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WordPress SEO checklist - 8 tips on how to improve ranking

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Looking for an answer to what's the best ways to improve my WordPress SEO to boost keyword ranking on search engines like Google & Bing?

This Online Business Consulting advanced WordPress SEO tips and checklist does exactly that and will help improve your WordPress site SEO performance to increase keyword ranking position.

Whether you're looking for a WordPress SEO checklist and tips to apply to a new site or improve an existing WordPress site SEO, the tactics on this post will help in boosting your keyword ranking goals if applied correctly.

These are no-fluff WordPress SEO tips, they are based on extensive testing, research, common sense, and over 8 years of experience doing SEO for local and national campaigns.

Important: In other to better understand and apply the information from this post, we highly recommend that you grasp the basics of how Google Search works first.

Best Ways to Improve WordPress SEO answered with 8 advanced tips & checklist

1. Improve your site branding

2. Improve WordPress speed

3. Build powerful diversified anchor texts

4. Build powerful interlinking

5. Improve technical SEO(one of our fav tactics)

6. Write in-depth concise content

7. Another tactic is to avoid SEO plugins

8. Hire a specialized WP SEO company

Read and apply theese advanced SEO tactics and checklist to boost your site keyword's performance on search engines.

1. Improve your site branding

For a successful WordPress SEO, you need to increase your website branding in the eye of search engines.

The days of just putting up a domain and ranking it without branding it has gone.

Search engines like Google prefer ranking branded websites.

Not doing this will make all your search engine optimization efforts go to waste.

Actionable tips/checklist:

  • Create social media profiles of the name on the website
  • Add the site name to business directories
  • Naturally, mention the site name on the body content of pages and posts
  • Include your domain and site name naturally on your homepage meta description, meta keywords, etc
  • Use the domain and website name as the anchor when linking to the homepage(70%+ of homepage anchor texts should be the site and domain name from both external & internal links)

2. Improve WordPress speed

Another tip to improve your WordPress SEO is to make the loading speed faster.

Speeding up a site load time is part Google ranking algorithm now.

How big this affects ranking is up to debate as only Google knows.

At OnlineBusinessConsulting, we love improving WordPress website's speed to save money on WP hosting, for user experience(when a website is slow to load it is annoying to users and kills your conversion rate), etc.

Actionable tips/checklist:

Note: Google deprecated the 200 ms TTFB(your web host server response time) recommendation and now recommends <800 ms as mentioned above.

3. Build powerful diversified anchor texts

Anchor texts are powerful ways of improving a WordPress site search engine position SERP when done correctly.

Diversifying anchor texts is a WordPress SEO tip that you need to take seriously if you want to rank long-term and avoid a search engine penalty.

Actionable tips/checklist:

  • Diversify anchor text by using natural words and the search intent of the keywords you are targeting. For example, if your content title is "how to fix a slow WordPress", don't just use that exact phrases over and over, use variations like slow loading WordPress, how do I make WP speed load faster, what improvements can I do to speed up my WordPress site loading time, etc
  • Combine your WordPress site and domain name/URL with keywords
  • Make the majority of your anchor texts your URL, domain, and the site name
  • For posts, service, and product pages, use the URL for over 60% of the anchor text from external links to limit search engine penalties
  • For external link anchors, use more words related to the title/topic than the title. For example, if your title is "how to buy a cheap car," use cars, cheap cars, car, etc in the anchor more than the exact title

4. Build powerful interlinking

A powerful strategy/tactic to improve WordPress SEO that leads to an increase in a website page position getting to the first page is to build powerful internal links.

This is powerful because it helps search engines crawl and find more pages on your WordPress site faster.

Actionable checklist & tips:

  • Use your site Menu to build powerful internal linking
  • Include topics categories on the Menu then add the most important pages under each category
  • Include links to related and important pages and post on the body of your content.

5. Improve technical SEO(one of our fav tactics)

SEO tips for WordPress sites won't be complete without discussing the tactic of fixing and improving technical search engine optimization.

This an area of SEO that causes a lot of search engine ranking issues if not taken care of from the start of an SEO campaign or later.

It is also an area that constantly needs monitoring and requires a lot of skill and time.

Actionable tips & checklist:

  • Use tech SEO auditing tools like SreamingFrog and Ahrefs to find issues
  • Consider hiring a technical SEO expert because this is a tricky part of WordPress SEO that requires an expert eye to find and correct issues properly
  • Optimize robots.txt file, check 404 pages, check for crawl and Index issues on Google and Bing Webmaster Tools, fix broken internal & external links, etc

6. Write in-depth concise content

Most WordPress SEO checklists/tips articles you will come across recommend that you write long-form content that's 2000-3000 words If you want to boost your ranking higher on search engines.

That's total bs! There is no search engine that mentions any number, especially, with the high word count being thrown around.

Many "gurus" quote studies that simply show that correlation doesn't imply causation.

These gurus also quote this Google Webmasters Central Blog article. The problem is that 'in-depth' doesn't mean 2000 to 3000 long-form content.

According to Oxford Languages, it means in great detail; comprehensive and to be thorough.

Check out these years of extensive study on how people consume contents online by Nielson Norman Group to see why long-form contents with high word count are not always good.

Actionable checklist/tips:

  • Create articles on what you are an expert and have in-depth knowledge of(even if you will hire writers, knowing the content topic well, will help you hire good writers)
  • We recommend writing 700 to 1200 words that are concise and straightforward. Don't waste people's time trying to hit the so-called 1500-3000 word count. When you know a topic well, you provide thorough and straightforward answers
  • Use your target keyword or phrase multiple times in the first 100 words. Importantly, include the search intent in the first 100 words and variations of targeted keyword in the body naturally
  • Front-load and use the natural language of your target keyword and phrase

7. Another tactic is to avoid SEO plugins

Most WordPress SEO tips or checklist articles recommend using plugins for SEO.

WordPress SEO plugins usually cause technical issues that most site owners are not aware of, especially during updates.

These popular SEO plugins have caused issues that tanked some site's ranking, see

Most of these plugins are bloated and affect WP loading time, especially, when on cheap shared hosting.

Actionable tips/checklists:

  • Enable SEO features by using the WordPress custom fields functionality and codes(You don't need to know how to code, you can find WordPress SEO codes on Google by searching for a particular feature that you need. Do the same search on Youtube too)
  • If you have to use plugins, use lightweight plugins that only do one thing. Those are better and typically well coded and evergreen( they rarely break so no need to update them)

8. Hire a specialized WP SEO company

Yap, we recommend this. Why? Because boosting WordPress SEO requires extensive research, constant testing, constant search engine updates, discipline, time, knowledge, etc. For areas like technical SEO, an expert eye is needed as it is a delicate area.

  • See WordPress SEO services
  • When hiring a WordPress SEO expert to boost ranking, focus on their knowledge and philosophy. Plus ask a lot of questions

Frequently asked questions(FAQs):

Q: What SEO tools do you recommend for WordPress sites?

A: Below are the list of SEO-related tools for WordPress sites we recommend to help improve your search engine ranking.

SemRush, Ahrefs, Google Keyword Planner, etc.

We hope that the WordPress SEO tactics in this article will help improve and boost your site contents to rank higher on search engines.

Note that there are other WordPress SEO checklists and tips that boost search engine ranking not mentioned.

Emmanuel Okeke

A Los Angeles resident who loves to write awesome guides on SEO, WordPress speed/security, content strategies, business and personal finance, digital and growth hack tools, legal stuff, etc, that are helpful to businesses, solopreneurs, bloggers, and consumers.

What I write about is based on tests, extensive research, and 11+ experience as a former Senior digital & content marketing consultant with a division of Thomson Reuters and running a successful digital marketing agency...[Read full bio]