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WordPress Pre-Launch SEO Checklist: 7 Tips to Improve Rankings

Below, you will find our top WordPress SEO tips to help you optimize your website and enjoy SEO success. But just one quick word of warning first — these tips and tricks apply to those of you running self-hosted WordPress sites, not the hosted WordPress.com version of the platform.

1. Choose a Reliable Hosting Provider

You need to make sure you are hosting your site with a reliable provider — site speed, uptime, and security are all key reasons to think carefully about who you will use as your host.

2. Install an SEO-friendly WordPress Theme

Before installing a theme, run its demo through Google’s web.dev tool to get insights on potential performance and SEO issues.

3. Install a Free WordPress SEO Plugin

Before you begin to optimize your site, you need to install an SEO plugin

Yoast SEO

Please note, a plugin won’t optimize your site for you; it just makes it easier for you to do so and to adhere to best practices.

4. Set Your Preferred Domain

Whether you choose your preferred domain as https://domain.com or https://www.domain.com won’t have an impact on your SEO, but you need to make sure your site is accessible on just one of these, as these are considered by Google to be different URLs.

5. Check Your Site’s Visibility Settings

WordPress gives you the ability to ‘discourage search engines from indexing’ your site, which essentially means it won’t rank. It is more common than you would think to find that this block is left in place after launch. You need to check your site’s visibility settings under: Settings > Reading.

6. Enable SEO Friendly Permalinks

WordPress gives you a number of different options for how URLs are structured, and you need to make sure you are using the most SEO-friendly option.

7. Verify Your Site with Google Search Console & Submit Your XML Sitemap

Once you have verified your site, you need to submit your XML sitemap by heading to the ‘Sitemaps’ tab. (Yoast generates an XML sitemap by default — check domain.com/sitemap.xml)

Happy Optimizing
There is no arguing that WordPress is one of the most SEO-friendly CMS’ out there, and that is one of the reasons why it is so popular. Not only is it user-friendly, but it is easy to implement a whole host of SEO tactics using just a small number of fantastic plugins.

If you are running WordPress, you have made a good choice. By following the steps above, you are putting yourself in a great position to outrank your competitors.

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