Understanding WordPress SEO: 10 Step Action-Driven Beginner’s Guide

seo plan strategy

A must-read beginner’s guide to understanding WordPress SEO to increase website traffic.

From Shopify websites to WordPress websites this beginner’s guide will help you learn how to add a solid WordPress SEO strategy.

If you have a WordPress website and wish to increase your visibility in search engines, this guide is for you. This article provides actionable tips that you can follow to start attracting website visitors to your website.

I have compiled this guide specifically for WordPress site owners, business owners, and blog site owners.

The primary intention is to simplify Search Engine Optimization and make it easy for you to act and get a high ranking in the search engines. Therefore, I have done my best to present everything in an easy-to-understand fashion.

1: Understanding the Meaning of Search Engine Optimization

wordpress seo beginner step-by-step

Suppose you want to show up in search engines such as Google and Bing. In that case, you have two fundamental options.

You can either choose to advertise with Google AdWords or use non-advertising strategies referred to as “Organic results.” SEO deals with the latter option.

The process of optimizing your WordPress website to get organic results is what is referred to as search engine optimization. The primary goal of SEO is to improve your ranks in search engines. 

Like all things, nothing good is free. Before allocating funds to SEO components or installing any ranking factors, you will first need to do an SEO audit.

You need to understand some of the SEO ranking factors and channel resources to critical SEO components. SEO marketing plays a big role in boosting leads and closing more business.

2: Undertake an SEO Audit to Check Your Site Health

An SEO audit will help you understand the general posture of your SEO. However, before doing anything, you first need to establish where you stand. 

An SEO audit is an in-depth analysis of a website to identify the strengths and weaknesses of an existing SEO strategy. Please note that the analysis will not stop at aesthetics. A website is much more than beautiful colors and graphics. With an SEO audit, one is to analyze the website in totality.  

Just like a doctor will have to do random tests to establish a patient’s health before treatment, so is the SEO audit. You cannot treat an illness you have no idea about. To establish your website’s well-being, you will first need to craft a comprehensive SEO audit. 

There are two approaches to conducting an SEO audit. First, you can do it manually by using a comprehensive SEO checklist. Second, you can also use advanced website review tools that consolidate the entire SEO audit process in a simple process where you will have to paste your URL and wait to see the health of your website.

3: Secure Your WordPress Website With an SSL Certificate

One of Google’s primary objectives is to ensure that the internet is safe for users. In addition, Google wants to ensure that users’ privacy is protected from vulnerabilities such as privacy intrusions and data leakages.

To influence WordPress site security, Google had to develop a policy that saw secure pages rank higher than insecure pages in the search engine results pages. 

This is practicable. Just go to your search engines and search for anything. You will realize that all results in the top search engine pages are HTTPS and not HTTP. This drives us to conclude that you must migrate the website from HTTP to HTTPS if you want to rank high in SERPs.

To migrate websites from HTTP to HTTPS, you need to buy an SSL certificate and install it on your website. SSL certificates or Secure Socket Layer certificates are small cryptographic tools that secure information transfers between web servers and visitors.

SSL is one of the most popular and crucial website security certificates to safeguard your website from data breaches and improve its ranks in search engines. 

Google now uses HTTPS as a tiebreaker when two or more websites have tied in all other factors. Data from previous studies on this ranking factor point out a slightly positive correlation between HTTPS and high ranking in the SERPs. 

WordPress website owners who wish to rule the first search engine pages must buy SSL certificates.

They come in varying kinds and at different validation levels. For ecommerce webshops running several first-level subdomains such as payment, blog, and product pages under one main domain, we recommend investing in a single wildcard SSL certificate.

This will afford premium security to your chosen primary domain and an unlimited number of first-level subdomains. A clear winner and a hot-selling product, it saves you a lot of money and certificate management hassle.

4: Optimize Website Structure

A distinct site structure makes the work of search engine crawlers easier. Therefore, a well-optimized site structure means better indexing and high chances of achieving high ranks in the SERPs. 

Site structure has gained more relevance, especially after introducing artificial intelligence and machine learning in the search engine ranking algorithm.

In addition, voice searches and mobile-first indexes have changed the game’s rules, and now more attention should shift to the structure of your website. 

Today, it isn’t sensible to throw web pages all over the internet without following a particular structure. As a best SEO practice, you must categorize these pages to make search engines understand which topics to rank for. 

A well-optimized site structure should be easy to navigate, user-friendly, and fast. It should serve its primary purpose, attracting visitors to a site.

A good site structure will help search engines better understand your keywords, increase your chances of getting backlinks, and optimize user experience, thereby reducing bounce rates. 

Here are some of the tips that you can have to optimize your site structure.

  • Plan the site of your structure in advance
  • Create a sitemap for your web visitors
  • Be keen on the structure of your internal links
  • Utilize breadcrumb menus
  • Optimize all your categories for SEO
  • Use categories to group all related content

5: Speed up Your WordPress Website

Every WordPress website owner should pay attention to the speed of a website. Web page speed optimization significantly impacts your SEO rankings and bounce rates. 

Page speeds are essential because faster speeds are more efficient and will deliver an excellent on-page user experience.

A recent Kissmetrics infographic shows that web pages that take more than three seconds to load will have 25% of users leave without clicking. You do not want your users to turn away from your website and use your competitors’ websites. Worse still, high bounce rates can negatively impact your SEO. 

In 2017, Google announced that it would add more weight by incorporating speed factors as one of the SEO ranking factors used to rank web pages on its mobile-first pages. More recently, Google included the page experience factor as one of its ranking factors. 

You must check the speed of your website to see how well it is. You can use the online PageSpeed Insights tool to check your speeds. 

6: Optimize Your Website Content

To increase your SEO ranking, you must commit to consistently creating quality website content. SEO and quality content form a bond that can drive your ranks to the top. 

But how many is that exactly? The latest data shows that Google processes over 99,000 searches every second (Internet Live Stats, 2022). This makes more than 8.5 billion daily searches (Internet Live Stats, 2022).

The internet is full of content, all fighting to have a share of these searches. However, the game is left to valuable and relevant content creators. 

Before you go crazy, think about your buy and visitor flow through your site. Content clusters SEO will send your traffic soaring. A good internal link structure is critical.

Google ranks the billions of information available online according to relevance and usefulness. Therefore, SEO marketers who wish to rank high in the SERPs should start by creating optimized content. 

There are a few steps that you should follow when creating SEO-optimized content. For instance, you must perform in-depth keyword research to determine your keyword.

You must develop a perfect content outline and format that users find easy to read.

You must ensure that you stick to your topic and target keywords. To increase traffic to your content, you can include multiple links throughout the content.

7: Mobile Friendliness

Mobile SEO matters a great deal to the success of any WordPress website. Mobile SEO refers to optimizing your WordPress website to ensure that it functions properly on mobile devices. 

In 2013, Google announced that it would penalize websites that produced terrible mobile experiences.

The Google penalty will impact how websites will rank in smartphone search results. Sites that have a horrible mobile experience are less likely to rank in smartphone searches. 

Performing a mobile SEO means that you will optimize mobile users’ experience. As you might be aware, mobile usage and traffic have skyrocketed to surpass desktop and personal computers.

76% of online shoppers are now using mobile devices to shop. The number can only be expected to increase even as smartphone devices become cheaper and more accessible. 

Not having a mobile-friendly website will hurt your SEO and your business. For example, 52% of mobile visitors who have a terrible mobile experience are less likely to return to your site.

A performance like this is hard to achieve, but you can do it with the right plan.

website search performance analytics

8: Promote Your Site (backlinks, social media, etc.)

“The context in which you engage online, and how people talk about you can impact what you rank for.” — Gary Illyes. From these words, it is evident that social media success can influence your site traffic. 

Social media presence does not directly impact your SEO. However, it will indirectly impact SEO by directly affecting the SEO ranking factors. Social media presence, therefore, has a great potential to drive traffic to your website. 

The idea is to create engaging social media content that converts visitors from mere onlookers to site advocates and SEO ambassadors. 

Another great way to promote your website is by using backlinks, sometimes called inbound or incoming links. They show search engines that another resource has found your WordPress page content relevant and valuable. 

Every WordPress site owner should strive to earn backlinks. They are perfect off-page SEO components that will go a long way toward ensuring the success of your website in search engine results pages. There are three ways you can earn backlinks. 

First, you can use natural links which you get without taking any action. One of the best ways that you will use to create natural links consistently is by investing in quality content creation.

Secondly, you can acquire manual links by engaging in link-earning activities. For example, you can use guest blogs or ask your friends to link your page.

9: Analyze and Improve Your Performance

seo Analyze improve webs ite performance

A good SEO strategy is not always about implementing changes. Instead, you must constantly measure the impact of those changes to see which plan is working and which has little or no effect on your website traffic success.

Doing a performance analysis has been made easy by using tools such as Google analytics

Adding Google Analytics to your website ensures that all data is stored in your account. For instance, you can quickly check the number of visits your page receives and the bounce rates on your website.

In addition, Google Analytics will help to track the behaviors of your visitors on your website. As a best SEO practice, ensure that you know how to track your progress with Google Analytics.

Another perfect tool you can use to analyze the performance of your website is the  Google Search Console. This tool will sort through your search queries to identify opportunities and weaknesses in your SEO strategy.

10: Conclusions

One of the reasons you have a WordPress website is that you want to be visible in search engines.

Visibility increases traffic, conversion rates, and revenues that your website brings. To improve your visibility, you need a perfect search engine strategy. It all starts with knowing the ranking factors.

This SEO guide provides you with fundamental knowledge about everything you need to know about Search engine optimization. 

General FAQs

What is SEO on WordPress?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO recommendations are intended to help your site rank higher and more accurately in search engines like Google.

What are the best WordPress SEO plugins?

The 8 Best SEO Plugins for WordPress
1. Yoast SEO
2. Rank Math
3. AVADA SEO Suite (Shopify)
4. SEO Booster (Shopify)
5. Really Simple SSL
6. Easy Table of Contents
7. WP Super Cache
8. WP Internal Link Juicer

Is WordPress good for SEO?

WordPress is extremely SEO-friendly from the outset. It only improves when you install an SEO-friendly theme and start using the awesome SEO plugins WordPress offers, like RankMath.

Is WordPress still best for SEO?

The answer is yes! Once known primarily as a blogging platform, WordPress has built a reputation for providing a solid SEO foundation as a CMS—and with good reason. It’s not an accident that WordPress websites tend to rank well on Google.

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