In this blog, I will share my experience with optimizing your WordPress blog for SEO.
Let’s first discuss, what could be the options to build your website.
It is either:
- CMS – WordPress, Wix, Joomla, Hubspot, etc.
To be frank, building custom website requires coding skills, much more time and effort.
These days, you can easily avoid it by using CMS.
About 10-15 years ago CMS were quite buggy and slow – and therefore it had a direct result in bad performing SEO. But, today all major CMS reached high standards in security, page speed, customization options, etc. So, it is a no-brainer, especially if you have limited resources and/or time.
If you are choosing between other CMS, e.g. Wix or Joomla, I would definitely recommend WordPress.
WordPress is the most popular CMS, which is used by likes of CNN or TechCrunch.
There are also known SEO issues with Wix, plus WordPress offers much more:
It is also, in my subjective opinion, the best choice both for starting bloggers and startup/corporate sites, who want to host a blog.
Let’s proceed to WordPress SEO tips. You can get to know more SEO techniques with this ultimate guide to SEO.
By this step, I guess you already have you brand named and domain registered. So, now it’s time to build something and show your blog/product to the world. Yay!
Choose a Good Hosting
High quality hosting can be expensive, but if you are serious about your online business, you should accept that.
Good hosting can provide you with:
- SSL certificates
- One-click WordPress install
- Fast website
- CDN (content delivery network)
- Caching (you won’t need to install additional caching plugins)
- Customer support
- Regular backups
Bottom line is, without good hosting, you will need to take care of all these things yourself.
I would suggest starting with Bluehost – it is a good combination of quality and price (~$100-150 per year).
If your site grows – go with WPEngine (starting from $35 per month) or Kinsta.
Obviously, choice of WordPress hosting depends on your business – if it is e-commerce, I would recommend going with expensive hosting from a start. But, if your main product (e.g. B2B project management software) is hosted on subdomain and website works only for marketing – you don’t need super expensive hosting plan.
Similarly, as with hosting, good quality and maybe also expensive theme is also a must have.
You can start and test ideas with free themes.
But, same as with hosting good WordPress theme can make website faster, more secure, easy to build and maintain, with nicer UX & UI. All these things matter for WordPress SEO.
Some good themes and theme builders are Dive, Impreza, Genesis Framework (this one is more advanced).
Common question is how much time should you spend on designing your blog.
In all fairness, design doesn’t matter that much for SEO. Both for Google crawlers and readers.
Of course, website should be easy to understand and navigate, with good UX, UI, but there is no point to spend much money or months on some advanced branding, styles, sliders, etc.
There are countless examples of sites, which perform really well in Google, with hundreds of thousands, even millions of monthly visitors – with a pretty poor or simple design. Why? Because your content quality is what matters most.
You can’t replace poor content with great design. That doesn’t work in SEO.
What is important, is that your site looks great on mobile.
In spring 2019 Google enabled mobile first indexing, which basically means, that mobile version of your site is prioritized over desktop one. It is a big deal, so if your site is not accessible for Google on mobile – it will hardly appear in any search results.
After installing WordPress theme, it is time to activate required plugins.
Remember, after bad theme, plugins is the main factor for slowing down your website and making it insecure.
- Only install well-maintained, well-known plugins with good reviews.
- Try to not go over 20-30 plugins (only use most required plugins) – otherwise, your site will be slowed down massively.
- Regularly update your plugins.
- Deactivate or delete plugins you don’t use.
With Yoast plugin, you can bulk edit meta tags, create sitemap, edit robots.txt, add focus keywords to blogs, check on-page SEO and readability for each blog. I really like two last features – it simplifies on-page SEO so much.
To make your site faster, you need to optimize your images.
Otherwise, your page speed and therefore Google rankings might struggle.
Good thing, there are already a lot of plugins that can help you with image optimization in WP, my favorite ones are WP Smush, Tinify.
With Tinify, you can optimize, compress up to 500 images per month for free. For beginner bloggers and small sites, it is totally enough.
Caching is also a great way to speed up your site.
Again, fast website is huge ranking factor for Google.
You can use either WordPress plugins: WP Rocket, W3 Total Cache, etc.
Or you can have built in caching solutions with your hosting.
Third way to get caching is by using Cloudflare, where you can have a lot of options for free.
What is AMP, you might ask.
Well, on some of my sites, traffic to AMP pages is ~80% of all traffic.
Accelerated Mobile Pages – is a Google technology, when your pages are hosted on Google server, therefore they are lightning fast.
And Google displays them in mobile search and also Google Discover.
There you have it.
After going through this technical WordPress setup, it is time to start keyword research, writing content and active link building. But, that is another topic
Andrii Gor – SEO fanatic with 10+ years of experience. He focuses on keyword research, rank tracking and tech SEO hacks. Check out his SEO blog – Online Hikes and an inspirational site for entrepreneurs – Museuly.