WordPress SEO Optimization Guide (2021)

Table of contents

  1. Improve your site speed
  2. Noindex Unhelpful Content
  3. Provide an XML sitemap
  4. Use SEO-Friendly URLs
  5. Fix broken links
  6. Start Title With Keyword
  7. Wrap Your Blog Post Title in an H1 Tag
  8. Wrap Subheadings in H2 Tags
  9. Drop Keyword in First 100 Words
  10. Image Optimization
  11. Social media data
  12. Proper redirects
  13. Google My Business
  14. SEO tools

Improve your site speed

ite speed is one of the factors that determine whether you get a good ranking in Google. Site speed is a ranking factorand its importance keeps growing. A sluggish website will also result in a slower crawling rate, so Google indexes pages on your site at a slower rate. New posts will take longer to show up in the search results. Making your website faster can, therefore, lead to getting organic traffic for new posts faster and to better rankings.

Moreover, a fast website will give a much better user experience than a slow one. Research has shown time and again that people don’t buy as much from slower sites and don’t read as much on slower sites. That in itself should be enough reason to make sure the speed of your site is as good as can be.

To improve your site speed you can read the detailed guide here.

Noindex Unhelpful Content

You usually don’t want certain content showing in search engines (tags, post formats, author archives, date archives). In Yoast, go to SEO → Search Appearance. Go through your content types, taxonomies, and archives tab and choose not to show these in search results. You obviously want to index pages/posts, and maybe category pages if you have enough articles under each one, but the rest usually causes duplicate content, which you can check in Siteliner.

Provide an XML sitemap for your site

Providing search engines like Google links to all the pages on your site in a sitemap, preferably in the .xml format, helps them index your site content faster, in an easier way.

You can use Yoast WordPress SEO plugin to add a sitemap to your site.

To do so:

  1. Install and activate Yoast WordPress SEO plugin.
  2. Click on ‘SEO’.
  3. Click on ‘General’.
  4. Click on the ‘Features’ tab.
  5. Click the question mark for the XML Sitemap feature.
  6. Click ‘See the XML sitemap.’
  7. Check that the sitemap contains only links that you actually use. For example, make sure that you disable the taxonomies that don’t exist in your site (eg. disable tags if you don’t use them).
  8. Copy the sitemap address and paste it in Webmaster Tools appropriate section.

Use SEO-Friendly URLs

Google has stated that the first 3-5 words in a URL are given more weight. And our ranking factors study found that short URLs may have an edge in the search results.

So I recommend making your URLs short and sweet.

And always include your target keyword in your URL.

If you rename a URL and use a seo-friendly one, pages that link to the renamed page, might get broken. If too many broken links are found on your site, search engines will think that the site isn’t properly maintained. It might be penalized by search engines who may think it’s an abandoned site. You can use the Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin to handle broken internal and external links on your blog. Or you can use the Dead Link Checker which is an online Broken Link Checker Tool.

Start Title With Keyword

Your title tag is the most important on-page SEO factor.

In general, the closer the keyword is to the beginning of the title tag, the more weight it has with search engines.

Wrap Your Blog Post Title in an H1 Tag

The H1 tag is your “headline tag”.

The <h1> header tag should be as far towards the top left hand side of the page as possible. When Google reads a webpage, it views the text from the top left hand side of the page, and then follows down to the bottom right hand side of the page. So, it’s best to place your <h1> header tag on the top left hand or top/middle portion of your page.

If possible, it’s ideal if you can include ONLY your main keyword within the <h1> header tags.

It’s worth checking out your site’s code to make sure you only have one H1 tag per page. And that H1 tag should contain your target keyword.

Wrap Subheadings in H2 Tags

Include your target keyword in at least once subheading…and wrap it in an H2 tag.

Drop Keyword in First 100 Words

Your keyword should appear in the first 100-150 words of your article. This helps Google understand what your page is all about.

Image Optimization

Make sure at least one image file name includes your target keyword (for example, on-page-SEO.png) and that your target keyword is part of your image Alt Text.

To rename your already uploaded media files in WordPress you can use the Phoenix Media Rename plugin.

The alt text should be the same as the file name. To have WordPress fill in alt text automatically, use a plugin like Auto Image Attributes From Filename With Bulk Updater.

Social media data

In Yoast go to SEO → Social, then enable meta data under the Facebook/Twitter tab.

Proper redirects

If you have a problem with the redirection of the non-www to the www version of your URL, add this code inside your htacess file.

...

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]


# Redirect non-www to www
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^website\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.website.com/$1 [L,R=301]
</IfModule>

...

Google My Business

My Business is Google’s one-stop shop to manage how your business will look and perform in the search engine. It is an essential tool to find out and adjust how your site shows in Maps, the Knowledge Graph, Google+ and organic search results. To add your business in google:

  1. Go to My Business.
  2. Login by using your gmail account.
  3. Click Add a location.
  4. Type your business name and click Create a business with this name.
  5. Complete the sign-up form with information about your business. Input your address, phone number, and complete business name if it is not already present. Afterwards, you can add photos or other information, such as:Up to 5 different categories to list your business
    1. Your hours of operation.
    2. What forms of payment you accept.
    3. What’s really special about your business.
    4. A link to a video about your business if you have one.
  6. When you are finished, Google will ask to verify your listing. Select Postcard by mail. The postcard method will take between 1 and 2 weeks and involves entering the verification number on the card.

SEO tools

1. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a must and it’s free! Just use it.

2. Neil Patel Seo Made Simple

An online tool for SEO audits and keywords suggestions. Free!

3. Visibility.gr

An online tool for SEO audios and keyword suggestions. Free for 5 sites.

4. Seobility

5. Seo Site Checkup

Learning Resources