Search engine optimization (SEO) in WordPress or any other type of website can be divided into on-page and off-page optimization, and you are about to read some on-page optimization practices. Using good techniques, the search engines will index your site quicker, and your website will appear higher in the rankings.

What You Need for WordPress Optimization

Yoast has a great WordPress plugin for search. Do not use more than one search engine optimization plugin simultaneously. Using more than one plugin can mess up your website, so choose only one.

  1. Target Specific Keywords

Targeting keywords are the foundation of good on-page optimization. All other methods become useless if you fail at this step. If you target keywords nobody is looking for; you won’t get any traffic.

Use the Google Keyword Planning Tool to find out what people are looking for in your niche. Use one primary keyword for each article you write.

Avoid keyword stuffing in your articles. A keyword density of 2-4% per article is enough to make your content look relevant. Also, using your keyword in the meta title, meta description, and subtitles can earn an over-optimization penalty. Be careful of using your keywords too much in a single article.

  1. Meta Description and Title

The title should be shorter than 52 characters, and the description should be shorter than 164 characters.

The title you choose will display in the search engine results along with the description.

You should use a keyword of your article in both fields. Keep the keyword closer to the beginning of your title if possible.

You can use two keywords in the title or description if it looks natural. Otherwise, target one keyword.

  1. Use Heading Tags

Search engines recognize the difference between your paragraphs and headings.

Your post title on any single post page should have the H1 tag. Use only one H1 tag per page.

Under the ‘Appearance’ tab, choose the ‘Editor’ section. In the right-hand menu, find the ‘Single Post’ file (usually single.php). You should find a section that looks like this:

If the theme shows H2 tags by default, change them into H1 tags:

Make sure there are no H1 tags in the ‘Header’ file (usually header.php). If you leave them there, there will be two H1 tags on single post pages, and your site could get penalized by the search engines.

When writing your posts, use the H2 tags to break the text into more sections. Click on the ‘HTML’ tab in the upper-right corner, and use the H2 tags on your subtitles:

You can use multiple H2 tags per page. You should use your keywords in them but avoid keyword stuffing.

  1. Customize the Permalinks for SEO

Under the ‘Settings’ tab, click on the ‘Permalinks’ and choose the custom structure and type in ‘/%postname%/.

If you want to display the category names in your permalinks, choose the ‘Custom Structure’ option and type in ‘/%category%/%postname%/’. The WP no category base will keep your URL short if you choose this option.

You can also edit your permalink when you write your posts. It is a good idea to change your keyword in the permalink, even though Google does not put as much value on the URL of the post anymore.

  1. Update Your Sitemap Frequently

A good sitemap gives you better rankings in the search engines. If you are doing Yoast SEO, you do not have to worry about the sitemap. The Yoast automatically builds your sitemap.

  1. Practice Internal Linking

Internal links are valuable for ranking as external links are. Internal links will increase the trust flow of your website. They give your single pages a boost in rankings. Also, they will decrease your bounce rates. A lower bounce rate gives you more credibility with the search engines.

  1. Use Image Alt Tags

Every time you add an image to your post, you should fill out the ‘Title,’ ‘Alternative text,’ and ‘Description’ fields. Use relevant keywords in all spheres, but avoid keyword stuffing. Images are sometimes powerful sources of traffic, so do not ignore those options.

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