WordPress arrives out of the box ram-packed with SEO tools, when site owners spend a little bit of time educating themselves on these key areas, it can have a prolific impact on their organic visibility. In this guide, I want to walk you through some of the key areas you need to focus on to make sure you harness the true power of WordPress and get solid footfall from organic sources.
- WordPress Plugins for SEO.
Bolted into the WordPress system is a plugin repository, which houses some seriously impressive tools – most available for free and some are paid for. The overwhelming number of plugins can be just that, overwhelming, and typically there can be a risk here of selecting the wrong tools or perhaps plugins which just aren’t compatible with the overall SEO strategy.
Always keep your objective in forefront of your mind – even if this means paying a small amount for a premium plugin, it’s all too common for website owners to adopt a plugin which may do the one thing they need but also add in loads of unnecessary code or functions – which can slow the site down massively.
It can pay dividends to seek advice from a professional developer or SEO expert, I spent a bit of time creating the WordPress plugins I recommend for SEO – but stay true to your requirement and don’t settle for a free version if it causes issues, or may slow your site instead of searching (or having a plugin made) which is fit for purpose and lean.
- The main feature, the WordPress theme.
When it comes to how a WordPress site looks, many site owners can fall into the trap of a nice-looking site but sluggish performance. It can be a skill to find a WordPress theme which is both lightweight, practical and houses all the essential functions – secondary builders like Elementor and Divi can be a great tool but, in the untrained hands, can create a lot of bloat code around things like Google Fonts and secondary scripts.
There are some secondary signals you can watch for too, especially if you are purchasing your theme from a marketplace. These include the last update date – if the code base is kept up to date. Also, don’t be afraid of emailing their support too – I often see people come up against a problem with a pre-built theme and have no support in fixing it.
Lastly, try and get a theme which is compatible with the latest version of WordPress – this often comes with enhancements in speed too, adopting technology such as the latest version of PHP, to the latest plugins and versions, often built and centred around performance gains. In my comprehensive guide, I try and lay out the thought processes often involved with finding the right theme – read my guide on selecting & optimising a WordPress theme.
- Loading speed for WordPress.
Loading speed is a major ranking factor but it can also cause headaches to visitors when you don’t handle it correctly. You’ve made the hard decisions at this stage, you’ve picked a theme and stacked your plugins accordingly – you may even have adopted some optimisations at the theme level, great.
Loading speed is not a finite process, meaning you are not gauged on the current loading speed but instead on how efficient the site can be. So, for example, you can have a fast site, but your Lighthouse scores / Google Page Speed test scores can be impacted by not adopting web for example.
With WordPress, you’re in safe hands and a great ecosystem if you’re looking at optimising a WordPress website – this is due to the fact the tools are all available to you. If you want to get technical and understand the specifics, then I suggest heading on over to my guide on improving WordPress loading speed for SEO.
WordPress is one of the best platforms I’ve ever used, and I’ve used it a lot over the 12 years in this industry. There are very few other platforms that can be as malleable as WordPress without the heavy involvement of a developer. For eCommerce stores, there are some other options available, depending on where you sit but nevertheless even comparing Magento, Wix or Shopify against WordPress – there are very few platforms that can hold their own against this great platform.