Master WordPress SEO: Easy Steps for Beginners

Now that you’ve built a solid WordPress website, you need to know how to drive traffic to it.

While there are tons of digital marketing strategies to help you maximize the number of visitors, one of the most reliable options is search engine optimization (SEO).

Fortunately, WordPress SEO techniques are easy to master as long as you understand the fundamentals.

So, with that in mind, let’s break down what it takes to optimize your new site from the ground up.

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Essential WordPress SEO Techniques

Search engine optimization encompasses a wide array of tactics and details, so it can all feel a bit overwhelming at first.

One of the best ways to ensure you’re doing everything correctly is to look at the different types of strategies you can implement and focus on one at a time.

There are four primary categories to pay attention to, so let’s break them down.

On-Page Optimization

As the name suggests, this category refers to everything you can do on your site pages. 

On-page optimization involves looking at every aspect of the page and ensuring it’s optimized for your target keyword.

The core components of this category include:

  • Meta Title
  • Meta Description
  • Title Tag
  • Internal and External Linking
  • Image Alt Tags
  • Headers and Writing Structure
  • Optimized Page Content
  • Site Speed

Fortunately, you can control each of these details, so it’s only a matter of going through each piece and verifying whether it’s optimized or not.

Even better, you can use WordPress plugins to scan these elements for you (more on those later). In this case, you only have to address any flagged issues to optimize the page.

Off-Page Optimization

If on-page SEO refers to elements you can control on your website, then off-page SEO refers to elements outside your web pages.

While you don’t have direct control over these pieces, you can be proactive about building a stronger off-page optimization network.

The core components of this category include:

  • Backlinks – Not only do you link to external sites, but they link back to you. You can ask for backlinks or provide authoritative content that other websites will want to link to anyway.
  • Guest Posting – One of the best ways to ensure you get a backlink is to write a guest post for another site. They get high-quality content, and you get a stronger link network — it’s a win-win situation.
  • Social Media Posting – You should be promoting your brand on social media anyway, so you can embed links into your posts that will lead back to your site.
  • Reviews – More people trust online reviews than ever before, so you can encourage your customers to leave a review on a third-party website. Just make sure you don’t solicit positive reviews, as that’s illegal.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to the more technical elements of your site to ensure that they’re optimized for target keywords. Some of these components include:

  • Site Speed
  • Page Hierarchy
  • Sitemaps
  • Page Crawling
  • HTTPS vs. HTTP
  • Mobile-Friendliness
  • Page Index
  • Title and Description Character Lengths

Overall, you’ll want to use SEO tools to check your site and flag any problems so you can fix them. Running a site audit regularly can help prevent anything from causing major issues.

Content Optimization

The best WordPress website should have lots of high-quality content.

Blog posts, video clips, infographics, and podcasts are all fantastic ways to build buzz and drive traffic to your landing pages.

However, you also have to ensure that all of your content is optimized. Some pieces to pay attention to include:

  • Filenames – For example, instead of using an image file like 123456.jpg, you can incorporate a keyword or a short description of the image.
  • Descriptions and Captions – Make sure each photo and video has a caption or keyword-friendly description. Search engines pay attention to these elements and want to ensure they’re relevant to the page.
  • Alt Text – Alt text shows up if the image can’t render for whatever reason. This text can also be used for screen readers for those with vision impairments.
  • Closed Captioning and Transcriptions – If you’re posting videos or podcasts, make sure to provide transcriptions so they’re easier to index. Also, many people watch videos with the sound off, so captioning can make your content more appealing.

Best Practices for Creating High-Quality, Relevant Content for Better SEO Rankings

While you should pay attention to all the smaller details of your SEO strategy, what matters most is that you’re creating high-value content your audience wants to consume.

Without this element, there’s no reason for someone to visit your site (or come back later).

Also, you have to make sure that your content is relevant to specific keywords, so the page will rank higher in search results.

Fortunately, you can follow these best practices to ensure your content is as valuable and relevant as possible:

Do Keyword Research

Keyword research is fundamental for SEO, and it should help guide your content strategy.

You can pay attention to what people are searching for and address specific questions they may have.

From there, you can create blog posts, video clips, and even podcast episodes centered around these search queries.

For best results, focus on keywords with relatively low competition. As you build your audience, you can start working on high-volume keywords to increase your site traffic dramatically.

Keyword search screenshot - semrush

Understand Your Audience

Since relevancy is crucial for SEO, you have to know why someone will click on a link and read your article or watch your video.

If you don’t understand your audience, there’s no way you can create valuable content that they will enjoy (and share on social media).

The more research you can conduct on your target demographic, the easier it is to focus on pieces that will generate a lot of buzz.

Outsource Your Content Writing

Running a blog is a full-time job, especially if you’re trying to rank for competitive keywords.

Fortunately, WriterAccess can connect you with top-tier writers across all industries.

No matter how much content you’re trying to produce, you can get polished pieces delivered on time and to your exact specifications. Then, just watch the traffic roll in.

Common WordPress SEO Mistakes

Because there are so many elements to keep in mind, many businesses and web developers overlook some of them. Here is a rundown of the most common mistakes you may be making (and how to fix them).

Keyword Stuffing

Google punishes sites that put too many keywords in their content.

You can use SEO content tools to tell you what kind of keyword density works for the type of content you’re producing.

Also, don’t rely on one or two keywords — add related keyword strings for better relevancy.

Duplicate Content

As your site grows, you may wind up creating duplicate pages or posts.

Also, you might update a page without deleting the old one.

Running a site audit can show you this duplicate content so you can erase it from your sitemap.

Not Mobile-Friendly

Did you know that 6.8 billion people own smartphones?

More people are using mobile devices to browse websites and enjoy content, so you have to make sure your pages adapt to smaller screens or face penalization.

Fortunately, the best website builders come with mobile optimization built-in, so you don’t have to create two versions of your site.

Didn’t Submit a Sitemap to Google

One of the easiest ways to ensure Google indexes your site correctly is to submit a sitemap.

You also want to do this every time you make significant changes, so the web crawlers know what’s current and what’s outdated.

WordPress SEO Plugins and Tools

Instead of trying to manage all of your SEO needs manually, it’s much easier to utilize a WordPress SEO plugin.

These tools automatically scan your site and content to verify if it’s optimized enough or still needs work.

Here are our favorite options:

All-in-One SEO

If you want a simple interface and a plugin that will monitor every aspect of your SEO strategy, you can’t do much better than AIOSEO.

Over three million WordPress sites use this tool, and it can supercharge your rankings immediately.

Yoast SEO

When it comes to on-page SEO, Yoast SEO is one of the most widely used plugins.

It will scan your pages as you create them and notify you of any problems or red flags.

You can also update your SEO in real-time and see whether your page is optimized correctly or not.

HubSpot SEO

HubSpot is one of the most well-known digital marketing websites, and it offers a ton of resources to maximize your SEO strategy.

Even better, you can use this free plugin to get all of these insights on your pages, so you never miss a thing.

HubSpot can also show you how to outrank your competitors.

Improve Your WordPress SEO With Rock Content!

Not only can Rock Content help you host a WordPress site with Stage, but we can also help you populate your pages with valuable SEO-friendly content via WriterAccess.

No matter what stage your business is in, our tools can help get you to the next level faster than you may think.

Contact us today to find out more.

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