If you want your SEO efforts to stay on point and help you rank on google consistently, there are some checkboxes that you need to sign off on.
1. Install an SEO-friendly theme before all else
You can find thousands of different free themes that are available for creating your WordPress website. There are also a lot of premium themes with an advanced dashboard. All of these might individually claim to be SEO friendly but they might not be as much.
All these themes might come as a unit with a lot of unwanted scripts and plugins that you are most likely not going to use. This in turn might have a direct effect on the load times and slow down your whole performance. Always install a theme after running a brief demo on Google’s web.dev tool. Gather all the insight in prior before going ahead.
2. Do your basic SEO hygiene checks
This basically is the set-up phase where you’ll have to ensure that you do the following
Yoast Plugin – It is a free SEO plugin for WordPress that will make your life easier. Do note this, the plugin will not magically optimize your site, it’ll rather help you identify your shortcomings and areas of improvement for you to acknowledge the better practices to follow.
This is a basic gist of your website URLs to help the search engines easily glance through the content on your site to help them crawl and index your pages while a relevant query is made. You can do this using the Yoast plugin
It is basically a plain text file to pose limitations in place on where the search engines can and cannot go on your website. For example, if you are an eCommerce website you don’t want your cart page listed but rather the rest. Also learn why is secure ecommerce web development important.
Google Analytics and Search Console –
This will help you make better-informed decisions for you SEO. Analytics is basically where you track your audience behavior and understand how many people visit your website on average, how long they stay and how well they interact with your website. The search console on the other hand will help you understand your site performance and lets you know the keywords you rank for.
Site visibility checks –
WordPress has a setting to discourage search engines from indexing, which is to stop it from ranking. It is commonly used while the site is on maintenance or development. Ensure this is turned off.
Custom URLs –
In the settings option of the dashboard, you’ll find permalinks options where you can customize the URL structures to be SEO friendly with the post name or the page name.
3. Keyword optimization
Keywords are the basis with which the content of your site and your industrial domain will be regarded by Google. Hence, they are going to be a prime focus soon as your kickstart the SEO efforts for your site. You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEM Rush, or Ahref for your keyword research.
While your content should predominantly revolve around being useful to the readers, it should also have loopholes for keyword insertion for making the algorithms understand what you are talking about. Every time you generate a piece of content, always have a focus keyword around which your efforts are based around. In the Yoast SEO plugin, you can set the focus keyword and analyze metrics like the keyword density for the same.
Also remember that keyword difficulty is something you should take note of. It is best practice to go for moderately competitive keywords to improve your chances of ranking.
4. On-page SEO
Meta descriptions –
Meta descriptions are not exactly linked to WordPress SEO in a direct context. However, a well-written one can increase your Click Through Rate since it can entice the user to read more of your content.
H1 tags –
The heading tags basically give context to algorithms and search spiders on what your page is about. Typically, H1 is used as the page title and your content will be structured with H2 to H6 tags in relevant areas. This will also help break your text at various points for a well-structured UI.
Internal linking –
This is a best practice to increase the relevancy between different pages of your site. It will also be easy for the users to navigate and toggle between relevant pages that they are interested in, thus increasing their average session time spent within your website. Although, do note that you anchor text and the page you link it to are in the right order to avoid users from getting confused.
Image optimization –
Images play an important role and hence they must be compressed in size before you upload them to avoid long load times. In addition, the file names of these images should be appropriate and relevant. Since google spiders can’t read the images, you’d have to present them with an alt description defining what it is about.
They take a lot of real estate on the search engine results and are easily accessible for your users. Research on the common questions that the audience might have when it comes to your industry and furnish them with the right answers for the questions they might be wondering about to increase your chances of ranking.