WordPress SEO Guide 2019

James Fawcett

Welcome to our WordPress SEO guide for 2019! This advice guide is the perfect tool for you to understand why you should pay attention to your SEO strategy on WordPress and most importantly, how to do it. 

Why is SEO important for my WordPress site? 

The benefits of a good SEO strategy are endless and go from boosting your site in the organic searches on Google or Bing to keeping you up to date with the latest trends and behaviours within your industry. WordPress is the most used content management system and also one of the best ones to implement an SEO strategy thanks to its friendly structure. 

Implementing a good SEO strategy is not difficult but without the right knowledge it is easy to make mistakes that end up dragging your SEO down. To avoid those, we have developed an easy WordPress SEO guide that will explain how to make the most out of your site. 

 

Your WordPress SEO strategy in 12 Steps

1.  Use the right keywords

To hit the on the right keywords, you should use keyword research tools such as SEMRush, Ahrefs or AnswerThePublic. These will help you seeing new trends coming up and understanding which keywords your target audience is using. To use the research tools, start with a wide range and then narrow them down to come up with those that have high search volume but low competition. Checking your own keyword performance through your URL and comparing it with your competitors is also helpful. 

If you haven’t been paying attention to your keywords until now don’t panic. Just go through all your pages and make sure your site is focused by eliminating any irrelevant keywords and adding better ones. The format of your site is also important so make sure it is the same all across your pages and posts.

Use these keywords to develop a content plan as this will help you attract more customers. Further more, and especially if you have an e-commerce site, adding your keywords into titles, descriptions and product categories is a good idea.  

 

2. Make sure you have an SEO-friendly permalink structure 

There are lots of sites on the internet so in order to make yours recognisable, you should modify the standard generated URL to make it fit your content. This is a double win as it will tell Google what your site is all about and, at the same time, will increase the likelihood of users clicking on it by making it more identifiable. 

How can you modify the standard generated URL? Go to your “Settings and Permalinks” section. The most common options to go for are Day and Name, Month and Name, Custom Structure and Post Name. 

 

3. Optimise the title tags and meta descriptions

Make sure all your articles are SEO-friendly. To optimise them there are many different plugins you could use, but we recommend Yoast SEO as it will give you a hand defining your title tags and ensuring that your meta descriptions tick all the requirement boxes. 

 

4. Make your images SEO-friendly

The loading speed of your site is a key ranking factor and one of the main things that could be slowing down your site down is images. So make sure all your images have appropriate quality and are compressed. Another tip would be giving them descriptive titles and alt tags. This would be even more effective if you can include keywords!

 

5. Get your videos on point 

You should also pay attention to the videos you add to your website. To achieve a good position in the rankings, remember to give them a meaningful title, description and tags. Upload only high quality videos as this is one of the main ranking factors and instead of uploading it directly to your site, use video platforms such as Youtube or Vimeo and embed the video to your site. This way you will avoid having to deal with server problems!  

Finally, but not less important, promote them!! Make use of your social media channels to get more views, shares and comments as this will boost the video in the rankings. 

 

6. Make a good use of categories and tags 

The difference between these terms is subtle but important. Categories are used to group your content in a rough way, while tags are specific keywords that can be used to describe certain content. By using both of them you will help users find your content faster and search engines browsing your website. 

 

7. Include Heading Tags throughout your content

A sitemap helps search engines understand the structure of your site but not of individual pages. To help them with these, use heading tags. These are formatted options that are easy to apply. You will find them under the WordPress editor as Heading 1, Heading 2… 

A good use of the Heading tags will also benefit users as it makes the content more visually appealing. 

 

8. Get used to linking internally 

Search engines don’t look at sites as separate elements. Instead, they consider how these are connected. For this reason it is important to link to your own content when possible. This will increase your number of page views, the time that users spend on a page will also improve your SEO. 

 

9.  Add an SSL Certificate

Some time ago, having an SSL Certificate encrypted in your site was optional, but nowadays its relevance is becoming undeniable. So to be safe and avoid being marked down in the Google rankings, implementing one is a good idea. 

 

10. Include a XML Sitemap

An XML Sitemap is a formatted file that catalogues all the pages within your website. It doesn’t help you boost your SEO per se but it makes finding the content easier for search engines which means they will be able to rank your site faster. 

If you are using the Yoast SEO the XML Sitemap will be created automatically. To find it, copy this URL: http://example.com/sitemap_index.xml, change the example.com with your own domain and search for it.

Another way to add the sitemap is including the plugin Google XML Sitemaps. 

 

11. Add your site to Google Search Console

Google search console or Webmaster Tools helps you understand how the search engines see your site by providing you with reports and data. For example, you will be able to see which are the keywords that people use to find your site or which pages are clicked more often. These are great insights to consider for your content plan. 

To add your WordPress site to Google Search Console, you need to follow these steps: 

  • Sign in with you Google account into the Google Webmaster tools website.  
  • Verify the ownership of the website that is being added. 
  • Then you have two options, you can use FTP to upload an HTML file to your website directory or go to Alternate method, get a meta tag and include it in your WordPress site. 
  • If you decide to go for the second option, it might be useful for you to install or activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. Copy the meta tag from the webmaster tools, go to Settings and the to Insert Headers and Footers. Paste the meta tag line in the header. 
  • Now you can save the changes and go again to Google Webmaster and press the Verify site option. 

 

12. Security

Finally, ensure you are keeping your WordPress site secure. All your efforts to improve your SEO will be in vain if a hacker takes over your website. 

WordPress Migrations

Now, what if you are merging two WordPress sites but don’t want to lose your position in the Google ranking? Well, then you have to follow the next steps: 

  1. Make a backup of your Website in case something doesn’t go as expected. 
  2. Go to the original website that you are merging, find the Tools section within the admin category and click Export. Select the All Content button and then press Download Export File. You will get an XML file which contains your site posts, all custom post types, categories and tags. Save it on your computer to make sure you can find it easily. 
  3. Go to the new website you are merging with, find the Tools section within the admin category again and select Import. To install the WordPress importer, go to the bottom of the page and you should be able to see the install Now button. After, click on Run Importer and upload the file that you exported before. 
  4. The last step will take you to the import setting page. There you can create and assign authors. You will find a box underneath Import Attachments. Click it to import all media attachments from the old website. 
  5. Click the Submit button. Now your exported files from the old site have been added to the new one!
  6. Don’t forget to set up redirects so users that go to the old website are sent to the new one. 

This WordPress SEO guide should put you on the right track to sending your site up the Google rankings. But if you need extra help, we are the right agency for you! Feel free to contact us for a chat. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Fawcett

Author James Fawcett

James is a front and back end Wordpress developer, always interested in the latest technologies and enjoys building the diverse range of sites that Elementary designers throw his way!

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