10 Ways to Improve SEO
on WordPress for Beginners

Blogs | SEO

Published: 03.02.22
Written By: Jess Foster

Table of Contents


WordPress is an ideal platform to use if you’re a beginner when it comes to the world of web development.

Powering over 39% of the internet, with 400 million people visiting WordPress sites each month, surely that many people can’t be wrong. It’s user friendly and makes it easy to build a professional looking website with little to no experience needed.

So, you’ve got a great looking WordPress site, but do you know what would make that site even better? Making it optimised for search engines. Search engine optimisation (SEO) refers to the practices and techniques employed to enhance a website’s visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs).

This will improve your site ranking and get the traffic that you want. There are many different areas of SEO to improve on but it all starts with your website.

Here is our guide on ways you can improve SEO for beginners using a platform like WordPress.

SEO Friendly Theme

The theme is the foundation of your site. You’ll see there are thousands of themes available on WordPress. While this might make it hard to choose what’s right for you, it’s best to go for a theme that is SEO friendly. A theme is your base template, it consists of files such as graphics, stylesheets and code to manipulate how your WordPress website looks. Selecting a theme that works for you will help you stand out in the best way possible.

SEO is all about improving the user experience and usability of the website – as this is what search engines value the most, a website suited to it’s audience! So in order to make sure your website tick’s those boxes, there are some key things you need to look out for in a WordPress theme.

Some key things to look for in a good WordPress theme are:

  • Easy to navigate
  • Back end coded based on SEO practices
  • Compatible with mobile devices
  • Well designed layout


A lot of themes will say they are SEO friendly, but its always best to check. Using a tool like on your page after you’ve applied a theme will be able to tell you if it’s having a positive or negative impact on your user experience. We would recommend using Google Page Insights to see the performance of your website.

There are plenty of SEO optimised themes to choose from on WordPress. Some of the ones we’d recommend are AstraGenesis and Schema.


After choosing the right theme for you it is time to explore the world of plugins.

Plugins are a great way to add new functionality to your WordPress site. It is a piece of additional software that can add new features and functionality to your site. If there is a feature you’re looking for, there is probably a plug-in that supports it.

Using a plugin like Yoast will help you create SEO-friendly content by showing important aspects of your SEO such as:

  • Outbound links
  • Meta description information
  • Text length

While it won’t do everything for you, it’s a great visual tool for seeing where you might be going wrong and areas you can improve on. Using plugins on WordPress not only saves time but can provide flexibility and reliability if you are new to website development.

There are many different plugin options such as Rank Math which are worth looking into.

Site Structure

You want to have an organised website so that it is easily accessible by Google and visitors. Site structure refers to the content on your website and how it is set out. From pages to posts, to URL and linking structure – it all matters.

Before you even stress about the content on your site you want to ensure it can be discovered. Site structure play an important role in Google’s ranking factor. It is believed that a strategic use of keywords in a URL can help a website rank for queries containing those keywords.

Web architecture refers to the overall structure of a website. From the design phase, implementation and distribution of the site, it includes all aspects of how it is structured. It relates to how well your site is organised and how easy it is to navigate and find other pages. Having a clear and concise navigation bar or tool will help your site navigation.

Implementing a good web structure helps you design your site to improve customer experience.

The diagram shows that all pages lead back to the home page as it is the first page most users land on. This is known as the root of the site. The pages that fall under the home page branch out and link to one another to create a hierarchial structure.

In this instance ‘Blog’ is a parent page as it would be found in the main navigation menu alongside services. Beneath ‘Blog’ would be the child/subcategories of pages which contain the content for blogs and articles.

In SEO terms parent pages are far superior than child pages, this means that child pages will carry parent page’s keywords in it’s URL. Without parent pages, child pages that are more specific cannot exist.

Why Is It Important?
If the user experience is strong it positively impacts your search engine rankings too. Users will more likely spend time on your website meaning the content is useful and helpful. Having a good web structure can also:

  • Help search engines crawl your WordPress website
  • Encourage people to visit other pages
  • Build topic authority by internal linking


Best practices for web architecture:

  • Have a top-level navigation menu like the diagram above.
  • Keep URL’s user friendly and simple.
  • Consistency is key when designing a WordPress website.

URL Structure

You want to rank well on Google? It starts with your URL (Uniform Resource Locator). URL structures tell Google what your content is about and if it can relate to any other pages.

Your URL should give users and search engines a clear indication about what your page is about, making it easier to find the right content. URLS are a ranking factor for Google and other search engines because they rank easy to navigate websites higher.

If a search engine bot is having trouble finding a page or lands on a page with content that doesn’t match its URL, a website user would be experiencing the same issue. And that wouldn’t provide a very good user experience or easy navigation.

You need to start by optimising your URL on WordPress so that bots can crawl your site efficiently which makes it easier to index your pages. Optimised URL structure increases Google Page Rank (PR) which means you will be discovered sooner!

You can decide to change your URL at anytime but this means redirecting all your current traffic to a new location. You do not want to lose all the current traffic you are currentyl getting as users will be less inclined to stay on your website if they are unfamiliar with the name change and can ultimately affect your ranking.

Best practices for URL structure are:
– do not use capital letters
– do not include spaces or _
– use a dash to separate words
– be direct with what your page is and include keywords.

Linking Structure

Linking structure refers to the external and internal links on your website that lead to different pages and destinations.

External linking often referred to as (outbound links) are useful as they act like citations or references to other websites or resources. This is where you can link other sites in your own content.

There is also a process of getting someone else to link back to your site because you provide quality content. These are known as backlinks. Building a backlink profile improves domain authority meaning more people trust your website and the information you are providing. By obtaining quality backlinks that improve domain authority will then have a positive effect on ranking.

Internal linking is the process of embedding your own pages into your website using hyperlinks. This creates a good structure so that site visitors can navigate your content efficiently and find exactly what they are looking for.

Why Is Internal/External Linking Important?

  • Internal linking helps Google understand your pages
  • Helps to index pages
  • Improves search visibility
  • Improves page authority (page rank)

WordPress has 2 main content sections called Pages and Posts. Knowing the difference between the two will help your site structure dramatically.

Pages refer to static evergreen content that does not need updating regularly. For example: About us, Services and Contact Us pages. These pages are not listed by dates and can have a hierarchical structure to them. These are referred to as Parent Pages and can have content beneath them categorised into groups.

Posts are typically optimised for a blog section using WordPress. Due to their nature of being timestamped when they are uploaded, it is easier to make the content topic based like a blog such as news or informational updates. Posts can be organised by categories and tags or the date they were published making them discoverable on your website.


You might have heard of this term before but do you really know what it is or what it does? A sitemap (XML Sitemap) is a list of URLs on your website intended for search engines.

WordPress does not automatically create a sitemap as the task is usually carried out by a plugin. Our recommendation is Yoast SEO. To find your sitemap you can try entering the correct folder name into Google:

After you have located your sitemap you want to ensure Google knows about it. By submitting your pages to Google you can decrease time it takes to get discovered as you don’t have to wait for web crawlers.

Submitting To Google Search Console (GSC)

  • Set up a Google account
  • Sign in with your Google account
  • Click ‘Add Property‘ = Website URL
  • Verify you own the site
  • Under the Index menu Click ‘Sitemaps‘
  • Add a new sitemap +


What Should Your Sitemap Contain?
Using your sitemap you can list your important pages you want search engines to find easily to show on their results page. Sitemaps should contain:

  • URLs you want indexing on your website.
  • ‘lastmod’ value indicates the date a page was modified and last updated.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation for your SEO. While it might be basic, it is one of the most important things you can do.

You need to know what people are searching for and what is going to drive traffic to your site. Check out our article on How To Find Keywords For SEO.

There are plenty of ways to start this process, the simplest way is to mind map terms that are relevant to your business. This will give you what is known as focus keywords.

You then want to narrow your search terms so that are broad enough to generate traffic but narrow enough to be searched for more specifically. If you narrow your search terms to more specific categories this will help you target your audience to give them what they are searching for.

Keywords like “dog food” aren’t going to get you very far as it is very broad and generic. This can be broken down into many different subcategories which makes it harder for Google to know what you are specifically looking for.

Alternatively keywords such as “high quality premium dog food brands” will be much more specific and likely produce more traffic. This is because Google will provide you with the best results related to the search term you are looking for.

These are known as long-tail keywords and are commonly searched by people who are intending to make purchases on something specific.

There are plenty of good tools out there to help you with your research, some require subsciptions depending on the pricing plan, platforms such as:

  • Answer The Public
  • Ahrefs Keyword Generator
  • Ubersuggest


Use Your Keywords
Making sure you use these keywords throughout your content will help your SEO. They are what link search terms on search engines to your page.

You want to rank on search engines to get traffic to your site from the search engine results. The keywords you choose to use will determine the kind of traffic you get.

You should try to avoid using your keywords more than is natural. This is known as keyword stuffing and will have a negative impact on user experience, which isn’t going to help your site rank highly on search engines.

A good way to test this is to read your content out loud or in your head. If the phrasing sounds unnatural, then it probably is, and has a few too many keywords in there. Consider taking some out.

Create Quality Content

With keyword research completed it’s time to focus on creating quality content.

Making sure you’ve got quality content and good SEO practices go hand in hand and complement each other.

The SEO strategies you implement can’t work on their own and need good content to pair with.

Whether it’s video or written pieces, there are a few steps you can follow to help you make the content you’re going to need.

  • Identify and address pain points of the user
  • Choose the topic (use keyword research to make sure it’s relevant!)
  • Research your competitors and see how you can stand out
  • Conduct your research
  • Plan your points
  • Teaming up your content with SEO is going to give a great user experience and rank well on SERPs.

Optimise Your Images

Another good practice is to compress your images on WordPress. Nothing encourages people to click off a site more than slow loading times.

According to Google, the bounce rate of a site increases by 32% when load times Increased from one to three seconds. It increases up to a further 123% if it takes 10 seconds.

Lots of large images are going to slow your site down to a crawl. Use a tool like to make those images nice and small.

Using unique images is the best way to optimise them for search engines. Even if a stock image is perfectly optimised, an original image can have a greater impact as well as having better SEO potential.

You can help search engines identify your images by using descriptive file names. Avoid the use of numbers and long strings of letters for the file name.

The better way to name an image is to use a keyword related to what the image is from or what it shows.

If you are marketing dog food, then naming your image something like dogfood.jpg will be more helpful than image12a1e.jpg. Alt text is another place where keywords are useful as they describe what is actually in the picture.

Alt text is used to help describe images for the visually impaired using a screen reader. Not only is this good for your SEO but it makes your site more accessible to a wider range of people. Which is a win-win.

Search engines like Google use the alt tag in WordPress to understand the image, what it shows and what its purpose is. A high value is placed on alt text so try and make sure all your images have it and use your focus keywords where appropriate.

Here is a simple checklist for optimising your images:

  • Use unique images
  • Compress your images
  • Use descriptive file names
  • Use Alt text on your images

Page Structure

Well-Structured Content: Organise your content into sections or subheadings with clear and concise headings. This enhances readability and allows search engines to understand the structure and relevance of your content.

You need to make your H1 unique, so people don’t get confused on your site. The H1 of the page should describe the content; and there can only be one!

Heading Tags:

  • H1 – Main keywords and topic of the content
  • H2 – Sections, related keywords to H1
  • H3 – Sub-sections and categories

Good structure is an essential element of high-quality content development. Subheadings make your content scannable and easier to read. Use lists and bullet points, and short paragraphs that answer the searchers questions. Visit our other article on How To Write SEO Friendly Content.

Site Speed

Website site speed is closely related to web performance as it measures how quick or slow a web browser is able to load your website pages. It has a direct impact on ranking as less visitors will stay on a site that has longer loading times. Websites that load quickly will more likely receive more traffic and have better conversion rates.

Here is our step-by-step guide on how to increase site speed to make your WordPress pages load faster:

  • Host your website with a trusted server
  • Reduce the amount of plugins on WordPress
  • Optimise images on WordPress sites
  • Reduce the amount of files on your website
  • Test web performance regularly


All too often, people fall into the trap of thinking that SEO is difficult and they avoid it. When really, it starts with straight forward ideas.

With this guide, we want to help you make sense of it without overwhelming you with terms and theories that don’t need to be second nature. These are good practices for beginners to use on WordPress that can also applied to the wider world of SEO.

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