Do you want to rank higher in search engine rankings and drive more ‘targeted’ traffic to your WordPress site? If you do, you need to start replacing bad strategies (ineffective WordPress SEO practices) with the good (content-focused, value-driven, and strategic) tactics. Here are few ways to boost the SEO of your WordPress site:
#1: Change Permalink Structure
The permalink structure means the format of your page/post URLs. Keep your URL structure short, sweet, and clear. This will not only enhance the user experience, but also help search engines to crawl through your page(s)/post(s) and index them more easily.
The best user-friendly permalink structure is the “%postname%”.
So, instead of using a vague and mysterious URL structure such as “http://www.yoursite.com/?p=N/” use URLs that resemble something like this: http://www.yoursite.com/seo-wordpress-tips
Keyword-rich URLs not only influence search engine rankings, but they also tell your visitors what the page is.
Action: To change your default permalink setting:
- Login to your WordPress dashboard
- Select “Post Name” option under the Settings > Permalinks
- Hit the “Submit Changes” button
#2: Use SEO-Friendly Themes and Plugins
WordPress has tons of features built into it, particularly designed for SEO. These themes and plugins use clean code structure, making the web pages and posts load even faster. According to a study, your web page load time will eventually influence your search engine ranking.
Use a responsive design to boost your website performance. Responsive design help optimize your website across many devices (tablet, mobile, laptops, etc). On the other hand, using non-responsive design could hurt your SEO rankings, according to this report by Google.
Sometimes, certain themes do not work with certain plugins, and some plugins do not work with other themes. If these conflicts arise, it can cause a big problem with your robots.txt files, sitemaps, .htaccess files, and even create duplicate page elements such as h2 or page description, which violates good SEO practices.
- Check out my article on 3 Best WordPress Plugins to Make Your Site Responsive
- Also, click here to find top 10 best free WordPress themes for 2016
#3: Use WordPress SEO by Yoast
One of the most popular and free WordPress plugin is everyone’s favorite Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin. This plugin lets your generate xml sitemaps and optimize your pages and posts with keywords for search. This plugin acts as a supplemental tool that helps you apply SEO strategy on your pages and posts at ease.
Action: To install Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin
- Login to your WordPress Dashboard
- Click on “Add New” under the Appearance > Plugins tab
- Search for Yoast WordPress SEO plugin in the plugin search box
- Click on the “Install” to install the SEO plugin and hit “Activate” link to activate and use it
- When creating a new post/page, use this plugin to optimize with certain keywords you want to target. If you do it correctly, every element on your page (title, h1, h2, image alt tags, body content, etc) will have “green” mark next to it.
#4: Boost Your WordPress Site’s Speed by Using a Caching Plugin
A caching plugin is very useful for website owners. It does two things important. First, they make your web page and posts load faster as everything is already cached. Secondly, it also reduces the load on your web server.
Several plugins such as W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache can cache both static and dynamic content to decrease the page loading time. W3 Total Cache helps cache your page, database, browser, and have several other options, while WP Super Cache generates and displays HTML pages to boost the speed of WordPress sites.
The “main goal” of decreasing webpage load times is to provide excellent user experience to your website visitors. So, if you make your website faster, naturally it will also be good in SEO point of view.
#5: Choose a Better Web Host Provider
Web hosting is necessary component of a successful website. Finding the best web-hosting provider can help the overall SEO of your WordPress site, which will also help boost online sales on your site.
With so many web hosting providers offering numerous web hosting options (free, shared, dedicated, virtual, and managed WordPress hosting) and competitive features (unlimited web hosting, bandwidth, and domains), it may be difficult to cut through all these jargon and find the one that is suited for your needs and budget.
- Visit Google and search for “best WordPress hosting services”
- Read the reviews of each of the top WordPress hosting services to find the best for your needs and price (Click here to read our top 7 WordPress hosting reviews for 2016)
No matter which WordPress hosting you choose, (1and1 or Bluehost is highly recommended) it is important that you consider the reliability, speed, and security of the web-hosting provider. Also, another important factor you need to consider is “your needs.” Evaluating these important factors before purchasing the WordPress hosting of your choice will help you save tons of time, effort, and money.
#6: Optimize Images on Your Pages/Posts
Optimize images on your blog posts by resizing and compressing them. Use a handy tool such as Photoshop, PaintPro, or any other free online image-editing tool to minimize the size of your images and saving them in appropriate format. This will help improve your page load performance on your WordPress site.
If you have already uploaded your image, you can still optimize and resize them automatically using a plugin like Smush.it.
Action: Add proper tags to your images in your posts to make Google know what they are about and index your page elements better for higher search engine rankings later. You can also include more keywords in the alt tags in your posts.
Related article: 3 Ways to Optimize Your Blog Images for Better Rankings
#7: Use Google Analytics
Do not try to run a WordPress site without having some kind of tracking device on it. Google Analytics does the tracking and monitoring job easily for you. Not only it is free, but also it is also super easy to install and implement, so there is absolutely no excuse not to use it.
Having analytics plugin such as Google Analytics for WordPress on your site gives you so much useful data about your website – finding 404 pages, knowing how long your website visitors stay on your web pages or posts, and how much traffic you receive from search results, among other things.
Also, it keeps track of users by their username, which comes in handy if you are running an e-commerce site and ignore admins that spend a lot of time in the site and cause irregular data like extremely high page views.
Conclusion – 7 Ways to Boost the SEO of Your WordPress Site
By changing small things on your website such as changing permalink structure, using SEO-friendly themes and plugins, using Google Analytics, optimizing images on your webs pages, among other things, you will greatly enhance your WordPress site for SEO as well as user experience.
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