If you’re somewhat serious about getting your blog out there and seen by a whole new audience, then SEO may be a term you’ve stumbled across once or twice to help you achieve this. In the past, I’ve delved into sharing a few basic SEO tips for bloggers, but in this post, I want to share specifically my WordPress SEO tips for your WordPress blog, which I’ve learnt along the way.
I first started on Blogger in 2012 when I set up this blog, but I have since migrated to a WordPress blog in January 2017 and have continuously worked with the WordPress platform daily in my job for the last 3 years.
Therefore, I’ve picked up on a few ways I can improve a WordPress site by following the tips below and ensuring there are a few admins setting features taken care of too.
Let Google Crawl Your WordPress Blog
If you’re setting up your WordPress blog and perhaps don’t want to let Google crawl your site to be indexed instantly, then usually, you will follow these steps to disallow Google from seeing your blog. Go to Settings > Reading > then scroll to the bottom of the page, where you’ll find the below screenshot.
If you don’t want Google to crawl your site, then tick the box, shown above and Save Changes. However, it would help if you only ticked this during development. Once, or just before, your site goes live, you should ideally un-tick this and Save Changes to ensure Google will actually see all your hard work. If you don’t, well, in all honesty, there’s no point reading the rest of this post!
Improve the design of your posts
Reducing image sizes and creating a better design environment can not only improve your SEO but can also increase user engagement. The simple and cheapest best way to improve the appearance of your blog is to discuss your project in detail with a successful design company and buy one of their web design packages.
Install the Yoast SEO WordPress Plug-in
This is an absolute godsend when it comes to monitoring your content’s SEO and how strong it is. Once you install Yoast SEO, you will see the below box in the back end of WordPress when you’re creating a post (you simply scroll to the bottom of the post you’re editing to find this):
At the top, you have the essentials: title tag, URL and meta description. To edit these, click Edit snippet and a drop-down will appear for these three fields. The SEO title refers to the title tag of your post once it’s live. This doesn’t affect the post title, which shows as the H1 title on your blog.
Next, you have the URL field, which is your opportunity to create an SEO-friendly link which isn’t too long or too short, plus avoids stop words; to, and, the etc.
The next step down is your Focus keyword; this may not apply to every post, or perhaps you don’t run any type of keyword research for any post – which is absolutely fine, but it’ll help you rank for specific terms if you do this. Anyhow, when you enter a focus keyword, the Analysis section at the bottom will let you know how many times it’s been featured and whether you’ve featured it enough for it to be considered strong.
The rest of the Analysis section is there to act as guidance; it lets you know how many internal links you’ve placed, how many no-follow links, whether your keyword was placed in the first paragraph, in the title, the meta description and the URL – just so you don’t forget, but also lets you know if your images are missing alt tags and more.
It’s a helpful tool in my experience, but you can read reviews online to get the best outlook on whether the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is ideal for you. Either way, it’s free to use, so you have nothing to lose.
Optimise Your Categories
Content is king, so they say because it’s true. Therefore, the more valuable text you have on your blog’s pages, the better. However, when it came to my category pages, such as beauty & skincare or my travel category, I was unsure how to add text to these pages to help personalise them and make them more beefy. That’s until I realised I could optimise them like so…
In the left-hand sidebar in WordPress, head to Posts, then Categories. There you’ll find a list of all your categories looking something like below:
If you hover over the Name of your category on the far left, you will then get a couple of options. From here, click Edit. This now brings you to a page where you can edit the Name of your category, the slug, which is your URL, choose whether it’s parent to another category, write your category text which will show at the top of the page, plus you can even fully optimise this page by filling in the Yoast SEO WordPress box at the very bottom.
Before optimising all of my categories, I decided to note down my Domain Authority and not do any other work on the blog. Two months later, my DA went up from 16 to 22! You can never be 100% sure of what has improved your DA, but this aided it.
Improve Your Site Speed
A slow website isn’t great; it’s annoying for the visitor, frustrating in general, and can heavily impact your blog’s performance and SEO. Therefore, it’s important to improve your site’s speed to keep it up and running and avoid sending your visitors away before they can admire all your hard work.
The initial place to start is with PageSpeed Insights by Google. You enter the link of your blog, and this tool will then assess your site’s speed, giving you a score out of 100 for both mobile and desktop performance. The aim of the game is to get this to be 85+ out of 100, so it shows as green. Anything below that you need to do some work on.
It gives you a breakdown of what images need optimising and how much each image needs to be compressed – very handy. It’ll also show you what you need to minify CSS, leverage browser caching and more.
It’ll show you how, but I advise you to research first and seek professional guidance where possible. Another way you can help improve your site speed, however, is to change your hosting.
I’ve tried various places and had lots of bad experiences, but the best one by far has been TSO Host. Their plans vary, but the best one is £5.99 a month – no contract required! Plus, their customer support is fantastic. They’re always on Live Chat and simply do the job when you can’t! Sign up here.
Optimise Your Images
I’ve stressed this before, and I’ll stress it again – optimising your images is just as important as optimising your content. I’ve gone through all the past steps on optimising your images, so click here to find out how you can do this in more detail (and so I won’t bore you with it all again).
Concentrate on conversion at the expense of SEO. Use Bing webmaster tools for heatmaps and short videos tracking your users as they navigate your site. Conversion is the very thing; we cannot stress enough that all the web traffic in the world is useless unless it converts into sales. Conversion is about studying data and watching users interact online.
Link to Your Content
What’s the point in writing all this wonderful content for your blog if you’re never going to link to it as the posts go on? As you’ll notice throughout this post, I’ve placed a few links to existing blog posts I’ve written in the past that are highly relevant to what I’m chatting about.
This is called internal linking and is something you should be doing, too.