It is no wonder that WordPress is so popular across the Internet. It is considered one of the most user-friendly content management systems worldwide. Moreover, WP was created with SEO in mind, which makes it a perfect platform for building a website with great visibility on SERPs.
Sounds too good to be true, right? With such a great variety of SEO plugins available, WordPress SEO is bound to be a piece of cake, even for a 5-year-old. But mastering WordPress SEO can pose challenges, especially for users new to WordPress.
More than 26 percent of websites on the Internet were created on WordPress. Clearly, the majority of WP website owners had to start somewhere, and go through some trial and error while tuning up their search engine optimization skills. To avoid the pitfalls and make WordPress SEO work for you, follow these simple but often overlooked rules.
9 WordPress SEO Rules Every Beginner Should Know
#1 Choose Your Timezone Correctly
Let’s assume that, according to your content strategy, your posts have to be published at a fixed time. If you have not selected a proper timezone in Settings, you will soon find out that your content was not t published at the time you planned.
You expect your posts to be available to your readers on time, but a simple yet important thing like a time zone can make your efforts fall short. Make sure you choose the appropriate city in your current time zone, or a UTC timezone offset.
#2 Use Google Analytics
An SEO strategy without analysis and measurement has no direction. It is like being in the middle of nowhere and having no idea where to go from there. You have to know for sure whether or not your SEO efforts have any effect, and where to double them.
Start with setting up conversion goals and check reports on a weekly basis. You need to understand what converts and improves your bottom line, not just what brings you thousands of visitors per month.
#3 Utilize SEO Plugins
Some people may feel that WP is completely adequate for SEO, even without any plugins. But to maximize your SEO efforts, you are better off with a plugin. One of the most commonly used plugins is a free SEO plugin by Yoast. SEO plugins make even comprehensive optimization tasks easier to handle for someone with no background in search engine optimization.
For example, you can:
- Add an XML sitemap to Google
- Exclude certain pages from search engines
- Conduct basic keyword optimization
- Improve social sharing by adding Open Graph
#4 Add an XML Sitemap
Google directly states that sitemaps are important. A sitemap helps Google better find, recognize and index pages of your website. By creating and submitting a sitemap, you give search engines instructions about which pages you want them to see and index.
How to create a sitemap:
- Create one manually
- Use Google XML SItemaps
- Generate it with Yoast SEO
#5 Set SEO-Friendly Structure for Permalinks
One of the Google’s missions is to provide the best search and user experience. If your website can help fulfill this task, Google will reward it with better rankings. Permalinks will not have a significant effect on your SERPs, but they will contribute to the CTR.
Make sure your permalinks feature the same keywords as your posts. Access Settings to choose the “Post Name” structure to make permalinks readable for humans as well as search engines. Selecting Post Name is the least you should do, but you can take it a step further by selecting Day and name or Month and name. This will positively impact the way Google views your pages.
#6 Strengthen Your Internal Link Profile
This seems like a no-brainer, but remember that a link to a homepage included in a footer also contributes to the overall internal link profile of the website. A website’s strong link profile matters to Google.
While this small change alone will not necessarily result in your website’s highest rankings, ., your website’s name linked to your homepage is a branded anchor that helps Google better recognize your site.
#7 Add Fresh Content on a Regular Basis
By adding new content to your website regularly you invite Google to index it more often. But not just any kind of content will count. To acquire Google’s credibility and trust, always create content while keeping your readers in mind. Your readers are your best advocates. If you generate content that meets their requirements consistently, you will quickly gain Google’s recognition.
#8 Revive Your Old Posts
Don’t let your old posts just sit there and gather dust. Information tends to gradually become outdated, and outdated information does not bring any value to searchers, and has no positive impact on rankings.
Frequently updated content is what Google loves and cares about. Revive your old posts to make sure the information they contain is of use to your readers today. This will also signal to Google that your content needs to be re-indexed.
#9 Add Rich Snippets
While implementing schema markup does not directly influence a website’s rankings, it greatly simplifies Google’s task of understanding your website’s content. Rich snippets entice users to choose more informative search results over those that do not provide any additional information. This means that rich snippets can influence your website’s CTR.
Managing a WordPress-powered website is not hard, but mastering WordPress SEO may be a challenge. WordPress is good for building a SEO-friendly website, but you need to follow certain rules from the very beginning to not face greater issues in the future. Stick to these simple WordPress SEO tactics to make sure you are heading in the right direction.