The Ultimate Marketing and SEO Guide for Your WordPress Websites
How should you do SEO for your Wordpress website? What kinds of search engine marketing strategies are best for WordPress? What are the best ways to rank higher on search, increase your website traffic, and convert more leads? What is SEO for WordPress? And what are the best SEO tips and tools for WordPress?
In this “Wordpress: The Ultimate Marketing and SEO Guide,” we answer all of your marketing and search engine optimization questions so your websites will perform better and you can increase your online revenues. This guide helps beginners, intermediate, and advanced Wordpress users optimize and maximize with marketing tips and tools that apply for every industry.
WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). According to Forbes, more than 75 million websites around the world are powered by the platform. And WordPress says that equates to more than 20 billion page views per month.
It’s hugely popular. WordPress users include the National Football League, TechCrunch and CNN.
In other words, if you’re a website owner, you’ve probably considered using WordPress to build a website or you’re already using it.
Now, you ask: How can I use search engine optimization (SEO) for WordPress on my site? How can I market my WordPress site and rank higher in search results?
Those are important questions. WordPress is a great platform for website management. It’s great for SEO. But to grow your site’s reach, you have to have the right strategy. What tips, tools and strategies deliver the best SEO performance on WordPress?
We cover everything you need to know in this guide, “Marketing and SEO for WordPress,” including:
Without further ado, let’s dive into the key factors that can help increase your Wordpress search engine rankings, generate more website traffic, and market your WordPress website to get more customers and sales.
What Is SEO for WordPress?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s the process of structuring your site to rank for relevant keywords in search results. SEO for WordPress is the process of using SEO strategies on your WordPress site.
Many standard SEO best practices are critically important on WordPress, including:
Back link building and internal linking
Bonus Tip: Read our guide “What Is SEO and How Does It Work” to learn about SEO best practices you should be using on your WordPress site.
Is WordPress Good for SEO?
In a short answer: Yes! WordPress is one of the best content management systems (CMS) for SEO. Why? WordPress sites have a solid technical SEO foundation, which is important for ranking higher on Google.
Yet, WordPress sites do require some on-page SEO work. To rank your WordPress site in Google, you’ll be responsible for content optimization, earning backlinks and marketing your website, which are all important WordPress SEO ranking factors.
Bonus Tip: Learn all about the most important SEO ranking factors in our guide “How to Rank Higher on Google.”
Best SEO Tips for WordPress Websites
What SEO strategies can help you rank a WordPress site faster?
There are dozens of SEO tactics you can use, some of which can have a minimal effect. There are, however, SEO strategies that you must be using on WordPress to rank your website. Without following these tips, your website won’t reach its full potential, and it will be difficult for readers to find in search results.
The best SEO tips for WordPress include:
1. How to Create an XML Sitemap –
A sitemap is a file you add to your website that tells Google’s search engine exactly what is on your website. On WordPress, XML sitemaps also help Google understand which pages are the most important on your website.
One of the easiest ways to do this, is to use an SEO plugin for WordPress.
Yoast SEO allows you to create an XML sitemap easily. Just click SEO > General > Features, then toggle the XML Sitemap setting to on.
2. How to Set Your Site’s Permalink Structure –
The URLs on your WordPress site are automatically created based on default settings. Often, though, these default settings can be improved for SEO.
To change the default option, go to Settings > Permalinks
You have several options but Post Name is one of the best; it turns the page or posts title into the URL
With the Post Name option, a post titled, “This Is a Blog Post” would become “yoursite.com/this-is-a-blogpost”
Pro Wordpress Tip: a WordPress SEO plugin like Yoast or All in One SEO Pack allows you to customize URLs for every page in the WordPress editor. This is the best option for custom URLs.
3. How to Use WordPress SEO Plugins –
SEO plugins are tools that allow website owners to optimize content better. (We’ve highlighted a few of the best WordPress SEO plugins below.)
A key benefit: Plugins allow website owners to automate several SEO processes, as well as simplify adding rich snippets and data. Below you will find how to add the best Wordpress SEO plugins to your own website.
To view or add plugins, click Plugins on your WordPress dashboard:
4. How to Optimize WordPress for Mobile –
Mobile friendliness is a key Google ranking factor. Fortunately, ensuring your WordPress site is mobile friendly is fairly simple. The easiest option: Choose a responsive WordPress theme. Responsive themes dynamically resize site content based on the users’ screen size.
5. How to Increase WordPress Site Speed with a Caching Plugin –
How fast your website loads is another important SEO ranking factor. Unfortunately, as you add content to your site and install new plugins, speed can slow. Caching plugins offer a solution. These tools help display content more quickly for users. A few of the best caching plugins for WordPress include: W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, WP Rocket.
Wordpress SEO Tip: Check your site’s average speed in Google Analytics. To see, go to Behavior > Site Speed > Overview and see Avg. Page Load Time (sec)
6. How to Block Spam Comments –
If you’re publishing a blog – and you should, it can help improve SEO fast! – it’s a challenge to combat spam comments. Fortunately, you’ll find a ton of great plugins to stop spam comments.
Here’s how to block spam comments on your Wordpress site:
On your WordPress dashboard, choose Plugins.
Choose Add New.
Search for the Stop Spammers plugin (which is one of the best spam blocking plugins for WordPress).
Finally, click Install.
7. How to Optimize Your WordPress Images –
Images can help or hurt SEO on WordPress sites. For example, unoptimized and large image files can slow load speeds. If you’re optimizing images – e.g. adding keywords into the metadata, and compressing large images – your site will run faster and the metadata will help search engines understand what is on each page. You can do both tasks with plugins:
Compressing Images on WordPress – A WordPress SEO tool like reSmush.it allows you to compress images in bulk. This will make the file size of your images smaller, without reducing quality.
How to Add Alt Text and Titles –
SEO plugins like SEO Optimized Images is a helpful tool. This autogenerates alt text and titles for your images when you upload them. You choose a naming convention, and the plugin creates the image metadata for you.
You can also do this manually when you upload new images:
8. How to Use Internal Linking on WordPress –
Internal linking is the process of linking pages/posts to other relevant pages/posts on your site. It’s best to add 2-3 relevant links per blog post, and relevant links as necessary on each page. The key is to link naturally to content that readers will find useful or related to a page’s topic. Internal linking helps your site rank higher by:
Making your posts/pages more useful for users
Helping your content get found easier by Google
9. How to Integrate Google Analytics into WordPress –
Google Analytics is one of the best SEO tools for WordPress. It allows you to capture highly relevant data about visitors on your site, traffic sources, conversions, and much more. Linking Google Analytics with WordPress ensures you know who your users are and what they find most interesting. (We cover how to do it below.)
10. How to Add Social Sharing to WordPress –
Social sharing is one Google ranking metric that can lead to Page 1 rankings. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to add social buttons on your pages. You’ll need to use an SEO plugin to integrate them into posts. Here’s how to do it:
On your WordPress dashboard, click Plugins.
Then click Add New.
Search for a social sharing plugin “Buffer”; Buffer is our favorite social media sharing for WordPress.
11. How to Publish High-Quality Content on Your WordPress Site –
If you want to rank higher on Google, start a content marketing plan. In particular, you should focus on producing long-form content that’s valuable to readers – e.g. make content that people want to share. WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms for content marketing; it makes it easy to publish and produce great content.
If you want to publish high quality content on WordPress, you need to install this plugin for readability analysis.
Not only will you be able to determine whether your grammar is correct, and how your sentence structure works, but you will also see how your WordPress content scores overall in terms of quality.
WordPress SEO Tip: Use a plugin like Yoast to analyze readability. Well formatted and easy-to-read posts (short paragraphs, short sentences and an accessible vocabulary) are more likely to earn shares. Here’s a look at what Yoast does:
12. How to Use “H Tags” Properly –
H tags are a bit of HTML code that automatically generates the headers and subheaders on your page. The most important is the H1 tag – the main title for the page. This should be keyword optimized.
In the WordPress editor, you can add H1-H6 tags to content. Typically, on a post, you’ll want to use H2 and H3 tags for subheaders, although on longer form content you might use H4-H6 tags.
WordPress SEO Tip: Use H tags to structure your content; use the H1 tag for your most important keyword. Then use H2 and H3 tags to define what information is more important that other content on your Wordpress page. This can help you tell Google what is the most important information on the page.
13. How to Write Custom Metadata and Page Titles –
The meta description and page title of individual post and pages is a critical SEO ranking factor. Unfortunately, most themes create these areas dynamically, or don’t create them at all.
Using a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO allows you to create custom tags and titles for each page/post:
14. How to Use A/B Testing for WordPress –
Split testing or A/B testing content on your website is a critical SEO task. Essentially, you compare two versions of elements on a page to see which performs best. For example, you might test different featured images on a product page, or two versions of a headline for a blog post. You can do this easily with a WordPress plugin like Nelio A/B Testing.
WordPress Marketing and SEO Tip: A few key areas to split test on your website include headlines, calls to action, and product names or descriptions.
What are the Best WordPress Themes for SEO?
What’s the best WordPress site theme?
One reason WordPress is so beloved is all the free themes. But can any themes hurt your website’s SEO?
The short answer: Most themes offer great SEO on WordPress. The latest themes have a great technical SEO foundation, and they’re accessible to Google and other search engines.
Here’s what you need to know before selecting a WordPress theme for your site:
Is the WordPress theme regularly updated?
Choose a theme that’s regularly updated. Here’s why: Themes that don’t receive patches or updates for WordPress releases tend to diminish in performance over time. Long-term this can cause slower load times and security breaches, both of which can wreck your site’s SEO.
The latest update should be easy to find when you download. In the WordPress Themes directory, this information is available for all themes:
WordPress Marketing & SEO Tip: Before you install a theme, check to see when it was last updated. Look for themes that have been updated within the last six months. If you want to plan a solid marketing campaign for WordPress, you will want to make sure your site theme is highly-rated.
2. Is Your WordPress Theme Mobile-Friendly?
Today, a mobile-friendly website is a must. That’s why it’s important to choose a site template that provides a great experience across all devices. Responsive sites are the best.
WordPress SEO Tip: Open a potential theme demo, and resize your browser window. This will allow you to see how the site will look on different sized screens.
3. How to Build a WordPress Site that Google Loves?
4. How to Build a WordPress Site that Ranks Higher on Google?
Ranking your WordPress site higher on Google requires a great user experience. Navigation should be seamless, your homepage should be refined, and the fonts/icons easy to read.
WordPress Marketing Tip: A quality user experience – measured by bounce rate and time on page – is a key ranking factor. That’s why it’s so important that your theme is user-friendly.
What Are the Best SEO Plugins for WordPress?
Plugins play an important role in WordPress SEO. WordPress plugins are tools that enable website owners to optimize elements on the page – like page title, meta description, etc. – as well as monitor SEO performance.
Although it’s possible to optimize your site without using plugins, these SEO tools for WordPress make optimization more efficient. The best SEO plugins for WordPress include:
Since 2008, Yoast has been the go-to SEO plugin for many WordPress site owners. Yoast does a number of helpful SEO tasks, including allowing for custom titles, URL slugs, and meta descriptions, as well as providing a helpful SEO content analyzer. When you publish content and pages, Yoast provides a quick SEO analysis of content.
Just add a focus keyword, and the plug provides optimization suggestions.
If you use email marketing, Constant Contact is a must-have marketing and SEO tool for WordPress. The platform allows you to easily integrate email opt-in forms on your site, manages submitted emails, and ultimately allows you to create newsletter to market directly to your fans. One of the best features is plugins form builder, which allows users to make custom email opt-in forms:
WordPress Marketing Tip: Your blog is the perfect place to ask for reader’s emails. With Constant Contact, you can integrate email signups seamlessly into blogs or sidebars.
Schema markup is microdata that you can add to pages that make them more accessible to search engines. For example, using schema, you can identify what a blog is about, ratings for products, product images and much more. This ultimately helps make your site’s listing richer in search results. WP Rich Snippets is the best WordPress SEO plugin for adding schema markup.
A great feature, the plugin allows you to markup content so that Google can understand what you’re publishing:
With features to Yoast, All in One SEO Pack is a great backend SEO tool for WordPress. In fact, it’s one of the best marketing apps and plugins for WordPress. The tool automates meta tag creation, it allows for easy XML sitemap updating, and analyzes your content in real time. This is also a handy tool if you run WooCommerce, as it’s designed to integrate with the popular eCommerce tool.
All in One SEO pack provides tons of great features for WordPress marketing:
The SEO Framework is a free alternative to Yoast and All in One SEO Pack. But it’s big on features to help you optimize your website for better search engine pages (“SERP”) and search engine marketing (“SEM”). This is a handy plugin that allows you efficiently conduct on-page SEO; using the plugin, you can add metadata to individual pages and blogs.
This plugin allows you to visualize optimize your WordPress websites for better search engine rankings:
This SEO plugin checks for broken links. It will analyze your site to find broken links – which can harm your site’s SEO. Although it will monitor and scan your site regularly, it’s better to do manual scans, by enabling the plugin and then disabling it after you’re complete.
According to the WordPress’ Broken Link Checker, here are some of the extra features offered by this WordPress SEO plugin:
Monitors WordPress links in your posts, pages, comments, the blogroll, and custom fields.
Detects links that don’t work, missing images and redirects.
Notifies you either via the Dashboard or by email.
Makes broken links display differently in posts.
Prevents search engines from following broken links.
You can search and filter links by URL, anchor text and so on.
Links can be edited directly from the plugin’s page, without manually updating each post.
Rankie monitors your site’s position in Google search results. Having a WordPress site, you need to constantly determine how your keywords are ranking and what kind of website traffic is landing on your pages. Rankie is just that: a helpful plugin to analyze your keyword rankings and see how your website is performing, competitively. This helps you determine This is a must-have WordPress SEO tool for performance tracking. It provides daily updates on rankings, and you can follow along to see if your SEO strategies are having an effect on your position in search results.
This marketing and SEO plugin for WordPress provides you a quick snapshot of your rankings for relevant keywords, which you can view in your WordPress dashboard:
8. Rank Math
Rank Math performs a similar function to Rankie; it monitors your site’s position in search results for individual keywords. Beyond rank tracking, though, Rank Math allows you to conduct site-wide SEO audits, as well as on-page SEO.
Rank Math has tons of features, but one of the best is its SEO analyzer for posts and pages. This is the ultimate way how to do an SEO audit for your website:
Adding metadata to your images – alt tags and titles – is one SEO ranking factor that you don’t want to miss. And this plugin makes it super easy. Once installed, the plugin automates the alt and title tags to images.
Yes, it’s another great SEO plugin to help you improve your WordPress site performance and keyword rankings for search engines.
What are the Best SEO Tools for WordPress?
In addition to SEO plugins, there are a number of WordPress SEO tools that can help you maximize your marketing efforts. For example, Google Analytics allows you to capture and review data about your traffic, which you can use to refine your marketing efforts. The best SEO tools for WordPress are:
Analytics is the best SEO tool for WordPress users. That’s for two reasons. It’s free. And secondly, it provides rich data about users, where they go on your site, and how long they spend on pages. Use Analytics to monitor search traffic and identify SEO opportunities.
Whereas Analytics provides an overview of your users, Search Console provides a look into your site’s performance in search. You can see the keywords users typed in to find your site, as well as monitor technical performance.
Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Analytics and Search Console, but it monitors performance solely on Bing.
The Keyword Planning tool doesn’t integrate with WordPress. But it an invaluable keyword research tool. Use it to build lists of your most important keywords, and then integrate those into your WordPress site.
Bonus WordPress SEO Tip: Looking for some more great SEO Tools for WordPress? Take a look our Best SEO Tools guide.
How Do I Link Google Analytics to WordPress?
Adding Google Analytics to your WordPress site is fairly straightforward. By linking the two, you’ll be able to capture rich data in your Google Analytics account. Fortunately, it can be done fairly easily.
The best ways how to link Analytics with WordPress include:
Update your WordPress header.php File –
When you create a Google Analytics account, you’ll receive a tracking code. You can use manually paste this code into your header.php file on your site. This will link your accounts.
First grab the tracking code from Analytics. In Analytics, click Admin > Tracking Info > Tracking Code
On your WordPress dashboard, click Appearance > Editor.
Click Theme Header in the right-hand sidebar.
Now you have the header.php file open. Paste the tracking code just before the </head> HTML tag.
Finally, click Update File and you’re all set.
Below you will find the exact instructions on how to install Google Analytics and link it to your Wordpress site:
Wordpress Marketing & SEO Tip: Install the Best Google Analytics Plugin for WordPress – If you’re not HTML inclined, an easy option is to use a Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. One of the best is MonsterInsights. Using MonsterInsights, you can quickly install Google Analytics. Plus, helpful data and analytics become available in your WordPress dashboard.
How to Connect/Link Google Search Console and WordPress?
Want to know how to connect and link your Google Search Console account to WordPress? Good news: the process is fairly straightforward.
The easiest way to do it? Use a WordPress plugin. Yoast, for example, makes it possible to integrate Search Console in WordPress in just a few clicks.
To connect Yoast and Search Console, click SEO > Search Console.
Then add your Google Authorization Code on the page.
The Best WordPress SEO Checklist of All-Time:
25 Proven Strategies for WordPress Search Engine Optimization
You want your WordPress site to rank higher in search results? These 25 strategies are proven to improve SEO on WordPress. Use this checklist to audit your site and make sure you follow these steps when publishing new content.
Customize Your Permalink Structure –
This makes your URLs more search engine friendly.
Choose a Main Keyword for Every Page –
WordPress plugins like Yoast allow you to measure the density of a keyword on the page.
Optimize Title Tags –
Optimize all of your WordPress title tags; this remains one of the most important SEO ranking factors.
Add Meta descriptions to All of Your WordPress Pages –
Meta descriptions are the brief, 160-character blurbs that appear in search results for each page. Well-written meta descriptions help you maximize click-through rate.
Add Keywords to Heading (“Header”) Tags –
Your H tags should be optimized with relevant keywords. Use your focus keyword in your H1 tag, and variations in your subheaders.
Optimize Your Images –
Image metadata provides a small SEO boost; use a plugin to bulk update all previous images, as well as make optimization easier for future uploads.
Use Main Keyword in First 100 Words –
This helps Google understand what your content is about.
Create Valuable Content –
Fix thin content (content that’s 300 words or shorter) on your website; either consolidate and 301 redirect to a more relevant page, or revise to make it longer and more informative.
Edit URL Slugs –
WordPress makes it easy to shorten URLs with the Permalink editor. Keep slugs short.
Keep Image Sizes Small –
Over time, your WordPress site will get slower; compressing images will help you reduce load times.
Link Relevant Content on Your Site –
Use internal links to connect blog posts/pages that are relevant to readers.
Don’t Be Afraid of External Links –
Linking to high-quality sources makes your website more credible; utilize them on blogs for an added SEO boost.
Create a WordPress XML Sitemap –
This is a must, especially for new websites with lots of pages.
Create a robots.txt file for Your WordPress sites –
WordPress SEO plugins allow users to create a robots.txt file. This is a helpful bit of code that tells search engines where to go on your site.
Request Indexing in Search Console –
If you use Google Search Console, you can submit a URL for indexing. If you’re launching a new site, do this to get indexed faster.
Earn Quality Backlinks –
Backlinks – links elsewhere on the web that point to your website – are a key ranking factor. More backlinks will help bring you a higher search engine ranking WordPress website. Quality content can help you attract quality links.
Use Keyword Planner to Find Opportunities –
Before you hit publish, be sure you’ve researched keywords. Look for low-to-medium competition keywords with high volume for faster results.
Grow Your Social Marketing Footprint –
Google uses “social signals” when it determines which content should be on Page 1; pages with more social shares generally performs better. First, add social sharing buttons to posts. And second, regularly update and grow your site’s social pages.
Start Using “Snippets” and Schema Markup –
Schema markup helps your content stand out in search results. Use a WordPress plugin like Rich Snippets to add this useful metadata to your site.
Generate NAP Listings –
NAP listings are references to your site on online directories. If you run a local business, this is a must. You can generate these on review sites like Yelp, and directories like Yellow Pages.
Use Keyword Synonyms Within Content –
Along with a focus keyword, use synonyms and more descriptive versions in the content. Page 1 pages tend to rank for hundreds of keywords; a lot of traffic can come from these long-tail variations.
Create Readable Content –
On all your pages, make sure you’re writing content that’s easy on the eye; use images and shorter paragraphs to break up long walls of text.
Improve Your WordPress Site Speed –
Monitor your WordPress site’s load speeds in Search Console. A goal: Shoot for an average speed of 3-4 seconds at most; the faster your pages load, the better you’ll rank.
Fix Broken Links –
Use an SEO plugin like Broken Link Checker to scan your site for broken links and perform maintenance where necessary.
Test Your Site’s Mobile Friendliness –
Even if you’re using a responsive theme, be sure to test your site. The text, button copy, and images can slow down mobile experiences.
How to use these Wordpress marketing & SEO resources and tips to start ranking higher, increasing your website traffic, and building a content machine that people love to share.
The first step is bookmarking this page (yep, the one you are on now) as you build your WordPress site(s).
The second step is going through each section of our WordPress marketing and SEO guide, above, and finding the most applicable advice and strategies to help you optimize.
The third step is reading more information on SEO and how to do marketing for your WordPress sites. Here’s another great article on marketing and the SEO strategies every WordPress business owner must know.
WordPress is a great platform for building websites. It’s SEO friendly, technically sound, and it’s user-friendly. You don’t need a coding background to build a beautiful website.
Yet, although WordPress is set-up for SEO, it’s not an out-of-box SEO solution. You still have to follow SEO best practices for maximum results. Fortunately, if you focus your efforts on the steps in this guide, your WordPress website is guaranteed to receive a boost in rankings. And we stand by it. These are all strategies that Vail Networks has used to achieve real results for our clients.