How does SEO Work on WordPress?

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One of the reasons why blogging is such a popular activity on the internet is that blogging is not restricted to only people with advanced knowledge of building websites, and this is largely due to standard content management systems or CMS, such as WordPress. Instead, the way to exchange knowledge and establish brand authority has become simple and convenient.

But a blog alone is not enough to make it popular and stand out from the crowd making it visible to the billions of potential readers/users online. For that, every website needs a solid SEO foundation, first to ensure that there are no technical barriers for the content to be crawled and indexed by the search engines, but also to optimise its content and user experience for its target audience first, and search engines after.

So, unless we can rely on an SEO agency and have a team of experts working on the SEO strategy and execution, what can we do ourselves to know more and leverage on WordPress SEO tools? As a leading SEO Sydney agency we get asked this question a lot, so we have compiled a list of recommendations for you below.

Understanding WordPress SEO

Point one. As we have seen WordPress alone is not THE solution for the right SEO approach. Content Management Systems save time for webmasters. Besides, whatever your level of expertise may be, CMS platforms allow you to follow the best practices as you try to rank your website on Google.

Your CMS choice does not determine whether you should rank or not unless your website has substantial technical problems that hinder its crawling and indexing.

You shouldn’t assume that WordPress is the silver bullet that does not need further attempts. Actually quite the opposite, you will need to invest some time and effort (or hire a trusted SEO company) to review and improve your WordPress site.

SEO can get technical really quickly. However, with WordPress’ own features, at the least the basic Search Engine Optimization is now easy enough and convenient for those who are not experienced or who don’t consider themselves professionals.

Only because you use WordPress does not mean that you are going to fundamentally change the SEO tactics. Furthermore, you also need to produce great content, collect useful links and make sure your website is well optimized and free from any problems.

Yet WordPress allows you to manage many of the elements that make the site rank. What we cover below are some useful tips and tricks to help you directly apply growth-driving strategies directly from within the WordPress platform.

The SEO Basics for WordPress

Here are a few basics you need to check and apply, for WordPress SEO to optimize your site correctly and improve your rankings and traffic from organic sources.

  1. SEO-friendly URLs

A variety of variables, including URLs, are used for the search engine ranking.

Is the URL full of parameters and variables and not describing the website’s page or not including your target keywords? If that is the case, you might be missing out, and a simple fix could help improve the ranking of your pages.

It is easy to customise any URL in WordPress, so aim to simplify them keeping them to a reasonably short length, and if possible make sure they include your valuable keywords.

  1. Meta description

If you are unaware of what meta descriptions are, they are the descriptions (of circa 160 characters) that are shown under the search results’ titles. In most WordPress themes, by default the first 160 characters of a post are your meta description of the page.

Now, what if it doesn’t give you a pretty clear idea of what the page is really about?

For this you can use a plugin to write a better meta description. For example, you can write a short rundown of the page’s main topic and optimise it including some of the keywords you are targeting amongst your content – see next point for more details.

  1. Focus keywords

Also known as the key phrase, the focus keyword refers to a primary search term that you intend your posts or page to rank for. This is so that people can find your page and content when they are searching for that keyword in Google (or any other search engine).

To maximise your WordPress SEO there are plugins such as Yoast SEO, Rank Math or All in One SEO. Once you have defined the intended primary target keyword for a page, any of these tools can help you score and optimise your blog post for it.

For example, Yoast can automatically detect whether your URL, page title, headings, content, and meta-description contain the keyword or not. Although for any of this information you could find it on your own, the tool gives you a quick and simple way to ensure the keyword is used in all the right ways across the page.

  1. SEO title

If your blog post has a creative or attention-grabbing title, use it. Having said that, you may want to consider an alternative title that is more SEO friendly when it is lengthy or complicated and does not contain your main target keyword(s).

Again, for this you could use Yoast SEO or any of the tools mentioned below.

Best SEO Plugins for WordPress

So what are the best SEO plugins for WordPress?

There are many useful plugins available for WordPress SEO. However, it is also important to realise that not all SEO resources are the same, therefore, the one you want might depend on your particular WordPress needs.

That said, there are three SEO plugins that stand out from the others:

  • All in One SEO
  • Yoast SEO
  • Rank Math

Let’s compare these top plugins for SEO and how they can help with your WordPress website.

WordPress SEO with Yoast

Yoast SEO is easy to use and assists in content optimisation, allowing you to see how quick tweaks will affect your SEO before even posting the blog/page.

The focus on readability of Yoast is also one of the aspects that most people like in the tool. If sentences get unnecessarily long, it advises you to change them accordingly.

The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin is often recommended as it offers a wide variety of features, including:

  • It’s a smart way of adding unique meta descriptions and SEO title tags to every page or just a single post of a website.
  • The plugin offers an ideal way to link your website or blog to Google Search Console.
  • The features for page analysis are helpful.
  • The redirect feature works well and it is easy to use even for non-technical users.
  • Least but not last, Yoast SEO offers an automatic XML sitemap creation.

Rank Math

Rank Math lets WordPress users customise their pages for search engines and social networks effectively. This is one of the best SEO plugins available, and it is widely regarded for the following features:

  • The Rank Math WordPress Plugin is easy to set up and configure using the wizard configuration.
  • Same as Yoast SEO, Rank Math includes an easy integration with Google Search Console, which helps save time.
  • The plugin lets the SEO expert optimise for an unlimited number of keywords.
  • It includes Google Schema markup (and supports over 23 types of it).

All in One SEO

The All in One SEO plugin for WordPress provides various tools to help users improve their websites, and it is straightforward to use.

The highlights of this WordPress plugin include:

  • It’s an efficient tool for adding open graph tags, meta descriptions, and SEO titles.
  • All in One SEO lets users generate Image and XML sitemaps.
  • It allows webmasters to access or control various settings using the feature manager.
  • It includes a simple WooCommerce integration.

Optimising WordPress and Leveling-Up your Sales

To wrap things up, there’s no dispute about the fact that WordPress is one of the most popular SEO-enhanced CMS, which is an important factor when deciding which platform to use.

WordPress is user-friendly, and straight out of the box.  It features SEO tools which when integrated with a few SEO plugins (as we have seen above), it can really help to elevate your website’s visibility in Google’s search results.