I have created this WordPress SEO Tutorial 2024 for you to Optimize Your WordPress Site. If you have a WordPress website, you need to be doing WordPress SEO now to grow your traffic. WordPress SEO is just search engine optimization for your WordPress website.
That just means that there are a few items that you need to check in your WordPress dashboard to make sure that you’re optimizing for search engines. I’ll show you where those are and what to do with them. Now, if you’re more experienced with WordPress SEO, let us know in the comments below to help new beginners out. What do you think is the most important step for WordPress SEO?
14 WordPress SEO best practices
WordPress SEO best practices mean the best strategies, tips and tricks to do WordPress SEO for your website and blog to attract good organic traffic from SERPs. let’s dig into some WordPress SEO best practices. If you’re up to this point and you’ve already done some of the things I’ve talked about Seo from scratch, then you’re already well ahead of many other bloggers and website owners out there. Let’s dig into a couple of other things.
1. Visibility settings
One of the first things you want to do is check your site’s visibility setting. WordPress comes with a built-in option that lets you hide your website from search engines. This is perfect if you’re just starting to set up your website. You don’t want search engines to start showing your site to the public if it’s not quite done. But sometimes you might forget to uncheck this. So let’s go in and make sure that this is not checked.
From your WordPress dashboard, head over to Settings. Let’s go to Reading. Scroll all the way down until you see Search Engine Visibility.
You want to make sure that this is not checked. If it is checked, go ahead and uncheck it. Save changes and I’ll walk you through how you can fix this issue if you have that done.
The next step is you want to use an SEO-friendly URL structure in WordPress. In other words, you want your website address whenever you’re writing your blog post. You’d be informative if people knew what this is about rather than some jumbled numbers in the area. So for instance, you know better that this is about a reading progress bar in WordPress posts versus some P equals one hundred and ninety-eight or something like that.
So this setting in WordPress is called the Permalink. And you want to make sure that that is set up in a better way. You can check on this by going to your WordPress dashboard. You can go under Settings. We’re looking for Permalink.
So from here, you have several that you can choose from. If you’ve just installed WordPress, a lot of times the plain one is what’s selected and that is really not great for SEO. That’s why we recommend at least doing the post name.
The post name is great because it brings in the title of your post. Just like what I showed you in the Above example where is the title in my URL slug and people know what that is about better than anything else. Once you select a new one, then come down and make sure you save changes.
Now a huge note with this. If you’re just getting started and you don’t have a whole lot of blog posts, this is perfect for you to do. If though you’ve had your website set up for say longer than six months, you have traffic coming to your website, you really don’t want to change the Permalink structure unless you have a full-blown process in place on how you’re going to update that.
Because once you update these, that basically is the equivalent of telling Google that all those old pages are missing or gone and now you have all these new pages that you need to rank. So we don’t recommend you doing this if you already have a website that has been running for a while. With that, you would want to hire an SEO expert to help you change that Permalink structure.
Here you must see what Common SEO mistakes made by beginners that you need to know.
2. Go For WWW vs no-WWW
The next thing you want to decide is whether are you going to show www or no www on your WordPress site. See, Google, see www and non-www as two separate websites and so you want to make sure that you’re doing one or the other. Otherwise, you’re going to be competing with yourself and you don’t want to do that.
You can check it out really quickly in setting the preference. If we go to settings again, let’s go to general and from here you can choose your web address.
From here you want to set up your WordPress address URL and your site address. You want both of those to be the same. If you have www in both of those, then it will be good to go. Now, despite what anybody might say, there’s no advantage to having one or the other for SEO purposes.
We won’t get into all the details of that, but I’ll have a link in the description below where we talk about the www versus non-www, which is better for SEO. Just know that in Google’s eyes, there’s no difference in it. The next thing you want to look at is having the best WordPress SEO plugin for your site.
3. Best SEO plugin
One of the best things about WordPress is the fact that you can add a plugin for everything that you need and SEO is no exception to that. So there are several SEO plugins out there and you want to think about which one you want to install.
All the SEO plugin will do is it’s like an SEO assistant for you on your website. It gives you a status of how your posts are doing, how your titles are looking, your meta description, and all these technical things, but it just reminds you of what you need to do before you publish a post.
And over the years, it’s really come down to choosing between two, All-in-One SEO or Yoast SEO. And we’ve covered both of them all throughout the years on this. And the interesting thing is All-in-One SEO was the original WordPress SEO plugin and it’s used on more than three million websites. And so for this whole tutorial, we’ll be using All-in-One SEO when we’re showcasing some of the things that you can do to help with your WordPress SEO.
This leads me to my next tip where you want to add an XML sitemap in WordPress.
4. XML sitemaps
An XML sitemap is simply giving a checklist to the search engines to tell them what posts and pages you have on their site so that they know that they can crawl them and index them. When they crawl them, that means that they’ve seen what’s all on your site. And when they index them, that is the ranking you along with all the other posts and websites out there. And so you really want to make sure that you have an XML sitemap on your WordPress site.
The Google Developers Guideline Explained that:
“The first step to getting your site on Google is to be sure that Google can find it. The best way to do that is to submit a sitemap. A sitemap is a file on your site that tells search engines about new or changed pages on your site.”Google Developers Guideline
If you’re using All-in-One SEO, even the lite version, you can see the XML sitemap that it installs right from the dashboard. You can simply go to your dashboard, and scroll down until you see something under the quick link called sitemaps and we can manage that here.
From here, we can click on open sitemap so we can see it in action. And this is the sitemap for my website.
Not only is it great for you to have the sitemap, but I’ll also show you what you can do with the sitemap. We want to submit this to the Google Search Console. This is simply an area that Google has that is a free tool that lets you know how your website is doing on Google, the tips and tricks that they are telling you that you need to do to fix your site if there are any issues, or to also submit a sitemap so that they know what all they need to make sure that they’re crawling on your site. So let’s do that now.
Now How Do You Know if Your Site Content has been Indexed? let’s see this.
5. Google Search Console
To add your website to Google Search Console, you want to search for Google Search Console and it’s something like search.google.com and then search-console. Click on that and you can get started.
From here, you want to add a property. From here, you can choose how to verify it. We’re going to verify it by the URL prefix. We need to tab in our web address and click continue. There are a few different ways that you can verify ownership and the one that we want to do is HTML tag because we’ll add this tag to All-in-One SEO.
So we’ll expand the HTML tag, click copy to copy that bit of data and then let’s head back over to our dashboard. If you have All-in-One SEO installed, then you can go to your dashboard area. We want to go to general settings and let’s click on the webmaster tool in Google Search Console.
and paste that bit of code in. Let’s click Save Changes. Go back to Google Search Console to verify.
Once it is verified, we can go to the property and now we need to add our site map. So on the left, you should see something called site maps and this is where we want to add it. If you don’t still have the site map open, go back to your WordPress dashboard, go to site maps and open site map. You just need to grab the last part of the web address and we’ll copy it.
Go back to the site map and you see it already has the beginning of it. So we just need to paste that last bit and submit it. You should get a site map submitted successfully and you should be good to go.
It will take a few days to start to process the site maps and start to see any kind of traffic or any kind of data because there’s usually a two-day delay process in seeing results in the Google Search Console.
Now, once you do that, it will take a couple of days for you to start seeing really any traffic or any results, especially if it’s a brand-new site and you don’t have any traffic already. But just know that everything is already submitted and you’re good to go with that.
Then once you do have this, we recommend that you check your Google Search Console at least on a monthly basis. This will give you ideas of insights on just how your site is doing.
You can come over and look at performance and this will tell you what your website is ranking for, what kind of clicks you’re getting, the average position in Google search results and a lot more data so you can start to make data-driven decisions about your website to improve the search rankings of it.
The next tip I want to talk about is optimizing your blog post
6. Optimize posts for SEO
for SEO. So a lot of times beginners, they’ll make the mistake of just thinking that installing and activating an SEO plugin, that’s all that you’re going to need. SEO is just going to start working on its own. It’s an ongoing process and you just have to keep up with it to get the most results of it.
On top of that, SEO plugins, allow you to add the title, the description and the focus keyword of every blog post on the page and it’ll also show you a preview of what the user will see when they look at your site. So we recommend that you optimize the title and the description to get maximum clicks on your site. I’ll show you how you can do this again with all-in-one SEO.
If you go to any of your blog posts that you’re writing when you’re in there, you’re editing, there’s a few things that you can see. First off, when you have it installed, you get your snippet preview. This gives you an idea of what it will look like. You can add your focus key phrase. So what are you looking to rank for in Google? Add that here.
If you have other phrases to do, add those and it’ll give you an idea. If you want to edit the above area, just click edit the snippet. It’ll bring up this whole area.
So this gives you a snippet preview. So that also means this is what it will look like in Google search results. So does the title look good? Do you like it? You can change this out. It is appending the dash in my blog. So if you don’t like that, you can remove that. It’s also pulling in the post excerpt.
You can see that it is a little bit too long, so it’s cutting it off. You can change that out and custom-fill that in with your own information if you want. You can also take a look and see what will it look like on mobile. Does it look okay? Do you think that your viewers would think that it looks good? Closing that out, we also can scroll down and see some other things.
So this is also the post title, and this is the meta description and key phrase. Everything that you want to look at to make sure it looks good. If you’re going to share this on social, this will give you an idea of what will it look like when you share it to, say, Facebook. This is the Facebook preview. Same thing with Twitter. It gives you a Twitter preview.
A lot of things that you can do to make sure, once you’ve written your blog post, how it’s going to look and how it’s going to perform in search engines.
And if you’re not quite sure what focus keywords you need to use or the key phrases or good titles, I’ve gone through the whole thing on optimizing your blog post for SEO with on-page SEO. You can follow those posts to get up and running on on-page SEO. It has a little bit more detail on what to do in each blog post.
7. SEO research: Keyword research for your website
But the next thing we want to talk about is doing keyword research for your website. Keyword research is crucial to having a successful blog. A lot of times you’ll feel like you’re shooting in the dark on what is the best thing or what was the best topic to talk about.
The great thing is you don’t need to do that. There’s real data out there that you can find what people are actually looking for. This is where keyword research and the techniques that creators and experts use to make sure that they’re writing what people actually are looking for.
There are a ton of keyword research tools out there, both free and paid, that you can use. We recommend using SEMrush. It helps you discover keywords and even finds out the keywords that your competitors are ranking for. If you want to have kind of a quick guide on something to use, you can use something like Answer the Public. which will do a smaller version. And there are a few queries that you can use for free. SEMrush has some free capabilities and a free trial as well.
8. Properly using your categories and tags
You want to properly use your categories and tags in WordPress. WordPress allows you to sort your blog posts into categories and tags. And this will make it super easy for you to manage your content by topic. So you know what all have you written about. You can also help your users find the content that they’re looking for by using the categories and tags. It’s also categories that can be considered.
The category is like a chapter in a book. These are the bigger topics that you want to talk about. The tags are more like when you look at the back of the book and you look through the index. When something has been mentioned anywhere, that’s also where you would use a tag.
So by setting this up properly, you can just make it really easy for users to browse your website. See what’s important on your website. Is it what they’re looking for? And then they can find it as well. And then you can also add some categories if you want specifically to your menu structure. So you could do that as well.
9. Making internal linking a daily habit
The next thing you want to do is you want to make sure that you’re making internal linking a daily habit. So when you are going through and writing blog posts, you want to make sure that you’re highlighting areas that link to other blog posts on your site and that you’re adding a link to that. You can just go in there and start typing it in. Find the relevant blog posts that you’re talking about. Click on it and then add the link.
This is perfect for helping Google know what your website is about. It also lets them know what all the other pages they can crawl on your site. But it’s also helpful for readers on your site. If they see something and they link to something more interesting that they’re reading about, then that helps them as well.
It should be one of the last things that you do when you’re writing your blog post. So when you write the blog post, make sure that in that blog post, you have at least one to three initial interlinks to previous blog posts. And then you’ll also want to, after you publish that blog post, go to previous blog posts and add a link to that new blog post.
Very helpful in doing this interlinking to help boost your page views, increase the time that users spend on your site, and then ultimately will improve the SEO for individual blog posts and pages on your site. Very crucial thing. And you can even set it up like a game where you’re setting yourself a timer. How many can you get through each day or each week? Do that for your site.
10. Optimize WordPress comments
Do you have comments on your site? You can optimize WordPress comments because they’re a strong indicator of user engagement on your website. Engaged users just mean more links back to your site. You get more traffic and improved SEO. But you need to make sure that the comments are real and not spam. Spammers will submit comments with bad links, horrible grammar, and everything that will affect and ruin your search rankings if you’re not careful.
That’s why we’ll recommend that you only want to start using comments with a Kismet plugin. Kismet is just an anti-spam plugin that does a lot of the heavy lifting for you so you don’t see a lot of the spam even come into your site.
If you’re already getting a lot of comments, then that’s great. That means that you have community engagement and user interaction on your site, which is great. That means you have a following and a community.
Too many comments on a post can make it load slower, which will also affect your search engine rankings slightly. There is a slight speed effect on search engine rankings. One of the ways to fix that is to what they call paginate your comments, which just means adding some comments on the page with the next page on there.
There’s a quick way that you can paginate your comments from your dashboard. You simply want to go to settings, go to discussion,
and you’ll want to scroll down until you see other comment settings.
From here, you can choose to break comments into pages with twenty top-level comments per page. You can choose that here and the last page is displayed. By default, you can choose to do last or first. Once you set that up, click that and then scroll all the way down. Make sure you save changes. Now you paginated your comments so it won’t slow down your site as much.
11. NoFollow links
The next thing I want to talk about is how to nofollow external links in WordPress. As I talked about earlier, links are really important to your site. We have internal links. Those are the ones that you have control over.
First of all, let’s see what Google is saying about No follow links:
“All the link attributes—sponsored, ugc, and nofollow—are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search. We’ll use these hints—along with other signals—as a way to better understand how to appropriately analyze and use links within our systems.”
You can follow my other post about link building for 2024 in which I have walked you through complete steps and techniques to get the best backlinks from other websites.
You also have external links. These are links that you point out to other websites. These you also have control over. They also let search engines decide which pages are important. When you link to a website, you’re passing some of your site’s SEO authority, what they call link juice or SEO score. You are passing that on to another website when you’re linking out. It’s like you’re giving them a little bit of a nod.
For good search rankings, you need to make sure that you’re retaining most of that link juice from the other websites that you’re giving away. You can add a nofollow attribute to all your external links. Links to websites that you don’t own. You can instruct search engines not to follow those links so they won’t click on that link and go follow that. Then that will help save link juice for you.
<a href="https://www.example.com"> This is a follow link </a>
This is what a normal external link will look like. You have the code, the website address, the title of the website or the link, the anchor text of the website. That’s what it will look like. You want to add nofollow attribute and it will look more like this when you do it.
<a href="https://www.example.com">rel="nofollow">This is a nofollow link </a>
You want to do rel nofollow in all of the things. That’s kind of clunky to go in and do that. How do you even do that? By default, WordPress won’t come with the option to make link nofollow. If you’re using the All-in-One SEO plugin, then you can do that quite easily.
Let me show you how you nofollow your link. I’m going to go into my post. Open up one of the posts that I’ve been working on. We have a link here.
Now because I have All-in-One SEO installed, I have a nofollow link. You also have sponsored links and UGC or user-generated content links. What we want to do is just click nofollow here and then it will do that. Now it’s nofollow. Now when I go to the code editor, I see it’s automatically added the nofollow here for me.
12. Full posts vs summaries or excerpts
The next one is full post versus summaries or excerpts. A lot of times when you first set up WordPress, you might have a blog where basically all of your blog posts show up on the first page.
You see this. This is my home page, but this seems to be showing a full post on all of them. That is by default. It can be considered duplicate content because I have it here. Then I also have this content on this page. Then it can be negative against your search engines. They might find duplicate content and it can negatively affect your website. If you’re showing full articles everywhere, it’s going to also affect your page view.
That’s okay. There’s a very quick and easy way to fix that. We can head back over to our dashboard. We want to go to settings, and reading, and we want to select a different area.
We have our latest post. For each post, it says show full text. We want to say no. Let’s show the excerpt of that. It’ll just show a snippet of the content with a read-more at the end.
13. Speed and performance
Next, let’s talk about optimizing your site’s speed and performance. This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a couple of the items that we think are more important for you. First, improve your website speed. You should have a fast WordPress hosting provider like SiteGround or Bluehost.
After that, you need to install a caching plugin, something like WP Rocket that handles a lot of the technical aspects of optimizing your website for you by just installing it and activating it. The next thing you want to do is look at something like optimizing images in WordPress for SEO. If you have an image-heavy website, you really need to look at ways to reduce the size of those images.
One of the biggest things you can do is scale the images down to the size that is acceptable for your theme. We cover details on this on optimizing images for the web. You can find it here, but it’s its own beast that you want to deal with.
Keeping your images as small and compact as you can will really help to speed up your site. You also want to make sure when you’re uploading the images that you’re using descriptive titles in the file name. When you’re uploading it, it’s not just imgone.jpg. It’s actually describing what that image is about that helps.
When it uploads, you can also make sure that you add alt tags and descriptive titles with your images. That will also help out with SEO. If you’re a photographer or if you just add a ton of images to your site, then we would recommend using something like EnviroGallery. It is a plugin and in speed tests that we have done, we found that it’s the fastest gallery plugin out there.
14. Security and safety
Now let’s talk about security and safety for your WordPress website. Each week, Google blacklists around twenty, zero websites for malware and around fifty-zero for phishing. And a lot of times these aren’t done because you did anything yourself.
Because somebody has hacked into your site and installed this stuff on your site. And then you won’t know until Google has, you know, taken your site off of the internet. So it means that the security of your WordPress site is crucial for good rankings. And it also is crucial for your visitors. You don’t want them to install malware just by visiting your site as well.
The good news is you don’t have to do any of this yourself. We use WPBeginner Security to protect our website against attacks. And that’s also why we recommend this service. You can check out a case study of how they helped us block four hundred and fifty, zero WordPress attacks in three months as well.
The next thing you want to do is you want to start using SSL slash HTTPS. That just means when you come up to your website, you see a little padlock here.
That is crucial to let Google and people who are browsing your site know that it is secure. That means what the person is seeing on their browser, they’re connecting to your website securely and nobody else is seeing what is going on with that.
The technology which is Secure Socket Layer, it’s a technology that encrypts the connection between the user’s browser and your server. So everything is private between you and that person. Plus it’s a requirement if you’re running an e-commerce store. So if you’re setting up a store, you definitely want to make sure that you have installed an SSL.
By default, most of web hosting companies like SiteGround or Bluehost, automatically come with a free SSL certificate. I’ve also done a full detailed post on how to install SSL for your site. You can check that out.
And if you want a premium wildcard SSL certificate, then just a regular one with security warnings and things, then we would recommend going through domain.com to get your SSL certificate.
Some of the premium ones, come with security warranties up to say $one.seventy-five million in security warranty. You also get a trust logo site seal to display on your site for added credibility. And like I said, those are more for if you’re setting up an e-commerce store.
And now we’ve covered a lot. There are also some best plugins and tools that you want to use on your site. Ziad and I cover the best tools, WordPress SEO plugins, and tools that you should use.
Now, if you want to get started with an SEO plugin that makes a lot of these tasks easier, follow my other post next as I walk you through step by step on how to install and configure all-in-one SEO for your WordPress website.
How to Optimize Your WordPress Site 2024
There are several best practices and strategies to follow to optimize your WordPress site that help you improve your page speed and structure. Here are some tips from experts you need to know:
First of all, you need to find the best quality Hosting Service that offers fast speeds and reliable customer support. You must update your PHP to the newest version which help you to increase your website performance.
Choose a High-Quality WordPress Theme to speed up your WordPress website and make your pages load faster.
Use Caching plugins to Optimize Your Images and reduce the size of your files before adding them to your site
Keep plugins and themes up to date, and only install necessary plugins and Deactivate Any Plugins You’re Not Using
Minimize Third-Party Scripts Use fewer external scripts and optimize your JavasScript.
Check your site’s visibility settings and use an SEO-friendly URL structure
Finally, Create a content plan and use well-researched keywords for on-page SEO.
What are WordPress SEO best practices for 2024?
There are many WordPress SEO best practices that you can follow to improve your website’s ranking and increase your site’s organic search visibility in 2024. Here are some of the best practices that I found from my search results that will help you rank your blog website:
Provide the Best quality and helpful content that completes the user intent because Google is looking for website pages that contain high-quality, relevant information about the searcher’s query term. Make sure to use SEO-Ready WordPress Themes and Plugins that Improve your WordPress SEO.
Do not use plagiarized or duplicate content on your website that affects your website ranking. Finally, Keyword research & keyword targeting best practices that you must follow in 2024 because ranking a new website on the first page of Google is very hard today.
How do I start SEO on my WordPress site in 2024?
SEO is a crucial aspect of any website and business, and WordPress offers a variety of opportunities to optimize your website for search engines. WordPress SEO improves a website’s rankings on Google and other search engines and attracts more organic traffic. There are many key measures to take to optimize your posts and pages to boost & increase website rankings and improve WordPress SEO in 2024. Some of them are as under:
1. Find and Make use of Semantic Keywords and Short-tail keywords.
2. Customize your meta title and description and write a Catchy Title Using Sentiment Analysis
3. Adding Optimized Media files like Images, infographics and Videos as well as Use Focus Keyword in Images Alt attribute.
4. Make the Most of Your Social Media Presence to get social signals.
5. Help users and search engines by creating WordPress Tags and Categories as well as high-quality, SEO-friendly, and informational content that can improve a website’s authority and increase rankings on Google and other search engines.
What is the WordPress SEO checklist for beginners in 2024?
Creating organic fresh, high-quality, and SEO-friendly content that ranks on Google is also beneficial for the website. Writing an Original, In-depth and well-researched piece of content is the best SEO checklist for beginners in 2024 to become a successful blogger.