WordPress SEO: Definitive and Comprehensive Guide
Having a strong enough website and reaching your target audience quickly is what you always wanted, right? OK, we can do this. If you are using WordPress as a CMS on your website, we have prepared a very easy-to-follow guide for you. We, as Screpy experts, aim to make it easier for you to appeal to search engines by making the right optimizations on your WordPress site. Let’s just say: We’re going to offer a few suggestions here, but use Screpy’s AI-based analytics tool to get recommendations specific to your site.
Do you know how to use Screpy? Start any plan now and use it for free for seven days. Moreover, without providing credit card information. Then add the websites you want to Screpy as a new project and perform page-based SEO, page speed, best practices, accessibility, uptime, keyword tracking, and much more. Now you only need one tool, thanks to Screpy, which scans all the details from the slowness caused by the larger-sized image on your website to the layout of the title tags. With a single tool, you can take full control of your WordPress site and do extremely powerful work with the control you provide.
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Well, if you’re ready, we’ll start right now and give you information on how to optimize your website from a total of 4 different aspects. Hey, your job will be really easy as you will benefit from this guide while managing your WordPress site easily.
What is WordPress?
Hey, if you’re somehow into this content but aren’t sure what WordPress is, let’s briefly introduce WordPress to you. WordPress is a CMS (content management system) infrastructure released as open-source. When you set up a website with this infrastructure, you make content management and technical settings of your site through the panel offered by WordPress. You can add paid and free plugins specially offered for WordPress to this panel, which has many language options, and you can configure your site’s URL structures, content optimizations, URL settings, and more. WordPress, which has been used with updated versions since 2003, is operated with Unix-like, Windows, Linux.
Does WordPress SEO Have Any Difference With Standard SEO?
Actually, if you look at it, there isn’t. Because for Google, it doesn’t matter if your site is managed with WordPress or with different infrastructure. But knowing how to use the options and the panel that WordPress offers to facilitate SEO will help you in the process of ranking the content-based site that you manage with WordPress. That’s why we’ve prepared a special eight-point guide for you. Are you ready to review?
4 Basic WordPress SEO Rules: How to Optimize Your WordPress Site?
In the process of optimizing your WordPress site, we will list you in detail what you need to do to get the best results. Let’s start.
Accomplish Basic SEO Rules
It is very important to make sure that the basic WordPress setting is correct. If the basic settings are ok, then it will be easier to build on them. So, what are these basic operations? Let’s see:
Choosing Reliable Hosting Service
First of all, you need to make sure that your hosting provider is reliable, close to the location of the audience you are addressing, and offers high uptime hosting. You can use the Screpy uptime monitoring tool in this process to monitor the quality of the service you have, and you can get instant notification from Screpy for every downtime moment. In this way, you will easily discover how much uptime your site is automatically.
Remember: The quality of your hosting and your SEO score are closely related. Because hosting quality affects the loading speed of your page, and the effect of page speed on ranking is quite high. If you want higher rankings, it is important to get a fast and effective hosting service.
Choosing a WordPress Theme Suitable for SEO
It may be logical to choose a user-friendly, easy-to-use and practical WordPress theme that will help you extra with page speed, without unnecessary details. This way you get several different benefits:
- First of all, if your WordPress theme has an easy-to-load theme, you will also optimize your page speed. Having an advantageous page speed value will reduce the likelihood of users to bounce.
- Thanks to a user-friendly, simple theme, users feel much more comfortable while browsing your site, and they are more likely to choose you again when they spend time. This way you get super results.
Take Advantage of Free WordPress Plugins
Today, many plugins produced specifically for WordPress are designed to facilitate your technical search engine optimization work. For example, different SEO tools such as All in One SEO Pack, Yoast SEO, Rank Math are useful tools that tell you which parts of the content you need to optimize when you add content to your site. It’s not all about that. There are many WordPress plugins that allow you to find pages with 404 errors on your site, deal with multiple redirects, and detect large CSS files and automatically minify them. These plugins can really reduce your workload in the WordPress SEO process.
Make Sure You Have A Correct Permalink Structure
How you set up permalinks on your site is very important. Because it changes the way search engines crawl your site, your post URLs, your pages. When making the necessary settings on WordPress, you must first click on Settings, then click on Permalinks on the menu that opens.
When you come here, you will first see that the default settings are active. This usually means you have a URL structure like example.com/?p=123. We do not recommend this style because the chances of users remembering such URLs are very low, and search engines may find it difficult to understand how relevant your content is to the relevant keywords. Then it would be best for you to change this default setting.
Changing the permalink structure means:
You change the content on your website, which components will be represented in the URL after the domain part. It is very important to choose the right structure from the beginning and not change it later, or your ranking may suffer later on.
What is usually done is to set the URLs in the content to have dashes in between according to the title of the content. The simplest representation of this would be: example.com/category/post-name/
When you plan this type of URL structure, the keywords you use in the title of each of your content will also be visible on the web address of the content. This can be very helpful for search engines to understand whether the content is relevant or not. Moreover, you do not need to have coding knowledge to make such a setting. It is enough to choose the “Post name” option over the WordPress settings.
Having an SEO-compatible website and increasing your traffic by reaching your target audience as soon as possible requires you to optimize your content. If you share content that is rich in terms of technical features, authoritative and contains strong information for the audience, you will get high-quality results.
Test Your Website Issues
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Understanding User Intent
The first step in content optimization is to understand exactly what users are looking for and analyze the user intent. As long as you can do this correctly, you can easily detect the following:
- Which headings should you use in the content?
- What questions should you answer in general?
- Within the framework of which keywords you should build your periodical content strategy
- What style should you define in the content?
- What categories should you have on your site’s blog page?
- Which keywords should you target paid advertising?
Understanding all of the above will mean you can achieve high volume in a short time with a content marketing strategy. Remember that you focus on two main things in your content marketing strategy:
- You should use keywords to show search engines what your page is about
- You should create user-oriented content so that your users do not get lost when they enter the content and can easily find what they are looking for.
Remember that you don’t need traditional and outdated methods when doing the first one. Traditional methods can be exemplified as making keywords bold or using long-tail keywords in patterns over and over. Today, instead of focusing on specific keywords, Google performs paragraph scanning and prefers to highlight the content in paragraphs. So keywords, and especially their long-tail versions, are meant to tell you “what you need to talk about”, simply sprinkle them in your content. Rest assured, Googlebots are really smart now.
The second item, the user-oriented content creation item, is basically about increasing the readability of the content. For this, we recommend that you follow the following:
- You should take care to use plenty of sub-headings, articles, graphics and infographics throughout the content.
- In general, you can highlight places in the content that specifically answer a particular question in various ways. Using bold characters and placing the relevant field in a specific template can be a good solution.
- You can add a frequently asked questions section at the end of the content.
- You need to specify the titles of the content as h1, h2, h3 in a hierarchical manner. This is very important for users to more easily track the answers to the questions they are looking for while reading your content.
- Again, for a user-oriented content, it is really important to have the table of contents in the content. In this way, people who come to your page for the answer to a specific question and do not want to read a long content can directly select a title from the table of contents and go to the relevant section of the content. That’s how easy it is.
Is it clear enough? Super!
Distribution and Use of Media Files in Your Content
Many studies have revealed that the use of interactive images, infographics, videos and quotes in blog content increases engagement to the content. Users love to see such content, and if the content has such features, the time they spend on the page really increases. This of course sends a very important message to search engines: Hey, there’s something great on this page that appeals to users and makes them see good results.
In order to get exactly this effect, you should both include various media files in your content and make sure that they do not adversely affect the page speed and loading process. It seems a bit difficult to do all of this at once, doesn’t it? But the process is easier than you think.
Screpy analyzes each of your pages one by one and shows you images and similar media files, title hierarchy, source code file problems on the pages. Depending on these, the Screpy tool, which also presents you the errors that cause page speed problems, offers you important warnings on how to fix them. Thanks to the guides we call Tasks, you can understand how to make optimizations easily and quickly, and by increasing the speed of your content pages, you can handle a part of content optimization.
Here are some media file-based tips to optimize your content page in general:
- It is best if the images you use in your content are in JPEG format. Because the load of these files is much lower than the others.
- You can compress or minify the media contents in the contents. In this way, the workload required during loading will be reduced and your page will load faster.
- It is necessary to use alternative alt text with keywords of the content in each image or video. In this way, you can enable users to find you with relevant keywords in Google’s image searches, and you can develop an organic backlink strategy that will share these images with the necessary tags on Pinterest or Instagram.
Meta Description & Meta Title and More
Current content optimization rules have a few different suggestions for meta description and meta title:
- First of all, we can say that using numbers in the meta title of the content is a useful method. For example, it is much easier to get clicks from the SERP when you write “Top 6 Decoration Ideas for Living Room” instead of using a title as “Decoration Ideas” in general. Because the second type of title grabs people’s attention more, and people are more confident that they can easily review really useful ideas in that thread.
- The focus keyword must be included in the meta title and meta description. This is the best way to tell both search engines and users that your content is relevant to what they are demanding.
- The use of the focus keyword in the first paragraph of the content is also recommended in many WordPress-oriented SEO studies. All of the different content optimization plugins such as Yoast SEO and Rankmath give importance to this.
Technical Issues About Content Optimization: Canonical Links, Internal and External Link Building and More
Here are a few more points you can consider to technically strengthen your content:
- Do you have two different pages with identical content on your site? This situation may cause the contents to competing with each other and you may experience a disadvantage in terms of ranking. The only thing you need to pay attention to in order to avoid such a situation is to use canonical links. By using these links, you can ensure that the users entering your page are directed to only one of them.
- You can determine the pages that you do not want to be indexed among your content by using the necessary snippets. For example, the Privacy Policies of the sites or similar legal pages should not be indexed.
- You may link to other blog content or other service content on your site. Links from your blog content to these pages make it easier for visitors to navigate within the site and help increase page authority on the site with the support of each other. This is a really great idea!
- External linking to authoritative and useful information in your field does not degrade your value, on the contrary, it enables Google to better understand what you are writing about. Then reinforce the relevant level of your page and link to authoritative, reputable pages in your content. You can mark this link as nofollow or dofollow. To examine the link types in more detail, you can visit our related article.
Optimize Your Site Structure and Have a SiteMap
We have come to the technical part of WordPress SEO, are you ready? We shared with you a content about what sitemap is, and we examined technical SEO requirements in another content. Here we will talk about how you should maintain the site hierarchy in WordPress SEO.
- First of all, the most valuable page on your site is always the homepage. Because many categories are linked from here, and different categories also send links to this page. Having this page at the top hierarchically ensures that the links you give from here to other pages will have authority-enhancing effects.
- In a general site hierarchy model, the homepage should have a detailed navigation menu. This navigation menu gives the different pages on the site in a hierarchical order. Basic categories are called parent categories, and more specific classifications under these categories are called child categories. A user entering the Homepage should be able to see all of these classifications in a very clear and clean way.
- URLs in the general site hierarchy should also be designed in accordance with this parent-child category logic. For example, if the t-shirt category is under the parent category of the womenswear, the URL of the t-shirt category would be as follows:
You can go to our related content to have more information about URL optimization.
Finally, you might consider using a sitemap on your site. Get help from related Screpy tasks to discover and solve problems that may occur on sitemap pages. Remember, while not a vital requirement for SEO, the sitemap is quite important to facilitate Googlebots’ crawling and indexing activity, especially on multi-page websites.
Bonus: Using Breadcrumbs
We’ve shared an article titled ‘’ SEO-Friendly Site Structure: How To Build and Develop It?’’ with you before, and we talked about breadcrumbs in detail there. These structures are areas that give information about exactly where users are on the site. Users can go to the parent category of a child category or easily determine which category the site is in, thanks to these structures clustered in the form of stairs. This is also very important for Googlebots to understand the general structure of the site and the context of the content of the pages.
This is how breadcrumbs look like:
These pages will strengthen the visitor’s UX while navigating through your site and make it easier for him to find what he is looking for. In addition, these contents will support Googlebots’ process of making sense of each page while crawling on your site.
Mobile-Friendly Website is A Must
What are the most basic requirements of a website?
- a domain name
- a theme
- a hosting provider
OK, we know these. But in a world where mobile-first indexing redefines all the rules of the internet, the requirements are not limited to this. It is no longer possible for a website that is not designed to be mobile friendly to survive, stand out and be ranked.
Imagine: If you were Google and almost half of your users were querying with their mobile devices, would you rank a website that maximizes cumulative layout shift on mobile devices, texts cannot be selected, and images cannot be loaded?
Well, we know you wouldn’t do that.
- This is exactly what Google thinks in order to make its users happy. What you need to do is to have AMPs (accelerated mobile pages), make sure your site’s overall theme is mobile-friendly, and optimize for mobile speed.
- Moreover, in your mobile design, you should highlight the details that are important for mobile users and cancel other areas. Remember, the screens of mobile devices are not as large as desktop PCs.
Test Your Website Issues
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Is WordPress good for SEO?
Yes, you can use WordPress for your website with peace of mind. WordPress, which is generally used by blogging platforms, is generally very useful as a CMS to support your SEO efforts. Of course, using WordPress alone does not affect your ranking positively, but WordPress is a good helper in your optimization studies.
Does WordPress have SEO built in?
WordPress has many built-in SEO tools. Some of these help with your technical SEO operations, while others focus directly on your content. There are also various fields that allow you to control the URL structure of your site via WordPress. You can safely download third-party plugins from the official store.
How do I SEO my WordPress site?
In general, choosing a good hosting provider on your WordPress site, using a good or a few WordPress SEO plugins, choosing the right theme, optimizing your content, speed and technical features will be enough for SEO. Of course, in addition to these, you should not neglect to always actively follow the latest SEO demands.
How do I use Yoast WordPress SEO?
You can add Yoast SEO as a plugin to your WordPress and have your content automatically checked for readability and SEO.
Which is the best SEO plugin for WordPress?
It is possible to say that the most popular and preferred WordPress SEO plugins today are SEOPress, All-In-One SEO, WP Rocket, Yoast SEO, Rankmath. By choosing these, you can achieve powerful results more easily.
Test Your Website Issues
You can quickly analyze your site