Let’s take a break from WordPress SEO even before we start.
Did you hear about the Rap Genius scandal that took them from 800,000 to 100,000 unique visits? Even after working on their bad backlink profile, they are yet to climb above half of what they use to have as traffic.
What’s the moral of this story?
As a blogger, webmaster, or site owner, you cannot do away with optimizing WordPress SEO. Instead, we should say you cannot engage in bad SEO practices. If you do, it will affect your WordPress SEO, and you will lose the online game.
This is what drove us to the question of the boxes you should tick in optimizing WordPress for SEO.
This also reminds us of something, the importance of organically optimizing WordPress SEO. Did you know that 70 to 80% of users ignore paid ads, they are more interested in organic results? They have more believe in organic results provided by search engines.
Why we are approaching 2020, we are interested in helping your site grow by 300% in 12 months. This is why this WordPress SEO checklist will suggest what you should do every month to achieve this growth;
1. Use a WordPress SEO Plugin, Never Walk and Work in Darkness
Out of the box, WordPress is optimized for SEO, but it is not enough if you are to achieve any good result. For your WordPress site, install an SEO Plugin. You need to be able to stay ahead and on top of what Google is seeing and what they cannot see.
As you may know, Yoast SEO and All-In-One SEO Pack lead the pack when it comes to WordPress SEO Plugins. These two WordPress SEO Plugins and many more out there provide you with end-to-end SEO capabilities.
While you have installed any of this, you should also remember that this WordPress SEO Plugins will not do the work for you. What it does is to provide you with data-driven optimizations.
2. Work on Your Permalinks, Make it Search Engine Friendly
What WordPress creates as Permalink is both weird, unclean, and far from being WordPress SEO friendly.
The onus falls on you to go far away from the date and name embedded by WordPress
Google will take your WordPress SEO serious if they see your title and keywords in the URLs. While doing this, makes sure the Permalink is kept at a short-range.
It’s not difficult fixing this permalink issue. Just go to your Settings > Permalinks. Under the common settings, tick Post Name. Remember to Save Changes.
There’s a caveat here;
By changing the Permalinks structure on an older WordPress site, every other previous link will be rendered useless. You should redirect traffic via the .htaccess file.
3. Pitch Your Tent With Google Search Console
Google Search Console will enable you to see the conditions of your WordPress site by providing insight. Majorly the indexation status, issues with your website, and any other relevant info.
The beauty of Google Search Console is that despite being free, it is still your most important tool for On-Page WordPress SEO.
Imagine if your site gets hacked, trust Google Search Console to give you heads up immediately.
Take your time to see what this free but essential tool has to offer.
4. Every Content Should Be Built on a Focus Keyword
If you are going to get any result out of WordPress SEO in 2020, you need to stop publishing content to populate your site.
Google still relies heavily on an algorithm that can only rank you base on keywords. Despite stressing the need to publish content for the users, there is always the place of keywords.
While writing for your audience, keep in mind keywords. Let’s assume you are using Yoast SEO Plugin; it will always require you to input a focus keyword. Let your focus keyword be a product of keyword research.
Make sure that the keywords appear in an ample amount, as will be recommended by Yoast.
You can always achieve a lot with your content, write for Google, and also for the users.
5. Set Up a Traffic Analytics Tool For WordPress SEO
How else will be you be able to measure your progress and growth without a means of measurement?
You have to be intentional with WordPress SEO to reach the 300% growth. Through the Traffic analytics tool, you will be able to ascertain if your efforts are bringing in results.
It’s not just about the traffic, but the means through which your visitors are finding your WordPress site.
We’ll recommend either Google Analytics or Clicky. While Google Analytics is the most popular out there, and it works seamlessly with Google Search Console. On the other hand, Clicky makes it easy to understand your analytics.
6. Your WordPress Site Has To Load Faster Than It Is Currently
We don’t know how fast your site is right now, but we believe that it can be better.
When it comes to WordPress SEO, site speed must always be on Turbo. Google has never hidden its displeasure to slow sites. It has been proven that site speed has an impact on SERPs.
You have to do whatever possible to make your site load as fast as possible.
Let’s even leave WordPress SEO aside. Site speed has a positive impact on user experience. If you can make your site load lesser than 2 seconds, you are about to turn your WordPress fortunes around.
7. Build a Positive Relationship With CTR using Meta Descriptions
Keep your meta descriptions between the 150 and 170 character limit. If you have any meta description above that limit, you need to rework it.
Of course, aside from being able to input your keywords into the meta description, it has no relationship with WordPress SEO. But there’s a relationship between CTR and WordPress SEO.
If your meta description is engaging and interesting, it could make your content gain more CTR than other results on the SERPs.
In short, with meta description, you can improve your chances of ranking and getting better traffic.
8. Don’t Ignore Header Tags, H1, H2, H3, H4, and More.
Header tags are not here for being there sake. They are there because Google Crawler bot checks them.
That means, if they are not there, there won’t be anything for Google Crawler to check.
Keep only a single H1 tag on a page, then bring in multiple H2 and H3 tags sprinkled all over the page.
If you can, ensure your H tags contains your focus keywords.
9. Word Count Matters and Content is Still King
This is not only about Google this time but also your visitors. These two are essential to your traffic lookout for high quality and long-form content.
Rather than publishing short-form content all the time, take time to devote attention to long-form content. Over time, the longer length of content can make you win the WordPress SEO game.
In this infographics by Capsicum Media Works, the impact of word count on SERPs was shown;
Ideally, publish more of content with over 2,000-word count.
10. Use New Posts To Draw Attention To Older Posts-Interlinking
As frequent as you can, draw attention to your older and forgotten contents using new posts.
This is how you should do it;
For every new post, link it back to not less than three older but related posts. If you notice this post, we linked back to almost all the older posts.
If you can pinpoint which of your posts has the most attention and organic traffic. Use the post to divert attention to other posts also.
11. Never Underestimate The Power of Social Signals For WordPress SEO
The first place to start after publishing a post is to share on your social profiles. In our post here, we proved that social media engagement, especially from Facebook, could bring in more organic traffic.
While you are giving attention to your WordPress SEO, don’t ignore your social media also. Link them all together.
This is something that Moz has not failed to emphasize year in, year out.
12. External Linking To High Authority Domain
You will be wondering if you won’t be giving out the little traffic to your site to other domains.
Not to worry, what Google needs to see is that there is content related to yours on High Domain Authority websites.
What you are showing Google is that you are ready to provide additional information on the subject of discussion.
Ensure that every of your content has not less than two external links to authority websites.
There you have it.
This is the strategy you should adopt. Implement each of these WordPress SEO checklist one every month. In the following month, add one more.
By the time the year ends, you would have seen your organic traffic shooting through the roof.