WordPress SEO Checklist: 20 Tips to Improve Your Rankings

Every website runs on a content management system (CMS), and among all the CMSs to exist, WordPress holds the most popularity. In fact, there are about 455 million websites on the platform as of 2022.

But this amount only makes up approximately 30% of all the websites that exist on the web. This means you are competing with billions of sites to rank better, and the basic optimization approaches aren’t enough for your WordPress website. Instead, you need to follow a specific WordPress SEO checklist if you want to gain something from your site.

What is WordPress SEO?

Almost everyone is familiar with the fundamental techniques of search engine optimization. However, many people do not know that these approaches change with the type of content one is dealing with.

WordPress SEO optimization is one such approach that consists of all the tactics you would require to improve your WordPress site’s performance. Though the solutions included in this strategy are precisely for this CMS, there are many that you can use for other platforms.

WordPress SEO Checklist

The following are 20 such tactics that you can use to ensure your site performs well in its targeted SERP results.

1. Carefully Choosing Hosting Provider

Your choice of hosting decides your site’s speed, security level, and uptime. Though not directly related, all of these can significantly affect the ranking and credibility of your site. The best part is you do not even have to waste much time searching as WordPress itself recommends three platforms to choose from.

Carefully Choosing Hosting Provider

2. Secure Your Site With HTTPS

A significant part of WordPress site optimization is ensuring your and your visitor’s security. However, before buying the SSL certificate, ensure that your hosting platform supports it.

Secure Your Site With HTTPS

3. SEO-friendly WordPress Theme

There are numerous themes available for WordPress in the market, but only some of them comply with the latest requirements of SEO. So, you need to choose a theme that is not only visually appealing but is SEO-friendly as well.

SEO-friendly WordPress Theme

4. Responsive and Mobile-friendly Theme

A big part of WordPress search engine optimization is ensuring you have a great foundation to build your website. In the present day and age, a big part of online traffic is actually browsing through their phones.

So, you must select a theme that not only appears excellent on desktops but appears great on mobile phones as well.

Responsive and Mobile-friendly Theme

5. Inspecting Search Engine Visibility Settings

The CMS comes with a built-in setting called “search engine visibility“, and you can use that to instruct search engines to refrain from indexing your site. Even though it sounds straightforward, inspecting it and deciding whether to use it or not can significantly affect your site’s performance.

Inspecting Search Engine Visibility Settings

Thus, it is suggested that you take assistance from a WordPress SEO agency that knows what is best for your website.

6. Optimizing for Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are relatively a newer concept that evaluates the user experience of your website. In the end, whatever you do to your site is for the visitors and not crawl bots.

So, when going through all the necessary metrics of SEO, do not skip on it; rather, optimize the site for it. Thus, it is a pointer on this WordPress SEO checklist that you cannot ignore at any cost.

Optimizing for Core Web Vitals

7. Enable SEO-friendly Permalinks

It is nothing but the URL format of your pages and posts, and it helps visitors immediately understand what a particular page is about. It also keeps the URLs short and prevents them from truncating in the SERPs.

Enable SEO-friendly Permalinks

Note that you can use it to create new pages, but changing the structure of old ones would only lead to broken pages.

8. Dedicated SEO Plugins

Hardly any other CMS has as many plugins as WordPress in the market. There is one for every type of need, and you have to find out the ones that work best for your business model.

WordPress SEO Plugins

If you doubt your selection skills, it is better that you hire a WordPress SEO specialist to select the effective ones on your behalf.

9. Setting up Preferred Domain

The most used search engine, Google, treats “domain.com” and “www.domain.com” in different manners. Therefore, when going through the multiple aspects of your WordPress site, go to its General Setting and choose a preferred domain version for your site.

Setting up Preferred Domain

10. Generating XML Sitemap

Every website needs to submit its XML sitemap, and you can do that by going to the “Sitemap” tab under Index. In addition, a WordPress plugin called Yoast SEO generates an XML sitemap for websites by default, but in either case, you would have to verify your site.

Generating XML Sitemap

11. Google Search Console Set Up

If you are optimizing your site by yourself, instead of hiring a WordPress SEO expert, there is a big chance that you haven’t verified it with Google Search Console. It is one of the fundamentals, and you cannot even generate a sitemap without this verification.

Google Search Console Set Up

12. Use Optimized Page Headings

Your page’s title defines its H1 heading and default URL. Thus, one of the most important parts of this WordPress SEO checklist is to come up with headings that give context on a particular page to the readers and crawl bots.

Use Optimized Page Headings

13. Writing Long-Form Content

Statistics show that using the long form in digital marketing brings a better and higher number of backlinks compared to its shorter counterparts. So, make it a point to upload such content regularly to ensure a smooth influx of links.

Writing Long-Form Content

14. Proper Internal Linking

Internal linking will help you build topical relevance between different pages on your website. It makes your website more navigable and ensures that almost every page on your site receives some amount of traffic directly or indirectly.

Proper Internal Linking

15. Optimize Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

Your SEO optimization for WordPress should also include approaches to optimize your site’s title tags and meta descriptions. These help crawl bots better understand pages on a website, improving its SEO ranking in the process.

Optimize Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

16. Adding ALT Tags

Just like written content, you must optimize the images on your web pages as well. To do so, you can either add relevant alt tags to all the images or hire a WordPress SEO consultant to do the same.

Adding ALT Tags

17. Manual Approval for Blog Comments

Although Google does not follow spammy comments, they can still negatively affect the performance of your website. So, instead of taking any chances, keep the default setting for comments as “comments must be manually approved.”

Manual Approval for Blog Comments

18. Having Nest Pages in Subfolders

Another important thing that you cannot remove from your WordPress SEO checklist is creating nest pages in subfolders. This way, you can categorize web pages, making it easier to understand what belongs where.

Having Nest Pages in Subfolders

19. Using Schema Markup

Schema markups add context to your data and make it more meaningful for search engine bots. With its help, you are communicating the data of your pages better and helping Google present them in different appealing ways.

Using Schema Markup

20. Build Quality Backlinks

The importance of quality backlinks from high-authority sites is known to all. Thus, it is needless to say that you need to add it to your checklist. But no matter how much you know about them, without good experience, it is tough to fetch proper backlinks.

Build Quality Backlinks

Therefore, people usually hire WordPress SEO services to ensure their sites get all the relevant links from other sites.


So, these are the 20 WordPress optimization techniques that you need to apply if you want to generate better ROI from your site. Of course, you do not have to do it all at once but creating too many gaps can also negatively affect your website.

You can follow the pointers in this WordPress SEO checklist on your own or hire professional aid for it. Either way, you will witness a drastic change in your site’s performance. It is only that a professional would bring faster developments than you.

Ashwani has been actively involved in SEO services since 2005. His expertise and distinctive work approaches have made him one of the most experienced and trusted SEO experts in the industry. He is a certified SEO and Google Ads professional. He also has strong business development skills in advanced SEO, PPC, and digital marketing strategies.


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