A Simple Guide to WordPress SEO

by | Sep 20, 2021 | SEO, WordPress | 0 comments

If I showed you how to improve the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your WordPress website or blog, get more traffic, and encourage people to stay longer or buy something from you, would that be valuable? Would that be worth a few minutes of your time?

Could I convince you that getting started with SEO is easier than you think and the best time is to get started is right now?

I don’t have to be a mind reader to know you and your business are ready.

I am not just going to show you what works in 2021, but tips that work consistently, all the time, now and in the future! SEO is always changing, but there are principles that continue to work day after day and stand the test of time, especially when it comes to WordPress.

I promise by the end of this article, you will have a handful of webpage, website, and blog optimization strategies for the beginner, and tips and tricks for someone who knows SEO like the back of their hand.

How Does SEO Get My Website More Traffic?

SEO is the strategy and website optimization techniques you use on your website or blog to ensure that you rank high in Google and other search engines for the keywords and phrases your audience is looking for at the moment.

It’s not rocket science, but it does take some work to do correctly.

The things you do to make sure you are ranking start when you build your website, continue when you create posts and pages, and never end because you will always be promoting your best content and products.

We will be talking about a WordPress-based website, but most of these tactics will work no matter what you use to build your pages and posts.

Make Sure You Do This So You Are Getting Every Bit of Organic Traffic You Can

I am going to show you some things you should do on your WordPress website or blog to generate as much traffic as possible. I just built a new site, so I finished doing these steps. You will see a rankings boost sometime after you implement these tactics. These steps are very easy, so there is no excuse why you shouldn’t do them immediately!

First, Install Google Site Kit

Setting up your website with Google used to be a big pain, but Google came out with a WordPress plugin that cuts the setup time to minutes. First, you have to setup the kit:

After opening the Site Kit, you will get this screen — Image by author

After you sign in to your Google account, you will have to verify ownership of your website, and you do this by either placing a small file in the root of your web server or by placing a bit of code on your home page. Google will walk you through this step and it is rather easy. When complete, you get this screen:

Congrats! — Image by author

After you go to the dashboard you will see that you are now connected to the search console. You should also take this time to set up PageSpeed Insights and Analytics.

For a more in-depth look at the setup, watch this:

After, Install the Easiest SEO Tool You Will Ever Use: Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a free/paid plugin for WordPress. Most of the powerful features are free, but if you feel you need more, I encourage you to support the company and buy the Pro version.

Yoast Seo — Image by Author

After activating, you will need to go through the configuration wizard and answer all the questions to the best of your ability. These answers will ensure the plugin gets set up correctly.

How to Use the Yoast Plugin to Optimize Your Posts for Search

Once you have installed the plugin, every time you add a post or page, you will see the following setup information after the content entry box:

Make sure you always enter the meta description. If you forget, Google will grab the first few sentences of your post, but those aren’t always the best description of your content. You want to make sure, among other places, to have your keyword or keyword phrase included in the text at the beginning of the description.

Also, make sure you have specified a focus keyword, so Yoast can automatically tell you your SEO score. I don’t like to stop optimizing until I have at least a “good” score.

Whatever You Do, Make Sure You Optimize Your WordPress Posts

Assuming you have already written your post, there are a few things you should remember. Hopefully, you have chosen your keyword or keyword phrase and used it in your post. Remember it’s not a good idea to stuff your post with your keyword. First, it will not make sense to your reader, and their experience will be poor. Second, Google frowns upon this practice.

It Pays to Use Headings Properly

Even though WordPress gives you the option, there should only be one Heading 1 in your post. For the remaining headings, you should take advantage of the Heading 2 to Heading 6 options. Remember to try and use your chosen keyword or phrase in your headings.

Headings should be simple and tell what your content is about. Google hates clickbait, so try to give an effective description of your article or essay without resorting to tricks or keyword stuffing. Make sure you are also using your keyword in subheadings.

For more information about writing great headlines, watch this from Neil Patel:

“Working the Body” of Your Post has Maximum Effect

While it is doubtful that the proper use of bolding and italic helps in any way with SEO, it improves the user experience, which does help. Try not to overuse these formatting options as it will distract the reader. Use bold for any key phrases and italic to emphasize a word. Many readers will scan your post, and use of bold and italic will help them get all the main ideas and encourage them to read the article in full.

Make sure you use your keywords often in the body of your article, but don’t resort to keyword-stuffing. There is nothing worse for the user experience when add keywords where they don’t belong hoping it will add to the optimization of the post. Google hates it and so do your readers.

Tip: Remember that the user experience carries more weight than how many times you use your keyword in your post. A well-written post should engage the reader and offer value.

Tip: We say much on the internet about long-form content ranking better than shorter articles. It is my firm belief that short, punchy content work as well. Beware of bloat! As Einstein said, “Unless you can explain it simply, you do not understand it fully.” Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and to the point and your reader will thank you.

A Word About Images: Yes, They Are Important!

An important thing to remember when adding images is to specify the ALT text and the width and height of the images. Describe the image and specify the width and height because it will help with your page loading times, which also helps with SEO.

In WordPress, adding keywords to the description of the image with work perfectly.

About Tags and Categories

While the jury is still out about the value of tags and categories, it is always a good idea for you and your reader. We know both categories and tags as taxonomies. Their purpose is to sort your content and improve usability.

Categories and tags may not have any relative value to SEO, but they do to help your reader find the information they are looking for when they want it. The user experience is what matters, both to your reader and Google.

Covering A Topic in an In-Depth Manner is Good for Rankings

While having the content set up correctly is important, the context is just as important. Longer content performs better (between 1800 and 2500 words), but giving your reader a keyword-stuffed pile of garbage will get you nowhere. Remember that Google is looking at how long the readers stay on your page, so you want to make sure you are delivering the best content possible.

Using LSI Keywords Makes a Huge Difference

After you create an excellent 2,000-word masterpiece, add some LSI keywords to it. LSI keywords are words and phrases that are strongly associated with your page’s topic.

For example, I searched for the keyword “SEO” for this article, and these are they LSI keywords that they suggested on LSI Graph:

LSI Keywords from LSI GRAPH.com

Use these keywords throughout your post for the maximum benefit. This practice will keep you from stuffing the same keyword throughout the text.

You can also use the Google Keyword Planner to search for LSI keywords.

You See Benefits If You Use Video

It is a good practice to use video, because Google is looking for pages that hold the user’s attention, and pages where they dwell.

There is no better way to do that than to tap into the power of video!

There are millions of videos on YouTube you can use, or for even more authority, make your own. It’s easy to make a video with your smartphone, edit it, and upload it to your channel on YouTube. It’s even better if you embed those videos on the pages of your website or blog.

Video is the future. It’s time you go all in and create a whole bunch of your own!

Finally, Google Went Mobile-First: So Should You

If you are using WordPress, there is no excuse for not using a responsive theme and planning from the beginning for mobile. Mobile used to be an afterthought but is most of the results that Google serves.

Most of the best WordPress themes that are out there today are mobile responsive and can scale to the smaller screens of tablets and smartphones.

If you are on Google, search “mobile-first indexing,” and you will find many more reasons why you should be gearing your efforts towards mobile.

Wrapping Up — Get to the Top of the Rankings

If you follow everything in the above article, you will go a long way towards ranking high on Google. This is by no means an exhaustive guide, but with a little searching you can find one of those easily.

Once you are comfortable at this level, start learning more about SEO. A good place to start is this 2021 SEO guide from backlinko.

What I wanted to do with this short guide was convince you that getting started on the SEO of your website or blog is easy and the best time to get started is today.

I hope I have done just that.