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Search engine optimization, or SEO, doesn’t have to be scary. It can be fun and exciting to put these WordPress SEO tips to use and to watch your blog begin receiving targeted visitors from people who are actively searching for exactly what you have to offer.
What are the keys to building a successful presence on the search engine results pages? What are the most important SEO factors for getting your site discovered by Google’s search bot and how can we get in on the action?
So you’re looking for the best SEO tips for WordPress necessary to get your website noticed by Google? Look no further. Take your time. Examine the ideas below and then transform the effectiveness of your WordPress website.
The 15 Best SEO Tips for WordPress in 2020
So without further ado, I’m very pleased to share with you 15 of the best SEO tips for WordPress in 2020. Let’s make this year our best year ever.
#1: Create amazing content
You’ll probably want to viciously punch my hansom face for leading this list with such a clichéd topic, but it’s undeniably true and far too many of you are still failing to produce material that truly appeals to your viewers. If you were producing something amazing, the world would be beating down your door trying to get to it.
Great content impresses people. When they are impressed they share that content to their feeds and attract others to view it. When there are many people viewing your content, and they are impressed, this increases the odds that they will link to your content from their own websites. It should go without saying that links to pages on your site are the platinum currency of search engine optimization.
This is why you should always optimize your content for people first, and then search engines. Optimizing for the human experience is optimizing for search engines.
#2: Link to genuinely useful content
It’s always a good idea to point your users toward resources on other websites that will be helpful for them. It shows security as a thought leader in your niche when you’re willing to suggest to your readers that they leave your site, and search engines favor sites that link to other websites that it views as both generally authoritative and relevant to your articles.
Special Note: Don’t link to other sites with the hope of getting something in return. Find resources that are genuinely helpful and share them with your readers. People will respect you for it.
Since links are such high currency in the search engine world, some folks have an inner struggle about giving that currency away. You may feel like each link is actually helping your competition, and therefore hurting you.
Fight this feeling. It could not be further from the truth. The more that you point your readers towards quality resources that will help them, the better you will do in the their eyes and in the eyes of the search engines.
#3: Sprinkle your keywords throughout your articles
The term keyword refers to the word or phrase that you hope to be listed for on Google search. Once you’ve identified a term that you’d like to be listed for, be sure to use that term a few times throughout your article. Do this is small portions, because if you do this too much you’re a spammer using a tactic that we refer to as keyword stuffing.
There are many terrific resources that can help you with this. Perhaps the most popular among them is WordPress SEO by Yoast. It provides a real-time score letting you know if you’ve used your keyword enough in the headers, in the paragraphs and in the image titles and alt tags. It also tells you if you’ve used your key phrase too often.
#4: Use Your Keyword in the Title
This is one of the strongest ways to get listed for a search term. However, it is again incredibly important to remember that you must not practice keyword stuffing. Only put your keyword in the title if you’re able to make it sound fun, exciting and engaging to your readers. You don’t have to sacrifice your quality to implement this or any of these 15 SEO tips for WordPress.
Every SEO tactic should be implemented naturally. Your articles should be insightful and engaging. If your SEO efforts are compromising that, then you’re not improving your SEO. You’re hurting it.
#5: Enable Trackbacks
Trackbacks are a neat system that allow links to be created in your comments section to anyone who links to your articles. With them enabled, it’s a great way to encourage people to link to you which in turn will help to build your site’s authority.
These are also a terrific source of social proof. These will showcase to your readers how many people found your article useful enough to link to it.
#6: Optimize Your URL Structure (Pretty Permalinks)
We call these pretty permalinks and they provide much more information about your page to search engines. You should change your website URL’s so that they do not display like this: http://www.sitesketch101.com/?page_id=1 but instead let’s make them look like this: http://www.sitesketch101.com/about.
We used to have to undertake quite an ordeal to accomplish this in WordPress. Under the settings panel you would have clicked on permalinks. Select custom structure and input the following code (just put in what comes after the equals sign into the fields):
Custom Structure = /%postname%/
Category Base = category
Tag Base = tag
This became so popular, however, that WordPress decided to bake this link format directly into their system. Now you can just select “Post Name” and it’s done. Easy peasy.
#7: Optimize Images In Your Posts
When you can illustrate your topics and articles with attention grabbing artwork or photography people are more likely to view your content. I personally use Unsplash to find excellent free photography. As you work to do that, be sure to use image titles and alt text that adequately describe both the image and the content of the article.
As mentioned above, you can use a tool like Yoast SEO to automatically scan your article on the fly. It will then inform you in real-time if you have your keyword phrase used properly in image alt tags.
#8: Provide a Google Sitemap
Google likes it when you provide them with an easy-to-read overview of all the pages on your site. The easiest and most effective way to deliver this much needed SEO tool is to simply install the WordPress plugin called Google XML Sitemaps.
This feature is also now built into many other SEO plugins such as WordPress SEO by Yoast.
These plugins will do all the hard work for you and automatically update every time you add new posts to your site.
#9: Customize Each Post’s Slug
When you are writing your article, the ’slug’ field that is located just below the title of the article will determine the website address of the article. So if I enter ‘5-crucial-tips-for-wordpress-users‘ for the slug then the website address of this article will be https://www.sitesketch101.com/5-crucial-tips-for-wordpress-users. Search engines that see that your website URL’s have the same keywords as your meta description, title, keywords and your content will be seen as being even more consistent.
Pro Tip: Always remove any references to the date or year from your page’s URL’s. This will allow you to capitalize on successful articles by updating them to the current year.
Removing the date from the URL allows an article that already has back links to become brand new, fresh, updated and earn another round of inbound links.
For example, an article like “The 15 Best SEO Tips for WordPress Users in 2019” can be updated to “The 15 Best SEO Tips for WordPress Users in 2020.”
See what I did there?
#10: Interlink Keywords Between Articles
Internal links are a powerful way to let Google know what your articles are about, and they’re a terrific way to increase page views across your site as they invite your readers to click through to read other articles. Do you interlink your articles? You should.
#11: Provide Valid XHTML Code
There are, in fact, several reasons that you should take the time to validate your website to the standards of the World Wide Web Consortium. If you know anything about the basics of html then getting started won’t be difficult. Simply click through to the W3C Validator, type in the name of your website, and then follow the instructions that it provides you for resolving each issue.
Although Google clearly states that they will not dock a website for invalid code, you won’t ever have to worry about them missing anything if your site is semantically accurate. This helps to guarantee that all browsers and scrapers will be able to accurately understand your content.
#12: Cache Your Blog’s Content
WordPress is a php based system that generates pages on the fly. In other words, your home page doesn’t actually exist. It is created fresh every time someone tries to load it.
WordPress looks at a database full of variables which include the articles, the post titles, the sidebar widgets and everything else and compiles them into a page. It then delivers it based on the settings and options that you’ve chosen in the control panel.
WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache are WordPress plugins that allow that generated page to be stored as a real static page so that the next person to view it doesn’t have to wait for it to be created. This drastically reduces the time it takes a viewer to see your pages and increases the possibility of keeping more readers. This means that your content will always be lightning fast.
While there are many other caching factors to consider, the most important thing is that you have a system in place to speed up your website. Page speed is a big factor in the world of SEO.
#13: Install a WordPress SEO Plugin
In your plugin manager click on “Add New.” Do a search for “WordPress SEO by Yoast” and install that plugin. Activate the plugin and then go back to your article manager. If you create or edit an article you will now see several fields at the very bottom of the page that will guide you through nearly every possible aspect of your foundational SEO.
In fact, almost everything mentioned in this article can be handled by using a good SEO plugin on your site.
For a list of other must-have WordPress plugins, be sure to check out The 15 Best Plugins to use in 2020.
#14: Recycle Old Posts and Revive Old Permalinks
The art of recycling an old post simply means that you take an article that was previously published, let’s say three or four years ago, and add new life and excitement to it and republishing it.
If you want to keep growing the ranking authority of your most powerful articles from last year then be sure to leave the permalink alone. This allows you to bring in a fresh wave of links to a page that already ranks in Google.
Note: For more information on implementing this principle successfully, check out How to Effectively Recycle Old Blog Posts.
#15: Link to Related Posts
My final piece of advice is to install a related posts plugin and begin linking to 4 or 5 similar articles at the bottom of each article. This is both a terrific way to guide your readers to more of your articles on similar topics and it’s a terrific way to guide search engines around your site.
Conclusion & Group Discussion
Bloggers and webmasters are constantly wondering why Google is such a bully to some websites and why they are so positive toward others. Begin putting these SEO tips for WordPress into practice and you’ll be able to stop wondering.
What about you? Are there any SEO tips that you’ve had great success with?