Search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial aspect of building and creating and maintaining a successful website.
For WordPress users, there is a number of things that can be done to improve a site’s visibility and performance in search engine results pages (SERPs).
This checklist is designed to help WordPress users optimize their sites, covering everything from hosting and domain selection to content creation and optimization.
WordPress SEO Checklist
1. Hosting (picking the right one)
Picking the right hosting provider can have a significant impact on your site’s SEO.
When looking for a hosting provider, choose the one that offers reliable uptime, fast loading times, and the ability to handle high traffic.
It’s also worth considering hosting plans that offer automatic backups and easy restore options. This can save a lot of time in case something goes wrong with your site.
The domain name you choose can also affect your site’s SEO. Try to choose a domain name that is relevant to your site’s content and easy for users to remember.
The shorter and more memorable the domain name is, the better it will be for your SEO.
Another thing to consider is buying a domain that has been around for a while. The one that has been working well but isn’t active anymore. This can help your site gain trust with search engines.
3. WordPress Theme
Choosing a theme that is optimized for SEO can make a big difference in how well your site performs in SERPs.
Astra, Kadence, and GeneratePress are all good SEO-friendly themes, so these would be great options for your website. These themes are lightweight, fast-loading, and easy to customize. They also come with built-in options for things like meta tags, which can help your site rank well in SERPs.
4. WordPress SEO Plugins (Rank Math, Yoast, or all-in-one SEO)
These plugins can help you optimize meta tags, sitemaps, and more. They can also provide you with useful analytics and insights about your site’s performance in SERPs.
6. Setting Up GSC (sitemaps)
Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool that can help you understand how Google crawls and indexes your site. Setting up GSC and submitting a sitemap can help ensure that your site is being properly indexed.
GSC can also alert you of any crawl errors or issues that might be affecting your site’s performance in SERPs.
7. Setting Up Analytics
Setting up analytics can help you track your site’s traffic and performance, which can be useful for identifying areas that need improvement.
Google Analytics is the most popular and best choice for this. It provides a wealth of information about your site’s visitors, such as where they’re coming from, how long they’re staying, and what pages they’re viewing.
The robots.txt file is used to instruct search engines which pages or sections of your site should not be crawled or indexed. This can be useful for keeping search engines from indexing things like login pages or other sensitive information.
However, it’s important to be careful when using robots.txt, as it can also prevent search engines from finding important pages on your site.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a security protocol that encrypts data that’s being sent and exchanged between a web server and a browser. SSL certificates can help improve your site’s security and SEO significantly.
When users visit a site that is secured with SSL, their browser displays a padlock icon and the website’s address will start with “https” instead of “http”. This can help to reassure visitors that their personal information is safe and secure when they visit your site.
10. Cache Plugin
Caching can help speed up your site’s loading times, which can improve its performance in SERPs. Caching can be done on the server side or on the client side.
Server-side caching creates a static version of your site’s pages and serves them to visitors, while client-side caching stores resources in the visitor’s browser so that they don’t have to be downloaded again on subsequent visits. This can help to improve the overall speed and performance of your site.
The permalinks you use can affect your site’s SEO.
Try to use permalinks that are relevant to the content of the page and use keywords. For example, if you have a blog post about “WordPress SEO Checklist”, a good permalink would be “yourdomain.com/wordpress-seo-checklist“. This way, the permalink contains the main keywords of the post, which can help it rank well in SERPs.
12. Canonical Tags
Canonical tags can be used to indicate to search engines which version of a page should be indexed. This can be useful for preventing duplicate content issues.
For example, if you have the same content on multiple pages, you can use a canonical tag to indicate to search engines which page is the original and should be indexed.
13. Title Tags and H1
Title tags and H1 tags are used to indicate the title and main heading of a page. They should include relevant keywords and be unique to each page.
The title tag is what appears in the browser’s tab and the H1 is the main heading of the page. These tags should be written in a way that is clear, concise, and contains relevant keywords.
14. Table of Content
A table of contents (TOC) can be useful for both users and search engines, as it makes it easier to navigate and understand the structure of your site.
TOCs are usually generated automatically by the theme or plugin and can be added to the beginning of a post or page. They help users to quickly find the information they need and can also be useful for breaking down long articles into manageable sections.
15. Title Descriptions, Alt Tags Included
Title descriptions and alt tags are used to describe the content of a page and images. They should be descriptive and include relevant keywords.
Title descriptions appear in the search engine results and can give a brief summary of what the page is about. Alt tags describe the images on the page and can be read by screen readers for visually impaired users.
16. Site Speed and Performance (Both PC and Mobile, Web Vitals)
Site speed and performance can be important factors in determining your site’s visibility in SERPs. Optimize your site for both PC and mobile, and pay attention to web vitals.
Google’s web vitals program is a set of metrics that measure the loading performance of a site. These metrics include things like loading time, interactivity, and visual stability. By paying attention to these metrics and improving them, you can help your site perform better in SERPs.
17. Creating Categories and Building Content relevancy
Creating categories and building content relevancy can help search engines understand what your site is about.
By creating categories, you can organize your content in a way that makes it easy for both users and search engines to understand. Building content relevancy means creating content that is relevant to your site’s main topic and that uses relevant keywords.
18. Internal Linking
Internal linking can help search engines understand the structure of your site and make it easier for users to navigate. By linking to other pages on your site, you can help search engines understand the relationships between your pages and the overall structure of your site.
19. Optimizing Articles With On-Page Software (Surferseo, Clearscope)
These tools can help you understand how your content compares to the top-ranking pages for a given keyword and can provide you with suggestions for how to improve it. They can also help you identify areas where you might be able to optimize your content for other keywords, which can help you drive more traffic to your site.
20. Image Optimization (Webp Converter)
Optimizing images by using a Webp converter can help improve your site’s loading times and performance in SERPs.
WebP is a new image format that can be used to create smaller, faster-loading images. By converting your images to WebP, you can reduce their file size and speed up your site’s loading times, which can help improve its performance in SERPs.
Properly setting up redirects can help ensure that users and search engines are directed to the correct pages on your site.
Redirects can be used to send users and search engines from an old URL to a new one, or from a non-www version of your site to a www version. They can also be used to send users and search engines from one page on your site to another.
By setting up redirects properly, you can help ensure that your site’s pages are being indexed correctly and that users are able to find the information they need.
22. Schema Markups
Schema markups can provide search engines with additional information about your site and its content, which can help improve its visibility in SERPs.
Schema is a markup language that can be used to provide search engines with information about things like the author of a page, the date it was published, and more. By using schema markups, you can help search engines understand your site’s content and make it more visible in SERPs.
23. Author Bios (Building EEAT)
Building Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) through author bios can help establish your site as a credible source of information.
By including author bios on your site, you can help search engines understand who is writing your content and why they are an authority on the topic. This can help build trust with search engines and improve your site’s visibility in SERPs.
24. “Last Update” Date and Its Importance (Fresh content is key)
Including a “last update” date on your pages can help show search engines that your content is current and relevant.
By including a “last update” date on your pages, you can signal to search engines that your content is up-to-date and relevant. This can help your site rank well in SERPs, as search engines tend to favor sites that have fresh, relevant content.
25. External Links Set to “Nofollow”, Affiliate Links to “Sponsored”
Setting external links to “nofollow” and affiliate links to “sponsored” can help signal to search engines that they are not as important as internal links.
By setting external links to “nofollow“, you can signal to search engines that they should not give as much weight to those links when determining your site’s ranking. This can help ensure that your site’s internal links are given more weight, which can help improve your site’s visibility in SERPs.
There’s no doubt that SEO is a complex and ever-changing process. However, by following this checklist, WordPress users can make sure that their sites are optimized for SEO and have the best chance of ranking well in SERPs.
Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that SEO is an ongoing process; there are always new things to learn and strategies to try. By staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices, WordPress users can ensure that their sites continue to perform well in SERPs. The key to success with SEO is to be patient, persistent, and constantly learning.