Out of the box, WordPress is an excellent content management system for SEO. The built-in system of categories and tags for post hierarchy does an excellent job of helping Google understand your website’s primary topics. If you use categories and tags logically, it’s likely that your content already ranks well on Google’s search results pages — but there is always room for improvement. Help your website achieve the best rankings possible with these six WordPress SEO tricks.
1. Optimize the Permalink Structure
The URL of a post is one of the many elements that Google scans to determine the post’s content, so a post’s URL should always contain its most important keywords. By default, though, WordPress gives each post a generic URL such as “?p=3289.” To change the permalink structure, open the “Permalinks” menu from the “Options” heading in the WordPress administrative area. Change the permalink structure to “Post Name.”
2. Create a Sitemap
A sitemap is a list of every post and page on a website. Because Google and other search engines look for a sitemap when crawling a website, having a sitemap can ensure that your latest content appears on search engine results pages quickly. WordPress doesn’t have the ability to create a sitemap, but you can add that capability by installing a plugin. These are a few free sitemap plugins for WordPress:
3. Improve Website Performance
The faster your website is, the better the experience is for your users. The opposite is also true; people will quickly leave a website that doesn’t offer acceptable performance. Google understands the importance of performance and wants to provide the best possible search results to its users — so website speed is a ranking factor. A caching plugin increases the speed of your WordPress website by saving your website’s posts and pages — which normally require several database queries to render — as static HTML files. The most popular caching plugins for WordPress are:
You can increase your website’s speed even further by adding it to a content delivery network such as CloudFlare. CloudFlare creates copies of your website’s static content — such as the HTML pages that your caching plugin creates — and stores them on extremely fast cloud servers for nearly instant delivery.
4. Use Internal Linking
Each time you write a new post for your website, link to at least one old post within the new post’s text. When you link to an old post, use anchor text related to the old post’s content. Linking to older posts helps your users find content that might interest them. Choosing the anchor text carefully can help Google to organize your website thematically, which can improve your rankings over time. Link to your most important content as often as possible to tell Google that you believe the content deserves added prominence.
5. Use Keywords in Images
Are you giving the images in your posts generic names such as “1.jpg?” If you are, you’re missing an important SEO opportunity. When you name your images, give them keywords relating to the posts in which they appear. Giving a post’s images keyword-rich names increases the post’s keyword density and increases the chance that the images will appear in Google’s image search results. You should also add keyword-rich alt text to every image.
6. Disable Author Archive
WordPress automatically generates an archive for each author who contributes to a blog. If you are your website’s only author, though, your archive will look almost exactly the same to Google as your website’s home page — which could cause indexing problems. Disable the author archive with the Yoast SEO plugin.