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WordPress SEO – Checklist with 9 tips

A guide to search engine optimisation of your WordPress site

Are you considering creating a website with WordPress? Or perhaps you have already created one. Either way, we’ve put together an SEO checklist tailored for WordPress sites to help you start attracting more organic traffic and ranking higher in search results. 

What is WordPress search engine optimisation? 

You might already be familiar with the term search engine optimisation, often abbreviated to SEO. WordPress SEO is, as the name suggests, search engine optimisation for WordPress sites.  

Just like with other types of SEO, the goal is to increase organic traffic to a website and achieve a higher ranking in the search engines. If it’s a website with an online shop, or that takes restaurant bookings or the like, WordPress SEO can also contribute to a lower bounce rate and a higher conversion rate. 

If you have an online shop, we can recommend our article, Ecommerce SEO – A beginner’s guide with 7 tips. 

In the next section, we go straight to the point and give you our checklist with 9 concrete tips for search optimisation of your website. Further down in the article, you can read more about powerful SEO plugins for WordPress. 

WordPress SEO – checklist with 9 tips

Most tasks feel more manageable if you can cross things off a list. When starting search engine optimisation on your WordPress site, you can follow the checklist below. 

1. Install a WordPress SEO plugin

Working with SEO manually is time-consuming and extensive. For this reason, it is a good idea to install a SEO plugin for WordPress. There are many different types of SEO plugins that are tailored for WordPress. What most of these plugins have in common is that they simplify the SEO work for you, in a wide range of areas. There are both free SEO plugins and paid ones, such as RankMath PRO. In the section below the checklist, we take a closer look at two of these plugins.  

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool that provides you with data collected on your website. The tracking tool gives you important insight into how visitors interact with the individual pages of your website. Here you can, among other things, see where your visitors come from, which pages have the most visitors, and what proportion of your visitors come from organic search results. 

In Google Analytics, you can also keep an eye on conversions, bounce rate, 404 errors and much more that can help you optimise your website. If you install a SEO plugin, it is therefore recommended that you choose one that can be easily integrated with Google Analytics. 

3. Keyword research

Keyword analysis is one of the most important SEO building blocks. The keywords you use on your website play a decisive role when it comes to increasing traffic to your site. For example, if you have a blog, you can ensure that more readers find your posts by using well-chosen keywords. The same naturally applies if you have an online shop or a restaurant website where your goal is to achieve sales or table bookings.  

There are several SEO tools you can use for keyword analysis, including marketgoo, ahrefs and Google Trends. Several SEO plugins also include features that let you optimise your page with the most important keywords. We look at this in more detail a little further on in the article. 

Need some great tips for your keyword analysis? Then we can recommend this video 

How to do keyword research

4. Page titles and meta descriptions

By writing catchy page titles and meta descriptions, you can increase your chances of users clicking through to your website instead of your competitor’s. Page titles and meta descriptions do appear on the search engine’s result pages, so you should make sure that the primary keyword or a synonym is included in both the page title and meta description. 

For example, if you have written a blog post about the best cross-country trails in a specific geographical area, both ‘cross-country trails’ and the area, e.g. ‘France’, should be included in the text. Be sure to do keyword analysis before choosing your primary keyword to make sure you’re choosing the best one. The optimal length for page titles is 60 characters max, while the meta description should not exceed 160 characters. 

Here’s an example of a page title and meta description that includes the most important keywords: 

Page title: Here are France’s best cross-country trails in 2024 

Meta description: We have tried 10 cross-country trails in France. Read our reviews and find out where to travel for the best skiing experiences in 2024.

There are also several other types of metadata you can implement on your page to optimise it for search engines. You can read more about them in our article Metadata for SEO

5. Short URLs are best

The URLs on your WordPress website should also be SEO optimised. The best way to do this is to ensure that they are sharp, short, and contain the most important keywords. 

Let’s use the blog post about the French cross-country skiing trails as an example. 

Here are 2 URLs that are not SEO-optimised: 

https://www.example.com/articles/4785

https://www.example.com/articles/we-have-tried-the-10-best-cross-country-skiing-trails-in france-and-ranked-them 

And here is an SEO-optimised and shortened URL:
https://www.example.com/articles/ best-cross-country-skiing-trails-france

6. Alt text

Alt texts are short texts that describe the images on your website. The main purpose of the texts is to make the content on your website more accessible to users with impaired vision. Using a screen reader, visually impaired users can have the captions read out loud. Therefore, good captions are essential on an inclusive website. You can read more about web accessibility in our article, Web accessibility – what is it? 

In a SEO context, the alt texts also play a significant role because they can be more easily interpreted by the search engines that crawl the content of your website’s individual pages. This increases the chances that your pages will be shown to the right users.

How to add alt text on your WordPress page: 

  1. Log in to WordPress 
  1. Select the article or page you want to edit 
  1. Click on an image  
  1. Go to settings in the panel on the right 
  1. Go to the Alternative Text box. 
  1. Write your alt text and clik on update‘. 

7. Reduce the size of image files

Large and heavy image files can result in longer loading times and a slower website. Speed optimisation is important for both user experience and SEO. Many times, you will be able to achieve better speed simply by reducing the size of your image files. Of course, the image quality should still be good, but fortunately this is easy to ensure. There are several tools, including Imagify, that quickly and easily reduce the size of your image files without affecting the quality. 

In the WordPress dashboard, under settings, you can click media to open the Media Settings page, where you can manually edit the size of the image files in your WordPress media library. 

Tip: When naming and saving your image files, make sure the file name gives search engines something sensible to work with. A file name such as ski-slope-la-plagne.JPG is therefore far better than 02245.JPG, which does not tell the search engine anything about the image. Use five words or fewer and separate them with hyphens. 

8. Reader-friendly content

Whether you have a blog, a restaurant website, a small online shop or a completely different type of website, useful and readable content should be part of your SEO strategy. This does not necessarily mean that you need to fill your entire website with long texts. Useful and readable content can also be something as simple as a product description, a category description, or an FAQ page. 

When writing texts for your website, it is important that you incorporate all your best keywords. However, keywords alone are no longer enough to achieve a top ranking on the result pages. According to Google, you should, among other things, consider whether your text meets the following requirements: 

  • Is the text error-free and well-written? 
  • Does the text provide an overall overview of the subject? 
  • Does the text convey something that is not already found in other sources? 
  • Is the headline informative and not sensational? 
  • Would you have shared the content with a friend?

You can find the rest of Google’s list here. 

Google also points out that the number of words in your texts does not affect your ranking in the search results. Which is an advantage because it means that as long as you are sharing information that is useful to your readers, it doesn’t really matter if you write 150 or 1500 words. 

9. Build internal links

Internal links are another essential thing you should tick off on your WordPress SEO checklist. Internal links are links that guide visitors to other relevant content on your website. Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about the best budgie nest boxes and already have another post about budgie bird cages. Then you can link from your new blog post to the post about budgie cages, as it may also be of interest to the reader. 

Search engines also use your internal links when they index the content of your website’s individual pages. This means that if the post about nest boxes achieves a top position in the search results, then the chances increase that the post about budgie cages will also achieve a better ranking. 

WordPress SEO plugins

As we touched on earlier, manual search engine optimisation can be time-consuming, especially if you have a WordPress site with many different types of content to optimise. Installing one or more SEO plugins can therefore both help you save time, simplify work, and increase traffic to your website. Below we take a closer look at two powerful plugins. 

Rank Math PRO

Rank Math PRO is a WordPress plugin that helps you optimise your page for search engines in an easy and efficient way. The plugin has a modular structure that allows you to switch between many different SEO functions and just choose the ones you need. This means that instead of installing several different SEO plugins, you can settle for one. 

Here is a selection of features in Rank Math PRO:

  • 404 Monitor: finds and redirects broken links. 
  • Bulk Editing: Edits several page titles and descriptions at once. 
  • Automated Image SEO: Automatically adds ALT text. 
  • Advanced SEO analysis: Performs more than 20 SEO tests on your page and gives you suggestions for changes. 
  • WooCommerce support: SEO optimisation of product pages in your online shop. 
  • Video SEO: Creates a video sitemap for quick indexing of the videos on your site. 
  • Easy meta tag addition: Add news, article, blog, recipe, and video meta tags with one click.

Rank Math PRO is a paid SEO plugin. There is also a free version of Rank Math that can be a good starting point, but if you want to use all the most powerful features, such as integration with Google Analytics and an unlimited number of keywords, Rank Math PRO is the best choice. 

During the 1-click installation process of WordPress at one.com, you can select the free version of Rank Math.  If you want to upgrade to Rank Math PRO, you can do so directly from your one.com control panel: 

  1. Click on the WordPress tile in your control panel to go to the WordPress dashboard. 
  1. Click “See other benefits” on the right side to upgrade to Rank Math PRO. 

WP Rocket

Visitors quickly lose patience if they have to wait a long time for your pages to load. The WordPress plugin WP Rocket helps you improve your website’s loading time and search engine ranking. In addition, WP Rocket has a number of other automated features including optimising files, caching static HTML files, and optimising Google Fonts files, all of which improve your WordPress site’s overall performance and SEO. 

If you are already a one.com customer, you can add WP rocket directly from your control panel

Managed WordPress and SEO

If you want to optimise your WordPress site’s performance in an even simpler way, Managed WordPress is a good choice. Managed WordPress means that a team of experts ensures that your WordPress site always runs optimally, while you get more time to focus on what matters most to you. Important updates, security monitoring, and other technical adjustments are carried out for you, so you can always be sure that your site is safe and protected from spam and hacker attacks. 

Additionally, when you choose Managed WordPress, your website is moved to our dedicated Managed WordPress server, improving site performance and speed. 

Elevate your WordPress Site with SEO strategies and tools

WordPress SEO improves your website’s visibility and ranking in search engines. This means more traffic to your site, and more visitors who benefit from your content, products, and services. Many SEO improvements can be done manually, but if you prefer to simplify the process and save time, it may make sense for you to choose SEO plugins such as Rank Math and WP Rocket that do much of the heavy lifting for you and improve your site’s performance. 

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