WordPress SEO, almost everyone wants their WordPress website or blog to rank well in Google — hopefully, at the top of the first page. To do this, you’ll need to learn at least the essentials of WordPress SEO.
That’s where this resource comes into play! Welcome to the complete beginner’s guide to WordPress SEO, where we’ll go through everything you need to know — without leaving any gaps!
After reading this guide, you’ll know exactly what the essentials of WordPress SEO are, how to optimize your website for search engines and what you can do off-site to improve your chances of getting found by your desired audience.
WordPress SEO, on-page and off-page
You’ve probably heard these terms a couple of times, but understanding what they really mean is key to mastering the essentials of WordPress SEO.
- On-page SEO is everything you do within your WordPress website to improve its rank. This means tweaking the settings, publishing content, installing helpful SEO plugins, getting an SEO-friendly theme, and so on. Every little element contributes to your overall on-page SEO.
- Off-page SEO is everything you do outside your website. This usually involves the likes of promoting your content on social media, getting links from other sites, doing cold outreach to convince other bloggers to mention your content, and so on.
The crucial thing here is that on-page and off-page SEO (SEO Services) are both essential to your results.
Here’s everything you can do within your WordPress website to make it rank better:
1. Start with Web Hosting
Web hosting isn’t a much-talked-about aspect of on-page SEO. However, it’s actually one of the most crucial elements to get right.
I’d risk saying that, even if you do manage to get everything else spot on, if you use a sub-par host your SEO will suffer a lot.
- Good host = low downtime. If your site is down a lot, it won’t rank well. After all, why would Google rank a site that’s unavailable most of the time? A good host gives you good uptime — roughly in the range of 99.99%.
- Good host = good site speed. Another thing that’s an SEO factor for Google is your site speed (or load times). If your site takes a lot of time to load, Google don’t like it. Good hosts offer good performance.
- Good host = better security. The worst thing that can happen to you SEO-wise is getting a message from Google that your site has been hacked and therefore is now ‘temporarily’ removed from the Google index. I’m saying that in quotes since that temporary ban can sometimes stay with you for months. Good hosts will protect you from the common hacks, or help you to recover quickly.
- Good host = SSL for free. Google have openly stated that sites with no SSL will not rank very well. We discuss the topic of SSL in #2.
There are many more reasons to get a good host, and most of them aren’t even related to SEO. So, if you’re unsure of your host, this should be your first order of business — see our recommendations here.
2. Get an SSL Certificate
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate lets your website establish an encrypted link between your web server and the visitor’s browser. This makes sure no one is eavesdropping on what the visitor is doing on your site, or the information they’re inputting (forms, e-commerce cart, and so on).
Getting an SSL for your site is a must these days for multiple reasons (security being chief of them). Google also have their own way of encouraging webmasters to get SSLs by basically penalizing the sites that don’t have them yet.
So, if you don’t have an SSL, you won’t reach your full ranking potential.
3. Integrate Your Site with Google Search Console (GSC)
Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is a free tool for webmasters to monitor the indexing status and visibility of their websites.
GSC is where you’ll find notifications about any SEO issues with your site, along with multiple panels where you can check various metrics and get tips on how to make things better. We highly recommend you check it out!