Ultimate beginners guide to improve SEO rankings for small business WordPress sites

WordPress is simply the best way to manage online content regarding SEO rankings.  There is no other way to hit the ground running with a solid SEO foundation that can be built upon for the life of your business.  It may seem that WordPress SEO is so easy that it would be okay to ignore WordPress SEO optimization.

This WordPress SEO guide will walk you through step-by-step- how-to set up your WordPress website to be a serious contender online with rankings improvements and more conversions and/or leads.  Of course, if you do not have the time to manage your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign you can hire WordLead SEO services to drive organic online growth for your business.

We use our decades of experience on working on tens of thousands of websites to drive your business to the top of the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.  We know what has worked and what currently does thus allowing us to appraise and apply time-tested safe technical SEO optimizations for a website built on WordPress.


If you are in a rush you can browse the table of contents as this substantial and comprehensive WordPress SEO setup guide is over 6000 words long.  It covers everything you need to know from technical theme optimizations, WordPress SEO plugins, and SEO Strategies for URL structure, Meta optimization, internal link building and other elements.

Learn the best WordPress SEO techniques with the high quality white hat Search Engine Optimization experts at WordLead.

Table of Contents

Pages Vs posts

Pages or Posts which is better?

 Pages instead of posts

If you think there is a definitive answer here…you are wrong. In fact, Yoast even has it wrong by saying a page is better than a post for WordPress SEO.  You should make everything that is not a main site page a post because you will get more search engine traffic plains and simple.  In fact, the Yoast Ultimate WordPress SEO Guide even stats that posts often outrank pages.  SO why fight the flow of Google?  No need just gives its spiders what they want… which is fresh content in new original posts of value.

Of course, if your goals are much more keyword oriented rather than just get more traffic from higher rankings…there are some instances when a page is better than a post.  This is pages that do not change often link your menu, pricing, contact, home and privacy policy/terms and conditions pages.

Think of the content that you are posting…If it is going to change or teach someone use a post.  If it is selling something like an ecommerce product or local services, should leverage the benefits of existing as page content.

Https or Http

In the past webmasters would use non-www pages because the logic was that it was a shorter URL meaning it was better for any future direction Google could take.

However, now after working for some many SEO agencies we can say with assurance it is better to offer a WWW URL to customers in most cases than the non-www. Version.  This is specifically for SEO purposes.  This is because it appears more trust worthy to most customers and most backlinks from local SEO citation directories, data aggregators and old sites still default to www.  So not using www will reduce your potential domain authority (ranking ability) in the future.

Permalinks and Permalink Structure

Permalinks only set the URL structure for post, so you can change how you would like your blog post URLs to read.

WordPress SEO Permalink Structure

We at WordLead suggest setting the Custom Structure to /%category%/%postname%/

That way no matter you have a topically relevant and most importantly easily editable structure for the future.  Set it to this for a no headache approach to the perfect WordPress Permalink Structure for SEO rankings.

Examples of Poor Link Structures for 2017-2018 onward

https://www.wordlead.com/facts/seo-statistics-trends/ – Best

However, there are other options that have their place in certain industries or business goals.

SSL vs. Non-SSL

http:// versus https://

Google has stated there will be a loss of visibility to non-secure sites as of this statement.  It would be a bad idea to keep your non-https site as your main site moving forward in 2018.  If you are starting a new site, your solution is simple.  Get SSL hosting with a SSL certificate already installed.


If you need help migrating to https WordLead offers this as a service for most WordPress websites.  Pro tip:  Make sure you use a website migration checklist for SEO to keep your rankings with Google.

Top WordPress SEO Plugins

  1. Yoast
  2. WordLead
  3. All in One SEO pack
  4. Ultimate SEO
SEO Title Tag Length

The title tag SEO requires should be thought of as a moving rather than a fixed target.  If you can keep the title to less than 60 characters and still get a concise yet action driven keyword rich statement…then go for it!

Crafting Click Worthy Titles

As stated above for SEO reason you want to get your desired keywords into the first few keywords in the title of each page.  But at the same time should encourage the reader to take action.

For example, this page you are on is titled:


See how that encourages much more interest than:

WordPress SEO Guide – Wordlead.com

SEO Image Dimensions

The dimensions of your images should be as small as possible to still mesh well with the WordPress Theme’s design.

Image SEO File Sizes

Image size without a doubt should be as tiny a footprint as possible.  The large the file size usually translates to longer page load speeds with not only harm organic search engine rankings but also hamper the customer experience.

Image Alt Tag for SEO

The most important element of image SEO other than the name of the picture is the alt tag.  No title tags are needed but and keyword rich and descriptive Alt tag should be provided for every piece of media/pic uploaded to your WordPress website.

SEO Naming of Pictures

Every picture should be named a relevant descriptions of what is occurring in the image.  The alt tag should be a supporting phrase along those lines.  If you can fit your keyword and a longer related phrase that would be optimal.  However, try to reframe from naming pictures of trees and meadows “WordPress”.  Rather, if you are trying to rank for the term WordPress why not display the accurately labeled WordPress logo and perhaps a screen shot of their home page or some interesting infographic you can link to.

Comment Settings for Ultimate SEO

Many brands and agencies suggest that having all kinds of great commenters is a great way to get better rankings, but it often comes at a large cost with few returns.  We suggest that unless you are planning on having open dialogues everyday with readers you should avoid comments on your blog completely.  We know this is controversial, but we have years of data to suggest this to small business owners that sell products offline or services.

Need help with disabling comments or want our 2nd best opinion on what to do with a comment nightmare?  Let us know here.