We all want the search engines to like our websites and send us visitors. In this article I will give you 7 simple SEO tips for WordPress that will help the search engines understand your content.
But first we will back up and take a look at how it all fits together. You see, when used correctly SEO is there to help the search engine service the user more effectively.
- Understanding visitors, user experience and search engines
- SEO to help search engines understand your website
- 7 SEO tips for WordPress – why user experience is key
- 1. Use https and check website address (URL)
- 2. Niche down and focus
- 3. Avoid unnecessary categories
- 4. Check visibility settings
- 5. SEO friendly page names and addresses (URLs)
- 6. SEO friendly fast loading responsive WordPress theme
- 7. Optimize and compress images
- Summary and conclusion:
Understanding visitors, user experience and search engines
When you create content you should always write for your visitors. Your success will depend on how you and your content is received by your visitors.
Also — unless you are planning to spend money on advertising — you will rely on the search engines for visitors to find your website.
And this is where the importance of user experience comes into play.
Search engines will be happy to send you visitors if you take good care of them. Taking good care of the visitors means creating a good user experience for the visitors.
And how will the search engines know if you are offering a good user experience? They use all kinds of metrics to measure your performance.
Search engines may measure
1. how long visitors stay on your web page
2. if your website loads faster than your competitors
3. if visitors returns to the search engine results page after laving your website
SEO to help search engines understand your website
We now know that search engines like and will reward websites that offer a good user experience.
We of course want to help search engines understand our website and the purpose we serve.
After all, when the search engine understands what our website offers it can also index and rank us correctly.
And this will create a better user experience.
We use the principles of Search Engine Optimization or SEO to help the search engine
7 SEO tips for WordPress – why user experience is key
1. Use https and check website address (URL)
When we set up our WordPress website it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the available options.
There are however two general settings that are important. One of them has to do with using a Secure connection when visitors come to your website. Another makes sure that you use one and the same web address for your website.
When choosing a web hosting company it is important that Secure SSL certificates are included on your hosting plan. I have tried both Bluehost and WPX hosting. Both hosting companies include SSL Certificates that auto install with your domains on signup.
Now all you have to do is to got to the WordPress Dashboard and choose Settings > General
Here we write our website address in the fields for WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL)
Please note that we use https and not http to signal the use of Secure SSL certificates.
It is also important to understand that it does matter how we write our website address.
Look at the below variations of our website address. These are 4 distinctly different website to any searcg engines as the addresses are different.
www.example.com is not the same as example.com http://example.com is not the same as https://example.com
Security is a major factor in creating a good user experience. Search engines will punish you if you do not use Secure SSL certificates.
Furthermore, if you use variations of your website address search engines will interprete it as different but identical websites. This will create confusion and will make it more difficult for search engines to understand your website.
Summary: Add your website address in the fields for WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL). I recommend that you use https:// and write your website address without www as it will look and read cleaner:
2. Niche down and focus
We create a website because we have something to say and we want to share it.
But it is important to stay focused on the chosen niche and to niche down.
Especially brand new websites should focus on the creation of great content within one and the same niche.
When you are established as an expert you can decide to expand your niche if you so please.
But initially we must stay focused to establish a profile and level of expertise in our niche.
It will be difficult for search engines to understand your website if you produce content about cars, recipes and travel.
Summary: Create great content but stay focused on your chosen niche. Do not branch out until you have established a level of expertise in your field.
3. Avoid unnecessary categories
New websites often creare several categories just as a matter of course.
But before you start adding categories – ask yourself what purpose they serve.
If you are writing about garden herbs there is no real benefit in adding categories for indoor and outdoor.
All you do is to add complexity to your website structure with no obvious benefit. Search engines do not like complexity and how exactly does it help your visitors?
Your visitors will most likely come to your website from a search engine. If they have additional needs they will most likely return to the search engine and search again.
It is unlikely that they will use your menu and categories to look for more interesting articles to read. Consequently you need to ask yourself why you would add categories.
Summary: Creating categories risk adding unnecessary complexity to your website structure with no obvious benefit to visitors or search engines.
4. Check visibility settings
We of course want the search engines to index and rank our websites.
To check our Search engine visibility settings we go to the Dashboard and choose Settings > Reading.
Here we make sure that the checkbox for “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is unchecked.
Summary: Check the Search engine visibility settings at Settings > Reading. Make sure that you do not actively discourage search engines to index and rank our website.
5. SEO friendly page names and addresses (URLs)
We have already established that we should do whatever we can to help the search engines understand our website.
One way we can help the search engines understand is to use SEO friendly web page names and addresses.
Compare the following two web page addresses:
https://yourdomain.com/?p=123 vs https://yourdomain.com/best-website-hosting/
Which would you say is more descriptive and best signals the topic and intention of the web page? The answer is of course obvious.
To use descriptive and SEO friendly web page names we go to the WordPress Dashboard and choose Settings > Permalinks.
We select the Postname option to use clear and descriptive page names.
Summary: Check the Postname option under Permalinks to use easy to understand page names for all your web pages.
6. SEO friendly fast loading responsive WordPress theme
User experience is once again at the center. It seems that all originates as well as ends with the need to create a superior user experience.
We will soon talk about loading times. But first we focus on building a website the right way to cater for different screen resolutions efficiently.
Your website must be designed to load and display quickly and efficiently on all screen sizes and types of devices. Designs that can achieve this are referred to as responsive designs.
This is not an easy task to accomplish. But luckily there are several good and affordable (even free) WordPress Themes that can help you achieve this objective.
Summary: To be competitive our website must be fast loading and display efficiently on all devices and screen resolutions. I have used themes from GeneratePress and Astra and can recommend both. They also both offer free as well as affordable premium versions.
7. Optimize and compress images
Load time is important in delivering a superior user experience according to Google Core Web Vitals and Mobile First.
But still to this day websites use images and phtos without any level of optimization or compression.
I applaud you if you use your own photography as opposed to stock photos seen everywhere.
But please take the time to optimize and compress your images.
I have written a whole tutorial on the matter but briefly you need to snake sure that
The dimension is correct when you upload you images
Let’s say your header needs an image that is 800×400 pixels (width x height). Why then upload a monster image of 4500 x 3300 pixels from your mobile phone?
WordPress is helpful and will make it look nice but the image still has to be loaded. And it will take longer than it needs to as the size is too big.
So please optimize as in resize your images to the correct dimensions before you use them on your websites.
That you compress the images to make the file size smaller
The quality of photos are amazing today. And this is true for photos taken with even the most basic mobile phone cameras.
But you see, the quality may not be necessary when you are publishing the photo on your website.
You can compress or reduce the quality of your images substantially without it being noticeable to the human eye.
And when we reduce the quality of the photo we get a smaller file size and faster loading times.
Summary: When we optimize and compress our photos and images we reduce the file sizes and get faster loading times. And there does not have to be any loss of quality for the visitor. It is truly a win-win for all parties involved.
Summary and conclusion:
These 7 simple SEO tips for WordPress focus on the use of SEO as I believe it was intended.
We use sound SEO principles to help the search engines understand our website. We niche down to be recognized as experts in our fields.
SEO encompasses a lot more than what we have covered today. I work with a belief that a focus on the user experience I will be rewarded in the long run.
I hope you too stick around to see your websites succeed.