How to Use The Basic SEO Features in WordPress

Plugins like Yoast can help optimize your WordPress site for search, but it’s usually not enough. To make your WordPress site is fully SEO optimized, you need to tinker with a few of WordPress’s core features, like your theme, on-page content and internal links. This video will show you how to get the most SEO value out of your WordPress installation.

Video Transcript

Hey, what’s up everybody, it’s Brian Dean from Quick Sprout. In this video I’m going to show you why WordPress is the best platform for SEO, and I’m also going to walk you through how to use some of the basic SEO features of WordPress.

The first reason you want to use WordPress is by default the code is not bloated, and it puts the most important information at the top which is very important for SEO. If we were to look at Quick Sprout, which is powered by WordPress, and we were to turn off the CSS, which is basically the style of the site, it would look something like this. As you can see, everything is very evenly spaced. The most important information is at the top of the page. There isn’t a lot of bloat, so the code is very lean. That’s how most WordPress sites are set up.

Now, if we head over to consumerreports.org, which is not powered by WordPress, you can see that it’s a lot more bloated and there’s a lot of extra stuff here that users, when they visit the site, don’t even see. Most importantly, WordPress by default puts the most important information at the top of the page which is very important for SEO.

For example, at Consumer Reports at the top you see sign in, subscribe, user name, password, forgot user name, and forgot password. This confuses search engines, because they think that this information up here is more important than the fish oil buying guide at the bottom. This page is actually about buying fish oil. From a search engine standpoint you want to use WordPress because it typically puts your content higher up on the page which search engines give more weight to.

Lean and clean code is also important for page speed, and Google has confirmed that faster loading sites get an inherent advantage in the rankings. So, you want your site to load as fast as possible. As you can see here from Google Developers Page Speed Insights, Quick Sprout has a desktop score of 75 and a mobile score of 60 which is quite good. But, if you head over to Consumer Reports, which is a bit more bloated in the code as we saw, their desktop score is 64 and their mobile score is 52.

The next reason you want to use WordPress for SEO is if you want to run your site totally yourself, you don’t even want to hire a developer, you can usually take care of all your SEO on your own. Let me show you an example. Say you’re adding a new post called “Why WordPress Rocks for SEO.” Right out of the box, before you’ve installed a plugin or hired a web developer, you can pretty much optimize this page perfectly.

For example, at the top you have control over your title tag which is very important for SEO. You have control over your permalink or URL which is also very imortant for SEO because you can include your keyword in here. You also have full control over the content. So, if you’re targeting the keyword WordPress SEO, putting the keyword in a heading one or H1 tag can give you a boost. You can do it just like that; it’s very easy. You can also add, let’s say, H2 tags which are also important for SEO. You don’t need to know any coding or hire a web developer to do it. It’s very easy.

Other features that WordPress has that are also very easy to use are internal and external links. If you wanted to link to another resource on your site, like WordPress blogging, all you’d have to do is highlight it, click on the little link button, add your URL and title, and you would automatically have a link added there. You could do the same thing for external links. If you wanted to link out to, let’s say, Quick Sprout, click on add link, and you have a link.

Finally, you can also optimize your images very easily. Click on add media, click on upload files, select files, choose an image you want to upload, and click on open. So, right off the bat you can control the title, which is important for SEO, and the alt text which is very important for image SEO. If you were targeting the keyword WordPress SEO you can include that here. Click on enter into post, and you automatically have a nice SEO-friendly image here. Very easy.

Another massive advantage of using WordPress as your platform is that if you do need professional help you can find them very easily. I’m logged into my Elance account here, and I’m looking for freelancers. If you’re here and you put in the keyword WordPress and click on the little magnifying glass button you’ll see that there are over 15,900 contractors just waiting to help you with your WordPress site. It’s the same story at most of the major freelance sites like oDesk and PeoplePerHour. So, if there’s something that’s, let’s say, beyond your level of skill or expertise you can easily find an affordable and quality provider, because there are just so many people out there that specialize in WordPress.

If you do want to add SEO friendly features to your site you often don’t even need to hire a developer thanks to the thousands of SEO related WordPress plugins. Head over to your plugins area and click on add new. Then, put in Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO is one of many plugins that make your posts and pages more SEO friendly.

Once you’ve installed WordPress SEO head over to a post. When you create one you’ll notice that there’s a new feature that’s very important for SEO. Because, like I said, out of the box you can optimize your pages and posts very well. But, the advantage of Yoast is that it gives you actionable information that you can use to make your posts and pages more SEO friendly.

For example, I put the focus keyword here as WordPress SEO. It checks to see if it’s in the article heading, in the page title, in the page URL, within the content, and within the meta description. You can easily change that. If I wanted to add it to the meta description, put something like WordPress SEO is important, and it automatically tells me that it’s there. Without even having to know SEO particularly well I can use a plugin like this to make all my posts and pages more SEO friendly.

The last advantage I’ll go over for using WordPress for SEO is themes. Head over to appearance and click on themes. Within this you get a ton of options. Most importantly, you can choose a responsive design which is really important for people to access your site using mobile devices. Google has confirmed that they prefer sites that have responsive design.

Once you’re here click on install themes, and you want to put responsive in here and click on search. It’ll show you all the responsive themes within the WordPress database. It’s very, very easy to install one. Just click install now and it basically installs on your site.

To take a custom made CMS and have a responsive design made can cost thousands of dollars, but using WordPress is actually free. You just install this theme here, and then you can customize it based on how you want your site set up, and you have a responsive design which is beneficial for SEO and for user experience.

So, as you can see, WordPress’ code and SEO functionality make it the go to choice for any site that you want to make very SEO friendly. Thanks for watching this video, and I’ll see you in the next one.