WordPress SEO: Tips to Increase Website Rankings in 2022

Improving your WordPress SEO is vital for increasing website traffic. However, most WordPress SEO guides are just too complex for beginners to understand.

If you want to improve your website’s traffic, you should follow the WordPress SEO best practices.

We’ll go through the best WordPress SEO tips in this post to help you boost your SEO and obtain more organic traffic.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a technique used by website owners to increase traffic by improving their search engine rankings.

This is not about fooling Google or manipulating the system when it comes to SEO. It’s as simple as making a website with optimized code and formatting that makes it easier for search engines to find.

When people search the internet for the topics you write about, your SEO-optimized content will appear higher in the search, resulting in more people visiting your website.

Why SEO is Important?

Most websites’ primary source of traffic is search engines.

Google and other search engines use advanced algorithms to analyze and rank sites correctly in search results. Those algorithms, however, aren’t perfect, and they still need your aid to figure out what your content is all about.

Search engines won’t know how to rank your content if it isn’t optimized. Your website will not appear in the search results when people search for the topics you write about, and you will miss out on all of that traffic.

Making your website search engine friendly is critical for all company owners who want to optimize their search traffic.

WordPress SEO Tips to Increase Website Ranking

SEO may indeed get technical, but it doesn’t have to. Simply learning a few simple WordPress SEO tips to optimize your site may significantly increase website traffic.

You do not have to be a tech expert in using the strategies described here. You already have what it takes if you’re familiar with WordPress.

Let’s get started with website optimization.

1. Choose a Reliable Hosting Provider

According to online usability experts, users determine whether they want to stay or leave a website within a few seconds.

That implies you have a few seconds as a website owner to display your content and engage viewers. You do not want to waste this precious time making your visitor wait for your website to load.

Because user experience is so essential, search engines such as Google rank quicker websites higher in their rankings. In other words, Google likes faster websites.

To increase the performance of your website, you must use a fast WordPress hosting provider, such as SiteGround or Bluehost.

2. WWW vs non-WWW

If you’re already starting with your website, you’ll need to decide whether you want to use www (http://www.example.com) or http://example.com in the URL.

Because search engines consider them two separate websites, you must select one and stick to it.

You may update your preferences by going to the Settings » General page. Fill up your desired URL in both the WordPress Address and Site Address boxes.

Regardless of what someone else says, there is no SEO benefit to using one over the other.

3. Using SEO Friendly URL Structures in WordPress

SEO-friendly URLs include terms that clearly describe the page’s content and are easy to read for both humans and search engines.

Some examples of SEO friendly URLs are:

https://www.pickupwp.com/blog/10-best-blogging-platforms-for-beginners-pros-cons/

It’s important to note that these URLs are readable, and a user may guess what will show on the website simply by looking at the URL text.

So what does a non-SEO-friendly URL look like?

https://www.pickupwp.com/?p=107

It’s important to note that these URLs use numbers that have nothing to do with the content, so users can’t guess what they’ll see on the page just by looking at it.

Using a permalink structure that is SEO friendly increases your chances of ranking higher in search results.

Here’s how to check and change the permalink structure on your WordPress site.

You must go to the Settings » Permalinks page. Choose the post name option and then click the ‘Save Changes’ button to save your choices.

4. Check Your Site’s Visibility Settings

WordPress provides a feature that lets you hide your website from search engines. This option aims to allow you time to work on your website before it goes live.

However, sometimes this option might be selected by mistake, rendering your website unreachable to search engines.

If your website isn’t showing up in search results, the first thing you should do is make sure this option is unchecked.

Go to the Settings » Reading page in the admin area of your WordPress site.

You must go down to the Search Engine Visibility area and uncheck the option next to Discourage search engines from indexing this site.

Remember to save your changes by clicking the Save Changes button.

5. Install a Free WordPress SEO Plugin

One of the essential parts about WordPress is that there’s a plugin for almost anything, including SEO. Thousands of WordPress SEO plugins are available, making it difficult for beginners to pick the ideal one.

When selecting the best WordPress SEO plugin, you’ll almost certainly be limited to one of two options: All in One SEO (AIOSEO) or Yoast SEO.

AIOSEO is the original WordPress SEO plugin with over 2 million installations.

6. Add XML Sitemaps in WordPress

An XML Sitemap is a specifically structured file containing a list of all your website’s pages. This allows search engines to discover all of your data quickly.

While using an XML sitemap does not improve your site’s search rankings, it does help search engines in quickly finding and ranking the pages.

If you use the SEO plugin, it will generate an XML sitemap for you automatically. Browse to this URL (change example.com with your domain name) to find your sitemap:

http://example.com/sitemap_index.xml

For more details, check our beginner guide on how to easily create an XML Sitemap in WordPress.

7. Add Your Site to Google Search Console

Google Search Console, commonly known as Webmaster Tools, is a toolset provided by Google that helps website owners to see how Google views their content.

It gives you information and data to assist you in figuring out how your sites appear in search results. You can also view the actual search keywords people use to reach your website, how each page shows in the search results, and how often visitors click on your sites.

All of this data might assist you in figuring out what works and what doesn’t on your website. After that, you may plan your content strategy.

After you’ve joined your website to Google Search Console, go to the left menu, select sitemap, and copy the last portion of the sitemap URL.

To save your changes, click the submit button.

Your sitemap will now check by Google Search Console and used to optimize the crawling of your website.

Your sitemap will display as pending after you have successfully added it. It does take Google some time to crawl your website. After a few hours, you should be able to check some statistics about your sitemap. It will display the number of links it discovered in your sitemap, how many of them were indexed, the ratio of pictures to web pages, and so on.

We recommend that you visit your Search Console at least once a month to gather information and track the progress of your website’s SEO.

8. Optimizing Your Blog Posts for SEO

Beginners frequently believe that just installing and activating a WordPress SEO plugin is sufficient. SEO is a continuous process that was must manage if you want to achieve the best results.

Every blog post and page can have a title, description, and target keyword, and all of the top SEO plugins allow you to do so. It also gives you a sneak preview of what people will see if they search for your website on Google.

To get the most hits, we recommend that you improve your title and description.

Please scroll down to the SEO area while creating your blog article and take full benefit of it.

9. Doing Keyword Research for Your Website

Many beginners use their best guesses about what topics people search for and what they should include in their blogs and websites.

It’s the same as shooting an arrow in the dark. You don’t need to do that when you can figure out what people are looking for using actual data.

Keyword research is a research method used by content writers and SEO professionals. It assists you in identifying terms that people use to access content, products, and services in your area using search engines. You may then include those terms and phrases into your website to increase traffic from search engines.

There are several SEO tools available (both free and premium). We recommend SEMRush since it can help you select keywords and determine which keywords your competitor ranks for.

We have created a detailed post on how to do keyword research for your blog with step-by-step instructions.

10. Properly Using Categories and Tags in WordPress

WordPress helps you to categorize and tag your blog content. This makes it easy for you to organize your content into topics and for your users to find the information they need.

Categories and tags also assist search engines in understanding the structure and content of your website.

Categories are used for broad groupings of your posts. If your blog were just a book, the table of contents would be categorized.

On the other hand, tags are more precise terms that describe a single post’s contents. For example, a blog entry in the WordPress category may include plugins, widgets, themes, etc.

By using categories and tags correctly, you make it easier for your users to browse your website. Because it’s simple for people, it’s also simple for search engines to browse your site.

11. Add Internal Links in the content

Internal links lead from one page or post on your site to another on the same site. They’re essential for both SEO and site navigation.

You’ll usually use them to refer to other kinds of content you’ve written or to connect to your landing pages.

There are three reasons why internal linking is beneficial:

  • Interconnectivity: Internal links may show search engines how one page relates to another, which is helpful for crawling.
  • Passing authority:  It can provide link equity to your most important content, making it the website’s thematic leader. As a result, search engines will place a higher value on these pages.
  • Efficient navigation: These links can guide readers to further information relevant to their interests, causing them to spend more time on the website.

This will raise the number of pageviews on your site, the number of time users spend on it, and, eventually, the SEO score of your blog posts and pages.

12. Optimize WordPress Comments

Comments on your website may be a good indicator of user engagement. Engaged users mean more links back to your site, more traffic, and better SEO.

You must, however, ensure that your comments are genuine and not spam. Spammers create spam comments with poor links, which can harm or even ruin your search rankings.

As a result, we highly advise everyone to begin using Akismet. It is one of the two plugins that are pre-installed with every WordPress site, and it helps prevent spam comments. It is also a must-have plugin for WordPress websites.

If you get a lot of natural, spam-free comments on your blog posts, you should congratulate yourself on the back for building such an exciting website!

However, having too many comments on a post might slow everything down, affecting your search engine results.

You may separate comments into different pages to prepare your website to handle the load that comments place on your server and improve performance.

13. Add Trustworthy External Links

In addition to providing internal links, you should also include some external links to high domain authority sites. This improves your WordPress SEO by indicating to Google that you are connecting to high-quality, relevant content. It also enhances the user experience by offering more information to your visitors/users.

We recommend including at least two high domain authority external links within each piece of content. When doing so, a good little tip to keep users on your site is to make the link open in a separate tab or window.

14. Optimize Your Images for WordPress SEO

Images are more eye-catching than text, but they take longer to load. If you aren’t careful with image sizes and quality, your website will slow down.

Make sure you pick images that are optimized to load quickly. We recommend using the Smush plugin, the best WordPress image optimization plugin.

It has the option to compress images in bulk from within the WordPress dashboard. It can also use the lazy load feature, which delays loading the image until the user scrolls down to it.

Using a descriptive title and alt tags is another way to optimize your images for search engines. These tags assist search engines in determining the subject of your image. Users with visual impairments can benefit from them because their screen readers can read the alt text.

When uploading an image to WordPress, you may quickly add title and alt tags. See our guide on how to optimize images for WordPress.

15. Always Use SSL With the Domain

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a type of encryption that secures the connection between a website and a browser. It protects critical information, such as payment information, against unauthorized access.

When a domain has SSL certification, the URL begins with https:// rather than http://. In addition, a padlock icon will display next to the address bar, as shown below:

When assessing the page experience of a website, Google considers HTTPS. If the content of competing web pages is of similar value, a high page experience score might be the determining factor in ranking high on SERPs.

Furthermore, if a website does not have an SSL certificate, browsers such as Safari and Google Chrome may flag it as insecure, warning users not to submit personal information. If you have a landing page or an online store, a warning like this might turn off potential customers and reduce conversion rates.

16. Secure Your Website Generally

Google blocks around 20,000 websites every week for malware and over 50,000 for phishing. When a website gets blocked, it no longer appears in any search results.

This indicates that your WordPress site’s security is critical for high rankings. You don’t want all of your SEO efforts to be for nothing if your website gets hacked.

The good thing is that keeping your WordPress site secure is not difficult – check our complete WordPress security guide for step-by-step instructions.

17. Apply Schema Markup

You may have come across the words schema markup and structured markup on the internet. Schema markup is essentially extra code that helps search engines deliver more and better info to website users.

If you’ve ever seen a star rating next to a review on a SERP, you’ve seen the results of schema markup. This can assist you in obtaining unique SERP positions, which can boost your click-through rate (CTR) significantly.

Another significant reason to use structured data is that it can assist Google in better understanding what your company does and where it stands on the web. This can help activate your brand knowledge panel, increasing your click-through rate for brand searches and allowing your website to appear in other entity-specific search results, such as competitor carousels.

Some WordPress themes have schema markup built-in, but others don’t. You can also use the Google Structured Data Testing tool to test your website or blog post.

18. Focus on SEO-Friendly content

Before you start writing content with your target keywords, you need to know what makes a website or blog SEO-friendly in the first place.

Here are some qualities of good SEO content:

  • In-depth: The writing includes the essential points and covers the most often asked questions by the targeted users. As a result, users don’t force themselves to use a competitor to achieve their goals.
  • Original: It provides unique value, whether it’s new information that competitors haven’t covered or a different perspective than the rest of the market.
  • Easy to follow: The language is primary and easy to understand for the targeted users.
  • Readable: The paragraphs are short – three to five sentences apiece to make the content understandable. To improve scannability, the text may use bullet points or organized lists.
  • Keyword-friendly: The target keyword appears naturally and SEO-friendly throughout the article.
  • Well-structured: There are several headings to make the web page or blog post easier to navigate.
  • Visual: It uses images, infographics, and videos to make information more engaging.

For more in detail, see our guide on how to optimize your blog posts for SEO.

19. Use an SEO-Friendly Theme

An SEO-friendly theme isn’t only appealing; it also provides a positive user experience and helps search engines browse the site’s content.

To find a WordPress theme that is SEO-friendly, look for one that is:

  • Mobile-Friendly: This point should be a priority because Google promotes mobile-friendly websites in their SERPs. The term “responsive” refers to the theme’s ability to adapt to desktop, tablet, and smartphone screens.
  • Speedy and lightweight: The theme should only include the essential features and contain no boilerplate code to load quickly.
  • Latest Coding Standards: It follows the most recent WordPress coding standards to avoid errors, keep code readability, and track web accessibility rules.
  • Regularly updated: Ideally, the theme’s developers should check on it regularly to fix any performance or security issues.

20. Improve Your Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals is another crucial factor that affects user experience.

According to research, a website’s ideal loading time is under two seconds. If it takes that long, visitors will leave the website without any action, resulting in low conversion rates.

Google considers three ranking metrics when evaluating website performance. The first is the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which indicates when a page’s primary content has likely loaded. The ideal LCP is 2.5 seconds from the time the page first loads.

The second is First Input Delay (FID). It measures the time between a user’s initial contact with a website, such as clicking a link or touching a button, and the browser’s start processing the response. A good FID score is less than 100 milliseconds.

The third is Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). It measures the unexpected shifting of web elements while the page is was rendered. An ideal CLS score is 0.1 or less.

Google PageSpeed Insights is one of the tools for evaluating your website’s speed. It will assess the loading time on both desktop and mobile devices once you enter the website’s URL. It will also give ideas on how to improve the results.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that WordPress is one of the most SEO-friendly content management systems available, which is one of the reasons for its popularity. It is not just user-friendly, but it is also simple to use a variety of SEO techniques by using a small number of great plugins.

If you’re using WordPress, you’ve made a wise decision. By following the WordPress SEO tips above, you will place yourself in a strong position to outrank your competitors.

We hope this post has shown you how to correctly optimize your WordPress site for search engine optimization. If you follow a couple of these WordPress SEO tips, you should notice an increase in traffic within a few months.

For your next steps, you’ll find these resources helpful: