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11 best WordPress SEO tips & checklist on how to improve it

Want to know the best ways to improve WordPress SEO to increase your keyword ranking position on search engines like Google & Bing?

This Online Business Consulting article will discuss advanced WordPress SEO tips and checklists that will help boost your WordPress site SEO performance to increase its ranking position.

The 11 best WordPress SEO tips & checklist on how to improve it (advanced) in 2023

Whether you're looking for a WordPress SEO checklist and tips to apply to a new site or boost an existing one, the WordPress site SEO tactics on this post work if applied correctly.

The how to info are no fluff SEO optimization tips, they are based on extensive testing, research, common sense, and over 8 years of experience implementing high-level WordPress SEO for local and national campaigns.

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

Secondly, though this is about WordPress SEO, it doesn't mean that the strategies can't be used on other CMS (Content Managment System) and website.

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

I'm confident that these step-by-step search engine optimization information will help you get to the first page when used correctly.

1. Improve your site branding

For a successful WordPress SEO, you need to boost your website branding for 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 the homepage, about us page, and blog posts.
  • Include your site name naturally on your about us and homepage title tags and meta descriptions
  • Use the domain and website name as the anchor when linking to the homepage(over 85% of homepage anchor texts should be the domain and site name from both external & internal links)
  • 90% of anchor texts to your about us page should include your site name with variations like XYZ, About XYZ, etc

2. Increase WordPress speed

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

Speeding up a site load time is part Google's 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:

  • Keep your site TTFB under 800 ms
  • Use a specialized and high-performance WordPress hosting providers such as Rocket.net or WP Engine(highly recommended)
  • Delete and always install the best plugins to speed up your site. Do your best to avoid any plugin that slows down your site speed performance
  • Boost your WordPress SEO by using speed tools like Pingdom.com, Google PageSpeed Insight,GTmetrix.com, and WebPageTest.org to find speed issues to fix

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

3. Boost ranking with diversified anchor texts

Anchor texts are powerful ways of optimizing a WordPress site for a higher position on search engines 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.

How do you do this?

Here are Actionable tips/checklist:

  • Diversify anchor text by using natural words and the search intent of the keywords you are targeting. For example, if a 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
  • Use SEMRUSH to see your current anchor text and get recommendations

4. Build powerful interlinking

Another powerful strategy/tactic to improve WordPress SEO that I recommend because of it leads to an increase in a website page position getting to the first page is building top-notch internal links.

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

Actionable checklist & tips:

  • Do internal linking report with SEMRUSH to find opportunities and avoid under and over optimization
  • Use your site Menu to build powerful internal linking
  • Include your topics categories on the Menu then add the most important pages under each category
  • Include links to related and important pages and place them in the body of your content
  • Use descriptive word when linking

5. Technical SEO optimization(one of our fav tactic)

SEO tips 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:

  • One way to find technical issues is to use SEO auditing tools like SreamingFrog and Ahrefs
  • 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 concise in-depth 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.

Most people launch blog content at a lower word count but keep expanding it. So how do these studies know that the articles on the first page didn't rank on page one when it has a lower counter before all the extra words are added?

The studies always neglect to mention how the companies on the first pages apply powerful SEO tactics that move the needle a lot.

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

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

Years of extensive study on how people consume contents online by Nielson Norman Group shows why long-form contents with high word count are not always good.

Actionable checklist/tips:

  • Create articles on what you are an expert in 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 900 to 1200 words( in some vertical you only need 400 to 500) that are concise and straightforward. Don't waste people's time trying to hit the so-called 2000-4000 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 keywords in the body naturally. However, be careful of over-optimizing.
  • Front-load and use the natural language of your target keyword and phrase.

7. Becareful with some SEO plugins

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

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

A lot of popular SEO plugins have caused issues that tanked some site's ranking, search online for:

  • Yoast SEO multiple Image Attachment sitemap creation bug
  • Yoast SEO plugin fatal errors

and you will see how these plugins constantly cause issues that affect the ranking that most WordPress owners are not aware of.

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. Only acquire diversified, nich, spam-free links

One of the best advanced WordPress SEO tips any one can give you is to build your backlinks properly from the get go.

I have seen so many businesses and website owners screw up their WordPress site ranking because of bad link building strategy.

I made the same mistake in my early SEO days.

Let's look at the top best ways to build links correctly to improve WordPress website ranking and protect it from being hit with an algorithm or manual spam action:

  • I recommend focusing on backlinks with spam score of 1% (you can use the SEMRUSH SEO software platform's toxic score tool).
  • Build diversified links that are location, industry, and topic focused.

9. Proactively clean & disavow your WordPress bad links

How do you avoid SEO rank drop and keep improving your WordPress site search engine positions?

Monthly or quarterly clean and disavow spam links. This is a strategy that works.

It takes a lot of work but you have to do it. In our agency we don't just wait for a link to show on Webmaster tools, we proactively monitor them with SEO tools and flag it before Google start applying it to our site.

Here's some tips on how to do it correctly:

  • I normally look for links with spam score of more than 1%.
  • Low DA (domain authority).
  • Disavow correctly both on Google & Bing.

10. Hire a specialized WP SEO company

How high your website ranks may depend on you getting expert help.

Yap, we recommend this. Why? Because boosting SEO on WordPress 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 about the way they do their work. Understanding the steps they take to get results matters.

11. Use the best SEO tools

If you are serious about your search engine performance, you need to be using the best SEO platform tools to manage your campaigns.

This is an important trick that experts know and make a huge investment in.

Here are some of the top SEO software that I recommend because I have personally used, tested, or done extensive research on it.

They great SEO software for beginners and pros.

NameOverviewPlans
SemrushBest overall tool for advanced SEO. Use it to find links, keywords, search intent, and full website audit, do content, PPC, and social media marketing
Surfer SEO
Se Ranking
Serpstat
Mangools

How to improve WordPress SEO 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 this how to improve SEO on WordPress article will help optimize and boost your site contents to rank higher on search engines.

If you follow the advanced steps discussed you should see results.

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

If you want to work together or have questions or comments reach out.

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+ years of 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]