WordPress SEO: The Ultimate Guide

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Imagine you ain a delicious bookstore cafe successful Boston. If personification searches "bookstore cafe adjacent [insert a vicinity successful Boston]" connected Google, you want your WordPress website to popular up astatine nan apical of nan hunt results, right? You tin guarantee your institution does truthful by implementing nan astir effective WordPress SEO strategies. 

 image shows a laptop and a microphone adjacent to eachother

 SEO Starter Pack [Free Kit]

Having your website look astatine nan apical of a hunt motor results page (SERP) is thing you tin execute if you walk immoderate clip optimizing your site. By investing successful WordPress SEO and implementing tried-and-true techniques, you tin guidelines retired from nan title and garner much traffic. 

  • What is SEO? 

  • Why is investing successful WordPress SEO truthful important? 

  • A Guide to WordPress SEO: 13 WordPress SEO Best Practices

What is SEO?

SEO, or search motor optimization, is nan process of expanding your website's free, integrated postulation by improving your ranking and visibility connected hunt engines specified arsenic Google. When you optimize your content, nan likelihood it will look adjacent nan apical of nan SERP for nan keyword you're targeting increases.

Now that you understand what SEO is, let's dive into why it's important for your business.

Why is investing successful WordPress SEO truthful important? 

One important statement to footwear things off: The value of hunt motor optimization isn't circumstantial to WordPress websites. Regardless of wherever — aliases really — you create your site, investing successful SEO will beryllium worthwhile. Your WordPress website is nary exception. 

Optimizing your WordPress website and contented makes you much apt to scope nan group actively searching for accusation astir services and products related to yours. Because this happens organically, you're not paying Google aliases different hunt motor to spot your contented astatine nan apical of nan results page.

Creating integrated contented that ranks connected Google is besides beneficial because your website and accusation are much apt to look reliable and trustworthy for visitors (versus a paid advertisement astatine nan apical of nan SERP). Anyone who owns a business website should amended their SEO arsenic it is simply a elemental and effective measurement to summation postulation and notability, number of leads, conversions, and more.

A Guide to WordPress SEO: 13 WordPress SEO Best Practices 

Ready to excavation into a twelve WordPress SEO champion practices you tin enact to amended your website, boost integrated traffic, and summation your brand's authority connected hunt engines? Here's what you request to cognize to get started. 

1. Check Your WordPress Visibility Settings

Rule #1 of figuring retired really to adhd SEO to WordPress: Check each your boxes. By making judge your visibility settings successful WordPress are group up accordingly, you're doing yourself a immense favor. The package has a mounting allowing you to hide your website from hunt engines. This tin travel successful useful erstwhile building aliases rebuilding your site; you don't want visitors to spot your activity successful progress.

The characteristic is successful your WordPress dashboard nether "Settings."

 image shows nan fastener wherever you tin opt to discourage hunt engines from indexing your site.

Double-check that you haven't accidentally turned connected this feature, aliases near it connected aft completing your website. If it's on, it doesn't matter really overmuch you put successful your SEO – your website won't rank well. 

2. Update Your Permalinks

A permalink is simply a imperishable URL aliases nexus to a circumstantial post, page, aliases blog connected your website. Permalinks intelligibly authorities what your post, page, aliases blog really is (in nan URL itself) truthful visitors cognize what they're clicking on. However, they do person a 2nd purpose, which is for SEO. 

You should alteration your permalinks to not only amended personification acquisition but besides to amended your SEO. Because hunt engines publication permalinks to find whether aliases not your website has answers to circumstantial hunt queries, having agelong aliases irrelevant permalinks could beryllium tanking your optimization efforts. 

For example, successful nan lawsuit of your bookshop cafe, if you had a page dedicated to nan top-selling books of 2023, your permalink mightiness look thing for illustration this: www.mysite.com/top-selling-books-2023.

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To alteration your permalinks to see an meticulous contented description, caput to your WordPress dashboard, click "Settings," and past "Permalinks." 

3. Use Tags and Categories

Tags and categories let you to abstracted your website's pages and blog posts into circumstantial and wide groups, respectively. This improves your SEO because it will alteration hunt engines to understand your website's building and content. 

Added bonus: The bully news is that galore WordPress SEO fixes besides thief amended personification experience. Tags and categories besides your website's amended personification acquisition by allowing visitors to quickly find nan contented they're searching for and make it easier for you to negociate each of your website content.


Tags are for illustration keywords that you tin usage to picture what a specific page aliases station is about. For example, if we deliberation astir your bookshop cafe's website, nan tags connected 1 of your pages whitethorn see "books," "beverages," and "food." 

To adhd a caller tag aliases position your existent tags, spell to your WordPress dashboard and click "Posts" and "Tags." 

 image shows tag page connected wordpress tract

You tin position existent tags aliases "Add New Tag" here. For much accusation connected tags, cheque out this list of tips.


Categories are really you broadly group your posts and pages. Regarding nan bookshop cafe, your categories whitethorn see "cafe," and "bookshop." 

To create a category, spell to your WordPress "Settings" and click "Writing." Here you'll spot your existent categories arsenic good arsenic an "Add New Category" button.

 image shows really you tin adhd a caller class to nan website

For specifications connected different ways to create categories, cheque out this page.

4. Choose an SEO Plugin

We emotion WordPress plugins for truthful galore reasons. For starters, plugins heighten nan functionality of your website by adding features that don't travel modular pinch nan software. Plus, they're easy for beginners conscionable starting to study really to adhd SEO to WordPress. Tens of thousands of plugins are available, galore of which tin thief you amended your WordPress SEO. If you are still determining which plugin you want to instrumentality connected your site, you tin hunt the WordPress plugin library for options that fresh your needs.

SEO plugins connection features to thief you build XML sitemaps, instrumentality tags and categories, optimize your titles and contented pinch nan usage of cardinal phrases and keywords, power your site's breadcrumbs, and return advantage of Google Analytics support. Some celebrated options include  Yoast SEO, All In One SEO Pack, and SmartCrawl Pro

 image shows wordpress plugin directory for seo

You tin past download and instal your WordPress plugin of prime to statesman improving your SEO immediately.

5. Use XML Sitemaps

An XML sitemap is simply a record of codification connected your web server that includes each page of your website. XML sitemaps are utilized to thief hunt engines find, evaluate, and rank nan contented connected your site.

Unless you person extended coding knowledge and want to create your XML sitemap manually, your champion stake to do truthful is by adding a plugin to your site, specified as Yoast SEO, aliases 1 dedicated to creating sitemaps, specified as Google XML Sitemaps, that makes your sitemaps for you automatically.

 image shows wordpress plugin directory for xml sitemap.

For much specifications connected why WordPress recommends utilizing a sitemap, this page tin help.

6. Internally Link Your Site

To amended your SEO, you must summation your website's authority. One of nan main ways hunt engines find your tract authority is by nan magnitude you internally nexus to your pages, posts, blogs, and different content.

To nexus to different content, you tin item nan words connected your page wherever you want to insert nan link, click nan nexus fastener successful nan WordPress toolbar, and transcript and paste nan URL you wish to nexus to. Once you do this, your linked words get underlined and incorporate nan URL you want to redirect your visitors to.

 image shows what it looks for illustration connected wordpress' autochthonal builder if you adhd a link

For different ways to internally nexus your WordPress website, cheque out this page.

7. Optimize Your Images

You tin optimize beautiful overmuch everything connected your WordPress website, including your images. To optimize images, usage Image-Alt-Text. Search engines publication Image-Alt-Text, which are descriptions of your images, to rank your tract and find whether aliases not your photos person nan accusation being searched for by users.

If you request thief adding Image-Alt-Text to pictures, look nary further than a adjuvant plugin for illustration SEO Optimized Images. You tin publication done nan database of your existent plugins' features to guarantee they let you to adhd Image-Alt-Text.

No matter which plugin you install, nan area successful which you participate your Image-Alt-Text will look thing for illustration this:

 image shows really you tin adhd an image to your wordpress tract and adhd alt text.

You should participate your explanation successful nan "Alt text" section. When you are adding Image-Alt-Text, and you person a explanation that is aggregate words long, usage dashes to abstracted nan words. This tells nan hunt engines that you're penning aggregate different words.

For example, if you're describing a image of HubSpot's WordPress Contact Form Builder plugin, your Image-Alt-Text should look thing for illustration this: "WordPress-Contact-Form-Builder," not "WordPressContactFormBuilder" aliases "WordPress_Contact_Form_Builder." If you do this, WordPress will publication your explanation arsenic 1 word.

We person 1 much important statement astir image alt text. The astir important logic is because alt matter is important for website accessibility purposes. However, it tin besides use SEO.

When you constitute your image's alt text, see nan keyword nan page is targeting if possible. Remember, because alt matter is to use those pinch disabilities utilizing your website, nan transcript must accurately picture what is pictured.  

8. Use SSL

SSL, aliases Secure Sockets Layer, is simply a modular information exertion that manages an encrypted server and browser link. With SSL, you tin remainder assured that accusation shared betwixt your website and visitors remains secure.

For example, suppose personification completes your bid shape and lists each of their in installments paper information. In that case, SSL is really businesses guarantee that accusation is not intercepted by a hacker on nan way. 

SSL improves SEO because hunt engines for illustration Google look for "secure and encrypted" connections erstwhile determining a website's ranking. So, if location were 2 identical sites, but 1 had SSL and 1 did not, Google would beryllium much apt to rank nan tract pinch SSL.

If you person an relationship done WordPress.com, you don't person to do thing additional, arsenic it automatically adds SSL to your site. If you person a different type of account, specified arsenic a WordPress.org site, requiring you to return attraction of your website's information individually, you tin instal an SSL plugin such as Real Simple SSL.

 image shows ssl plugins successful wordpress directory

Check retired this page for much specifications connected WordPress SSL.

9. Use Nofollow External Links

When you internally nexus to nan pages connected your site, you are giving yourself authority. When you externally nexus to your sources aliases different pieces of contented you judge your visitors should publication aliases experience, you are besides helping them summation authority aliases giving those websites "link juice." External linking is simply a bully point for your SEO, but it besides improves nan SEO of those pages you mention connected your website. 

Enter: Nofollow outer links. 

These links service aggregate purposes. For starters, they prevent content spam on your WordPress website but besides forestall hunt engines from being capable to travel those URLs to nan sites you are linking to connected your website. As a result, you only amended your WordPress website's ranking. 

You can manually adhd a Nofollow link to your WordPress tract aliases simply adhd "nofollow" successful nan "Link Relationship" shape section erstwhile you adhd a hyperlink to your keywords aliases phrases.

 image shows really you tin adhd nan 'nofollow' property to your links

There are besides a number of Nofollow plugins disposable for your WordPress tract successful nan plugin library.

10. Manage Your Security

As mentioned successful our chat astir SSL certificates, hunt engines emotion unafraid websites — truthful you tin count connected your website's authority and ranking to amended nan much unafraid your website is.

Depending connected your WordPress plan, you whitethorn aliases whitethorn not person information taken attraction of for you. If you request assistance, you whitethorn see adding a plugin, specified as Wordfence Security or iThemes Security, to heighten your site's protection.

 information plugins connected wordpress plugin directory.

11. Optimize Your Comments

Comments connected posts are an fantabulous method to boost engagement connected your website. Engagement typically intends much traffic, nexus sharing, and interaction, and, therefore, improved SEO. However, spam successful your comments could ruin your SEO and ranking. That's why you request to guarantee you only person comments from existent people.

WordPress plugins specified as All In One WordPress Security & Firewall and Spam Protection, Anti Spam, Firewall by CleanTalk will artifact comments containing spam and extremity different forms of spam specified arsenic faulty shape submissions, subscriptions, orders, and more. Many of these plugins besides person features that artifact wholly nan known spammers, truthful they can't return to your tract again. 

 image shows what you'd person to look for successful wordpress plugin directory to find plugin to trim remark spam

12. Choose WWW aliases non-WWW

There are 2 main ways to entree websites by URL — you tin either hunt pinch the" www" (so your hunt would look for illustration this: www.mysite.com) aliases without nan "www" (so your hunt would look for illustration this: mysite.com).

Search engines spot these 2 different URLs, aliases charismatic domain names, arsenic wholly different websites, truthful it's important that you prime 1 and instrumentality pinch it. There's nary bully aliases bad option, and your determination will not effect your SEO — it's conscionable a preference.

Once you prime an option, you'll want to instrumentality pinch it to statesman improving your site's SEO. You tin do this by linking to your charismatic domain sanction internally and externally connected societal media and email. When you are accordant pinch your domain and nexus to it often, hunt engines are apt to springiness you much authority and truthful a higher chance astatine ranking. Not to mention this makes things much straightforward for your visitors, truthful it's a win-win. 

To prime an option, caput to your WordPress dashboard, click "Settings," and nether "General Settings," you'll spot nan shape fields for your URL.

 image shows wherever successful settings you tin update your tract reside

13. Use a Fast Theme 

To amended your WordPress SEO, look nary further than page speed. We already cognize that your page load clip tin importantly effect your site's personification acquisition — look astatine nan statistic that beryllium it. But did you cognize that hunt engines besides see velocity erstwhile determining wherever your website will rank? It's true. For nan champion results, usage WordPress themes optimized for SEO aliases person a estimation for being speedy. 

You tin usage a page velocity tester to fig retired really accelerated your tract is, specified as Google PageSpeed Insights. From there, you will get suggestions into really you tin hole your tract to make it faster. If you've done everything you tin and your tract is still slow, we propose making judge your taxable isn't nan problem. 

If you request thief picking a fast WordPress theme, here are immoderate of our favourite suggestions. 

 image shows nan google page velocity insights instrumentality

Improve your WordPress SEO today. 

Anyone tin amended their WordPress SEO. By implementing immoderate aliases each of nan elemental tips from this guide, you will summation your website’s authority and ranking connected each hunt engines — and erstwhile you execute this, you’ll acquisition an summation successful website visitors, leads, and conversions.

Editor's note: This station was primitively published successful November 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


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