Since its launch, WordPress has disrupted the field of digital marketing.
With its colossal advantages, the facts that it is free and easy content management system is what has made the platform loved by many website owners.
WordPress can be used by just about anyone regardless of their previous experience or technical knowledge, thanks to the seemingly infinite library of plugins and themes.
WordPress has dominated the landscape, powering 34% of the internet as of 2019, and according to other statistics, 400 million people visit WordPress sites every month.
The reason for this is WordPress SEO, a strategy used by website owners to receive more traffic organically by ranking as high as possible in search engines.
What is WordPress SEO?
SEO stands for Search engine optimization and it is about optimizing a WordPress site to contain optimized code, design, speed, as well as content formatting which makes it easier for search engines to index your website and show it when people search for relative queries.
When you search any topic in search engines, the sites that appear on top without ads are the well-optimized, and if you are the owner of the site that is ranked first, you will get more clicks and visitors to your website.
There are many benefits of getting that first-place ranking in search engines.
Just like in the offline world, location is important when planning to buy a property, search results position is also important when you want more traffic to your WordPress site.
But in the online digital realm, the location of your business is determined by your ranking.
Recently, many businesses have fallen because of their poor search engine performance.
Researches show that 93 percent of all buying decisions begin with an online search.
For this reason, your business or website must be found when people type in a keyword or a phrase when they are looking for your product or services related to what you offer.
So, how important is it being on the top or among the top of the search engine results?
To help you understand the importance of this, here are some useful statistics underlying the benefits of click-through traffic, based on the position that a website receives when a keyword is entered into a search engine:
- A website in the first position in search engine results receives 42.25% of all the click-through traffic.
- The sites lying second in the search results receives 11.94% of all click-through traffic.
- The third-place position receives 6.05%
- The fourth position on the search engine results gets 6.05% of the traffic
- The rest of the pages on the first page receive fewer than 5% of click-through traffic.
- The sites that are on the first page of the search results (usually ten), received 89.71% of all click-through traffic
- The websites on the second page of search engines – also ten, receive just 4.37% of the click-through traffic.
- The third page receives merely 2.42%
- 82% of marketers noticed a rise in the effectiveness of good SEO
- Search engines drive over 300% traffic to websites than social media
There are three main search engines that as a website owner, you should try to rank high. They include Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Others include Yandex.com, Ask.com, Wolframalpha, Baidu, AOL.com, and DuckDuckGo.
Of all the search engines out there, you should consider optimizing your WordPress SEO for Google, as it accounts for over 73% of all the searches, while a site like Baidu is only popular in China and its region, as it received 13.19% of all searches last year (2018).
Bing is the third most popular search engine in the world, receiving 7.85% of all searches in 2018. The search engine is owned and operated by tech giants Microsoft.
How to optimize SEO for WordPress Website
How to get it right with WordPress SEO?
WordPress SEO doesn’t require any technical skills.
All you need to know is a few basic WordPress SEO tips to be able to optimize your website.
The first thing you need to do is optimize your website on-page SEO.
Check the visibility of your site settings
The best thing about WordPress is that it comes with tons of built-in options you can use for your advantage.
To check your site visibility, access the option that allows you to hide your site from being indexed by search engines.
This feature allows you time to work on your website offline before you can make it public.
However, it is common for many people to check this option accidentally, making your website invisible to search engines.
If you notice your site is not showing in search engine results, the first thing you should do is to locate this feature and uncheck if it was checked by mistake.
To find this option, log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to settings > reading tab.
Scroll down until you find the “Search Engine Visibility” option and ensure the box adjacent to ‘Discourage Search Engines from indexing your site’ is not checked.
After unchecking the box, be sure also to hit “Save Changes” button to save the changes you have just made.
Use SEO-Friendly URL Structure
SEO friendly URL structure involves a page URL that contains words that explain what the page is all about, and are easy to read by search engines and humans.
A readable URL should not contain characters and numbers.
Using SEO friendly URL structure will significantly improve your chances of being found in search engines.
To update your WordPress website permalink structure, visit Settings > Permalinks, then select the post name from the options available and hit the button “Save Changes” to store your settings.
However, if your website has been online for more than six months, you shouldn’t make any changes to your URL permalinks, as this can result to you losing all your backlinks and social shares on social media pages.
If you must do these changes for your well-established website, then we recommend you seek the help of a professional to help you set up all proper redirects, though you will still lose your social share counts on all your pages.
Choose between WWW and no-WWW URL
When you have one URL with WWW and another without, the search engine will treat the two URLs as different websites.
So which one should you go for?
Any of them is good, but I prefer to go without “www”, simply in WordPress visit your Settings > General tab.
Add your chosen URL in both Site Address and WordPress Address fields and then save changes.
As far as SEO is concerned, there is absolutely no advantage of choosing one option over the other.
Choose the right WordPress SEO plugin
The biggest advantage of WordPress is that there are loads of plugins that you can simply download and install to optimize your site SEO.
And as you can imagine, there are also numerous SEO plugins created for WordPress websites, which is up to you to choose the right one that fulfills your needs.
Choosing the right SEO plugin can be a hard task especially if you are a beginner.
But here, we are going to help you choose the perfect SEO plugin for your website, and they are 100% free.
When deciding the best WordPress SEO plugin for your site, the two best choices are All in One SEO Pack and Yoast SEO.
They are both incredible with a bunch of benefits and user base.
The two are one of the most popular and used WordPress plugins currently.
All in One SEO Pack is the oldest, having been launched in 2007 by Steve Mortiboy and Michael Torbert, and has earned a legion of followers since then to become among the most downloaded plugins for WordPress SEO of all time.
Yoast SEO, on the other hand, was created in 2010 by Joost de Valk. The plugin has undergone various improvements over the years making it the biggest competitor of All in One SEO.
The two are both excellent plugins and whichever you chose will offer you all the must-have options and features to get maximum SEO advantages for your WordPress website.
But what are the differences between the two?
Let’s try and compare the two WordPress SEO plugins so that you can make an informed decision.
While generally, SEO requires some basic learning to successfully implement all the SEO concepts into your website, a plugin should be a lot easier to set up especially for individuals with limited skills.
Visit the plugins area of your WordPress and install the Yoast SEO plugin and activate it.
After that, go to SEO > Dashboard and launch the configuration wizard in the General tab.
This will give you an easy to follow wizard that will guide you through the entire set up process. Even if you are a total beginner, this will help you get started as quickly as possible without getting overwhelmed by the complex process.
With its popularity, Yoast SEO has numerous options that you must go through them one by one to understand what each one does.
The settings section in this plugin is categorized into pages with different tables for individual settings.
This way, you can easily locate an option in the settings.
The plugin also comes with an on-screen help on all Yoast SEO settings.
To access help, just click the Help tab on the top and it will avail a video or text about the different options on the page.
Why should you get this plugin
Neatly arranged settings, a help wizard for newbies, and on-screen help options will make your work a whole lot easier.
Install and activate the plugin.
When it is activated, you will be able to access the menu item just underneath the dashboard. Click on the tab and you will get straight to the setting page of the plugin.
The good thing about this plugin is that it has all its settings on a single page, which makes it appear overwhelming especially if you are a beginner.
But others find this layout easy to use, so you may also like it.
The setting page in All in One SEO plugin is divided into various sections, each about the settings of a feature or a particular area.
You can also find a help icon at each setting section and upon clicking the icon; you will find a short explanation and in some instances a link to documentation for further information.
After finalizing your general settings, you can now start using the plugin. It is as simple as that.
Add XML Sitemaps in your WordPress site
XML Sitemap lists all pages of your website, making it easier for search engines to crawl the contents of your website.
It should be noted that adding an XML Sitemap doesn’t help your website rank higher, but rather, ensures that search engines locate your pages easily and quickly so they can be ranked.
Using Yoast SEO plugin will automatically generate an XML Sitemap for your WordPress website.
To locate your sitemap, simply add /sitemap_index.xml in front of your website domain name.
Add your WordPress site to Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a set of tools provided by Google to help website owners see how their content is viewed by Google search engine. It is also called Webmaster Tools.
It gives you useful data and reports that will enable you to understand how every one of your pages appears in search results.
With this information, you will understand what is working and what is not for the site so you can make effective plans for your content.
Webmaster Tools also alerts you when there are issues with your website, for example, when the search crawlers find duplicate content, unable to access your site or restricted resources and other technical issues.
After adding your WordPress site to Google Console, click on Sitemaps then add your sitemap URL and then click submit.
Your application will be on pending for a short period as Google takes time to crawl all the pages of your website.
Once you have successfully added your website to Google Search Console, make sure to check it at least once per month.
In this era where the internet is filled with a lot of content, SEO is the most important channel for your business and it determines the success and failure of many businesses.
We hope that these WordPress SEO tips helped you optimize your website for maximum organic traffic.