What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL.
WordPress is a free and open-source project. It can be hosted on many web hosting platforms for free, or at a low cost. It does not require expensive software, protocol licenses, or developer skills to use and it can be adapted to almost any type of web application. Plus, WordPress does not require any type of database pre-installed on the webserver.
Now lets talk about WordPress SEO.
Is WordPress good CMS for SEO?
Short answer: Yes, it is.
Long answer: You won’t rank right away if you install WordPress but you have all the tools in order to do proper SEO.
WordPress is easy to install and update. It has an admin panel that covers almost every aspect of your website. You can quickly add new content, publish posts on the front-end and assign various roles to users. WordPress has access to a very good search engine optimization plugin called ‘Rank Math” which I recommend.
The plugin is very easy to work with and covers every aspect of SEO. It has features like keyword density analysis, Google Page Rank checker, schema.org code generator, social media previews, and much more. It also has a free version – fantastic!
If you want to add anything to your WordPress website, it either has a plugin for it or you can add it manually to your site. There is not a lot of limitation if any.
The most important thing with WordPress is to apply good SEO techniques in order to rank your website. It is important to remember that you need time in order for rankings to improve.
Tips for WordPress SEO
Choose a reliable hosting provider!
Make sure you choose a web host that will speed up your website and this is the most important thing, the loading time of your website. I recommend Siteground for any type of website but it is the best host for WordPress websites.
Siteground has been my host for more than 2 years, and I have had no downtime, they are fast.
The aspects of reliable hosting are:
- Uptime – what is the guarantee that my website will be up and running?
- Speed – is the server fast enough to handle the traffic of my website?
- Support – how fast do I get a response when I need their help?
Overall, SiteGround has a very good support team and offers quality hosting features for WordPress websites.
Build your website with an SEO-friendly WordPress Theme
You can find a lot of free WordPress themes but most of these themes are not SEO friendly.
SEO-friendly WordPress themes have the code well organized and properly commented. This makes a big difference when you need to add new content or modify it.
How to choose an SEO-friendly WordPress theme?
Look for themes that have schema code for products, author, review, etc. Each theme needs to have the social media icons in the header as well as the contact us page at the bottom.
Make sure you choose a WordPress theme that is suitable for your website.
You can choose from any of these themes. I recommend the first 3 themes, all of them are very popular and used by thousands of people.
Check your WordPress visibility settings
You need to make sure your website is optimized for search engines before you start focusing on any type of SEO work.
Remember, a website that is not visible, will not get any traffic and ranking in search engines. The most important thing is to check if your site can be found by people who are searching for it. This should be the starting point of everything you do regarding SEO.
To do that you have can either manually check your web pages for meta tag or x-robots tag that indicates that they are not indexable or so-called “noindex” or you can use a tool that gives that information for you.
I use Screaming Frog to check all of my website links by performing a website crawl. Then I export the list and filter it by index status. Everything that is set to “noindex” is analyzed and if I see anything that should not be set to “noindex” I go and fix that. The way I do that is by using the plugin that I have already installed.
(When my Rank Math guide is ready you will find a link here)
Make your SEO permalinks friendly
You can enable SEO friendly permalinks in WordPress by going to Settings > Permalinks and then choose one of the SEO friendly options.
Be sure to click Save Changes after making your selection. Also clear your cache.
Warning: Do not change your permalinks without having redirects! You will lose all of your positions due to 404 errors.
Create and optimize XML sitemap in WordPress
The XML sitemap is a file that contains all the links and content that is on your website and can be used to tell search engines that your site has been updated.
With Rank Math, you can find your XML sitemap in the left sidebar of your SEO dashboard of the plugin.
You can upload your XML sitemap manually or automatically to Google and Bing.
Mini bonus tip #1:
This is not a tip specifically for WordPress SEO only but for all websites. Add your XML sitemap in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools.
This will help you to keep track of the status of your XML sitemap and you will also be able to see the links that are not working properly.
Mini bonus tip #2:
Start by adding social media links in the header of your website that you can find in Rank Math SEO plugin menu: Social > Social Links to add Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.
Add internal links using WordPress functionalities
Internal links are a big part of SEO optimization. Its great that WordPress has easy to use built-in functionalities to do that.
The “Widgets” section is a perfect example of how you can dynamically add content elements to your templates and instantly apply those changes to the whole website.
The categories and tag functionalities are awesome when your theme has them enabled, WordPress has them by default. You can easily have multiple internal links just by adding your blog posts (or products) in specific categories. Those text links are really helpful for ranking your categories and tags better.
A good plugin that you can use for internal links in WordPress is Pretty Link. It has a lot of functionalities that can help you with improving your internal links and they are mostly automated. I rarely use them but the plugin looks good and it worths the try for anyone.
Get rid of all the unwanted stuff in your WordPress website
Spam comments, images, pages and useless data is hurting your SEO and also the performance of your website. You have to systematically remove them or you might lose traffic for no reason. You can use specific plugins or just do it by hand if you’re not in a hurry.
There are a lot of excellent plugins that can help you remove the unwanted stuff in your WordPress website. Depending on your needs you can choose between:
Anti-spam: Akismet, Bad Behavior, Remove Comment, Anti-Spambot, etc.
Speed up your WordPress website
Sometimes a good theme is just not enough to have a fast website. There are two ways to optimize the speed of your website.
Manually: You can access your “cPanel” and optimize all the settings on PHP, CDN, etc. I will an article about how to do this. You will find a link here when it is ready
Automated: I use a WordPress plugin that does all the optimization work for me and it works pretty well. Most of the time they are good enough but you should also do some manual optimizations from time to time to keep your website fast. My top choice for speeding up a plugin is WP Rocket. It is considered to be one of the best plugins out there.
WP Rocket is caching plugin for WordPress that was created by a small team of 3 developers: Chris Lema, Neil Patel, and Brad Williams.
The team has an average of over 5 years in the web development field and has built a few other popular plugins.
They use their own servers to run CDN (content delivery network) and make sure everything is there in no time.
Start using HTTPS (SSL certificate)
The reason that you need to upgrade from HTTP to HTTPS is that HTTP is easily hacked because anyone can see your data when it’s unencrypted. Some of your plugins that you’re not using anymore could contain security holes that hackers might take advantage of to steal your data. HTTPS is now a standard in the industry and should be used on all sites that handle sensitive information.
An SSL certificate provides encryption in between the web server and the user, so all of their private information will stay safe and you won’t have to worry about it getting into the wrong hands.
You have to own an SSL certificate in order to upgrade from HTTP to HTTPS. You can buy one from your hosting provider.
In order to configure HTTPS (SSL Certificate) on your WordPress website, you can use a free plugin to update your HTTPS automatically.
I recommend the following WordPress plugins for redirecting HTTP to HTTPS:
You can find it in Rank Math SEO plugin menus: SEO > CDN > Install SSL Certificates.
There is another alternative to get an SSL certificate, and that is Let’s Encrypt. Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority (CA). It allows us to create our own Free SSL Certificates for our website.
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. It’s easy to use and great for SEO. WordPress has thousands of plugins that you can use to add new functionalities and many themes with SEO features by default. If you are starting your journey in the world of SEO optimization then I highly recommend that you build and rank your first website using WordPress.
I hope that you found this article interesting and useful. I will continue to put out as much content as I can and to share as much know-how as I can on this website. Stay tuned for more!
Make sure to check my other articles: