As the web gets more competitive and busy, SEO gets more complex. Finding and using the best tools is time consuming and can take you down lots of dead ends.
So here is my complete WordPress SEO checklist as it stands at the moment. Everything in it is for free and I’ve added links to tutorials that have helped me in the past, because some of these plugin can be very hard to set up. If there isn’t a link to a guide then it’s a straightforward process to get the plugin or tool working.
Google’s free SEO tools
1. Google’s keyword planer Researching your keywords before you start going any SEO is a must! This keyword tool will help you understand what terms people use and give you real visitor stats so you know what phrases to use or discard – understanding your keyword planner.
2. Webmaster tools You can submit your sitemap and get your website crawled to get in the rankings quicker.
3. Google+ Link your website to a Google+ account and it might have a positive effect on your search listing (it did with me) plus you get your photo next to your link which is proven to improve the click through rate – how to claim Google Authorship
4. Google Analytics There are lots of analytic’s software to choose from they all do much the same. It’s critical you check the data you know who is clicking on what pages so you can improve your strategy. Its also just as important to not drown in data.
Free WordPress SEO plugins
5. SEO by Yoast Downloaded over 8 million times and still the best SEO plugin for WordPress. It will hep you analyse and write better content, integrate with Google Webmaster Tools and automatically generate dynamic sitemaps – SEO by Yoast video tutorial.
6. Broken Link Checker Broken internal links are bad for SEO. This plugin, downloaded over 2 million times will help you get rid of any dead links. Broken Link Checker Set up guide.
7. W3 Total Cache or Super Cache Both are excellent plugins and between them have been downloaded nearly 9 million times. Both will improve your websites download speed, a faster loading page will do better in the search engines. W3 Total Cache is actually better but it has a very lengthy set up process – w3 Total Cache video tutorial. Super Cache can be set up in a minute – Super Cache video tutorial.
8. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) Increases the amount of internal links by on your posts by placing links to related articles at the end of the article. It also help you to direct users to other pages.
9. WP-Optimize speeds up your website by cleaning the database or old post revisions, comments in the span queue and unapproved comments.
10. Revision Control reduces the amount of saved page revisions WordPress makes which makes your website lighter.
11. AddToAny Google can take into consideration how many times your posts have been shared. The more shares the better the content is one way of looking at it. Adding a social share buttons makes sense but you have to be careful because they can slow your website down. AddToAny has been downloaded nearly 3 million million times and is WordPress optimized with asynchronous script loading.
12. Cleaner Press Combine and compress CSS files and loads JQuery from a Google CND to improve page load time.
13. Scripts to footer This small plugin moves scripts to the footer to help speed up page load times, while keeping stylesheets in the header.
14. Better WordPress Minify Allows you to combine and minify your CSS and JS files to improve page load time.
16. Far Future Expiry Header When the feature is enabled, this plugin will modify your .htaccess file by inserting code which will add expires headers for common static file types. This reduces the number of HTTP requests which increases performance.
Tips for optimizing your pages and posts
Below is a general run down, this article explains in detail.
17. Your main headline at the top of the page should be Heading 1 or H1 tag and others heading are Heading 2/3 H2/3.
18. Use short title tags on links
19. Use your keywords in your image title and ALT tags.
20. Add tags to posts
21. Add keywords to your permalinks
22. Use different meta tags on each page
23. Check your Yoast settings at the bottom of each page, use the Page Analysis tool and improve your content if needed.
Free Online SEO Tools
24. SEO Quake is a popular and handy analytic seo-tool for Firefox, Chrome and Opera browsers. Its perfect for quick and easy competitor research.
25. GTmetrix gives a detailed breakdown of how your website performs in speed test. Try it now with your website and see how it performs before and after you’ve installed all the performance plugins. You will be amazed.
26. Ahrefs is the best link research tool and give detailed information which is essential for SEO research.
The need for speed
“The web should be fast”
27. Content Delivery Network (CDN) A distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers across the Internet. The CDN serves up files from your website instead of it coming from your hosting account. This makes your website faster, which is good in the eyes of Google. There are lots of free services and a lots you have to pay for – 10 free CDNs services to speed up your website.
Getting the word out
28. Pinging When you publish or amend an article you can notify search engines and other web services to help promote it. This is known as pinging. You manually ping your website across the internet with websites like Feed Shark and Ping-O-Matic. Or you can quickly set it up in WordPress so its does it automatically each time you hit publish! How to update your ping list and a ping list for 2014.
Quality beats quantity every time
29. Quality content Its Google’s job to serve up high quality relevant content every time someone uses it to search. So creating good content on a regular basis is going to help your website in terms of SEO. You can do it every week or every month, its doesn’t really matter as long as it’s good.
Good content is easier to promote and share online. Promotion brings in new visitors and keeps old ones coming back. In truth any long term SEO strategy starts with the creation of high quality content.
Do you know someone who uses WordPress and wants better results in Google? Share this article with them using the buttons below or even better, email them direct, you’ll be doing them and me a favour.