WordPress remains the most popular CMS for bloggers, content creators, and small businesses. 

One of the best benefits of WordPress over other CMSs is its wide selection of SEO-friendly plug-ins and easy-to-manage back-end. 

While WordPress offers great features out-of-the-box, there are several ways you can improve the performance of your website with a bit of technical know-how. As a result, you can build a website on WordPress fairly cheaply by yourself or with white label services

In this guide, we’ll provide you with 25 WordPress SEO tips to build your website DIY, manage your CMS, and boost your online presence. 

Technical SEO Elements

1. Do Your Research Before Choosing a Host

Google takes speed into account for ranking, and online audiences become impatient notoriously quick. According to Pingdom.com, bounce rates increase by 32% if the load time increases by 1-3 seconds.

Consider whether it’s beneficial to purchase a shared hosting plan or a dedicated plan. Additionally, you can bundle your domain registration and find discounts that help you save money on your hosting plan. 

2. SEO-Friendly Theme

Many WordPress themes advertise a ton of functions you’ll probably never use. Clunky iframes and excess PHP will only slow your site down. Instead, find a WordPress theme that will keep things quick, and you’ll find your site moving up in the search results.

3. Manually Change Default Permalink Settings

Permalinks are the permanent URLs for your site’s content. WordPress offers a variety of options for permalink structures, including using numbers, dates, and page titles in the URL. There are a few different philosophies on which is best.

Still, it’s widely accepted that the title or main keywords, at least, should be included in the URL to send signals to the crawlers about the content’s main point, so choose one of the options that automatically includes the title.

4. Sign Up for an SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate is a layer of encryption that makes browsers more secure as they engage with your website. In other words, it’s the “s” in HTTPS. SSL certificates are essential for Google Chrome users because Google will put up a warning on any website with a missing or expired SSL certificate, which could turn away a lot of visitors from your website.

5. Upload .xml Sitemap

Sitemaps are important for categorizing content, especially for larger sites – say 250 pages or more. An XML sitemap also helps Google index and crawl new pages that are being continually added to your website. Additionally, managing a sitemap makes implementing tags, such as an hreflang tag for multi-lingual pages, easy to index and categorize. 

6. Customize Robots.txt

Robots.txt files give crawlers guidelines for what they should crawl and, more importantly, what they can and cannot index. For example, pages that you would not want to be accessed through search, such as pages requiring logins or containing private information, should be noindexed in your robots.txt.

7. Noindex Duplicate Pages

Besides using the robots.txt, you can noindex pages right in their HTML headers using <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow”> in the </head> section. Noindexing pages is a good way to eliminate indexing for duplicate pages, such as PDFs and other material.

8. SEO Plugins

A good plugin will often be able to take care of multiple SEO functions. For example, Yoast SEO is one of the most trusted comprehensive plugins and provides users with tools to audit and manage the performance of their websites. Other helpful WordPress plugins include WP Rocket for caching and Jetpack for website security. 

9. Maintain Plugins

On the flip side, plug-ins can be a massive drain of resources on your website. Additionally, lots of plug-ins are vulnerable to hackers and spam if not properly updated. So be sure to update your WordPress plug-ins monthly and continually audit plug-ins by using as little as possible to keep your site lean.

10. Speed Up Your Site with Caching

Content delivery networks (CDNs) are networks of proxy servers that are distributed large distances from one another. These can increase your website’s speed by being more spatially relative to users accessing your website from different places.

11. CDN to Increase Speed

Content delivery networks (CDNs) are networks of proxy servers that are distributed large distances from one another. These can increase your website’s speed by being more spatially relative to users accessing your website from different places.

12. Optimize Database

Optimizing your database eliminates unnecessary data that can slow down the WordPress software. This can be done manually in the PHPMyAdmin tab or with a plug-in that will delete old revisions, spam comments, previously saved drafts, and other data bits that you don’t need.

13. Optimize Widgets

Many widgets render by loading javascript or CSS from external sources. However, by uploading the scripts or CSS directly to the server, thus serving them up from your own server, you don’t have to rely on external servers, which can improve speed.

14. Rel=canonical

Use the rel=canonical function to reduce duplicate content. It is best to have unique content for each page, but there are certain cases when that is unrealistic or even impossible. For example, most websites will have a www. and a non-www. version, so one will need to be canonical to the other to prevent the appearance of duplicate content. This tag is also vital for managing multilingual or multiregional pages with hreflang tags.

15. Optimize for Mobile

Responsive Web Design creates flexibility in your web pages to transition between desktop and mobile devices smoothly. WordPress provides easy RWD plug-ins and features and AMP plug-ins if you’re a frequent content creator. Furthermore, you can optimize your website for mobile by implementing click-to-call buttons, compressing images, and reducing content length on landing pages.

On-Page SEO Elements

16. Keyword Research

The first step to creating physical content on your website is conducting keyword research. These keywords allow you to understand what users are searching for and create content that meets that intent. Here are some advanced keyword research tips to help you get started. 

17. Optimize Meta Data

Once you have a list of keywords compiled and pages you’ll optimize around these keywords, you’ll need to implement them in your metadata. Generally, you’ll want to optimize each page’s title tag and meta description with your primary keyword and then header tags with relevant keywords or subtopics that reinforce the theme of a page or landing page. 

18. Create Custom URLs

Enable custom URLs in WordPress, or let the Yoast plugin do the work. For example, a standard URL for this blog post may end up with numbers or a few words combined from the post title. which just looks ugly. However, if you look at our custom URL up top, you’ll see that it’s optimized with our target keywords in mind and looks more organic on your browser. 


19. Optimize Images

There are two ways to optimize images for SEO: speed and online search. First, enable compression on all images to reduce load times and unlock greater speed out of your website. Secondly, optimize all images in your Yoast plugin with alt text.

This attribute allows you to describe your image in a few words. Always use a relevant keyword, and discuss what the photo is about, such as “the Yoast tool makes WordPress SEO simpler.”  Alt-text is also key for populating image search results and providing a backdoor for additional traffic outside traditional SERPs.

20. Social Media Buttons

While social media shares and engagement have little to no effect on search rankings, social media is still important for brands and websites looking to engage with their customers.

Implement social media buttons on your WordPress site to share content and provide helpful navigation for visitors to follow you on various platforms. 

21. Prevent Spam in the Comments

Bots leaving links to nefarious sites in the comments makes users annoyed and paranoid that your site isn’t secure. It can also have the whole page flagged as spam. You have your basic nofollow plug-ins to help with the latter problem, but if you want a next-level solution that will prevent bots from posting, Cookies for Comments won’t let users that can’t be cookied to comment, as they are flagged as bots.

Content SEO Elements

22. Write Long-Form Content

Thought leadership content or long-form content positions your website as a topical authority and increases your chances of repeat traffic from customers who trust your opinion on important issues.

According to one source, the ideal length for a piece of high-quality content should be around 2100-2400 words. However, by researching the competition and SERP landscape, you can find the ideal length for content and write it to match users’ intent.

23. Create a Content Calendar

Posting consistent content allows you to continually engage with your audience, rank for new keywords, and generate authority for your website. Create a content calendar and writing process that will enable you to efficiently churn out new content and continually update and improve your web presence. 

24. Experiment with Multimedia Content

Another great avenue to curate better engage on engagement is to experiment with video, infographics, or various forms of multimedia content. For example, podcasts and videos are often more desirable for DIY videos, tutorials, or free-hand discussions where customers can better learn about your brand. Additionally, these pieces of content may rank on other platforms, such as Google video results or on various podcast platforms. 

25. Help Rankings with Internal Links

Finally, internal links tie all your content together and establish an internal hierarchy that crawlers can navigate to understand which pages are most important to your website.

Internal links are also helpful for passing on page authority between pages, helping new blog posts get indexed, and establishing topic clusters that support long-form content and make your website a topical authority on a subject. Ideally, each post should have at least 2-4 internal links to other relevant content.

WordPress SEO optimization is incredibly easy and a high ROI investment. By investing in plug-ins like Yoast and WPRocket and conducting fairly traditional SEO strategies, you can create a killer website presence and blog strategy that builds traffic and brand loyalty over time.