WordPress is used by more than 75 million websites. However, not all of their webmasters have taken the time and effort to optimise their website for the major search engines (Google, Bing, Duckduckgo, Yahoo, Facebook) in order to attract more visitors to their website.
If your companies website is platformed on WordPress, then adopting a few simple SEO best practises can make a major difference in increasing your site’s organic visibility, which in turn can lead to more leads, sales, and money.
The following are the most important WordPress SEO guidelines to follow in 2021 and beyond:
1. Make Sure Search Engines Can Access Your Website
As a result, search engines will not rank your pages if they are unable to reach your site, and you will lose all organic traffic.
This should be the number one item for any webmaster or SEO Audit. To ensure this feature is enabled login to wordpress admin panel. Navigate to,
Ensure the radio button for “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is unchecked. While you are at it also ensure ‘for each post in a feed include’ is set to summary and not full text
2. Control your URL structure
Warning: If your site has been up and operating for several years successful, you might want to just skip this part. Otherwise, you should enlist the assistance of an SEO professional to perform this task for you since if proper redirects are not performed, you run the danger of losing all of your indexed ranks.
Have you ever noticed that WordPress automatically writes the url based off the page title? It is best practice to re-write these to be unique as practical, keyword topical and short.
Additionally, building a category hierarchy and structure to your pages and posts is a great way to build in logic and a foundation for SEO silo’ing to your website. This makes it easier for Google to index your site correctly and for you to illustrate a structure of keyword strength to Googles crawl bots.
For posts having a logical category structure and using it sparingly
3. Optimize Your website with Google Page Experience
Google launched the Page Experience Update in May 2021. It affects the rankings of all sites that do not pass the Core Web Vitals test and it is utter garbage!!
Here is what we suggest to do instead.
For loading speed, we suggest using https://www.webpagetest.org/ and optimising for loading performance of the first paint.
General things to check are:
Memory is set to max for your server
Images are all compressed and cropped
JS resources load last
CSS loads first
Check for errors and missing resources and fix them
remove any css or js that is not being used
remove any plugins that are not being used
For the mobile friendliness side of things, simply get on your phone and check it. Make sure buttons and links are spaced out enough. Ensure things are easy to tap and swipe. Make sure images are cropped appropriately, which may require images just for mobile views. Ensure the width sizing is correct and menu items have enough space.
Link to page speed insights tool
4. Use Images in WebP Format or at least a compressed .jpg
Every image should be cropped to the size needed and compressed. We like kraken.io image compression, which on the paid version will allow you to upload the whole image folder structure and submit urls to compress images.
WebP is a new image format for the web that produces images that are richer in detail while being less in size. When compared to regular PNG images, WebP images are 26 percent smaller in size.
Images play a crucial influence in increasing the speed of your website. Websites that load faster will have an easier time passing the Core Web Vitals test. Using the WebP format for your images is one of the most effective ways to make them load faster. To convert all of the JPEG, GIF, and PNG images on your site to WebP, instal the WebP Converter for Media plugin on your site. You will notice a significant improvement in page load time because the photos will load much faster and with no compromise in image quality. Server caching plugins, such as, litespeed will convert your images to Webp format automatically for you if configured.
5. Move Your Site to HTTPS
Your site should be running on a correctly configured SSL certificate and a paid one if you have an ecommerce website. You can check your website on this SSL checker tool and your hosting company will normally provide assistance if there is an issue.
Cloudflare will provide you with a free SSL if you use their DNS service, however ecommerce sites still need a local SSL for the checkout.
6. Optimize your website for Speed
We don’t believe this is a direct ranking factor. However, it has other benefits such as a better user experience (which google does measure) and to a point a faster load time will translate to more sales on stores. In our experience site errors and poorly cropped or compressed images are the biggest factor for general site speed. Additionally, storing tons of unused images is a major issue for general server performance. After all the server will have to search through thousands of images to find the right one to display putting lots of load on your server CPU and disks.
Other items to check:
Server caching is enabled
You have a website caching plugin correctly configured
You can server images via a CDN to reduce server load
Mimify your html
ensure GZip is enabled
7. You need High-Quality backlinks
Links are a major ranking factor still as much as google likes to pretend they aren’t. However, you will not rank for a major keyword or against a stronger website without backlinks. The term high quality is debatable, but one thing is clear you’ll need more links than a competitor. How many more you will need depends on the quality.
Some places you can get links from:
Guest posting (use with caution most are just expensive PBNs)
Broken link building
Unlinked brand mentions
Resource page link building
Automated linking (use with caution)
Paid PBN links (use with caution)
More methods are available from this great backlinking guide
8. Leverage the Power of Video Marketing
It is possible to employ video marketing to improve SEO because research has shown that 83 percent of marketers generate a lot of traffic through video marketing.
You can insert or embed your YouTube videos into your website to maximise the effectiveness of video marketing.
If you want to include videos in your blog, you can do it by using a plugin such as the Easy Video Player.
When you employ video marketing, you may increase traffic to your website and social shares of your content because statistics reveal that approximately 45 percent of Facebook and Twitter users view at least one hour of video content each week, according to statistics.
9. Improve the UX/UI of Your Website
When it comes to website success, the user experience cannot be overlooked. Webmasters frequently overlook the importance of offering excellent user support.
Here are some reasons why user experience (UX) is vital for any website, as well as its function in SEO:
- Visitors are converted into paying consumers.
- It lowers the bounce rate and increases the time spent on the page.
- Increases the trust in a website and increases the authority of a website.
You may improve the user experience of a website by performing the tasks listed below:
- Provide well-researched, intent-specific, high-quality, and engaging material to your target audience (or customers).
- Create a well-structured, user-friendly responsive website design that is simple to use.
- Make your website load as quickly as possible.
- Make your calls to action more responsive and user friendly.
- Customer service should be excellent.
- Make use of visually appealing media such as photographs and videos.
- Fix any 404 problems, redirection errors, or other critical web-related issues.
- Optimize each and every image on your website.
There are a variety of tools that may be utilised to improve user experience. Smush, for example, is not a good plugin to use. Do it manually with Kraken.io because Smush creates so many different sized images you end up with the file bloating describe before and the compression is average at best.
10. Update .htaccess File
This is beyond most webmasters so we suggest installing ithemes security plugin and just using the inbuilt presets to configure you .htaccess file.
11. Never, ever use the Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast is a glorified meta data editor and a bad on at that. Their dev team has been responsible for many a massive fuck up resulting in 1000s of dead sites and lost top ranks. Do yourself a massive favour and swap it out for either SEOpress or rankmath. We prefer SEOpress and creating custom schema. However, we realise this just isn’t practical sometimes so rankmath is our next go to which has pretty good automated schema features.
After you have done this add your sitemaps to Google Search Console
12. Content Optimization is a thing
DO NOT USE Yoast, seopress, rankmath or any of these free content optimisation tools they are all hot garbage for this task.
Use a paid tool such as Page Optimiser Pro (if you are a rank beginner), CORA SEO Tool is the best tool, SEO Surfer has a great editor for NLP optimising the rest of it is useless. Cora is expensive, but you can pay for a page to be tested on sites like fivver, legiit and konker.
The key to using these tools is not to gamify the results and go for as close to 100% as you can configure. Just make little improvements across the whole range of factors until your site ranks improves. Re-submit your optimised page to Google search console and check when it has been recrawled then allow up to 2 weeks for it to settle in then do a little more optimising.
Warning: Do not max out all the factors, you will likely be very disappointed as these tools are not idiot proof and if nothing else you’ll have no where to go if a competitor then beats you.
13. Link Internal pages Stronger
There are a few trains of thought on this, what we know is it does work, but for perhaps different reasons than what others say.
a) keyword anchors on a page help it rank, when a page ranks it lifts the power of the whole site. Therefore you can better rank a page using keywords in your anchor text for hyperlinks and send the links to topical internal pages
b) internal links help to pass external link power (known as link juice) through to other pages. Send links to other internal pages to power them up from pages with a good number of links that rank highly already. Send users to topical other pages to help sell and improve their experience.
c) Hierarchy helps with googles indexing logic. Sets within sets, that is how indexing works. Example, Dogs/german-shepherds/grooming/grooming-tools/ or SEO/Onpage-seo/UI/headings/ or News/Au-news/Gold-Coast-news/Crime/
Logical Hierarchy makes it easier for google to index you correctly and therefore rank you easier
14. Add Your Site to Google Search Console, Google Analytics and Bing Webmasters
It is critical to register your website with Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Bing Webmasters for the reasons listed below:
- Uploading all the XML sitemap to your website will allow search engine spiders to index and crawl your website. (see item.1 also)
- You have the ability to correct indexing issues as well as request page indexing.
- With the use of a filter and search queries, you can examine the traffic data for your website.
- Technical issues such as mobile usability, core web vitals, mobile responsiveness, 404 errors, and AMP can all be resolved.
- You can sign up to receive notifications anytime Google discovers a technical problem with your website.
- In order to set up Google Analytics on WordPress, you must first create an analytics account and then add your website as a property to the analytics account. Google in their great wisdom has made this a bit of a nightmare now.
If you want to integrate Google Search Console and Bing Webmasters into your website, you must provide a specific verification code in the header file of your website (in between the opening and closing head tag).
Using a Plugin to Include Code
If you are a non-technical individual, the SEO plugin can also be of assistance. All you have to do is go to General tab in the plugin and enter the code. Simple as that. Make sure to save your modifications.
In contrast to the overwhelming majority of SEO tutorials available on the internet (most are useless or outdated), You can find great guides in the SEO Signals facebook group that makes it easier for you to comprehend the technical ideas of WordPress SEO and take the necessary actions to make your site search engine and user friendly.
Wait a few weeks after implementing the aforementioned SEO recommendations before noticing any changes. As well as this, create high-quality content, obtain high-authority links, and take steps to improve the user experience. Taking these measures will assist you in achieving noteworthy outcomes for your website in the future. WordPress SEO wishes you a prosperous year in 2021!