WordPress is the most popular CMS but you will still need to follow SEO best practices to rank highly in the search engines.
USE A RELIABLE HOSTING COMPANY
First and foremost, you need to make sure that your hosting provider is a well-known one that has been shown to be reliable and has a high uptime. If you don’t do this then you run the risk of your site becoming unavailable and losing customers and your reputation.
Look to see if the provider offers a free SSL certificate, which provides secure HTTPS of your website.
The first thing you need to consider when choosing a provider is to make sure that the hosting they provide is WordPress-compatible. We recommend the web hosting services provided by SiteGround and is the one we use ourselves.
Make sure that your server is located in the country where you carry out your business – this will ensure that your website will load faster which is an important Google ranking factor. If you operate worldwide, make sure that your server has multiple centres. ( CDN)
Whoever you choose, ensure that they provide excellent customer support. If anything goes wrong with your website, or you just need general assistance, you may need quick access to help.
When you finally choose a provider and download WordPress you will need to change the default theme that your provider downloads automatically. This is because this theme usually has limited capabilities. Instead, use a theme that is made specifically for WordPress. We recommend using the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes.
IS YOUR SITE VISIBLE TO Google?
A common error we see with clients is that their website has not been picked up by Google and is not viewable by any visitors to their site. This is generally down to the fact that your site has not been indexed and is easily solved by following our guide here.
To check that it is indexed you will need to check your site’s visibility in your WordPress dashboard.
Simply go to Settings > Reading > Search Engine Visibility. All you have to do is to tick the checkbox next to this.
Set Up an SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate, which identifies the authenticity of a website and encrypts information to the server, is also a Google ranking factor. It is imperative that you set this up because If you don’t then any visitor to your site will see a ” Not Secure” warning in the web browser.
Chose your Preferred Site Address Format
Your URL can be either https://www. websitename.com or https://websitedomain.com.
All that you need do is choose one of these formats and then stick to it. If you use both, Google will see your website as two separate websites and this could cause you problems. For example, you could incur duplicate content issues.
When building a WordPress website you will be given a choice of which web address format you want to use – either with the prefix www or without.
To select your chosen format, simply go to your WordPress dashboard > Settings > General and then simply type in the preferred format of your website.
Use SEO-Friendly Permalinks
To check your current permalink settings simply go to your WordPress dashboard > Settings > Permalinks and select “Post name.”
If you have a new site you will see that WordPress uses a “default” URL structure that will look something like this: https://YOURWEBSITE NAME/blog/?p=1453.
As you can see Google and your visitors will have no idea what this particular post is about. Which is not good.
Setting up your permalinks correctly is an important factor in SEO. By setting this up correctly you will be able to help search engines and visitors to your site understand what your pages are about.
A better alternative is what you see in the address bar above – the URL of this page is….. This clearly shows what the post is about.
The URL of this post uses the “Post name” structure—https://YOURWEBSITE.com/iphone-cases—clearly indicates that this page is about iPhone cases.
Install and set up a WordPress SEO Plugin
This will allow you to set some basic SEO settings.
Three of the most popular free WordPress SEO plugins are:
ALL IN ONE SEO
For the rest of this post, we will be using RANKMATH.
Make sure that you have an XML sitemap
In most cases, XML sitemaps are usually created by default and list all of the pages that you have on your website.
If you make any changes to your site in the future, such as by adding new pages, the sitemap helps search engines to discover them.
BE AWARE of Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization occurs when some of your pages are competing for the same keyword. This is an easy problem to fix by simply checking that this keyword competition is not occurring.
Create Easy-to-Navigate Menus
An easy-to-navigate menu structure is important for two main reasons.
The first reason is that users visiting your website expect to be guided around all of your pages easily. If your site fails to do this then you will find that they will it very quickly.
The second reason is that well-structured navigation is also useful for SEO purposes as it tells the search engines what your pages are about and where they are located.
Your main menu, for instance, should therefore be both clear, simple and helpful. Imagine you are visiting your own pages for the first time and seeing how easy it is to find your way around.
Use Post Categories
It is useful to organise your posts into groups which helps visitors find other relevant posts.
For instance, if you have a sports site, you could set up categories of football, cricket, tennis, etc.
You can use as many categories as you wish, but be careful not to confuse visitors to your site by using too many of them -the ideal number is somewhere between five and 10 categories.
using headers correctly
Headers are an important component of pages. They should be carefully constructed so that the reader follows a natural flow, from top to bottom.
They should also clearly inform the reader what the page is about.
An internal link is any link that points from one page to another page on the same domain. We cover internal links here.
Write Descriptive Images Alt Text
You need to add descriptive alt texts to your images as Google uses this to understand what they are about.
Alt Text has an added function in that screen readers read this text to users who have visual impairments. Your alt text should be descriptive and helpful.
Because of these two factors, your alt text should be descriptive and helpful.
Secure Your WordPress Website
Website security is an integral part of SEO
We’ve already talked about using an SSL certificate but there are other steps you can take to secure your website against attacks.