With a range of impressive features available for bloggers, business owners, event organisers and more, WordPress has quickly grown to become the world’s leading content management system (CMS). In fact, 40.6% of websites on the internet are powered by the WordPress platform, including many notable international organisations, such as Sony Music, The New Yorker, and BBC America.
WordPress is both simple to use (no coding or developer skills required), but also incredibly adaptable, housing countless themes, plugins, and functionality features to empower those chasing a custom design.
But what about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
While no CMS can take the place of a well-structured SEO strategy, WordPress does have certain features enabling you to better follow and promote certain activities that help bump your rank on Google search engine result pages. SEO doesn’t change – you will still need to focus on creating quality content holding high-volume keywords, build a strong user experience, and earn authority building links. But there are some foundations that can help you get started boosting your SEO performance on a WordPress website.
Partner with a Reliable Hosting Service
Google is committed to perfecting the customer experience, and if your site doesn’t meet the criteria, you will not enjoy SEO success. Some of these technical aspects are site speed, uptime, and the security present on your website, which are all dictated by your hosting provider. Those visiting your site won’t receive much value it your website takes too long to load or function, and if there are vulnerabilities present, modern users are savvy enough not to risk it. Ensure you match price with performance by opting to partner with a reliable hosting service delivering the best treatment for your website.
Select SEO-Friendly Themes
Few people stick with the default WordPress theme anymore, instead selecting from the vast range of free and premium options available in their selection. But choose carefully. If you select a theme hunkered down with weighty plugins and scripts unlikely ever to be used, you will find your site has slow performance. We recommend first running a demo through Google’s free tool web.dev to gain some clarity on potential issues.
Install a WordPress SEO Plugin
WordPress offers two highly reputable, free SEO plugins used by most websites on their platform: Yoast SEO & All in One SEO Pack. Unfortunately, a plugin won’t optimise a website on its own, but simply help you in your efforts to adhere to SEO recommended practices. Plugins can be installed once logged into the admin panel under the ‘add new’ plugin section.
Review Site Visibility Settings
Not every site owner wants all of their pages on Google or other search engines, such as when it is still under development, or if it conflicts with other target pages. It can occur where this section is selected by accident, especially in initial stages, so if you find your target pages failing to appear in search engine result pages, be sure to check this option. This is found within the admin area, under ‘Settings’ and the ‘Reading’ page.
Create Clear URL Structures
Again, Google wants users to be able to quickly see that a page is right for their needs. Change the URL structure of a page from the ugly default settings to something with clearer intent, such as:
This small, but effective change makes all the difference to someone assessing your page at a first glance. These are known as permalinks and can be adjusted within the settings section. Unfortunately, if your website has been up and running for over 6 months, changing permalinks can cause you to lose your hard-earned existing SEO ranking and even social media share counts. It is always best to consult with a professional to conduct a proper redirect.
Introduce an XML Sitemap
Just like the contents within a book helps us navigate through the content more easily, an XML sitemap is a formatted file within your WordPress site that pushes out links to a search engine for its crawlers to locate more efficiently. Essentially, this helps Google understand the layout of your site in an instant to determine whether it will offer value to users’ search queries. Yoast SEO has an in-built option automatically creating this for your website.
Hopefully armed with this information, you can begin working towards boosting the SEO for your WordPress website.