How to Improve WordPress SEO In 2020 (Quick Guide)

Quick Summary: This guide will help you improve WordPress SEO in 2020 quick guide. It is all about teaching you the basics of Search Engine Optimization. So if you’re a beginner to SEO, the resources below are a must-read. Here you will learn updated SEO in 2020, so without further ado, let’s get started.

How to Improve WordPress SEO In 2020 (Quick Guide)

This guide will help you improve SEO in WordPress.

The best part?

Everything here applies to SEO in 2020.

(In other words: you don’t need to worry about reading out of date stuff)

So without further ado, let’s get started…

There are a lot of methods to drive traffic to your website, but Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most useful.

SEO is a set of strategies and techniques trained at helping your pages rank higher in search engines results.

But where to begin?

Here is a collection of possible resources to help learn yourself SEO… even if you are beginner.

And in this guide I’ll show you the most common and possible ways to improve WordPress SEO in 2020.

  • Install an SEO-friendly theme
  • Choose www vs. non-www
  • Set up permalinks
  • Enable manual approval of comments
  • Set custom URLs (for posts & pages)
  • Use alt text for your images
  • Internally link to other posts/pages
  • Set unique, “optimized” title tags and descriptions
  • Enable content caching
  • Compress and optimize your images
  • ‘Noindex’ low-value content
  • Fix duplicate content

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in!

1. Install an SEO-friendly theme

If you have created a website in WordPress, you will want your site to be found by users on the search engine.

To ensure that, you need to have search engine optimization (SEO) in place.

The theme you choose for your WordPress site can significantly affect your SEO results,

So you want to choose one that is ready for SEO & mobile friendly.

There are lots of SEO friendly themes available in WordPress Library, but how to select one that SEO friendly or light weight.

SEO-ready WordPress Theme? What defines a theme to be SEO Friendly?

  • Mobile-Friendly – Mobile-friendly content performs better for mobile users.

Google’s provide Google’s Mobile-friendly Test tool where we can test our themes responsiveness or mobile-friendly test.

Mobile-friendly Test
Mobile-friendly Test
  • Lightweight Theme – Avoids theme that uses third party plugins or scripts that don’t need for our site.

Here’s another tool Google’s PageSpeed Insights provided by Google to check page speed & performance of your WordPress Site.

Google's Page Speed Insights
Google’s Page Speed Insights

For the above example, I’m using OceanWP theme which is one of the most popular SEO-friendly WordPress Theme available in WordPress Repository.

As the above performance varies according to your hosting/server plan.

2. Choose www vs. non-www

Have you ever noticed that most of the websites are live at (Using www) or whereas other live at (Without www).

So, do I have to choose one (www) or the other (without www) for my web site?

Yes, you need to choose one and stick with that one.

It will make your website look more consistent with your users and search engines.

Google views the www and non-www versions of the site as separate references to separate pages.

If you want to use both versions of your site so you may have to use the below techniques.

If you want some of your posts to appear on both version so you may have to configure it to Yoast SEO at the bottom of every post.

Yoast Seo Canonical URL
Yoast Seo Canonical URL

So here is how sou can check this in Google?

Search for Look at the number of results.

for example

Domain with www
Domain with www

Then do the same for the version without www.

That’s -inurl:www

Domain without www
Domain without www

As you can see that the uses both versions of domain. Google views the www and non-www versions of the site as separate references.

So choose a preferred version and set it as the WordPress Address URL and Site Address URL in your WP dashboard.

You can find those options under Settings > General.

Site URL in WP Admin
Site URL in WP Admin

It doesn’t matter which URL you choose Google Allows both of them and this will not affect SEO.

3. Set up permalinks

Have you ever seen most of the websites that ranks on Google which uses SEO Friendly URL Structure.

By default WordPress provides number of automatic permalink options:

WordPress Parmalinks SEO
WordPress Parmalinks SEO

Post name is the most user or SEO-friendly option for most websites because:

Post name is very popular in SEO because it generates short memorable URLs. I use it on my personal blog.

In post name URLs that contain relevant keywords will help you rank better in search engines.

If you are building SEO Friendly blog then you may have to put a keyword in URLs also.

IMPORTANT. If you already have a site that using a different permalink structure, then think twice before changing it. That’s a bad thing, particularly if you have backlinks pointing to said pages. If you want to set up your URL structure this way, then you may need to add redirects. For that, you can use the Redirection WordPress plugin.

4. Enable manual approval of comments

If you want to rank higher on google then you may have to look into the comments. Most of the times newbies or beginners they did not enable manual comment option.

Usually, People asking genuine questions or saying how much they enjoyed your article.

But be aware: Blog comment spam is a big thing.

Spammers use automated software to post comments to hundreds or thousands of sites. They do this to create backlinks to their website.

How to enable manual approval of comment?

You can find those options under Settings > Discussion.

4. Enable manual approval of comments
4. Enable manual approval of comments

You can also use plugins like Akismet to help with comment spam.

5. Set custom URLs (for posts & pages)

Many of the people are directly publish post or page without editing the custom URL.

For example: You publish a post on your WordPress blog entitled as: “Latest Technology Trends That Will Make 2020 More Interesting”

Set custom URLs
Set custom URLs

There’s nothing wrong with that URL above. But it is a little on the long side, meaning that Google may truncate it in the search results.

So how we can handle this things?

WordPress makes it easy to edit or customize any post or page URL. Just hit the “Edit” button next to post’s current permalink.

Custom URL Edit

Instead of giving full title as parmalink you just set it to “latest-technology-trends”.

Here you can also use target keyword as well that will increase the WordPress SEO or page rank in google.

6. Use alt text for your images

Using alt text on your images can make for better user experience, but it may also help earn you both explicit and implicit SEO benefits.

Along with creating image title and file naming best practices, including alt text, may also contribute to the SEO.

Here’s the syntax for alt tags:

<img src=”/cute-cat.png” alt=”A picture of a car”/>

Here is how you can add alt text in images.

If you are using classic editor then you have to hit Add Media > Upload files. You’ll then see something like this:

alt text wp

Fill in the Alternative Text field with a short description of your image. Make sure alt text describes your image.

Second thing is, If you are using Gutenberg editor so you have to click on an image and right sidebar shows you an option for Alt text (alternative text) You’ll then see something like this:

alt text wp

Alt text offers you another possibility to include your target keyword.

With on-page keyword usage still pulling weight as a search engine ranking factor, it’s in your best interest to create alt text that both describes the image and, if possible, includes a keyword phrase you’re targeting.

7. Internally link to other posts/pages

Linking to other posts and pages in your own website or domain is called internal linking.

Internally link to other posts/pages
Internally link to other posts/pages

Internal linking also improves your search engine optimization (SEO).

By creating internal links to other posts and pages on your website, you are helping search engine spiders crawl your site faster, more easily and more thoroughly than if your site was composed only of standalone posts and pages.

This can result in more organic search traffic to your site.

Here is how you can add Internal link to other posts/pages.

Yoast SEO Premium Plugin allows you to easily connect what pages or posts that relate with this post. You can check this by editing your single blog post.

Below screenshot shows where Yoast Internal Linking appears.

Internally link to other posts/pages
Internally link to other posts/pages

Hey! If you are not using Yoast SEO Premium then you may have to personally identify related posts for internal linking.

This will Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Improved Site Usability And User Experience, Increased Content Visibility And Exposure.

You may also read 10 Easy-to-Use Tools To Improve SEO in WordPress

8. Set optimized meta title and descriptions

Meta titles and descriptions are what you see in the search results page.

Set optimized meta title and descriptions
Set optimized meta title and descriptions example

SEO best practice is to customize them for each page and post.

Keep meta title small appropriate and clear so that the user will understand the idea of the blog post easily.

Google starts truncating titles at 590px (~50–60 characters).

Meta descriptions get truncated after about 930px (~155 characters). Use this tool to preview them before setting them live.

By using Yoast SEO Plugin you can easily set meta title, meta description for each page or post.

Yoast lets you set custom meta title, descriptions on a page-by-page basis.

Just scroll to the bottom of the post or page you’re editing. You’ll see something like this:

Yoast meta title and descriptions
Yoast meta title and descriptions

So here is how you can set custom meta title, description in WordPress.

9. Enable content caching

In WordPress site content caching is most important factor. This will increase the site speed or performance.

W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular plugins for content caching in WordPress.

W3 Total Cache for content caching
W3 Total Cache

So how content caching works in WordPress?

Cache plugin makes a static copy of your sites post or pages and stored it to clients browser until the new changes updated.

That’s why the pages quickly loads and user will happy with that. Google will also rank those pages who loads faster.

Recommended reading: Speed Up WordPress Website In 2020

10. Compress and optimize your images

Large images slow down your web pages which creates a less than optimal user experience.

Optimizing images is the process of reducing their file size, using either a plugin or script, which in turn speeds up the load time of the page.

Smush is a free WordPress plugin for optimizing images. It allows us to 1-click Bulk image compress.

Compress and optimize your images
Compress and optimize your images

To compress the images you’ve already uploaded, hit the Smush menu item on the left sidebar and hit “Bulk smush now.”

Bulk smush now.
Bulk smush now.

This will optimize all images on your site in batches of 50. You’ll then have to re-click the button to optimize the next 50, and so on.

That can be annoying for large sites. So you may want to upgrade to pro if you have a lot of images.

11. ‘Noindex’ low-value content

Whenever we published any post the associated tags also being crawled by Google spiders. This is low-value content that no need to be indexed on google.

So how we can stop this in WordPress Site?

The simple solution is just nevigate to the SEO > Search appearance > Taxonomies.

‘Noindex’ low-value content
‘Noindex’ low-value content

Switch the “Show Tags in search results?” option to “No”. If it’s already no that fine.

By default, Yoast SEO Plugin sets “post format” and “media” pages to “noindex”.

12. Fix duplicate content

This problem occurs in the eCommerce site where every product is having duplicate content.

You can fix such issues in two ways: “noindex” or canonicalize the duplicate version(s).

No indexing a page leads to its removal from search engine indexes. You should do that if the duplicate page provides no value to visitors.

It may also make sense to “noindex” near-duplicate landing pages that you’re split-testing.

Canonicalizing means to specify a preferred version of a web page. Search engines tend only to index this preferred canonical page.

Duplicate or near-duplicate pages should always have a canonical set if not “noindexed.”

Yoast can implement both options on a page-by-page basis. Hit the cog icon on the Yoast settings when editing a page or post. You’ll see something like this:

no duplicate content
no duplicate content

Select “No” from the top drop-down to “noindex” a page or post. Or paste the URL of the preferred version into the “Canonical URL” box to canonicalize. Easy peasy.

Final thoughts

WordPress is the most popular CMS for blogging. It is really easy, flexible, efficient.

Do you have any questions on WordPress SEO and If so, ask away in the comments section below!

Recommended reading:

  1. 5 Most Reliable Digital Marketing Strategies For Small Business
  2. 10 Easy-to-Use Tools To Improve SEO in WordPress
  3. How to Create a Blog in WordPress (Step by Step)
  4. Create A Custom Admin Menu With Admin Page WordPress
  5. 7 WordPress Functions.php File Tips & Tricks
  6. Almost A Million WordPress Sites Targeted In Extensive Attacks
  7. Create a Custom Post Type in WordPress
  8. WordPress .htaccess file Tips & Tricks

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