SEO for WordPress: 8 Actionable Steps that are definitely required

WordPress is among the most popular content management systems in the world.  It’s open source, free, and SEO-friendly. However, simply using WordPress doesn’t guarantee your website will rank No. 1 on Google. You still need to follow best practices and provide real value to users.

Below we outline the 8 actionable steps that will help you with your WordPress SEO.

Let’s get the ball rolling!

1. Choose a Good Hosting Provider

The hosting for your website is extremely important. Hosting has a lot of influence on your site’s speed, uptime, and security. So before you go live, give it some thought – it definitely affects some parts of your SEO efforts – Google confirms that it is a known ranking factor!

Before choosing your Hosting Provider you should consider the following:

  1. High Uptime – Downtime is when your website stops loading and becomes unavailable to the people who visit it. It’s painful for customers, who will not come back, so high uptime is important for any website.
  2. Free SSL Certificate – A free SSL certificate is an essential hosting feature for your website. It enables the secure HTTPS connection between you and your customers, so they know their data is safe on your site.
  3. Friendly with WordPress – The best hosting providers offer a platform tailored to WordPress needs. The web hosts should offer all the necessary features to run a WordPress-powered website.
  4. Hosting’s Server Location – If you are targeting CY (Cyprus) customers, then it would be good for the server’s location to be in Cyprus.
  5. Good Hosting Support – 24/7 Chat based support is essential and very crucial.

 

Most of you will not know where to start, so please see below a couple of quality Hosting Providers that work well with WordPress:

  1. Siteground 
  2. Blue Host 

2. Set Up an SSL Certificate

This is a known confirmed ranking factor, which will definitely help your website rank better on search engines. So go ahead and install the SSL certificate so that you can enjoy a secure HTTPS connection.

Doing this is not rocket science. Depending on your chosen hosting provider:

  1. Navigate to the Admin Panel
  2. Find the “SSL Certificate” option
  3. Select and Install the certificate

 

This should do the job! You can always contact the support team of your hosting provider for more assistance.

3. Check that your WordPress website is ‘indexable’

An indexable site is one that Google can access, crawl and index. If a page on your site isn’t indexable, then it won’t show up in the search results.

You need to navigate to the backend of your WordPress website, under Settings —> Reading. Here you can check the visibility settings.

Scroll down to the ‘Search Engine Visibility’ section and make sure that you DO NOT check this box.

Many developers (including us) tend to check this box when the website is ‘under development’ so that the Search Engine’s are discouraged from ranking it. However, once the website goes live, this setting needs to be unchecked!

4. Select the desired Website Address Format

Following on, you should select the website address format you want to utilise.

In simple words:

Do you want your website address to be https://www.domainname.com?

Or do you prefer the non WWW https://domainname.com?

Even though it is proven that this selection has very little implications on SEO, you should choose one and stick with it. Google perceives both URL types as different so you will need to choose one so that you prevent duplicate content issues.

In your WordPress backend:

  1. Navigate to Settings —> General.
  2. Type in the desired URL website format in both the ‘WordPress Address and the ‘Site Address’ fields

5. Submit your Website’s Sitemap to Google Search Console

An XML sitemap is a simple file that lists all your pages in a format search engine crawlers can read easily. This makes it easier for search engines to find and crawl the pages on your website, which can help improve your organic search rankings!

WordPress can create a sitemap automatically. You just need to add the wp-sitemap.xml slug after the domain name:

Https://domainname.com/wp-sitemap.xml 

You should then navigate to the Google Search Console account and submit the sitemap for approval. You can do this by:

  1. Login to Google Search Console Account
  2. Navigate to Sitemaps on the left menu
  3. Type in the field the complete URL
  4. Click ‘Submit’

6. Install & Configure a WordPress SEO Plugin

A WordPress SEO plugin can make it easier to configure some basic SEO settings, follow best practices and shorten the learning curve for SEO. This can be a big time saver, so you can focus on writing great content and marketing it on social media.

7. Perform a Keyword Research

We have a complete guide on keyword research, which you will need to follow in order to grasp the key points. The main process is to:

  1. Find/Identify Keywords
  2. Choose Keywords based on:
    1. Search Volume
    2. Keyword Difficulty
    3. Search Intent

8. Generate Great content (the most important factor!)

Creating quality content is one of the most important factors as far as SEO is concerned nowadays. It’s easy to write content that will only rank for a short time, but it’s not possible to rank for long-term. The secret behind quality content is having useful information and sharing it with the audience in a way that makes sense.

You must:

  1. Nail the Search Intent
  2. Provide Reliable Information
  3. Optimise for Human Readers

 

Create content for the long term and not for the short term.

The above is just a brief overview of actionable steps one must take when starting to do SEO on a WordPress website. If you would like the full scope of what needs to be done in order to start ranking and getting quality organic traffic then you should consult with an SEO agency.

At DomainStar we have helped hundreds of businesses rank on Google’s search engine and we have proven a formula that works every single time.

Do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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