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April 17, 2024

How to do SEO for WordPress website – Step by Step Guide

In this WordPress SEO tutorial, you will be learning everything about how to do SEO for a WordPress website.

I will walk you through every process step by step

Before you start WordPress SEO, you will have to prepare your WordPress for SEO.

Here are some best practices for SEO on WordPress:

  1. Use a SEO-friendly theme: Choose a theme that is well-coded and optimized for search engines, with clean and valid HTML, fast load times, and responsive design.
  2. Optimize permalinks: Use descriptive permalinks that include your target keywords, and avoid using default permalinks that include numbers or dates.
  3. Install an SEO plugin: Use a SEO plugin like RankMath SEO or Yoast SEO to optimize your website’s on-page SEO, including titles, descriptions, meta tags, and content analysis.
  4. Use header tags: Use header tags (H1, H2, H3) to structure your content and make it more readable for users and search engines.
  5. Optimize images: Use descriptive file names and alt tags for your images, and compress them to reduce their file size and improve page load times.
  6. Create high-quality content: Create unique and high-quality content that provides value to your target audience, and include your target keywords naturally within your content.
  7. Build high-quality backlinks: Build high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites in your niche, and avoid spammy or low-quality backlinks that could harm your SEO performance.
  8. Use social media: Use social media to promote your content and engage with your audience, which can help drive traffic and improve your website’s search engine visibility.
  9. Monitor your SEO performance: Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor your website’s SEO performance over time, and make adjustments as necessary to improve your search engine rankings and traffic.

How to prepare a WordPress website for SEO?

Making your WordPress website SEO ready is the first step towards SEO.

SEO Process for WordPress

Prepare your WordPress website for SEO

  1. Install WordPress on your domain and hosting
  2. Install header footer code manager plugin
  3. Install Google Analytics on your WordPress (We will use GA4)
  4. Setup Google Search Console
  5. Install RankMath Plugin on your website
  6. Submit XML Sitemap to Google Search Console

Step 1: Install Header & Footer Code Manager on your website

Header and Footer Code Manager plugin will help you to setup Google Analytics and Google search console.

The Header Footer Code Manager plugin is a popular WordPress plugin that allows users to easily add code snippets to their website’s header or footer section without having to modify the theme files directly. This can be useful for adding tracking codes, custom CSS, or other scripts to your website.

One of the key benefits of using the Header Footer Code Manager plugin is that it provides a user-friendly interface for adding code snippets, making it easy for users who may not have coding experience to modify their website’s header and footer sections. The plugin also allows you to add different code snippets to different pages or posts on your website, giving you more control over how your website looks and functions.

The plugin is also lightweight and has minimal impact on website performance, which is important for maintaining website speed and preventing slow load times.

Overall, the Header Footer Code Manager plugin is a valuable tool for website owners who want more control over their website’s header and footer sections, and it is highly recommended for users who need to add custom code to their website without modifying their theme files directly.

Features of Header Footer Code Manager

  • Easy-to-use interface for adding code snippets to header and footer sections
  • Allows users to add different code snippets to different pages or posts on their website
  • Supports multiple code formats, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Lightweight and does not impact website performance
  • Provides a live preview of added code snippets
  • Option to add code to specific post types or specific pages
  • Compatible with all WordPress themes and plugins
  • Regularly updated and supported by the developer

Benefits of Header footer code manager

  • Saves time by allowing users to add code snippets without modifying theme files directly
  • Provides flexibility in adding custom code to different parts of the website
  • Helps users optimize their website by adding tracking codes and other scripts
  • Enhances website functionality by allowing users to add custom CSS and JavaScript
  • Improves website performance by reducing the need for additional plugins
  • Provides peace of mind by ensuring compatibility and regular updates from the developer.

Step 2: Setup Google Analytics on WordPress

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service provided by Google that allows website owners to track and analyze website traffic and user behavior. It provides valuable insights into how users interact with a website, including where they come from, how long they stay, what pages they visit, and much more.

Here are the steps to set up Google Analytics 4 using the Header Footer Code Manager plugin:

  1. Install and activate the Header Footer Code Manager plugin on your WordPress website.
  2. Go to the Google Analytics website (https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/) and create a new Google Analytics 4 property.
  3. Copy the tracking code provided by Google Analytics.
  4. Go to the WordPress dashboard and click on “Header Footer Code Manager” in the left-hand menu.
  5. Click on “Add New Script.”
  6. Give your script a name (e.g., “Google Analytics 4”).
  7. Paste the tracking code into the “Code” field.
  8. Choose “Footer” as the “Insertion Position.”
  9. Choose “All Pages” as the “Display On” option.
  10. Click on “save” to save your script.
  11. Go back to the Google Analytics website and make sure that data is being collected in your Google Analytics 4 property.

It’s important to note that it may take some time for data to start appearing in your Google Analytics 4 property after setting up tracking using Header Footer Code Manager. However, once tracking is set up and data is being collected, you should be able to access valuable insights into how users are interacting with your website and make informed decisions about how to optimize your website and marketing efforts.

Google Analytics Tutorial – You can check digitalmastery website

Step 3: Create Google Search Console Account

Google Search Console account

Login to your Google account which you want to use for this project and create a Google Search Console account. 

Google Search Console Overview:

Google Search Console is a free web service provided by Google that allows website owners to monitor and maintain their website’s presence in Google search results. It provides valuable insights into how Google crawls and indexes your website, as well as information about search traffic and website performance.

Features:

  1. Search Performance Report: Shows website owners how their website is performing in Google search results, including impressions, clicks, and click-through rate (CTR) data for specific queries.
  2. Index Coverage Report: Provides information about how many pages from your website are indexed by Google, and any errors or issues that may prevent Google from crawling or indexing your website.
  3. Sitemap Submission: Allows website owners to submit sitemaps to Google, which helps Google understand the structure of the website and crawl it more efficiently.
  4. URL Inspection Tool: Enables website owners to check if Google has indexed a specific URL from their website and provides information about any errors or issues with the URL.
  5. Security Issues Report: Alerts website owners to any security issues or hacks that may affect their website’s presence in Google search results.
  6. Mobile Usability Report: Provides information about how mobile-friendly your website is and identifies any issues that may affect mobile users.
  7. Rich Results Report: Shows website owners how their website’s pages appear in Google search results, including any rich snippets or structured data that may be present.

Results:

Here is an example of what the Google Search Console dashboard may look like:

As you can see, the dashboard provides an overview of important metrics, including clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position in search results. Website owners can use this information to identify trends and make improvements to their website’s content and structure.

Overall, Google Search Console is a valuable tool for website owners who want to improve their website’s presence in Google search results and ensure that their website is performing at its best.

Step 3: Verify your domain in Google Search Console

Before you start using Google Search Console, you need to verify your domain. There are multiple ways to get your domain verified. 

To verify a website in Google Search Console, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Google Search Console website (https://search.google.com/search-console) and sign in with your Google account.
  2. Click on the “Add Property” button and enter the URL of the website you want to verify.
  3. Choose one of the verification methods available. There are several verification methods available, including:
    • HTML file upload: Download an HTML file from Google Search Console and upload it to your website’s root directory.
    • HTML tag: Add a meta tag provided by Google Search Console to your website’s homepage.
    • Domain name provider: Verify your website through your domain name provider.
    • Google Analytics: If you have Google Analytics set up for your website, you can use this method to verify your website in Google Search Console.
    • Google Tag Manager: If you have Google Tag Manager set up for your website, you can use this method to verify your website in Google Search Console.
  4. Follow the instructions provided for the verification method you have chosen. Once you have completed the verification process, you should see a message confirming that your website has been successfully verified.
  5. You can now access the data and reports available in Google Search Console for your website, including search performance, index coverage, and more.

It’s important to note that the verification process may take some time, and you may not see data in Google Search Console immediately after verifying your website. However, once your website has been verified, you should start seeing data in the reports within a few days.

Step 3: Install RankMath SEO Plugin on WordPress

RankMath SEO is a powerful and user-friendly plugin that can help website owners improve their website’s SEO performance and visibility in search engine results pages. By leveraging the features and tools provided by RankMath SEO, website owners can optimize their website for target keywords, improve their website’s structure and technical aspects, and monitor their website’s search engine performance over time.

The plugin provides a range of features and tools that help optimize a website’s content, structure, and technical aspects for better search engine visibility and rankings.

Some of the key features of RankMath SEO include:

  1. On-page optimization: RankMath SEO provides a comprehensive set of on-page SEO tools that help optimize individual pages and posts on a website for target keywords and other important factors, such as meta titles, descriptions, headings, and images.
  2. Sitemap and schema markup: RankMath SEO automatically generates XML sitemaps for websites and supports schema markup to help search engines better understand the content and structure of a website.
  3. Google Search Console integration: RankMath SEO integrates with Google Search Console to provide website owners with important data and insights about their website’s search engine performance, including search traffic, click-through rates, and keyword rankings.
  4. Advanced SEO analysis: RankMath SEO includes a built-in SEO analysis tool that provides website owners with a detailed analysis of their website’s SEO performance, including keyword rankings, backlinks, and on-page optimization factors.
  5. Redirect management: RankMath SEO provides a comprehensive redirect management system that allows website owners to manage and redirect broken or outdated links on their website.

Here are the steps to install and set up the RankMath SEO plugin on a WordPress website:

  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard and click on “Plugins” in the left-hand menu.
  2. Click on “Add New” and search for “RankMath SEO” in the search bar.
  3. Click on “Install Now” and then click on “Activate” once the installation is complete.
  4. Once RankMath SEO is activated, you will see a setup wizard that will guide you through the setup process.
  5. Follow the instructions provided by the setup wizard to configure the basic settings for RankMath SEO, including your site name, logo, and preferred SEO title format.
  6. Set up Google Search Console integration by clicking on the “Connect Your Google Account” button and following the instructions provided.
  7. Configure other important settings, such as sitemaps, robots.txt, and 404 monitoring, by going to the “General Settings” tab in the RankMath SEO dashboard.
  8. Configure on-page SEO settings for individual pages and posts by clicking on the “Edit” button next to the page or post in the WordPress editor and scrolling down to the RankMath SEO settings.
  9. Optimize your website’s content and keywords by using the built-in keyword analysis tool and other features provided by RankMath SEO.
  10. Keep your RankMath SEO plugin up-to-date by checking for updates in the WordPress dashboard and installing them as necessary

 

 

Phase 2: 

Prepare keywords list

Keywords are important ingredients of SEO. Before you begin with SEO project, you must have website and list of target keywords for which you want to rank your website. 

You can prepare a list of keywords by using various keyword research tools and by analysing your competitors. 

Keyword research tools may help you find unique keywords which might be relevant to your website or business. 

Often students ask, should we target keywords with high volume or keywords with less difficulty. 

Well, answer would depend on your project and specific objectives

Scenario 1: Health & Fitness Blog

Assuming you are running a health and fitness blog and you want to drive more traffic then you must focus on keywords with high search volume and having latest trends. 

Using high search volume keywords can help you get found and drive traffic on your website. At the same time, you can focus on keywords with low search volume but they are trending. 

Scenario 2: English Speaking for professional

Assuming you are running a business of “English training” for working professionals.  In this case, a generic keywords with high search volume – Learn English or how to learn English for free might help you drive traffic. But, you must focus on low volume but more relevant keywords like – english speaking for professionals, English for working professionals, English course for business, business english etc.

NOTE: If you are into business, relevant traffic is more important than more traffic

Phase 3: 

Conduct we website SEO Audit

Website audit can be done for on-page and off-page

Always start an on-page audit first and then start with off-page activities

SEO audit is the process of discovering issues with your website related to SEO best practices and identifying gaps and pages which are not optimised for relevant keywords.

Here is how to do SEO audit of your website:

  • Prepare a list of all pages and url’s of your website using either Screaming frog or SemRush (SemRush is not free). If your website is having less than 10 pages, you can do this audit manually
  • Identify pages with missing title tags or pages with missing keywords in title tags. 
  • Identify and make a list of pages and Url’s without description or non-relevant description
  • Make a website structure and navigation structure and consider restructuring if required. 
  • Make a list of pages already ranking and receiving organic traffic
  • Make a list of pages not ranking in organic listing and unable to get organic traffic or getting very less traffic

After you are done with a website SEO audit, make a list of actionable items for a website. This ist of actionable items may include, reviewing website content, adding new pages, optimising titles of pages and category pages. 

Here is a list of sample action items:

 

Sr Findings Action Items Remark
1 None of the pages are having our target keywords in page Title and description Review all important pages and re-write titles and description with target keywords 
2 10 pages are not having enough content.  Identify pages with less than 500 words of content and re-write with SEO optimised content. Add images and videos where required
3 5 pages are not connected via main menu Re-organise main menu and make sure that all important pages are listed under main menu
4 Internal link structure is poor. Improve internal linking of important pages by linking them from pages receiving high traffic and better ranking.
5

Phase 4: 

Implementation & On-page optimization

Once you have a list of action items, you can start SEO implementation on your website. You can start identifying each page, URL or category of your website and follow instructions to further improve website content, titles and navigation structure. 

You can create more pages for target keywords if those keywords are important for your website. Creating more pages always helps in ranking as this further increases your website authority. 

  • Make a list of pages which require title and content improvement and start working on those pages by adding right keywords in page titles and further improving content on those pages.
  • You can start with making a list of URL’s and pages along with existing titles, descriptions and then create a list of recommended titles which can be given to your SEO team member or website team to make suggested changes in Title
  • Make sure every page has a proper and unique Title to rank in Google.
  • If you discover any page with less content or content not matching with target keywords then modify content to match your Keywords and titles with content.

Best Practices:

  • Each page on your website must have target keywords in title and description
  • Try to keep title under 70 characters for best results
  • Try to keep description under 140 characters for best results. 
  • Try to keep shorter URL’s 
  • Link all important pages via main menu for better indexing and ranking

On Page Optimization is 90% of SEO and 10% can be achieved by off-page and link building. 

Links are required if you are competing for website having higher authority and high difficulty rating keywords

Bhavesh Gudhka

Bhavesh Gudhka is an entrepreneur, digital marketing consultant, trainer, author, and founder of Optron Academy. Bhavesh has more than 12 years of experience in IT, Web Development, Digital Marketing & SEO.

View all posts by Bhavesh Gudhka →

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