If you are a WordPress blogger, you need to regularly work on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to improve your search ranking and stay ahead in the competition. This Guide or Tutorial will help you to save time and server as a checklist to get a better search ranking for your niche.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is used to improve your result on search engine like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc and get quality natural or organic traffic. The better your SEO, more chances are that you will get more traffic to your WordPress blog.
According to a research, for all major blog; 40 percent of the traffic comes from search engine.
Caution - Please take a backup of your entire WordPress blog before implementing any of the steps below. I use Updraftplus to take backup of my WordPress blog. Please read the review here.
Use Search Friendly Post URL
Search engines love URL which is easy to index and make some sense. Most of us are already aware of it; but if not, do it today.
See for example two URL:
So as you can see the second URL makes more sense and Google or other search engines are likely to give it a better page ranking. Let's see how it is done in WordPress setting.
Go to settings-->permalinks and update setting as below:
Robots.txt is a way to tell the search engine about how they will crawl your blog. You can mention types of file which are allowed to crawl. You also mention sitemap of your blog here.
Here is a typical look of Robots.txt.
You can use a WordPress plugin to generate Robots.txt or create it manually and upload to root folder of your WordPress blog (public_html folder).
Search engine ranks you better if you have https enabled on your WordPress blog.Https means SSL is enabled on your blog and all the data goes from client to server is encrypted and an intruder cannot see it.
You need to buy https separately along with hosting. Nowadays it is much cheaper. Have a look at Bigrock https price in India.
Update - From October 2017, Google Chrome will show an alert message on the browser if your blog is http. Sooner or later all blog has to be migrated on https. You can read this blog for more information.
Create sitemaps for your WordPress blog
This is very important to create your sitemap. You can either create it manually or use a plugin.
A sitemap is an index of all your pages, post and another part of the blog. This is a way to indicate Google and other search engines that your page is worth to be indexed and has quality.
Please note just because you create sitemap does not mean Google will index your page, it is just a clue for the search engine.
Work on Your Blog's Speed
Your blog's speed determines your page ranking in search engine. It also gives a better user experience. This is not a one time things and you need to regularly work on your blog to make it better.
- Reduce Number of plugins - Nowadays for everything we have a WordPress plugin. My suggestion is never overuse it. Lok for something where more than one feature bundle in a single plugin. Every new plugin increases page load.
- Select better Web hosting - A better web hosting surely bring up your blog's speed. Choose a reliable web hosting which has a better reputation. My personal recommendation use either Bigrock, Bluehost or Hostgator.
- Use Cache plugin - You can use various cache plugin to speed up delivery of your pages. They store the static content of your site at browser make it load quicker next time. You can also use CDN(like MAXCDN) to quickly deliver your blog throughout the world.
- Use paid themes - Always stick to the paid theme to make sure your blog is secure and loads quickly. Free theme is buggy and sluggish and eat up resources. They always load slowly.
Get rid of broken links
Google hates broken links. More broken links can decrease your page ranking. As your blogs grow, there are more chances of the broken link. You should work on it on daily or weekly basis. You can either do it manually or install some plugin to do it.
Create mobile friendly pages
Make sure your blog pages are mobile friendly. Google and other search engine rank you better if you pages are responsive and open well on mobile devices. Either create AMP (Accelerated mobile Pages) or choose a paid theme like Studiopress or Thrive theme which is inbuilt responsive or mobile friendly.
Go for paid WordPress Themes
If you are a serious blogger, get rid of free theme and as soon as possible and switch to paid themes to get reliable, secure, faster, attractive, and customize the blog.
Read this post to understand why you should switch to paid theme?
Structure your Blog
It is always a good idea to structure your blog and search engine likes it. Create a static home page like http://yourblog.com and then create your blog page in subdomain like http://yourblog.com/blog
Manage your blog's comments
Comments are very important part of your blog. Helpful comment can increase SEO and page ranking of your blog. But most of the time comments invite unwanted spam. So make sure your moderate comments on your blog and remove any spam messages.
As a blogger, it is your responsibility to make sure your content is unique. Duplication can happen within or outside your blog. Never copy the content of your post and use it in another post. It may reduce your page ranking as Google hates duplicate content.
Outside duplication happens when someone copies your content. Make sure your followup with other website owners. Make sure they remove your content.
Optimize Content and Keyword
This is very important part of SEO, so I saved it for the last. You have to make sure you find keyword related to your post.
There are two stages, you first find the keyword and then make sure you include it in the post.There are various tools available to find keyword and long tail keyword for your post.
One best way to find related keyword for your post is to look at bottom Google search result.
The other way to optimize content is on page optimization. This is the place where you select your post headline, keyword and description as search engine see it.
The two best WordPress plugin available in the market to do this is All in SEO and Yoast SEO. You can choose either one of them.
Please see the screenshot from All in SEO plugin to enhance yours on page SEO.
Over to You
I hope above tips help you to kickstart SEO plan for your blog. SEO is in itself a big topic and it takes time to build and understand. You should work on it regularly.
Above tips will help you to bring a good reputation of your blog with the search engine and get your blog to better page ranking without spending any money.
As usual, I will be happy to help with any question you have. Please do not forget to share and comment on this post.