Where my WordPress people at?
If I were to ask you what percentage of the Internet is powered by WordPress, what would you guess?
5%? 10%? 20%?
Sit down for this one, pal, because it’s insane. According to this 2021 study by Kinsta, WordPress currently powers 34% of the Internet.
The WordPress CMS has become increasingly popular for a good reason – it’s full of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools and options to make any website you want and simple enough for beginners to pick it up.
WordPress is also SEO-friendly and has specific features that make your SEO work 10x easier.
To make sure you’re taking advantage of every SEO feature WordPress has to offer, you can download our free WordPress SEO checklist below.
Our WordPress SEO checklist is ideal for anyone who is starting a new WordPress website or already has an established site but wants to improve their SEO moving forward.
If you’re ready, let’s get the process started!
Set Up Permalinks
WordPress allows you to structure your URLs. By creating custom URLs, you can improve the usability, appearance, and compatibility of your links. The default setting is Day and Name, but we are going to change that to Post Name.
Set Up A Static Homepage
Make sure “A static page” is selected. (Sometimes, “Your latest posts” is the option selected by default).
Install Yoast SEO Plugin
Look for WordPress Plugins and search for “Yoast SEO.”
After you install and activate the plugin, you will see a new “SEO option” appearing on the sidebar of your WordPress admin.
You should now have a set of completely new features that are designed exclusively to optimize your pages and posts:
Snippet Preview & Edit Snippet:
SEO Title: The headline you want to display in the search results for this page.
Slug: The personalizable part of the URL that goes after your domain name. e.g., https://yoururl.com/this-is-the-slug
Meta-description: Short paragraph of text that you want to be displayed under the headline in the search engine results page.
Main Keyword: Based on your keyword research and mapping, select the keyword and searcher intent you want to use for the page or blog post you want to optimize. This option will analyze your page’s content and let you know how optimized the content is for that specific keyword.
Important: This is a very crude SEO check that should only be used as a reminder. You do not need to turn all the lights green for a fully optimized site. Doing so might result in a spammy post.
Social: By clicking on “social,” you should be able to see these new options:
Facebook Title: The headline you would like to see being used when a visitor shares this page on Facebook.
Facebook Description: The description you would like to use when a visitor shares this page on Facebook.
Facebook Image: The main image you would like to see being used when a visitor shares this page on Facebook.
And this is how It will look like when a visitor shares the page:
Click on “Advanced”:
You should be able to see these options:
Note: You will usually leave the default options for these settings, but if you wish to change them, this is where you would do it.
Meta robots index:
Quite simply, your site’s robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers the pages and files that web crawlers can or can’t request from your site.
Most commonly, it is used to prevent certain sections of your site from being crawled and is not intended to be used as a way to de-index a web page and stop it from showing on Google.
If you don’t, you need to create one — even if you are not currently needing to prevent any web pages from being crawled.
index: This is the default option and allows search engines to index the page.
noindex: Selecting this option will not allow search engines to index the page.
Meta robots follow:
follow: This is the default option. It will tell search engines that you trust that the content you are linking to is relevant and safe.
nofollow: This will tell search engines not to follow the links on this page. You might want to use this option If you don’t fully trust the content you are linking to, or you don’t want or need the pages to be indexed.
Meta robots advanced:
noimage index: This option prevents search engines from indexing the images on the page.
noarchive: This option prevents the search engines from storing a cached version of the page.
Nosnippet: This option not only prevents search engines from storing a cached version of the page, but it will also prevent the description from appearing below the headline in the search results.
Canonical URL: If the page is extremely similar to another existing one on your website (to the point that it might be considered duplicate content), the “original” page URL should be inserted here.
Add Schema Markup to Your Page
Schema markup adds context to your content and data. It helps Google understand your content in a useful way and enhances the searcher’s experience.
By adding context to your pages, your pages will not only rank higher, but you will also get more click-through-rate and impressions.
Site Speed Optimization
There are many improvements your site can make, considering the site’s speed is a strong user experience factor.
One of the most effective ways to increase this is by using a caching plugin to cache your posts and pages as static files. These static files are shown to users, rather than generating new ones each time, which will improve the performance.
WordPress recommends using plugins like W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, or Cache Enabler.
Craft Unique Optimized Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
The meta tags on each of your pages and blog posts is just as important as the content itself – so you should first make sure to optimize it before moving on to optimizing the content. Start by optimizing the page title with your primary keyword.
Include the target keyword in this description. Remember, the meta description should be under 230 characters – anything above that will be truncated by Google in the SERPs.
Same as with the page titles, keywords are not everything. Your meta description should be compelling and tell readers exactly what information will be provided on the page.
While meta descriptions don’t have a direct impact on rankings, they will increase the CTR – and that is a ranking factor.
Create an Internal Linking Strategy
Try to include at least 2 or 3 internal links to relevant related content that’s already published on your site.
Our advice is to always link to authoritative sources of information or pages that are already ranking very well on the search results for your target keyword.
Broken links are another signal of poor user experience. No one wants to click a link and find that it doesn’t take them to the page they were expecting. You can use plugins like broken link checker to prevent it from happening.
Verify Your Site with Google Search Console & Submit Your XML Sitemap
Having a sitemap allows search engine crawlers to more easily find the content you want them to find and to understand how important each page is.
A sitemap should be included from the beginning of the website. If your sitemap is manually generated, the ideal scenario would be updating your sitemap every time there is a new page that should be indexed.
Just like with Google Search Console, it is also recommended that you submit your WordPress site using Bing Webmaster Tools.
You can sign up using your Google account, plus it’s now also possible to verify Bing Webmaster Tools if you’re already verified in Google Search Console using the associated Google account.
Keep An Eye On Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most popular tool to measure website data to gather visitor insights. With it, you will be able to know the amount of organic traffic you are getting and how your visitors are behaving inside your website.
The best way to know how well your WordPress SEO is working overtime is to set up a free account with Google Analytics. If you need some help, follow this step-by-step integration tutorial.
There you have it!
Having an SEO-friendly WordPress website set up from the beginning will ensure that pages are correctly indexed, understood, and displayed on search engines.
By following these steps, every page and blog post on your website will be properly optimized for better indexing – users will find them when searching for businesses similar to yours. Ideally, you will want to optimize your pages and blog posts before going live, or it can be done afterwards too, if you haven’t optimized it yet.
To simplify this process, don’t forget to download your WordPress SEO checklist below!
Some other SEO Checklists that you can check out are: