This article covers how to SEO optimise a WordPress website.
You may have a website that uses WordPress, or perhaps the company you work for uses WordPress for their website.
Either way, read below for some information and tips on how to improve your SEO on WordPress.
Table of contents:
Optimise Your WordPress Site for Speed and Performance
It is important to improve page speed because it is a ranking factor that affects your search rankings.
A fast page with relevant content will go higher up in rankings because of good user experience.
Choose the Right Hosting Provider and WordPress Hosting Package
Selecting the correct hosting provider can boost your SEO and increase sales.
What Is a Hosting Provider?
A hosting provider assigns space on a web server for a website to store its files, making it available to the World Wide Web for viewing online.
The websites you see on the Internet are hosted on a server.
Requirements for WordPress Hosting
- PHP version 7.4 or greater
- MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.2 or greater
- HTTPS support (SSL)
Best WordPress Hosting Providers
Below are some hosting providers recommended by WordPress:
- BlueHost – They provide 24/7 support once you sign up, caching solutions, free WordPress site migration, improved interface to manage websites easier, and many more. After you sign up, you get a free SSL certificate and free domain.
- SiteGround – They offer 24/7 support, caching solutions, free automated site migration, free SSL certificate, free CDN, fast and secure WordPress, and many more.
- DreamHost – Once you sign up, you can get a free SSL certificate, free domain and privacy, free automated site migration, fast SSDs and 24/7 customer support.
They offer affordable costs and these hosting providers create websites that loads really fast.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
What Is A Content Delivery Network?
Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers that improves your website speed by serving cached static content from servers located near your user’s geographic location.
Static content are files stored on a server that remains the same every time it is distributed to the user.
How Does CDN Work?
When a user visits your WordPress blog, their browser downloads the website from your chosen web hosting provider.
The hosting server is located in one physical location, so if there is a lot of traffic, this can strain the server.
CDN saves the day by caching and storing your static content on all servers and directs the user to the closest server to their location.
Why You Need Content Delivery Network for WordPress
- Speeds up page loading times because your content is available in all servers. The closer the server to you, the faster you get the content.
- Less likely to crash because the load is spread out across multiple servers.
- Improves user experience because CDN makes your website faster. It reduces bounce rate and increases number of page that a user visits.
Make Sure Your Site Is Visible
If you cannot see your website on search results, check your site’s visibility setting in WordPress.
Log into your admin WordPress account and go to Settings, then Reading.
Go to the ‘Search Engine Visibility’ section, and untick ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site’ box.
Finally, click ‘Save Changes’.
Pick a Fast WordPress Theme
Some of the fastest loading themes are made by Astra, SociallyViral, SocialNow, and GeneratePress.
Use a Friendly URL Structure
Using URL-friendly structures is good for SEO because it clearly explains the content of the page.
This makes it easier to read by search engines and users.
A friendly (naked) URL looks like this:
As you can see, the subfolder ‘seo’ and page name ‘top-5-ways-improve-website-rankings-with-seo’, are both written in a way that makes it clear what the page is about.
A non-friendly URL look like this:
Here, the subfolder does not tell us what content is found there. The numbers make it difficult for users to know what the page is about.
To check and update you URL structure in WordPress, go to Settings, then Permalinks. Choose the post name option and click ‘Save Changes’.
Changing your URL structure on a website that existed long time ago, you will lose your SEO ranking.
You should get a professional to change your permalinks because they will have to do redirects as well.
Choose Between WWW or Non-WWW
From an SEO view, it doesn’t matter whether you pick www or non-www (naked domain). But, you must stick to your decision and remain consistent, whenever you create a new page.
Www and non-www websites are seen as two different sites, so do not change your website’s URL to add or remove the www. It will lead to duplicate content problems that can get your site penalised by Google.
Some CDN providers struggle to redirect traffic from a poor server to a good server on a naked domains. So, it might be best to have www on your URL.
To set your preference, go to Settings then General. Add your URL in the ‘WordPress Address’ and ‘Site Address’ field. Make sure to put the same URL in both fields.
Use WordPress Caching Plugins
Caching plugins helps to reduce the burden on your website host servers, and make your website run faster.
Rather than going through the whole page generation process every time the page loads for a user, your caching plugin creates a copy of the page after the first load, and serves that cached version to future users.
Now that you know how to SEO optimise a WordPress website for page speed and performance, we will walk through how to to optimise for search engines and users.
Optimise Your WordPress Site for Search Engines and Users
Use WordPress SEO Plugins
SEO plugins improves your search rankings, without having to learn the difficult SEO jargon.
They let you generate sitemaps, create meta descriptions, and lets you know any issues with your content.
You should only use one plugin to avoid plugin conflicts, which can lead to website problems.
Try to minimise the use of plugins because it speeds up page loading times, avoid website crashes, and develop expertise amongst employees who uses those plugins.
Use a Mobile Friendly Theme
Google now uses mobile first indexing. This means that Google uses mobile version of a page first, for ranking and indexing.
Get Backlinks From High-quality Websites
High quality backlinks from good reputation sites, are relevant to your content and linked naturally.
These can attract new customers, readers and bring new leads into your business, because they came from backlinks from topically relevant sources.
To get backlinks, the webpage should be rich in content, authoritative, unbiased, and helps readers learn more about what they are interested in. This will attract backlinks from other websites, which improves your search engine optimization.
You should SEO optimise a WordPress website for page speed because it is a Google ranking factor.
Using plugins, selecting the right hosting provider and fast loading themes, using CDN, and writing friendly URL structures are some ways to improve page speed.
Focusing to optimise a WordPress website for search engines and users are also important.
You can do this by using plugins, mobile friendly themes, and getting high quality backlinks.
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