Beginner’s Guide to WordPress SEO

Essentially Lily | Beginner's Guide to Wordpress SEO

SEO can be very daunting, especially for newbie bloggers (like me) or those unfamiliar with how the internet works (also me). So I’ve put together a Beginner’s Guide to WordPress SEO to help you optimise your site.

When I first started out blogging, I didn’t even know about SEO. Let alone thinking it was something I needed to learn and apply to my own site! But I was desperate to improve and after about 6 months, I realised SEO was crucial.

I searched the internet, reading lots of things I didn’t understand and making notes that made no sense! Eventually it started coming together, and I decided to put together a Beginner’s Guide to WordPress SEO to help you optimise your site.

Install a Plugin

The first thing I learnt was that SEO is seperate to what WordPress does. WordPress “organises” your site, and your SEO is managed differently. I would absolutely, 100% recommend installing the Yoast plugin for WordPress to help you get your SEO on point.


Within WordPress, you choose which category to “file” your post under, and which tags you wish to apply. But keywords are what readers will type into the search engine. Instead of making your keyword the title of your post, select the crucial keyword(s) that readers might search for. For example, your blog post is titled: “Time Saving Beauty Tips and Tricks”. Think about what your readers might be searching for and perhaps use “Beauty Tips” as your keywords.

SEO Title

The title of your post will be the SEO title and is what will be shown in the search engine results. Try to keep your title concise and to the point, and of course with your keyword(s) included. The title is what will grab the reader’s attention and will (hopefully!) make them click on your links.


This is the main article you write for your readers. Ensuring that your keywords are featured throughout your content will ultimately optimise your post. This way the search engines deem that your article is in fact relevant to the title of your post.

The way you write also contributes to the “readability” of your content. If your post has “good readability”, they are seen to be more “engaging” and more reader friendly, which will give you a better SEO ranking. Sentences that ramble too much, paragraphs that are too long, and even writing in a passive voice, all reduce your SEO ranking. So keeping your content punchy and to the point will help massively.

Additionally, having the first paragraph in a subheading font will add to the relevance of your content. Optimally, having the title of your post or the keywords in your first paragraph in a subheading font will increase your SEO ranking. This is because the bots will be able to pick up on your post quicker than if you told your readers the purpose of your post later on.

Alt Attributes

Images are another great way to boost your SEO ranking but be sure to add alt attributes. When you add images in WordPress, you’ll notice there are a few text boxes, one of which is the “Alt Text” box. I will admit, I had no idea what this did, so I used to leave it blank!

The first one is “title”; this is the title that you wish to give your images when you upload. The one underneath is for the caption of the image; this text will be visible underneath the image once posted. The third text box is the “alt text” box. This is a description for your image which will be visible to the bots when readers are searching.

This is also useful when using Pinterest. When you “pin” an image from a site, it will rely on the alt attributes to give it the appropriate description.

For example, the alt text I use for my featured images is: “Essentially Lily | (Name of Post)”. This way it’s relevant to the title and it will include the keywords.

URL Structure

The structure of your links contributes massively to the visibility of your site when the readers are searching. It is ideal to have the name of your post included in the URL of the page, again including your keywords. In WordPress, you have a few options as to how you would like your links to look. I recommend choosing the “post name” option as you can edit this to optimise your SEO ranking.

Essentially Lily | Beginner's Guide to WordPress SEO - Permalink Settings

You may also see the terms “slug” and “breadcrumbs” which are frequently used in SEO. A “slug” is the unique URL for your post as described above, and “breadcrumbs” are used as a navigation tool which helps the reader return to the main “root” of the website. A typical example of breadcrumbs will look like this:

External Links and Anchor Text

Consider adding some external links to your post (as long as they are relevant!) using anchor text.

Including external links (especially to your own site!) are a good way to boost your SEO ranking. The easiest and most reader friendly way to include links in your post is via anchor text. Anchor text is the clickable text in which you use to describe the link. A common example of anchor text is when you see “click here”, typically blue and underlined (their appearance may vary depending on the theme of your site).

Meta Description/Snippet

This is the snippet of text that the readers will see in the list of search results. If no meta description has been set, then the search results may automatically pull the first paragraph of text from your post. If you’ve opened your post with something along the lines of “Hey, I’m back! I’ve been incredibly busy doing this and that, etc…”, potential readers don’t know at a glimpse what the post is about. However, by configuring your own meta description, you can tell the readers straight away what they can expect from your content.

Here’s an example of the elements as they would appear on the search results:

Essentially Lily | Beginner's Guide to WordPress SEO - Example Search Result

But beware! I would only recommend using these tips with future posts!! This is due to the fact that adjusting your URL structure would render any existing external links to your site (which you want!!) useless #SadFace.

Did you find this Beginner’s Guide to SEO useful? Let me know in the comments! Please share with anyone who may need a hand, and if you’re still having a few issues, feel free to drop me a message.

Until next time, xo

*Featured image source:

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    1. Thanks Michelle, I’m so glad they came in handy for you! Good luck with your blog too 🙂 xo

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