo-friendly-wordpress-themes/ 
3. https://www.machothemes.com/blog/best-seo-friendly-wordpress-themes/ 
4. https://templatic.com/wp/seo-friendly-wordpress-themes/
5. https://www.sourcewp.com/seo-friendly-wordpress-themes/
6. https://wpdean.com/best-seo-optimized-wordpress-themes/


Further Your SEO Skills With These Advanced SEO Techniques

So, you’ve read the guide and all of the valuable resources that we’ve carefully compiled.

And now you’re thinking:

What’s next?

Here are a few starting points for more in-depth SEO strategies and techniques.

Next steps:

1. SEO Copywriting
2. Link Building Techniques
3. Advanced Technical SEO
4. How To Use Google Search Console and Bing WebMaster Tools