You’re rest assured that everything on your WordPress site just looks great, from design to call-to-action to backups. It’s time to get it live. But maybe in a moment you still feel a little hesitate to the whole work, questioning if there is anything being missing.
Well, it’s very probable that you forgot accessing the SEO situation.
If you’re looking to truly maximize SEO, your WordPress site has to meet the high expectations of popular search engines like Google, from the beginning. In addition to high quality content, intuitive user experience, and optimal performance, you should also show demonstration of authority and keep regular updates.
Now, let’s explore what you could do to optimize your new WordPress site for SEO purpose.
Domain & Web Host
If you domain name is associated with a negative history, it will severely impact your site’s reputation later. It’s worth doing a quick check of your domain’s history no matter where you are in the process.
Likewise, an unreliable web hosting provider could be a disaster to your WordPress site, because their web server will increase the probability of site going down. Consequently, it compromises your site’s availability and seriously hurts your site’s SEO. What you should do is taking a quick glance of your web host, making sure it has good reputation in the industry and has no recent complaints about its uptime issues. Still not for sure? Our Top Web Hosting Provider 2018 could be a great reference list.
Some WordPress settings will have an effect on SEO, which are easy to be ignored especially when you’re rushing to launch a site. It’s important to make sure the following items have been put in place before your site goes online.
Site Title & Tagline
To keep things easier, some webmasters would rather leave the Site Title as they are set when installing WordPress, alongside the unchanged Tagline as default. This finally results in another WordPress site, however.
So, if you care deeply about your WordPress site and want it show up in first search engine results pages, you’d better at least change the Tagline to a more relevant one or just delete it completely.
The default WordPress permalink structure is good but not perfect. Just like the permalink in red above, WordPress defines it randomly sometimes. An ideal permalink structure should be like the one in green, isn’t it?
Spend some time fiddling around with your permalinks for SEO perfection; namely, displays them in structure of site URL + shortened post or page name.
It happens at times that you block search engines when developing your WordPress site and forget to unblock it after launch. It’s advisable to check the Search Engine Visibility settings before your WordPress site goes public, just in case.
Maintaining good SEO practices for website content, in terms of both markup and writing, is significantly helpful for WordPress. Many marketing and SEO experts believe that longer, more relevant page content leads to higher conversions and, ultimately, an improved search engine ranking. Besides that, there are many details on the subject you can check to make your website content more SEO friendly.
When you have other related content within your site, you should create an internal link to it without hesitation. This brings you with SEO benefits; furthermore, gives visitors a reason to dig deeper into your content during their time on the site.
If your website content is linked to some high authority websites, your reputation with search engines will be improved accordingly. Though not earth-shattering effect, it has been proven that outgoing links to relevant, high-authority sources have a positive effect on your ranking.
High-resolution and full-screen images are great for the user experience, indeed. On the other side, they may negatively affect your loading speeds. You can make use of some caching plugins to optimize page performance. Additionally, relying on an image compression plugin to optimize the size and weight of your images is also a good idea.
Ideally, all keyword research for the content as well as metadata of your WordPress site should be completed before it goes live. There are sometimes accidents and there always have been. The most simplest way to get this done is taking advantage of a third-party tool like Answer the Public, which identifies which keywords work best for your site.
There are a number of WordPress themes boasting about being SEO-friendly. As a site owner, you should keep your head and check the actual performance of the theme to figure out whether it is truly SEO-friendly. Below are some basic but important features come with an SEO-friendly theme:
- HTML 5 semantic markup
- Structured data
- Mobile responsive layout
Theoretically, you can install as many SEO-boosting plugins as you like. But for saving space consideration, every selection should be based on your needs and personal preference. Regardless of the plugin you choose, they need to contain these standard features:
- Individually pages and posts optimization
- OpenGraph data integration
- XML Sitemap
Since 2017, Google has started labeling all HTTP sites as “insecure”. If you don’t want to frighten visitors with that warning in your address bar, you’d better get an SSL certificate and HTTPS for your WordPress site.
In addition to moving your site to HTTPS, you’ll need to add a security plugin to your WordPress site for monitoring assistance and security management. Since a hacked website could cause a lot of harm to your visitors and ultimately your business, this is a must-have.
Building and publishing a new WordPress site is nerve-wracking but exhilarating. No matter where you are in the process, maintaining an existing WordPress site or creating a new one from scratch, it’s worth paying attention to details on the checklist. They can assure you that everything on your site, from content strategy to theme and plugins are fully optimized for search engines. Consequently, you can feel free to wrap it up and get it out the door now!