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Out of the box, WordPress is an excellent platform for search engine optimisation (SEO). When businesses plan their website builds or rebuilds, WordPress is a popular choice because Google ranks WordPress websites higher. However, choosing to build a WordPress website is not a complete SEO strategy. The problem is, there are so many SEO strategies online that it’s challenging to sort through them all. So, to keep it simple, we’ve compiled a list of beginners tips we’d recommend to help drive your WordPress website to the top of the search results.

1 – Install an SEO Plugin

The best place to start ranking higher is by adding an SEO plugin to your website. Installing an SEO plugin won’t optimise your website for you, but it will make your job a lot easier. Generally, SEO plugins will show you where your pages need improvements while editing them and give you a performance ranking. Essentially, they’re SEO cheat sheets for page design. You enter a keyphrase, and they will show you how to optimise for this phrase. There are loads of SEO plugins on the market, both free and premium, but RankMath and Yoast SEO are the biggest and best. 

Make sure you configure these plugins after installation! A lot of people will install these plugins and never take the time to set them up. By configuring them, you ensure the plugins give you the best SEO advice that suits your industry.

2 – Make sure your website is visible for WordPress SEO

Did you know, WordPress websites have a feature that lets you hide your website from search engines? This feature is excellent when you’re building a new website, and you don’t want people to see it unfinished, but not so great when you want customers visiting your website. To check whether your website is visible, go in your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Settings, then Reading. Here, you will find a section that says, “Search Engine Visibility.” The tick box next to it (“Discourage search engines from…”) should be unticked.

Discourage Search engine box in WordPress for WordPress SEO

3 – Update your permalinks

Updating your permalinks – your website’s URL structure – makes it easier for a search engine to read and understand your website’s topic. By default, your WordPress website URL will use a unique ID number that looks something like https://yourwebsite.com/?p-123. Using ID numbers is not a problem from a function perspective, but search engines can’t read the topic from a string of random numbers. To make your permalinks easy to read, go to Settings, then Permalinks, and tick the “Post Name” checkbox. Some websites will have custom Permalinks, but Post Name works best in most cases.

4 – Verify your website with Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) is an invaluable free tool to guide your SEO strategy and improve your ranking. By signing up to GSC, you will gain access to search ranking data, monitoring tools, and much more. GSC will allow you to make informed decisions about your SEO activities, and verifying your website is essential for our next tip. Best of all, it’s free!

5 – Upload Your XML Sitemap to Google Search Console

Much like using a good permalink structure, uploading your sitemap to GSC will make it easier for Google to pull useful information from your website to show searchers. To upload your sitemap, first, use your SEO plugin to export a Sitemap of your website. Sitemaps show Google where the most important content is on your website and how to crawl it. Then, using the Sitemap section in GSC, submit the sitemap. It’s that easy! Now, Google will rank your website higher because it better understands what your website is about. 

6 – Use Page Headings Correctly for your WordPress SEO strategy

Heading Tags, such as H1 – H6, should be used to give your page meaningful structure. These headings provide context and meaning to both search engines and users. View your H1 as the title of a book and H2 to H6 headings as chapter and section titles. Search engines pay special attention to headers, so it’s best to include your keywords in your headers. Plus, if you installed an SEO plugin, it will advise you when to add keywords to your headings.

7 – Optimise Title Tags

Much like your headings, your title tag tells search engines what a page is about. Your SEO plugin will generally set the title tag for you, but you can set your own using your SEO plugin when viewing the page or post you are optimising. 

8 – Internally link to and from every page you create

Using internal links shows search engines your website’s continued relevancy on a given topic and shares authority between your pages. When you add a new page if you know any other pages on your website that share relevancy on the same subject, link to the URL of that page. Also, if you have old pages relevant to the new page you are creating, go back and add a link to the new page. Search engines like to see old pages receiving updates.

9 – Website hosting affects WordPress SEO

Using a high-quality website host improves WordPress website SEO because search engines prioritise fast and secure websites. When search engines find results for their users, they look for websites with relevant content that provide a good user experience. If a website is slow, insecure, or goes down a lot, search engines are less likely to show the website as a search result because it offers a poor user experience. If you need help with your hosting, get in touch. WP Butler supplies lightning-fast, reliable, Australian-based website hosting

The ultimate WordPress SEO strategy

There is a never-ending supply of SEO tips online that make it hard to know what works, but with the help of this blog, you now know what SEO activities you can start with. However, there are lots of other SEO tools and tricks you can apply to your WordPress website. To take your SEO strategy to the next level, call us on (07) 3205 2514 or email support@wpbutler.com.au. We have a variety of SEO packages to suit any business size. We also offer SEO training and review packages for those who like to DIY it. Get in touch today to soar to the top of the search engines. 

Author Geoff Franklin

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