If you really want to take your WordPress SEO to the next level, then you probably want to think about using an SEO plugin like Yoast, which will give you access to all kinds of tools to help you optimise your pages and start getting results.
But if you’ve only just set up your website, or have been creating content for a while for little results, then there’s a chance that some basic WordPress SEO admin might have been missed when you first set your website up.
WordPress comes with a pretty decent amount of SEO tools to get you started.
So here are the main ones and how to use them.
If you’ve been building your WordPress website and haven’t wanted someone to accidentally stumble on it before it was finished, you might have used the built-in option that lets you discourage search engines from indexing your pages for search.
Even if you haven’t, there’s the possibility that you might have accidentally checked the wrong box during your set up, and are unwittingly telling Google to hide your website.
Which isn’t good.
You can check this on your WordPress dashboard by going to Settings and then under Reading you’ll see a box that says “Search Engine Visibility”.
If you’ve got this boxed ticked, it means you’re asking search engines to hide your page. They might not, but it’s increasing the chances you won’t get found.
Permalinks is the text that comes after the / on a subpage.
On our website, it’s the “seo agency” bit that comes after paramountdigital.co.uk/
It makes it easier for people to navigate your website, and for search engines to figure out what your pages are about.
Plus, it just looks better.
But if you don’t set your Permalinks properly, you’ll see a collection of random letters, numbers and character, that would look something like this:
paramountdigital.co.uk/8h493f349 (this isn’t taken from our actual website, just to be clear).
As you can guess, those random letters and numbers, have nothing to do with the content on the page, so you’re not getting any SEO value out of your URLs.
This is a common issue for new to website design and SEO, especially when they’ve built their own site.
But, it’s an easy change.
All you have to do is go to Settings on your WordPress dashboard, and then go to Permalink.
Under this you’ll see a set of different option:
- Day and name
- Month and name
- Post name
- Custom Structure
The easiest one to choose is Post name. This will simply add the page title to the end of the URL automatically so users and search engines can figure out what it’s about.
Nothing screams security warning than that “Site not Secure” attached to your URL at the top of a page.
It’s not just users who can be put off by this. How likely are you going to be to trust a website that says it’s not secure?
It’s also a red flag to search engines and could damage your search authority.
To get a https:// website, you’ll need to buy an SSL certificate (which you can usually do from the host you bought your domain from).
Choosing a www. Website or none www.
You can, if you want, choose between a www. website or a none www. website.
Now, technically, there’s no real advantage to using one the other – you choose whichever one you prefer.
But once you’ve chosen it, stick with it.
That’s because search engines see these two websites as just that, two separate websites.
So if you create content across both, you’re splitting the SEO authority of your content across two sites (and potentially producing duplicate content).
Get more advanced features with an SEO plugin
As we’ve said, you can get more SEO tools for your WordPress website if you download a dedicated SEO plugin.
Without doubt, the Yoast SEO plugin is the most widely used and it gives you access to things like:
- Building sitemaps
- Writing meta descriptions and site tags more easily
- SEO analysis of all your pages and blogs
There’s a free and paid for version of Yoast SEO so which one you choose will depend on your budget.
Or, there’s this run through the best SEO plugins for WordPress if you wanted some different option.
If you’re still not sure how you can improve the SEO performance of your WordPress website, you can get a free SEO audit from one of our SEO consultants.
You’ll get a full report about the performance of your website and some guidance on the steps you can take to start seeing more results, quicker.