WordPress SEO is a hot topic these days and it’s no wonder, considering that WordPress powers a mind-blowing 34% of all the websites on the internet!
This number becomes even more impressive if you limit the data set to websites with a known CMS — in this category, WordPress holds a whopping 60% of the market share.
When businesses are new to SEO, it’s a common misconception that WordPress is just for blogs and startups. The reality is that thousands of industry-leading brands use WordPress as a CMS for their websites, including Sony Music, Microsoft, Disney, and The New York Times.
Why do so many companies use WordPress? And why is it Fannit’s platform of choice?
Because WordPress makes SEO easy.
WordPress’s longevity as an open-source CMS means that our internet marketing company has had well over a decade to figure out how to use WordPress SEO to land your website on the first page of Google.
How do we do that?
I’m so glad you asked. In this guide, you’ll learn how to do SEO on WordPress and all the reasons why we think WordPress is the best CMS for your business.
Why WordPress SEO is Easy
Whether you’ve used WordPress before or are new to the platform, here’s a quick rundown of why WordPress is the best CMS for your website.
WordPress is free to download, free to install, and free to modify as you need. Need we say more?
In 2018, Google implemented mobile-first indexing. Meaning that the search engine now ranks sites based on their mobile performance instead of basing rank on the desktop site.
For WordPress users, creating stunning responsive (i.e. mobile compatible) websites isn’t a problem, as there are hundreds of plugins and themes that enable mobile responsiveness with just a click of the mouse.
Fast Site Speed
A key perk of WordPress SEO is how the platform makes it easy to keep your site purring along at a fast pace.
Of course, it’s possible for a user to bog down their site speed by uploading full-sized images, lots of videos, and having too many scripts going at once. But WordPress comes through again by offering a number of robust speed-optimizing plugins (WP Super Cache and Autoptimize, for example).
Open Source Customization
This means that anyone can create a theme or plugin for WordPress and make it available for you to use.
Need a plugin that performs a specific function? Or a theme that is already SEO optimized? Odds are, a developer has already designed the exact thing you need! Which leads to our next point…
Customizable Themes for Any Website
WordPress comes with a plethora of easy-to-download themes that can be quickly optimized to meet the exact needs of your business. From e-commerce sites to social networks, directories to forums, there are thousands of theme options to choose from.
When it comes to costs, themes run the full gamut of budgets, from free to over $200 — WordPress has something for everyone.
Thousands of Plugins
Not everyone is an advanced developer who can create their own code.
WordPress makes customization easy for the everyday user by giving you access to the thousands of plugins and themes which developers have created for the platform over the years. The majority of these are free to use and come with support forums and the ability to contact the developer for troubleshooting.
Best SEO Plugin for WordPress
One of the only disadvantages of using WordPress is that there are so many great plugins, it can be difficult to decide which plugin is truly “The Best.”
Currently, there are two plugins duking it out for the top title: Rank Math and Yoast — both of these competing to be the best SEO plugin for WordPress.
The Yoast SEO plugin is massively popular, with over 5 million active users, and has been around for years. Rank Math, on the other hand, is a new addition to the boxing match but boasts a wide range of features.
Which one is better? And why should you use an SEO plugin at all?
Walk with me…
How Plugins Boost WordPress SEO
When it comes to optimizing your WordPress site for SEO, there are dozens of little adjustments you can make to help boost your Google rankings. Unfortunately, a LOT of these small SEO opportunities are buried inside WordPress’s code, so unless you know how to code, optimizing these elements is all but impossible.
Don’t know how to code? Don’t worry — hope is on the horizon.
Enter SEO plugins for WordPress!
SEO plugins help you modify all those hard-to-reach places by giving you a user-friendly interface from where you can make those little SEO optimizations — the list of which includes:
- RSS footer/header configuration
- Meta Robots configuration
- Title and meta description support for taxonomies
- The ability to change post SEO titles
- Canonical support
- Permalink cleanups
- Breadcrumbs support
- XML News Sitemaps
- The ability to edit .htaccess and robots.txt
The Best SEO Plugin for WordPress
Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks. Rank Math vs. Yoast, which one is better?
Rank Math has loads of brilliant features, but it’s a very new plugin (released in 2019) and consequently has a number of kinks that still need to be worked out.
This means that Rank Math could be a good fit for experienced WordPress users who know how to troubleshoot their plugins, but inexperienced or new website owners are probably better off going with a tried-and-true plugin — which leads us to…
The Yoast SEO plugin!
Yoast has been around since 2010 and has developed a massive support system and community over the past 9+ years. This means you can easily find proven troubleshooting tips for any errors you might encounter, have access to Yoast’s massive WordPress and SEO tips blog and resource center, and can rely on Yoast’s proven tech support team.
For these reasons, the Fannit team considers the Yoast SEO plugin to be the best plugin for the majority of WordPress users.
How to Use Yoast SEO on WordPress
Here are a couple of quick, beginner steps that you can take to get started with the Yoast SEO plugin.
1. Walk Through the Yoast SEO Configuration Wizard
Once you’ve downloaded and activated the Yoast plugin, navigate to the Yoast SEO dashboard from your WordPress Dashboard Menu.
You’ll find it like this: Yoast SEO > General > Dashboard.
Found the Yoast dashboard? Good! Now click “Check SEO Configuration” to start the configuration wizard.
The configuration wizard will lead you through a couple of quick steps so that you can tailor the Yoast plugin to meet the unique needs of your website. Each step will ask you some questions and your answers will help the wizard configure Yoast’s settings.
2. Make Sure Your Posts are SEO Optimized
Click “Posts” in the WordPress Dashboard menu. Here you will see all the posts that you’ve already published on your site.
Now, look at the right-hand side of the Posts page. Here, you will see two columns:
In each of these columns, every one of your posts will be given a color rating based on Yoast’s evaluation of the SEO and readability of your content.
Here’s what the colors mean:
- Red: Your post contains major problems that will probably prevent you from ranking for your target keywords.
- Yellow: The SEO on this post is okay, but you could make some improvements.
- Green: You’ve done a great job with SEO! You don’t need to make adjustments on this post.
If Yoast gives your post a red or yellow rating, don’t worry, the plugin tells you exactly why it rated your post that way. It also gives you action steps you can take to make the rating green.
To view the “why” behind your color rating, open the post in question and scroll down to the bottom of the window. Below your written copy, you’ll find the Yoast SEO box.
Within the Yoast SEO box, click “Analysis” and you’ll see a detailed explanation of why Yoast rated your post the way they did, as well as directions you can take to improve the rating.
If you’re serious about auditing your website’s SEO, consider checking out Fannit’s SEO basics blog for expertise far beyond what the Yoast SEO plugin can tell you.
Since 2010, the team here at Fannit has been helping large and small businesses develop their internet marketing using WordPress. Our 9+ years of experience has enabled us to develop the ensemble of tools and talent required to confidently claim the title of “Wordpress Expert.”
But what is a WordPress expert? And how do you identify one?
Finding a WordPress Expert in the Age of Fiverr and Upwork
With thousands of claimed WordPress “experts” saturating cheap labor platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, it can be hard to find the true expert in the haystack.
And for businesses with smaller marketing budgets, it takes some strong willpower to hire a certified WordPress firm, when $30 per hour “experts” are calling their name.
When it comes to hiring an SEO and WordPress expert, here are some tips to help you separate the actual expert developer from those who just talk a big game:
- Can they explain how WordPress’s key components work together? A true WordPress expert knows how each of the platform’s 3 main components work individually and together. These components are:
- 1) WordPress Core Files;
- 2) WordPress Themes;
- 3) WordPress Plugins.
- Can they explain the differences between hosting options and help you choose the best one for your website? Site speed, SSL, and caching are all things that are affected by your website’s WordPress hosting. A WordPress expert will be able to help you understand which host is best for your situation and why.
- Do they know how troubleshoot within WordPress’s database? An advantage of using WordPress is that its CMS is integrated with a database. So when it comes to troubleshooting themes and plugins, database expertise is crucial.
- Are they active in the WordPress and SEO community? A true expert gives back even when there isn’t a financial incentive. Look up your developer online to see how active they are on SEO and WordPress forums. Where do they guest post? Who is retweeting them? All of these social signals can help you determine their actual level of expertise.
- Lastly, are they certified? Ask the developer directly what training and certifications they have under their belt. An expert SEO and WordPress firm will have certifications and training certificates from the following industry leaders: Moz, HubSpot, Yoast, Lynda, ClickMinded.
Using these tips, you will be able to assess the WordPress experts available to you and confidently choose the best one for your business.
What Makes Fannit a WordPress Expert
The team here at Fannit is made up of a number of WordPress developers, SEO experts, and internet marketers committed to consistently exceeding the expectations of our clients.
From basic redesigns to full-fledged overhauls, we have the tools and 9+ years of experience needed to take your website from the back of the herd to the front page of Google.
When it comes to WordPress SEO, our team members are fluent and have completed multiple levels of training, enabling them to rank our client’s sites with industry-leading speed. Our roster of WordPress services includes:
- Development and customization
- Security and protection
- Speed optimization
- WordPress migration
- Mobile optimization
- Ongoing WordPress maintenance
If you are looking for a WordPress expert that communicates clearly, exceeds expectations, and offers predictable results, look no further than Fannit.
SEO and WordPress; Why Your Site Will Sink Without Optimization
If you’re having trouble understanding why you should invest in optimizing your website for the search engines, on top of the resources you’re already spending to make it look attractive for customers, then this section is for you.
For most business owners, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to SEO and WordPress. But don’t worry, we’re going to clear that up right now.
In short, SEO refers to a wide range of strategies and practices focused on helping search engines understand what your site is about.
Why is it important that the Google algorithm understands your content?
Because search engines actually “read” your website! They do this through programs called “crawlers” that sift through every level of your WordPress site and try to figure out what your company is all about.
If Google’s crawlers can’t understand your content, then the search engine will drop your rankings. But, if the crawlers are able to accurately read your website, then you will gain higher rankings — hopefully capturing the coveted #1 position on the first page of Google!
This is why we place so much emphasis on your WordPress SEO — because Google needs to read your website and SEO is the way we help it do that.
How to do SEO on WordPress
Quick recap! Now that you understand:
- Why WordPress is the best platform for SEO.
- Which plugin is the best SEO plugin for WordPress.
- Why SEO is crucial for the success of your WordPress site.
The next step is to learn the practical steps so that you know how to do SEO on WordPress!
In this section, I’m going to share four of my all-time SEO WordPress tips, so that you can start ranking your website today.
1. Change Your Permalink Structure
Permalinks are your site’s page and post URLs. These are the links that lead people back to your content. For example: https://www.fannit.com/blog/seo-expert/
When people see your website in search results or linked to on social media, it’s your permalinks that create the first impression of your brand — which is why their appearance matters. Easy-to-understand permalinks generate more traffic and are easier for Google to read and rank.
To optimize your permalinks, open your WordPress dashboard and go Settings > Permalinks. Here you will find your permalink settings and will have the option to adjust the information contained in your links.
While there are numeral based options, I would recommend steering clear of these as they don’t help search engines understand your content. The best permalink structure is “Post Name.” For additional customization, download the Yoast SEO plugin (as I recommended doing earlier).
Warning: NEVER change your permalink structure without talking with an SEO expert first. Doing so could result in broken links — greeting your site’s visitors with a wave of 404 errors.
2. Make a Sitemap
Originally created as a guide for your human audience, sitemaps are now used primarily as a guide for search engine crawlers. Because, hey — robots get lost too.
A sitemap is a list of all the posts and pages on your website, structured in a way that quickly communicates the hierarchy of your site. This helps crawlers understand the organization of your website and how the pages relate to each other.
Another reason why we recommend the Yoast SEO plugin is because it makes creating sitemaps quick and easy. Straight from the horse’s mouth, here is a guide from Yoast on how to create and share your sitemap with search engines.
3. Take Full Advantage of Heading Tags
Just like a sitemap helps crawlers understand the hierarchy of your entire website, heading tags help them understand the organization of each unique page and post. Headings are also vital for your human audience, as well-structured content makes it easier for readers to skim through your website — something 43% of internet users do.
A couple of SEO WordPress tips for your headings:
- Your H1 headings should closely mirror the post title and should accurately communicate what your content is about. Only use one H1 heading.
- Think of your H2 headings as chapter markings. These break your content up into topics.
- Your H3 headings serve as subheadings within your H2s.
4. Write Your Content Around Strategically Chosen Keywords
Odds are, you’ve heard about “keywords” before.
Keywords are short sentences that succinctly describe your post’s topic. For example, “luxury hotel in Manhattan,” or, “Korean food in LA.”
Contrary to how most people think of them, keywords are like salt — a little goes a long way.
When organizing your content, include your keyword in the title, the H1 heading, a couple of the H2s, and a few times in the content body. This should be enough times to communicate to search engine crawlers what your content is about and what they should rank you for.
WordPress SEO Experts
We’ve made it to the end! I hope you now have a much better picture of what WordPress can do for your website’s SEO and why we at Fannit are such huge fans of this CMS platform.
If you’re ready to make the switch to WordPress, or if you already have a WordPress site but aren’t sure how to take full advantage of its features, contact our team today. We’d be happy to offer some guidance, as well as share what Fannit can do to help your company hit its internet marketing goals!
Better rankings are right around the corner.