WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems for individuals and businesses. People use it worldwide for many reasons, but especially for its ease of use with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) development.
This guide was made for helping anyone from any skill level, improve their SEO on a WordPress website.
To have your SEO basics covered, you should make sure your website has these 3 things first:
1. Has fast loading speed.
2. Is mobile-friendly (phone, tablet, desktop devices)
3. Is secure (SSL / HTTPS)
If you’ve read any of our business improvement blogs, you’ll know why SEO is so important for your business!
What makes WordPress stand out is its wide variety of free plugins and themes which can be installed to help run your website.
They can help in many ways and are great for people who lack coding and technical knowledge.
Let’s go over some of the best WordPress Themes for SEO.
It’s important to have a lightweight and mobile-responsive theme, so your website runs fast and smoothly on all devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile) like we mentioned in the first 3 factors.
Our Current 3 Best Recommended WordPress Themes Are:
1. Hello Elementor (WordPress)
Our first recommended theme is Hello Elementor.
If you’ve tried their page builder, give their theme a whirl. It’s lightweight, fast, and built with clean code.
Theme link: www.elementor.com/hello-theme/
2. Generate Theme (WordPress)
Generate Press is a lightweight theme that adds less than 10kb to your pages, has extremely fast loading times, is secure, and best of all, is SEO-Optimized.
Theme link: www.generatepress.com
3. ASTRA Theme (WordPress)
Astra is also very popular in the WordPress community and for good reason.
It’s extremely fast (loads in 0.5s with basic data), compatible with the most popular page builders, and comes with pre-built templates.
This makes it highly appealing for those with little time and/or experience.
Theme link: www.wpastra.com
What are some of the best WordPress Plugins that help with SEO?
When it comes to SEO for WordPress, these plugins and informational details can help you immeasurably!
SEO tasks are normally broken down into 3 areas which we will do with our these recommended plugins below.
1. Technical Optimizations
- Website Speed + How To Check Your Speed
- Website Security
- Website Errors
2. On-Page Optimizations
- Keywords & Tagging
3. Off-Page Optimizations
- Social Sharing
1. Technical SEO For WordPress
Your Website Speed
Having a speedy and efficient website is an absolute must if you want your business to land on the first search results page.
A few ways to get better speed results is to utilize caching, image compression, and to deal with lazy-loading plugins.
When a new visitor comes to your website, everything must be loaded (files, scripts, images, etc), and if you have a really large website, this can take some time.
To prevent extended wait times each visit, a cache plugin can be used to speed the load time!
The user will see a cached version of your site—a copy saved in the browser—instead of the live version, which will significantly decrease loading times.
Here’s a great analogy that helps explain the caching process from WP Rocket via Sideways Dictionary:
“It’s like your fridge. You don’t go to the store to buy milk for your coffee, go back later for some butter for your toast, then go back for some milk for your cereal. Your fridge is the cache and your store is the web server.”
• Image Compression
Having a lot of images on your website (especially high-resolution ones) will most definitely slow things down.
According to WordPress.org, large-high-quality images should be kept between 100kb – 600kb and smaller low-quality images around 30kb.
To keep the image file sizes low, we recommend you try the following plugins:
• Lazy Loading
Lazy loading helps your website run faster by loading the content as you scroll or move down, not all at once—preventing a major slowdown.
This can be great if you have a large e-commerce site or a website with lots of images. This way, the user (your customer) won’t be waiting around to get what they need.
This feature also prevents a higher bounce rate.
Bonus tip: some plugins mentioned above (such as Smush and WP Rocket) come with lazy loading included, as well as other features that will undoubtedly help you, too!
• Checking Your Website Speed
If you’ve done some optimizations to make your website faster, you’ll definitely want to check out how and if the speed has increased.
These tools below are not actually WordPress plugins, but they will give you a good idea of the overall performance of your site.
- Google Pagespeed Insights
- GT Metrix
- Website Speed Test
Bonus Tip: Every speed testing tool out there determines your score a little differently (one may score a little higher or lower over the other), so we suggest you run each test a couple of times and then take the average of all three.
• Website Errors
Now and then your website will have some small and common errors, and these will need to be addressed and corrected before your site’s health declines. Although not a WordPress plugin, Google Search Console is one of the most important tools you can have by your side.
Here is why Google Search Console is so important:
- You can view your websites Core Web Vitals
- See which pages are valid versus the pages that have errors
- See visitor search queries, impressions and clicks.
2. On-Page Optimization For WordPress
On-page Search Engine Optimization has many facets and can get a little complicated and confusing at times if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.
Some of the most important on-page SEO components (besides content) are setting up your title tags, heading tags, alt tags, internal +external linking and meta descriptions with industry best practices, keywords and user-friendliness.
To make sure you have these pieces dialled in, we recommend using 1 or 2 of the following plugins:
These plugins all have features that can help direct you to have your on-page SEO setup perfectly!
They let you know if your titles are too long or too short, if you have a missing meta description or alt tag, and whether you’re using enough keywords.
3. Off-Page Optimizations For WordPress
Having features on your website which allow visitors to share pieces of your content on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest can have some significant benefits.
Having a lot of social shares among these platforms for a piece of content can let users and other blog writers know that there is something good there.
With more shares comes the possibility of getting more backlinks which will help your site gain domain authority.
Here are the best social sharing plugins to try
For more digital marketing and SEO information be sure to check out the Flinnwest Solutions business blog.