WordPress SEO for Beginners

Hey Smashers,

I have a question for you that is, Do you blog? I am sure that your blog based on WordPress. So you are new to WordPress and you want to get more search traffic through SEO. Well, I have two things for you, the first one is WordPress is not enough to make your blog rank in Google. 

WordPress is a best blogging platform but it’s just a tool. The second is that WordPress makes it so simple to implement search engine optimization by best practices with simple techniques. So even if you’re a complete beginner, you can optimize your website for higher Google rankings easily. And you’re about to find out how to do it in this WordPress SEO tutorial.

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First of all, I want to clear up something about WordPress. WordPress is a Content Management System and that’s the basic industry standard for bloggers. Now you can create blogs, ecommerce, forums and more types of websites using WordPress. 

Here, WordPress SEO process is no different than ordinary search engine optimization. So we’re saying that using WordPress as a tool to make traditional SEO techniques and strategies easier to implement and technically sound. 

For the most part, we’ll be covering the On-Page Optimization best practices while other Off-Page strategies like link building will all be the same whether you use WordPress or anything else. So let’s get to it.

1. Select WordPress Themes


Before we get into the WordPress interface, I want to make an explanation about WordPress themes selection. Now there are thousands of free and premium templates you can get, so we have two things that you should look it out before choose. 

First, the theme should be mobile responsive, but we need all devices responsive themes but mobile responsive is must because as Google said, mobile-friendly content may perform better for those who are searching on mobile and there are have millions of millions mobile users.

The second is you should avoid themes that are pinned with plugins or third-party scripts that you really don’t need. So read through the theme descriptions to see what’s included. 

After that you could also run the theme demo URL through page speed tools like Google’s PageSpeed insights,Pingdom or GTmetrix and find the page loading time because people don’t have time to wait and they won’t come back.

2. Domain URL Formation

Next is an important settings on WordPress, We need to decide whether we want to use just “” or “”. And the reason for this is because Google will look at these two pages separately. 

And the good thing of WordPress is that it’ll automatically redirect the other version to the one that you choose. So, if you have a new website, then it doesn’t really matter which one you select.

But if you’ve ever used both protocols, where you can access the same page from different URLs then you’ll want to see which version has more backlinks pointing at it. Just enter your domain, then you’ll want to take note of the number of referring domains pointing at your website. 

Then take the other version of the URL and do the same thing. And in this case, there’s a clear winner, but for other sites, where it’s not so obvious, you would want to manually do a full backlink analysis using the backlinks report.

You can change your URL by clicking on settings. And then edit both your WordPress Address URL and Site Address URL. Now, if you have existing content on your website and you change your URL, there are issues that can arise so I’d recommend having access to a developer you can contact if need be.

You can change your URL by clicking on settings. And then edit both your WordPress Address URL and Site Address URL. Now, if you have existing content on your website and you change your URL, there are issues that can arise so I’d recommend having access to a developer you can contact if need be.

3. Permalink Formation


As a blogger you want to make sure your permalinks are set up optimally. So click on “permalinks” under “settings” in the left sidebar. And you can see from the previews that permalinks are basically just the URLs for your posts and pages.

I prefer using is “post name” and that’s for two reasons. First one is People can look at your URL and know immediately what it’s about. So take a look at these links from our blog, and guess what they’re about. And the second is It keeps the URL short.

According to the on-page SEO study, we found that short URLs tend to rank better in Google than the length one.

Now, it’s important to note that if you already have content using a different permalink structure, then changing it to a different option may cause broken pages, which is a bad thing, particularly if you have backlinks pointing at them. But if you want to set up your structure this way, then you may need to add redirects, which you can do with a plugin like Redirection.

4. SEO Plugin for WordPress


The other plugin that I highly recommend installing is Yoast SEO. Now this plugin is the industry standard and should work great for you out of the box. If your site is new, then you can hover over the SEO menu in the sidebar, and go to XML sitemaps. 

You’ll want to make sure that this checkbox is checked and that you generate an XML sitemap which you can submit to search engines like Google and Bing. and that’s the on-page optimization tips you should use for every single piece of content you create.

You can create a new piece of content as a post or a page. And by default, posts are used for your blog. And pages, on the other hand, are more commonly used for static pages that don’t really change often like your About Us page, Contact page, or Services pages.

5. Post SEO Set-up


So let’s create a post. SEO have 4 main parts here, The title, URL, body of the content, and your meta tags. And we’ll tackle these in this order. This part here is where you set a title for your post. 

In general, the title that you enter here will act as your H1 tag from an on-page SEO standpoint. Now, the main goal of the title is to entice visitors to click through to your article, while accurately describing what the content on the page is about. So you want to create something that’s “click-worthy” and not “clickbait.”

The second basic tip is to include your primary keyword phrase in your title. It means your targeted keyword must use in the post title to rank in Google.

Next is the body. Since we’re talking specifically about WordPress SEO, I want to focus on the editor, rather than on-page ranking factors. Now, your editor will likely look different from mine, since themes and plugins can add additional features. 

The first drop-down is very important because it includes text formatting styles. So you can include H2s, H3s, and other subheadings into your post with the click.

So in this case, our H1 is the title that we already set up here and an H2 would be a sub-heading, which is a brand line. And if we wanted to include specific models, then we can create an H3. Using headings helps create a structure, which can help Google better understand your content, and also improves readability for your users.

The other two SEO relevant features are hyperlinks and images. To create a hyperlink, select the text you want to create a link from, then click on the link icon, and enter in the URL you want to link. The selected text will then act as what we call anchor text. You can click on the gear icon to get more options. 

I highly recommend selecting the “Open link in a new tab” checkbox, which will do exactly what it says when a visitor clicks the link. This is good for keeping visitors on your site, while still being able to direct them to helpful resources.

6. Images SEO Set-up


And the final feature in here is the “Add Media” button. This is used to insert images into your post. You can just drag and drop your photos in here, and WordPress will upload it to your server. 

After it’s done uploading, I highly recommend filling in the “Alt Text.” And this is good to add for a few reasons. First, it adds more context to the page, telling Google what the image is about and it may be helpful for ranking your images in Google Images. 

Second, it’s helpful for people who are using screen readers, like the visually impaired. And third, if your image breaks, then the alternative text will show to replace the broken image.

Alright, let’s move on to the Yoast SEO settings. Since we installed the plugin, you’ll have a few fields that you can enter in at the bottom of the post or page. The first part is the title tag. This is the part that would show up in Google’s search results, as well as in the browser tab. 

So rather than leaving it as the default, I recommend pasting your title in here. You’ll notice that it’s highlighted in red, which tells us that our title tag is too long. 

So, we can actually alter this without changing the title of the actual article, or your H1 tag. So, let’s remove the word “optimal,” click out of the textbox, and it looks like we’re good to go. Now, we’ll want to write a meta description. And this part is meant to support your title and further entice someone to click through. 

Generally, I don’t bother with the focus keyword, as it doesn’t do anything aside from giving you some “SEO scores” from Yoast.

So feel free to add it if you’d like, but know that it doesn’t make a difference for your actual search engine optimization efforts. After you’ve finished your post, you can publish it and have an “SEO friendly” post done without touching a line of code.

Finally, you set-up your WordPress blog SEO friendly by simple techniques and that’s why WordPress is the favourite platform for many bloggers, because it makes on-page SEO simple and best!

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