WordPress is an SEO-friendly CMS.
Have you ever come across this notion? What does it mean? Does it mean that you launch a WordPress website and it instantly occupies the top rank on the SERP and all the web traffic rushes in?
Nope! Let’s burst the bubble today. WordPress alone cannot help you obtain a high rank in Google. It’s just another CMS platform.
So, does it mean that the familiar notion is complete nonsense? Na-da! The reality is, WordPress makes it real simple to execute SEO best practices. Even if you are a beginner to SEO, you can optimize your WordPress site easily. Further, WordPress is a simple tool. So if you are a beginner to web development, try this. You can launch a WordPress website without breaking a sweat if you follow the right steps.
Today, we will discuss WordPress website development in detail. We will mention how to craft a WordPress website and optimize it for the search engine.
Ready for some cool info? Great, let’s start!
Step by Step Guide to an SEO-Friendly WordPress Website Development
- Determine a Name
Selecting a good domain name is the very first step to getting started with your website. WordPress allows you to get a free URL with wordpress.org. This is ideal for the bloggers as they can easily set the domain without breaking a sweat.
However, for businesses or ecommerce sites, it’s important to have their own domain names. Here are a few things to bear in mind:
- You can use a keyword in your domain name. According to a study by Search Engine Watch, about 63% of the sites that possess a keyword in the domain name have earned the top ranking. However, don’t jam too many keywords and make the name look spammy. Also, if you are more into brand building, you may skip the keyword in favour of including just the brand name.
- It’s better to stick to .com instead of using random domain extensions like .clothes or .coke! You can also use .net or .in or .org.
- Don’t break a long name. We understand your concern – why not use hyphens in between multiple words to enhance readability! But that’s not a common (or recommended) practice in website development. In fact, a hyphenated URL looks spammy and unnecessarily lengthy.
- Select a Host
All the files in your website will be stored in the web host. Whenever someone visits your website, the host will serve the site to the visitors. Three of the reputed WordPress hosts include Bluehost, SiteGround, and HostGator. While picking a website host, make sure that it can provide adequate WordPress support and keep your website available at all times.
- HTTPS Security
With cybercrime rapidly increasing, the green padlock in the URL assures web traffic to securely browse the site and evokes a positive impression about a brand. Make sure to purchase an SSL certificate. Remember, website security is one of the major factors for SEO ranking.
- Choose a Theme
Here comes the interesting part – selecting a theme for your WordPress website. Gone are the days when WordPress themes meant only the classic, monochrome shades with nominal features. WordPress has come a long way and thousands of stunning, free and paid themes are available for a WordPress site.
You can also install the basic WordPress and customize the theme in accordance with your business nature.
Wait, this blog is about developing an SEO-friendly WordPress website, not just about launching a site. So we will take a closer look at installing an SEO friendly theme. To ensure the SEO friendliness of the themes, pay attention to the following factors.
- Lightweight – Don’t use themes that are flooded with third-party plugins that you don’t really need. It will only slow down your website and irritate your users.
- Responsive – Mobile-friendly website design is a major factor in SEO. So pay attention to mobile friendly website theme. Just to be sure, you can run the demo through Google’s Mobile-friendly Test Tool to check whether the theme is really responsive or not.
The default permalink structure in WordPress doesn’t contain much SEO value. The good news is, you can easily change the permalink structure to an SEO friendly one.Not sure how to do that? Go to the Permalinks option under setting in the dashboard. Here, you can find lots of options to choose from. Once you have a keyword-rich and indexable domain, you are already half-way through crafting a robust SEO-friendly website.
- Enable Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs allow the search engine and the web visitors a trail to crawl / navigate your site. These enable the search engine to comprehend the hierarchy of the site, these appear in Google search results, these help to create a decent internal linking structure, and finally, these are helpful for the users.
An example of breadcrumbs will help you better comprehend the context:
- Manual Comment Approval
So, you have crafted a blog site and posted a well-researched blog. All of your efforts to earn the search engine’s or the readers’ favour can be completely ruined by comment spamming. Genuine comments are always welcome and indulging into a rich discussion in the comment box helps in developing a niche community. But be aware of content spammers.
Spammers use automated software for posting comments to thousands of blogs. They perform this black-hat technique to build backlinks to their website. According to Google, spammy comments can adversely impact SEO. Why? For the following reasons:
- Spam can distract and irritate genuine readers and affect user experience. And user experience is a crucial factor in earning a high rank on the search engine.
- Low-quality content on any part of a website can affect the entire site’s ranking. And Google considers the comment box as an integral part of the website.
Remember that automatic comment approval is a default system in WordPress. Turn it off and approve comments manually. To execute this step, all you need is to go to Settings > Discussion. Then tick the checkbox that mentions “comment must be manually approved”.
- Alt Text for Images
Search engine prefers the sites that offer an unparallel user experience to the visually impaired people. Image alt text helps visually impaired users comprehend the text. Make sure that the alt text perfectly syncs with the image. You can also use a keyword but ensure that it fits organically and doesn’t seem to be forced.
- Internal Linking
Internal links point to the posts and other pages on your website. We recommend you to add internal links to your site for the following reasons:
- These help to flow page rank around the site.
- The visitors can navigate to other content from one content.
You can use the WYSIWYG editor to add internal links to WordPress posts and pages. However, make sure that the posts or pages you are linking have a connection to the main content.
- Meta-title & Description Optimization
According to any top SEO agency professionals, meta title and description bear immense value in search engine optimization. These enable the search engine to understand the purpose of your website. These help the search bot better crawl your site and index it. So make sure to add meta title and description to your site. Insert keywords in these. Also, write a meta title that is 50-60 characters long and the description should be 150-160 character long.
- H1 Tags
Optimize the H1 tags in your posts with the most important keyword for the web page. It will intimate the search engine robots about the importance of the keyword on the page.
A well-structured XML sitemap allows the search engines to crawl and index the site content properly. You can use plugins to implement a sitemap on your WordPress website. The plugins also enable you to update the sitemap automatically when you publish a new post.
Wondering which plugin you should use? We will explore in the following section.
- Speed Optimization
Search engine places a huge importance on page loading time. Web visitors also bounce if a web page doesn’t load within 2 to 3 seconds. Make sure that your website speed is top-notch to stay ahead in the competition.
Here’s a quick guide into improving website speed. Take a look.
Useful SEO Plugins
Plugins are some software programmes that are installed on a WordPress website to add specific features of functionalities to a site. These PHP scripts can help you customize the website by enhancing the features and offer an out-of-the-box user experience.
You can execute multiple SEO tasks like the meta title and description optimization, bulk edits on multiple pages at one time, XML sitemap creation, broken links identification, etc. These effectively save your time and efforts. Some of the most popular plugins to develop an SEO-friendly WordPress website include the following:
1. Yoast SEO
2. Google XML Sitemaps
3. All in One SEO Pack
4. W3 Total Cache
5. Broken Link Checker
We hope you have received a deep insight into setting up a WordPress website. Should you still find it daunting, you may consider engaging WordPress website development services. The professionals will take care of everything.