You probably know that WordPress is SEO-friendly. This might be the very reason you chose it as your website’s content management system (CMS). After all, the platform prominently advertises SEO friendliness as one of the ‘Powerful Features’ on its homepage.
That said, simply launching a WordPress website isn’t magically going to propel you to the top of the search engine result pages (SERPs). You still need to have some understanding of the right SEO tactics and how to implement them.
Below, you’ll find a compilation of the steps everyone, from small mom and pop stores to top software development companies, takes to improve their websites’ visibility. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Top 5 WordPress SEO Tips for Beginners
The good news is that WordPress makes SEO easy, and even beginners can quickly grow their Google traffic with a quick crash course, and that’s what we intend this guide to be. And, like any good beginner’s guide, it will deal with the fundamentals.
1. Focus on the Basics of SEO
What you need to remember is that WordPress cannot replace a well-thought-out SEO strategy.
While the CMS can save you a lot of time during the process of web design and help you stick to some of the best SEO practices, even if you have zero experience, you’ll still need to put in the effort to rank your website on Google.
Unless your site suffers from major technical problems, preventing Google’s algorithm from crawling and indexing it, your choice of platform won’t be a huge factor in your ability to rank. If there’s one thing you remember from this beginner’s guide, it is that WordPress is by no means an SEO magic wand.
All that said, SEO can get pretty technical pretty fast, and WordPress has tools in place to make all of it accessible, even to those who don’t consider themselves particularly tech-savvy.
2. WordPress Should Not Change Your SEO Tactics
Simply because you chose WordPress as your website’s CMS doesn’t mean you need to change anything about your SEO approach.
You’ll still need to produce great content, earn backlinks from reputable sources, and perhaps most importantly, make sure that your website provides a top-notch user experience.
This means your WordPress site, just like any other website, needs to be snappy, well-optimized, and free from broken links and other technical issues that could hold it back.
Thankfully, WordPress does a great job holding your hand through many of the basics, and barring any catastrophic mistakes, your website should be set up correctly out of the box.
The thing to keep in mind here is this — before you can learn how to optimize your WP site for increased organic traffic, you need to cover your bases and be confident that you have a solid website to work with.
3. Choose a Reliable Hosting Service
Unless you’re hosting your webpage on wordpress.com, which we would recommend against if you’re trying to make any kind of impression as a serious business, you’ll need to find a reliable hosting provider.
Security, uptime, and site speed are all important reasons to think carefully about who will host your website.
Site speed, for one thing, has a direct impact on your web presentation’s SEO performance, and both security problems and reduced uptime can affect the overall user experience and the general perception of your site’s quality.
Remember, you may not need to go for the most expensive option out there, but selecting the cheapest provider may not be the best idea either, especially if it means a higher likelihood of performance and downtime issues.
4. Install an SEO-Friendly Theme
One of the most significant advantages of website builders, WordPress included, is that they come with a myriad of themes to choose from. When you first install WP, you’ll be faced with the platform’s default theme, ‘Twenty Twenty-One.’ Although this is a perfectly serviceable theme, chances are you’ll want to go with something a bit more unique.
Thankfully, as we already mentioned, there are thousands upon thousands of free themes to choose from in the WP dashboard. These should be suitable for beginners, but on the off-chance that you don’t find what you’re looking for, you could always go for a premium theme as well.
The downside of this abundance of choice is that you might not be able to tell whether your theme of choice is SEO-friendly or not. They all claim they are, but it is not uncommon for them to come bundled with plugins and scripts you’ll never use. You want to avoid this for performance reasons.
Again, there’s a helpful online tool just waiting to help out. Google’s web.dev is there to tell you about any potential SEO and performance issues. Simply run the theme’s demo through this tool, and you’ll get all the information you need and more.
Unless web.dev shows apparent flaws, you’re on the right track, and the theme you’ve chosen is unlikely to hold you back in any significant way.
5. Set Up a Free SEO Plugin
We’re going to end our beginner SEO guide for WordPress users on this last piece of advice. Before you can even begin to optimize your website, you should really install an SEO plugin. Although many options are available, a couple come commonly recommended, and both are free to install. These include:
Again, installing a plugin does not mean your website is suddenly SEO-optimized. These make it easier to adhere to the best practices and do all the right things yourself.
To install a WordPress plugin, simply log in to your admin panel and click ‘Plugins’ and ‘Add new’ in the menu on the left. Once there, search for one of the plugins we recommended above and click ‘Install Now.’
The steps outlined in this guide are meant to get you started on the long and treacherous quest for SEO optimization. Luckily, if you’re building your website through WordPress, you have one of the most SEO-friendly tools to work with, which plays no small part in its massive popularity.
Not only is this CMS exceptionally user-friendly, but it also makes it easy for web admins to implement a wide variety of SEO tactics through a few deceptively simple plugins.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and by following the steps we outlined above, you’re giving yourself a significant head-start when it comes to outranking and conquering the competition.