Why should you use WordPress?
Right now, WordPress is a recognized CMS leader, with a 50-60% share of the whole market.
Some major platforms, as well as publishers, work on WordPress, to name a few: CNN, Fortune, TED, TechCrunch and many more. See a great list of top WP sites here.
WordPress is also great if you are new to web development. You can mount your WordPress with one click and have a website running in minutes.
WordPress + SEO
No matter how attractive and well-designed your web site is – without correct Search Engine Optimization, it will never ever reach complete potential.
In this blog, we collected the best SEO practices for WordPress, which will help to reach high Google ranking for your site and steadily grow free and evergreen organic traffic.
- Select a good host
Choosing a high quality – and maybe pricey host – will certainly save you a lot of time and money in the future.
You don’t want your website to go down during high traffic spikes or just constantly have poor performance.
A premium WordPress host will provide you with:
- One-click WordPress set up
- SSL certification
- Staging environment (where you can test ideas)
- 99.9%+ uptime
- Technical assistance (either email, chat or call).
Several of my preferred WordPress hosts are – Bluehost, WpEngine, Kinsta.
- Create high-quality content
Content is still king in SEO. Without high quality, original and engaging content – it will really hard to get any Google traffic at all.
How Google identifies the quality of your content?
Of course, by using advanced AI algorithms and so on, but there is also a much easier approach – Session time and Bounce rate.
You can see these two metrics in your main Google Analytics dashboard – and they are super important for SEO.
If your average Session time is low and Bounce rate high – it means users are not wowed by your content and heading to exit from your site. That is a bad sign for Google, which will put this particular page down in search results.
- Experiment with visual content
As an expansion of previous advice, try to include a lot of visuals, videos, rich elements in your content – such as maps, infographics, podcasts, tables, quizzes, polls, and other interactive elements.
More interactive page -> more sesstion time -> higher Google rankings -> more organic traffic.
Including a video in post increase organic traffic by 157%.
Also, video content is staggering 50 times more likely to drive organic search results than plain text.
The latest SEO trend to wow your visitors with content are animated infographics.
- Update old blogs
Instead of creating countless 500-word blogs, focus on super high quality, long-form blogs.
Brian Dean, from Backlinko, is a clear example, that Google prefers sites with super high-quality content and doesn’t care about sites with hundreds of poor quality posts.
For example, you wrote a blog about 10 SEO WordPress plugins. Instead of creating another short blog on this topic, it is much better to expand old one – 20 SEO WordPress plugins, update it, move to homepage again and reamplify.
- A reliable WordPress theme
Frankly, I don’t understand site owners, who run their primary site on WordPress but wish to save $90 (or so) on a premium, secure WordPress theme.
It is super important to choose high quality, secure and fast WordPress theme. It will make your life much easier and cheaper. Choosing cheap and poor quality often leads to hiring expensive WordPress developers, who need to write hundreds of lines of custom code to optimize your site.
Some common issues, which come with bad WordPress theme:
Bad mobile experience;
Low uptime, a site is down during high traffic.
And much more.
There are excellent options in each category/niche, but some of my favorite themes are: Divi, Genesis, Impreza.
- Manage your plugins
Too many plugins, bad quality plugins, non-updated plugins – can cause serious damage to your WordPress install.
It is sooo proven in my very own experience.
Some basic WordPress plugin management tips:
Install only plugins from validated developers, with great reviews as well as recent updates;
Attempt not to go above 30+ plugins;
Continuously update all your plugins, to avoid security breaches;
Eliminate or deactivate unused plugins.
Negative WordPress plugin management can result in a sluggish or unreliable internet site, poor individual experience, poor session time and consequently – low Google positions.
- Permalinks structure
WordPress includes default permalink setup. You should change it.
Here are a few examples:
Bad Permalink: www.yoursite.com/?p=5434 (Default Choice in WP).
Good Permalink: www.yoursite.com/nice-permalink
For Search Engine Optimization, your permalinks must be conveniently crawlable for bots and reasonable by your visitors.
SEO hack: always keep your blog posts under a subfolder, not subdomain – it will boost your SEO rankings.
- Maximize for speed
Slow website -> lower Google rankings.
Here are some areas, where you should focus to have a fast WordPress site.
- Optimized images and media;
Use image optimization plugins – such as Konker, Tinify or Smush. You will be surprised how much faster your website can be with optimized images and media.
Make use of some caching option – either from your host provider or utilize WP Rocket, Total Cache or another caching plugin.
CDN – content distribution network – will make sure, that web content is supplied from closest web server place to the individual – i.e. it will certainly load much faster. WPEngine has this choice included.
AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages – your content is delivered via a super quick Google server and your mobile web pages load instantaneously. Therefore, this content might have a top priority display in Google search results. I like WP AMP plugin from CodeCanyon. There are free AMP plugins as well.
To sum it up
To wrap it up, good hosting, reliable WordPress theme, high-quality and rich content, fast website – will lead you to a good place in SEO. Of course, you need to combine all of this with continuous link-building, but that is a separate topic 🙂
Andrii Gor – SEO enthusiast with 10+ years of experience. He focuses on keyword research, rank tracking as well as tech SEO. Check out his blog – Online Hikes.