There are millions of websites online that provide either products or services or inform and entertain the readers. The number indeed seems unlimited, and is growing day by day with the appearance of newer sites and services.
Nowadays, WordPress websites are becoming even more popular, therefore raising the question “how to improve SEO score on WordPress”.
There are plenty of ways one can drive traffic to their website, with the ideal one or most effective though way the Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO helps your website rank higher in Google’s search results for more visibility. Why does SEO matter though so much? Well, everyone searches on Google’s engine. Therefore, if you are using smart SEO strategies you can have a website that appears high in the page rankings.
There are various SEO strategies that can make your WordPress site stand out, which in turn has many benefits such as: a) More visibility and higher probabilities for increasing traffic, b) Visitors eagerness to read your quality content, and c) Credibility and trustworthiness.
By deciding to create your website via WordPress, you have already made the first step to SEO success.
Prior to we move onto talking about various tactics, we presume that you have limited time, and therefore these tactics are time efficient and effective.
A. Choosing your Hosting Provider wisely
A great hosting provider is important as to better website performance in terms of loading speed that can tremendously increase audience engagement.
Another reason is the provision of SSL certificate, which a good hosting provider offers such certificate for free.
In addition, the ability to create domain email addresses is an important factor of professionalism, and the assurance of security of files and databases.
How to improve SEO score on WordPress? Well, by choosing the best hosting provider should rely mainly on key factors such as storage availability, loading speed, and data security.
B. Picking up a theme that is SEO friendly
Your WordPress theme should be well structured in its layout and appearance, must have clean code, and has to be loading at high speed.
C. Using an SEO dedicated plugin
These are pieces of add-on software called plugins that once installed can add more functionality and features to your website. For SEO purposes though the best plugin is the Yoast SEO that can assist you in checking whether your content meets certain predefined criteria of SEO. To add the plugin, you first click on “Add New”, then on the right hand side on the search bar type “Yoast SEO”, and the plugin will appear in the first place to your left along with other similar plugins. Click on the “Install” button (on the image below is showing “Update” since we already have the plugin installed and active), and then “Activate” to finish the installation of the plugin. Kindly see image below for better understanding.
The next step is to understand the importance of this plugin and why it is highly recommended. Yoast SEO provides a fully loaded SEO checklist which you can view, while writing website and article content, and check which criteria you have successfully met, and which you have not or need further improvement.
The red color defines problems, the orange color indicates satisfactory SEO level, whereas the green color confirms that you have successfully met the SEO standards. Kindly see the below visual.
D. Checking and fixing, if needed, your Permalinks
Permalinks are the URLs that reflect your site’s pages, posts and other content. Clean and well descriptive permalinks is important for page ranking, and for the website users’ readability purposes.
To do so, you click on “Settings”, then “Permalinks” and a screen like the image below will appear. You then select how you wish your permalink to appear, scroll down and finally click the button “Save Changes”.
E. Creating your website’s Sitemap
A sitemap is somehow a structure of all the pages of your website that makes it easier for the crawl engines to understand how each page relates to others.
In other words, a sitemap makes your site’s indexing easier when presenting content in user searches. To generate your sitemap you can choose a sitemap generator tool.
After creating your sitemap, you must then create an account on Google Search console and submit it there. In addition, upon creating a Google Search Console account it’s important to also verify your domain ownership. You can access your console with your Gmail account, and can have multiple domains listed as properties, which means that there is no need to have multiple Google Search Console accounts for each domain. View the relevant images below.
Click on the “Add Property” button to continue.
Add your domain URL prefix and click “Continue” to proceed.
Select the second option “Upload an HTML file to your website” and choose the HTML tag to verify your domain. To make your life easier you can upload this HTML tag using the HFCM WordPress plugin.
You must download the plugin called HFCM, and then create a new snippet where you will fill in certain fields for your reference, such as the snipper name, type, display, location (header!), status Active, and the above HTML tag into the snippet / code area, and click the “Save” button.
After finalizing domain ownership, you move onto submitting your sitemap which you have generated already using the sitemap generator tool mentioned above. You copy your generated sitemap code, but before proceeding you should follow the steps listed below:
- Access your hosting provider, and the File Manager section of your domain’s website and click on your public.html folder. Create a new file and name it sitemap.xml.
2. Paste your generated sitemap code into this sitemap.xml file and click save.
3. Access your Google Search Console in Sitemaps and type: sitemap.xml and then click the “Submit” button.
4. Give it time for the data to be fetched!
F. Using Heading Tags in your content
With the use of heading tags you are structuring your content nicely, adding let’s say descriptive titles for each topic within your article or page that you wish to write content for. These titles though must be shown in a heading tag manner. Kindly refer to the image below.
G. Creating your content based on keywords
Prior to start preparing your content, you should first find the keyword or keyword phrase that your content will be based on. This is a great way to communicate your content to the search engines that will in turn increase your probability of showing your content in the searches.
You can always learn how to find the right keywords for your content, either pages or articles by viewing our article about how to find the right keywords for SEO.
H. Optimizing your images
The quality and the size of images is critical and can have an impact on your website’s SEO especially when it comes to loading speed.
Additionally, you should add “Alt Text” to your images that reflects the keyword you want to rank your page or article content for. In the example below, the keyword phrase is “How to find the right keywords for SEO”. As you can see the alt text of this image contains this exact keyword phrase.
Furthermore, in addition to the “Alt Text” parameter, you should also optimize the images in terms of compression so they take only the necessary and needed disk space. You can do so by using the WP-Optimize plugin.
After downloading the plugin, you select images, and then turn on, if not already turned on the “Automatically compress newly-added images” and the “Show compressions meta-box on an image’s dashboard media page”. Also tick the circle “Prioritize maximum compression”.
Further on, in the condition where the plugin has been installed after we have already added some images, we can also compress the existing images by choosing “Select All” and scrolling down to click on the button “Compress the selected images”. See the visual below for better understanding.
I. Focusing on website responsiveness
Nowadays. the majority of users view websites via their mobile devices, and as further options via PCs and tablets. Therefore, focusing on mobile responsiveness is an important and critical factor for better visibility, navigation friendliness, improved bounce rate, for Google ranking, and of course solving the question of how to improve SEO score on WordPress.
J. Incorporating external and internal links
Using internal links, where you link existing pages with each other for reference purposes, or externally with other related websites, gives Google enough data that your content is important and valuable to the users.
K. Adding and updating posts when necessary
Boosting your existing content with fresh data or adding new articles or content gives Google a sense that you are constantly generating freshly baked and up-to-date content which helps in ranking.
L. Focusing on quality content
Less is more, and indeed this is the case with SEO content. Instead of writing articles in bulk it is better and advisable to prepare less articles that have quality and are long in their content, and this concept again answers the question of how to improve SEO score on WordPress