14 White Hat WordPress SEO Tips For 2018
Today we cover 14 SEO tips for WordPress.
1. Markup Your Pages With Schema
Schema Markup gives you the ability to code your pages so that Google can better understand what those pages are about.
If you’re rocking an awesome theme like the Genesis Framework, some of this will be done already for you as genesis marks up certain elements on your site like, WP Header, Site Navigation, WP Sidebar, and Creative Work. I don’t necessarily know how important these certain elements are to markup but, it seems useful to be able to show Google what the different elements are on your site with Schema.
Regardless of your CMS, I also recommend you markup your pages with a few tools as well.
Let’s start with the Markup (JSON-LD) plugin.
The main benefit of this plugin is that you can quickly markup certain elements like local business, blog posting, breadcrumbs, website, and more.
The next plugin I recommend you get is a combination of OG (Open Graph) data and Schema. For those of you who are unfamiliar with OG data, it is what social sites use to read what your page is about and what should be displayed on their platforms.
I will cover how to setup OG data in the next tip but for now, you will want to download and purchase the WPSSO plugin for $67 in My opinion it is highly worth the cost.
Once the plugin is downloaded, you’re going to want to fill out the boxes in the settings of the tool.
Note: there may be some overlap in the settings from Yoast so just click on the notifications and disable the overlap in WPSSO.
Now that WPSSO is installed, all your images and video’s will be automatically marked up with Schema!
For the last schema tip you’re going to want to manually markup some pages.
If you’d like the code for these pages just view the pages I setup with the structured data testing tool, copy the code, and then replace my info with yours.
2. OG (Open Graph) Markup
As previously stated in the last tip, Open Graph data is what social platforms use to pull information on what your web pages are about.
Now that you’ve installed WPSSO you’ll be able to easily customize your OG data.
All you have to do is scroll down on the page you want to optimize with OG data and fill out the information similar to how you would with Yoast.
3. Use Category’s or Dates Based On Your Niche
There’s a lot of opinions on what the optimal posting structure people should use on their sites.
WARNING: before you change all your URL structures for SEO know that this is all opinion based from what I’ve learned and experimented with. If you do decide to go this route on a site that’s already doing fairly well, you may not even want to do this. If you do want to reformat your structure anyways, then MAKE SURE you do 301 redirects.
Personally, after tons of research, I’ve found that using categories (if you’re not a news site) is your best option.
For example, one of my clients is driving a decent amount of traffic from just one of the categories on his site.
Note: this is after an SSL move, the category on average brings in close to 1,000 clicks a month.
Also, categories make sense if you think about it. If a visitor is reading one of your posts and they want to read more about that subject, they can go to the associated category with the post they’re reading and find more articles about said subject. You really want to make sure that you’re not putting your posts into more than one category to avoid duplicate content issues.
Lastly, I believe by having categories set up, you have a more crawl-able site structure as your post’s will be internally linked from your categories.
The other option is that you can go the route that many go, and only use posts without categories, the url structure would look like this: domain.com/post-name/
The problem with this is that you will eventually have tons of posts without any proper organization.
In terms of how many categories you should use per site, I would try to go for general topical focus and create 5-10 categories at most for the site.
For instance, categories for this site could be:
- Local SEO
- SEO News
- SEO Audits
If you do decide to do the category structure here is the URL structure I found which works the best in WordPress permalink settings: /%category%/%postname%/
WordPress Permalink Settings
Also, if you’re going to go with categories, you’re going to want to decide whether you want to index paginated pages or not.
If you’re unfamiliar with what paginated pages are here is an example (Note: SEO Expert Bill Slawski from SEO by The Sea actually recommends you keep pages paginated):
This is a controversial topic and I’ve experimented with indexing paginated pages and not indexing them.
I ultimately decided to noindex paginated pages in Yoast settings because I don’t want to bog down Google’s crawl rates with tons of paginated pages.
4. Start Migrating ClickFunnels Pages Into Your Site
If you’re unfamiliar with ClickFunnels, basically it’s a platform that let’s you setup landing pages with various steps or “funnels.”
The reason why I’ve included this as a tip is because I believe there’s a huge opportunity for almost anyone on WordPress to utilize these landing pages to drive higher conversions.
Now, when I create blog posts or landing pages, I have a funnel I can link to which is likely to convert people at a way higher rate than I’d be able to do with my own limited HTML / CSS skills.
Furthermore, I get the funnel aspect and can up sell / down sell people throughout the funnel to other things I’m offering like exclusive Facebook groups, site audits, etc.
All you have to do to setup something similar to this is head over to ClickFunnels, create an account, setup a page, and then download the plugin.
Once you download the plugin the setup is fairly simple, just head over to the settings and follow the directions.
5. Content Upgrades For Posts
A content upgrade is basically something extra of value you can give to your visitors besides the post or page you’ve created.
The main purpose for these upgrades is to funnel your traffic into a controllable asset like a Facebook group, email list, Youtube subscriber, etc.
Here’s how I hit all three of these at once.
First I setup the content upgrade through the Thrive leads plugin (this is a paid tool for $67 but totally worth it in my opinion), to offer my free Facebook group to my visitors.
All you have to do is go to the plugin after installing it and setup your upgrade (I would use the Shortcode option).
Here’s how I use the content upgrade to build my email list, Facebook group, and Youtube following all at the same time.
First you setup the upgrade to promote your Facebook group by asking for an email.
You then sync your upgrade with a platform like Mailchimp and setup an auto responder to send your Facebook group link, and also recommend that people subscribe to you on Youtube for free videos around your subject.
Even if your visitors don’t subscribe to you on Youtube or join your Facebook group from auto respond email, you now have their email which you can use to re market your content to.
6. Caching For Site Speed
Caching is used to store information about the pages on your site and quickly serve them to your visitors.
The best caching plugin I’ve found is of course paid, but it’s fairly cheap ($30 one time fee) but works extremely well.
The plugin is WP Rocket and I believe it is also recommended by Brian Dean from Backlinko.
Note: If you’re using web hosting like WP Engine which already comes with caching, downloading this plugin will be unnecessary.
7. Bulk Image Compression
Image compression is an overlooked task that I see a lot of people miss on their sites.
For this task you’ll want to install the Smusher plugin.
Once you install the plugin, start Smushing!
Note: you may end having to buy the pro version, but in my opinion it is worth it.
8. Quickly Clean Up Broken Links and Redirects
For this I use the Broken Link Checker plugin.
This plugin gives you the ability to scan your site for broken links and also alert you through email when you have new broken links.
Once you install the plugin, run a scan, then fix the links in bulk.
9. Install an SEO Plugin
I’d personally recommend Yoast however as some plugins like All in One SEO have flaws like not being able to specify canonical tags from one page to another which can be a really drag if you need to use canonicals.
When you setup the Yoast plugin, I’d follow this video tutorial I made here.
10. Stay Away From Tags
In some cases, tags can help, but I really don’t recommend this to many sites for multiple reasons.
- A lot of these tags you can use categories for.
- If you use tags and don’t set them up correctly or continually use them, you’re going to have a ton of thin content / low value pages.
- They seem pretty unnecessary as I don’t know many people who surf sites through tags especially if categories are in place.
11. Social Share Integration
For social shares I use the Sumo plugin.
It’s easy to setup and allows you a pretty good amount of customizability.
SUMO Plugin Share Preview
12. Setup Facebook Comments For Articles
I believe that comments actually improve the SEO of articles.
Which is why I use the Facebook comments plugin.
Facebook Comments Plugin
13. Use Related Categories and Recent Posts On Your Side Bar
This is an easy tip that will help you automatically pass link juice to your most recent posts.
Of course since these links will be in a sidebar on every post the value passed isn’t going to be as great as linking contextually through content.
14. Quickly Optimize Image Alt Tags in The Media Section of WordPress
If you’re SEO’ing a site that you know hasn’t done alt tags, you can head over to the media section of WordPress and streamline the process instead of clicking into tons of individual pages.
All you have to do is click on the images once you’re in media and change the alt tags for images. The downfall is that you may be optimizing images that are not appearing on pages which could be a problem if you’re working with a site that has thousands of images.
Images in Media Tab For WordPress
That’s all my tips for WordPress for now. If you’re interested in more white hat techniques, head over to my recent post on 100 white hat SEO techniques.