The 2018 WordPress SEO Checklist You Can’t Afford to Miss
Let’s face it, SEO or Search Engine Optimization can be one of the toughest aspects of WordPress.
Most bloggers would rather write to their heart’s content or do anything else than learn SEO strategies, let alone execute them.
But if you’re serious about the monetization of your website, be it a blog or online store, then SEO is an absolute must. Not only will it expose your website to profitable, organic traffic, it’ll also help establish your brand’s authority in your niche.
Imagine your brand being front and center as thousands of people look for a blog like yours. Being at the very top of search results, they may think: “wow, this site must be the real deal!”
Feels good, doesn’t it?
To help ease yourself into this lucrative endeavor, we have compiled the best SEO strategies that every WordPress user must have in their pocket.
In case you didn’t already know, there are two types of SEO you need to know about: on-page and off-page.
First off, both on-page and off-page SEO are important if you want to reach the top spot in search engine results. But before you spend a single dollar on an off-page strategy, you must ensure everything’s all set on-page, such as:
1. Create Relevant Content
Always remember that it’s a search engine’s job to present users with the best available content.
If you don’t have quality content on your site, how do you hope to increase your rankings?
To gain valuable and relevant content ideas, you can use a tool like Google Alerts to “borrow” inspiration from influential sources. It works by scraping the most popular pieces of content on the web based on a seed keyword:
You can also set up an automated alert that fires whenever Google unearths new relevant content. Simply click “Show options” to configure your alert before clicking the “Create Alert” button.
Once you have a decent haul of useful content ideas, promise to write posts that are noticeably better. Here are some of the tactics you can use:
- Incorporate more visual content
- Substantiate claims with more hard data
- Translate insights into actionable steps
- Improve the personality of the post with a conversational tone
2. Set Your Search Visibility Wisely
When assessing the quality of a website’s content, search engines like Google rely on “crawlers” that travel through links that make up the World Wide Web.
But what if your website is still under construction?
What if, for some reason, a Googlebot drops by out of nowhere and reports that there’s nothing to see on your site?
Don’t panic, your WordPress website’s search visibility basically has an “on and off” switch.
From the main dashboard, click “Settings” and then go to “Reading.” You can then enable or disable this option:
Just remember to turn this feature off once you’re confident in the amount and quality of your on-page content.
3. Improve Loading Speed
Believe it or not, your website’s loading speed is also an important on-page SEO factor.
This is mainly because slow websites will usually have higher bounce rates, which reflects badly on a website’s rank worthiness. Furthermore, nearly half of users would leave a website in a jiffy if it takes over 3 seconds to load, essentially crippling its lead generation front.
Fortunately, boosting your WP speed performance isn’t rocket science. There are tools out there that can make the entire process doable literally in a day.
For example, WP Smush is an effective, lossless compression plugin that automatically reduces the file size of images. All it takes is a single click from you and the plugin will do the rest of the work.
4. Keyword-Optimize Your Site
Regardless of your niche, a proper keyword strategy is one of the SEO foundations that enable websites to rank in search engines.
Unfortunately, discussing the proper keyword placement on your website could warrant another article or two. As such, let’s just kick things off with a plugin that will tell you exactly what you need to do.
Yoast SEO is a free WordPress plugin that reviews your content’s keyword optimization in real time.
After you enter a focus keyword, it’ll pretty much spoon-feed you all the steps you must to take to optimize your content.
What’s more is that Yoast SEO allows you to modify your content’s metadata, namely the page title, meta description, and URL slug. And yes, these are areas where you should insert your focus keywords as well.
Put simply, off-page SEO encompasses all activities outside of your website that you do to increase rankings, especially link building and social media. And whether you like it or not, most of your time and efforts will go to off-page SEO down the stretch.
Here is a closer look at the fundamental off-page strategies you can’t miss:
5. Build Quality Backlinks
There’s no escaping it — you need a link building campaign if you want to increase your website’s rankings.
Links not only help you get the attention of search engines, they also help funnel organic traffic straight to your website. That is, assuming you build them naturally rather than purchasing them from a black-hat SEO agency.
Here is a short list of the proven link building strategies that promise to help you earn quality backlinks:
- The Skyscraper Technique – Find popular content, write something better, and then promote it to the right people.
- Create Roundup Posts – Consolidate advice from multiple influencers and let them help you spread the word.
- Reclaim Links – Use Google Alerts to find brand mentions and request publishers to link to your site.
- Guest Blog – Build quality backlinks yourself by contributing content to other websites.
6. Build a Social Media Presence
If you haven’t already, make sure your brand has an established social media presence on channels that matter.
Why is social media important?
Two things: traffic and more link opportunities.
If you consistently distribute high-quality content to social media, you’re not only drawing in more traffic to your website — you’re also exposing your content to influencers who could link to it in the future.
A tool like Buffer can streamline this strategy by automating social media posts. It works by adding new submissions to a “queue,” which follows a set schedule that can be based on your target audience’s most active times:
7. Participate in Q&A Websites
Finally, answering questions on Q&A websites like Quora is a great way to direct traffic to your site. It may not directly impact your search engine rankings, but it’s a widespread practice that marketing veterans use to attract quality leads:
Just remember that your link must be backed by a substantial amount of information that provides value to the asker. This will help your answer gain more “upvotes,” which increase its visibility and allow you to generate more traffic.
Congratulations — you just proved your diligence by reaching the end of this post!
That’s the kind of attitude you need to succeed in SEO.
While the checklist above should give you a clear idea of what to expect, you still have much work to do. You can check out the archives for even more SEO tips and inspiration.
Good luck! Contact me for help with SEO!