WordPress is the most preferred content management system available with close to 75 million websites using it and millions of posts produced every day. So, with all that noise, how can you as a beginner maximise your SEO on WordPress to stand out? Let’s delve a little deeper…

Use a reliable web hosting service

Top of the list for optimising SEO with your WordPress site is finding a reliable web hosting service. Think of choosing a quality web hosting provider as a preventative measure that rules out potential SEO issues, rather than a means of actively boosting your SEO rankings. For example, the speed of your site can affect SEO performance and if your website is down for long periods of time due to hosting problems, then search engines can’t and won’t find your site. Before committing, see how web hosting can affect your SEO efforts.

Install plug-ins

Second up is making use of the best plug-ins. Yoast is the main SEO plug-in for WordPress, its basic version is free to install and there is a premium paid-for version with more features too.

Yoast helps manage your SEO effectively, by guiding you with various tools, for example, its content analysis tool provides useful insights such as readability scores, direction on key phrase and meta description length - all designed to improve your search engine visibility. Have a look here to install Yoast on WordPress.

Other useful SEO plug-ins include:

  • All In One SEO Pack – this is one of the most downloaded plug-ins available, amongst lots of other features, it automatically generates meta tags, offers XML site map support and more advanced SEO fine-tuning is also available.
  • Rank Math - this plug-in uses a simple setup wizard that manages SEO for WordPress. It provides deep content analysis, with specific SEO recommendations, and also allows for an unlimited number of keywords per post.
  • The SEO Framework – this is a preconfigured plug-in that uses tried and tested SEO methods, offering an easy setup and time-saving features such as prefilled meta tags and tools which automatically prohibit duplicate content.

Pick your WordPress theme carefully

Along with plug-ins and hosting, if you’re just starting out with your WordPress website, you should make sure you’re using a WordPress SEO friendly theme. There are thousands of themes available so choose wisely, and ensure you avoid ones with lots of plug-ins and scripts that can slow down your site’s performance.

Tick the visibility box

A common and simple error some beginners make when setting up WordPress is that the visibility settings are marked incorrectly. To steer clear of this, go to ‘settings’ and click the ‘reading’ tab beneath it. This will take you to a box marked: ‘discourage search engines from indexing this site’ under the ‘search engine visibility’ box. Ensure this box is not checked and you’re good to go.

Verify your site on Google Search Console

To further maximise your SEO through WordPress, or indeed any other website content management system, you will need to verify your site on Google Search Console. By doing this, you are proving that you own your site. Once verified, you will then have access to heaps of useful SEO advice and information, as well as search data that will help manage your presence on Google.

Generate a sitemap

Finally, your WordPress XML sitemap is an important part of your SEO efforts. Put simply, site maps tell search engines to find the most important pages on your website. If you want to create a site map on WordPress, use Yoast’s plug-in or download your sitemap on XML-Site Maps.