20 Tips and Best Practices

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Most folks select WordPress as their web site’s CMS as a result of it’s simple to make use of and Search engine optimization pleasant out of the field. 

Both of these items are true, however it’s vital to do not forget that WordPress is only a content material administration system (CMS). So the mere truth that you just’re utilizing WordPress isn’t sufficient to rank on serps.

Luckily, WordPress makes it tremendous simple to implement many Search engine optimization finest practices.

In this information, we’ll cowl 20 Search engine optimization finest practices, share ideas that will help you rank larger, and clarify find out how to implement them in your WordPress web site.

Here are the practices that made the record:

  1. Check search engine visibility settings
  2. Set most popular area
  3. Set up permalinks
  4. Require handbook approval for weblog feedback
  5. Install an Search engine optimization-friendly theme
  6. Install an all-in-one Search engine optimization plugin
  7. Make positive to generate a sitemap
  8. Exclude low-value content material from indexing
  9. Install Ahrefs’ Search engine optimization plugin
  10. Write a “clickworthy” title
  11. Set an Search engine optimization-friendly URL slug
  12. Use headers to create hierarchy
  13. Internally hyperlink to related content material
  14. Add alt textual content to photographs
  15. Write a compelling title tag
  16. Write a compelling meta description
  17. Nest pages in subfolders
  18. Install WP Rocket
  19. Minify code
  20. Install ShortPixel

1. Check your search engine visibility settings

There’s a checkbox in WordPress that, if checked, is successfully an Search engine optimization demise sentence to your web site as a result of it prevents Google from indexing your pages. And if Google can’t index your pages, they’ll’t rank.

You’ll discover this underneath Settings > Reading > Search engine visibility:

Search engine visibility in WordPress

Make positive that is unchecked if you wish to stand any probability of rating in anyway.

Google seems at area.com and www.area.com individually, so it’s vital to decide on a most popular model to your website. You can do that underneath Settings > General. Just set the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) to your most popular model.

Preferred domain in WordPress

For a brand new web site, it doesn’t actually matter which model you select. But in case your pages are accessible at each URL variations, your finest wager is to make use of the model with probably the most backlinks.

To see which model that is, plug them each into Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis device and examine their referring domains.

For us, it’s clearly the non-www model:

Referring domains to preferred domain in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

The great thing about WordPress is it mechanically redirects the opposite model to the popular model in order that serps and guests can solely entry your website at the popular area.


Changing the popular model may cause technical points in case your website has already been up and operating for some time. If you’ve any issues, it’s value enlisting the assistance of a developer to verify the whole lot goes easily.

Permalinks are principally the URL format to your posts and pages, and the “post name” choice tends to be probably the most Search engine optimization-friendly as a result of it helps:

  1. Make it instantly apparent what the web page is about.
  2. Keep URLs quick, which might forestall them from truncating within the search outcomes.

However, should you’re already utilizing a distinct permalink construction, then altering it could actually result in damaged pages. So should you make a change, you’ll wish to crawl your web site with a device like Ahrefs’ Site Audit after the actual fact to examine for 4XX errors:

4XX errors in Ahrefs' Site Audit

If there are any, you’ll wish to use a WordPress plugin like Redirection to redirect the previous URLs to the brand new ones.

4. Require handbook approval for weblog feedback

Spammy weblog feedback are unlikely to trigger penalties or any drastic Search engine optimization points as a result of they’re just about at all times nofollowed. But in accordance with Google, they’ll nonetheless trigger some Search engine optimization points for a few reasons.

Luckily, WordPress makes it very easy to resolve this problem as soon as and for all by providing customers the choice to set all weblog feedback to require handbook approval.

You can do that in Settings > Discussion > Comment have to be manually accepted:

Blog comment approval in WordPress

5. Install an Search engine optimization-friendly theme

Pretty a lot all WordPress themes are responsive and mobile-friendly today, so there’s not a lot to fret about there. What you actually need to examine when selecting a theme is its efficiency.

If the theme is bloated with pointless code and options, it’ll gradual your web site down. And that’s not good, provided that page speed has been a Google ranking factor for over a decade.

So when selecting a theme, it’s value studying by means of the outline to see what’s included. If there’s a bunch of options you gained’t use, it will not be the only option for you.

You can even run the theme demo by means of PageSpeed Insights for a greater sense of its efficiency.

WordPress theme in PageSpeed Insights

If you have already got a theme and its efficiency isn’t nice, give ideas #18–20 a shot and rent a developer to optimize it if it’s nonetheless gradual.

6. Install an all-in-one Search engine optimization plugin

Extend the Search engine optimization performance of WordPress and make it simpler to optimize elements of your website with an all-in-one Search engine optimization plugin. We use Yoast Search engine optimization, however there are many different options.

To set up it, go to Plugins > Add New > Search for “Yoast SEO” > Click Activate > Click Install:

Installing Yoast SEO for WordPress

Most of the settings shall be good out of the field, however we’ll modify just a few of them as we go.

7. Make positive to generate a sitemap

Sitemaps record the vital posts and pages in your website to assist serps uncover them. Yoast Search engine optimization creates a sitemap for you, however you’ll want to make certain the choice is turned on.

To try this, go to Search engine optimization > General > Features > Toggle “XML sitemaps” on:

XML sitemaps toggle in Yoast SEO

8. Exclude low-value content material from indexing

You ought to solely enable Google to index pages that provide worth to searchers. Tag pages and format-based archives not often fall into this class, so it’s typically finest observe to exclude them from indexing.

To try this, go to Search engine optimization > Search Appearance > Taxonomies > Toggle “Show Tags in search results?” off:

Excluding tag pages from indexing in WordPress using Yoast SEO

Do the identical for format-based archives too.

9. Install Ahrefs’ Search engine optimization plugin

Our free WordPress Search engine optimization plugin audits and displays content material efficiency and provides suggestions on find out how to enhance it.

For instance, if the plugin spots that certainly one of your pages is not rating within the high three for its goal key phrase, it’ll tag it as “No longer well-performing” and provides a personalised suggestion on find out how to enhance primarily based in your settings:

Ahrefs' SEO Plugin

Here, it recommends that we replace a submit that not ranks. If we hit the suggestion caret, it provides recommendation on find out how to do that:

Content recommendations in Ahrefs' SEO WordPress plugin


The subsequent eight ideas are content-related. Keep them in thoughts when including posts and pages to your WordPress web site.

10. Write a “clickworthy” title

Every web page and submit in WordPress wants a title, which you set right here:

Clickworthy title in WordPress

This title often will get proven elsewhere in your WordPress web site. For instance, the title for this submit exhibits up on our weblog archive web page:

Example of a blog post title

For that cause, it’s vital that your title entices guests to click on by means of to your web page whereas precisely describing what the web page is about. In different phrases, the title needs to be clickworthy however not clickbait.

If you’re struggling to jot down one thing that matches the invoice, take inspiration from the SERP titles of the top-ranking pages to your goal key phrase, as these are sometimes the identical or just like the web page title. You can try this in Google, however it’s higher to make use of our free SERP checker for extra correct, non-personalized outcomes:

Ahrefs' free SERP checker

For instance, you’ll be able to see above that lots of the pages rating for “SEO tips” speak about boosting visitors or rankings of their SERP titles. So that is in all probability an excellent angle for a clickworthy title for this matter.

11. Set an Search engine optimization-friendly URL slug

By default, WordPress units the URL to the total title of the submit or web page. This isn’t ideally suited as a result of it’s often lengthy, and lengthy URLs are inclined to get truncated within the search outcomes.

For a extra Search engine optimization-friendly URL, click on “Edit,” enter your major key phrase (or a detailed variation), and exchange the areas with dashes.

URL slug in WordPress

12. Use headers to create hierarchy

Headers create construction and assist guests and serps to higher perceive the hierarchy of your content material.

In WordPress, you should utilize the WYSIWYG editor to shortly and simply add related headers. Just hit the “Paragraph” dropdown, and also you’ll see six header choices:

Heading tags in WordPress


If you’re utilizing WordPress’ block editor, issues will look barely totally different. You’ll must click on so as to add a “Heading” block as a substitute. 

As most WordPress themes use the submit title as the primary header (H1), it’s finest observe to make use of H2-H6 within the content material itself.

13. Internally hyperlink to related content material

Internal hyperlinks level to different pages and posts in your web site. They’re vital for Search engine optimization as a result of they assist:

  1. Keep guests in your website.
  2. Boost the “authority” of your different content material and rank the content material larger.

You can add inner hyperlinks to posts and pages in WordPress utilizing the WYSIWYG editor. Just spotlight the textual content you wish to use because the anchor, hit the “Insert/edit link” button, and paste within the URL of one other web page or submit in your web site.

Adding internal link in WordPress


Again, issues could look a bit totally different should you’re utilizing the block editor, however the course of is just about the identical. 

If you’re undecided if and the place so as to add inner hyperlinks, join a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT) account, run a crawl in Site Audit, then go to the Link alternatives report back to see related inner hyperlink ideas:

Internal link suggestions in Ahrefs' Site Audit

For instance, you’ll be able to see above that it recommends we internally hyperlink the phrase “link building tactics” in our information to dangerous hyperlinks to our record of hyperlink constructing methods.

14. Add alt textual content to photographs

Alt textual content is vital as a result of it:

  1. Tells Google what photographs are about, which can assist them rank larger on Google Images.
  2. Improves accessibility for visually impaired guests utilizing display readers.
  3. Replaces the damaged picture on the web page if the picture breaks.

To add alt textual content in WordPress, fill within the “alt text” discipline when importing an picture:

Adding alt text to images in WordPress


Once once more, issues could look barely totally different within the block editor, however there’s nonetheless an “alt text” discipline. 

Just attempt to preserve it quick and candy whereas being descriptive.

Recommended studying: Alt Text for Search engine optimization: How to Optimize Your Images

15. Write a compelling title tag

Google often makes use of your title tag for the snippet within the search outcomes.

Yoast units your title tag to your submit or web page title by default. This is usually high-quality, as it is best to have already crafted an attractive submit title. But typically it’s too lengthy, so it’s value pasting within the full title manually to verify it’s not prone to truncate.

If it will get highlighted inexperienced, you’re all set. If it will get highlighted crimson, it’s too lengthy.

Adding title tag in WordPress using Yoast SEO

You can often clear up the problem of a prolonged title tag by eradicating any superfluous data. Easy methods to do that embrace:

  • Removing data in brackets.
  • Removing pointless phrases.
  • Rephrasing.

16. Write a compelling meta description

Meta descriptions aren’t a direct Google rating issue, however Google typically makes use of them for the search end result snippet.

For that cause, it’s vital to jot down a compelling meta description that helps your title and additional entices folks to click on.

Here are just a few ideas for doing that:

  • Double down on search intent
  • Use an energetic voice
  • Keep it underneath 120 characters

Recommended studying: How to Write the Perfect Meta Description

17. Nest pages in subfolders

Assuming that you just set your permalink construction to submit identify, your web page and submit URLs will appear to be this:


But with pages, you’ll be able to create them with totally different ranges utilizing subfolders.

For instance, let’s say you’re a digital advertising and marketing company providing three totally different companies: Search engine optimization, PPC, and social media advertising and marketing.

Here’s the easiest way to construction that:

  1. Create a “Services” touchdown web page that lists the companies you present
  2. Create particular person pages for every service you supply
  3. Link to every service web page out of your “Services” web page

Here’s what your URL construction will appear to be by default:

area.com/search engine optimization/

That seems OK. But it’s higher to nest the person service pages underneath the “/services/” subfolder like this:

area.com/companies/search engine optimization/

That’s simple to do in WordPress. Just use the “Parent” dropdown on the web page editor and select the “Services” web page.

Nesting pages in WordPress


The subsequent three ways are about web page pace. Use these to hurry up your web site and enhance its efficiency. Note that we haven’t coated each optimization you may make right here, as web page pace is a fancy matter. So if you wish to delve deeper into this aspect of issues, learn our full information to dashing up your WordPress web site.

WP Rocket describes itself as an online efficiency plugin that enhances your web page pace. The great thing about the plugin is that it makes a bunch of helpful optimizations out of the field, together with browser and server caching.

Here’s what caching does in a nutshell:

  • Browser caching – Saves frequent recordsdata on guests’ laborious drives in order that they don’t need to preserve re-downloading them on repeat visits.
  • Server caching – Saves static variations of your webpages in your server in order that they’re prepared and ready every time a customer requests them.

This is just not a free plugin however, in my view, it’s effectively definitely worth the $49 price ticket if in case you have the finances. If you’re on the lookout for a free plugin that does one thing related when it comes to caching, attempt one of many many different caching plugins out there.

Minification removes pointless white house out of your code to scale back file sizes.

Minified vs un-minified code

It’s easy sufficient to allow minification should you’re utilizing WP Rocket. Just head to the File Optimization settings and examine the choices to “Minify CSS files” and “Minify JavaScript files.”

Minification in WP Rocket

If you’re not utilizing WP Rocket, give Autoptimize a shot (it’s free).


Enabling minification can result in options breaking in some situations. So it’s at all times finest to check how this impacts your web site in a staging surroundings earlier than deploying stay.

ShortPixel mechanically compresses and optimizes the photographs you add to WordPress. This makes the picture recordsdata smaller, reduces pressure in your server, and makes issues load sooner to your guests.

To get began, set up the plugin, activate it, then enter your API key within the settings.

Note that ShortPixel is a freemium plugin. So should you’re compressing greater than 100 photographs per thirty days, you’ll want to purchase some credit or join a paid plan. This solely prices just a few {dollars} and is effectively definitely worth the cash, in my view.

If you do have the finances for a paid plan, it’s additionally value hitting the choice to bulk optimize the photographs already uploaded to WordPress.

Resizing images using ShortPixel

Final ideas

WordPress is versatile, simple to make use of, and offers an excellent base for Search engine optimization. But it could actually solely get you to this point as a result of it’s only a CMS. If you’re critical about rating on Google, there are just a few extra stuff you’ll must do.

Ready for higher rankings? Read our step-by-step information to rating excessive on Google.

Got questions on WordPress Search engine optimization? Ping me on Twitter.

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