how to optimize wordpress site seo

How to Optimize WordPress Site for Google

The number one question I get is, "How do I optimize my WordPress site to rank number one on Google, quickly?

Here we will cover how to set up your site for high rankings, how to configure permalink structure, how to install and configure SEO plugins, how to install and configure sitemaps, how to install and configure image compression plugins, and how to install and configure speed plugins.

WordPress Site Setup for high-ranking

Everything we will go through here in this section is important to set your site up for success along with high Google rankings. These are the most important things to have set up on your site before proceeding any further.

It's crucial to have things like your permalink structure set up correctly, as early as possible, because if you have to go back later and change it, you also have to create redirects for each of the new pages and that can be a hassle.

Also, having these things on your site configured correctly, like image compression and speed plugins will help your site perform better and faster.

This gives your website a better user experience.

Configure the permalink structure

Configure your permanent structure by clicking settings, then permalinks, and selecting the “post name” settings.

This will give you a good URL structure whenever you create new pages. You don't want URLs with numbers or an alphanumeric structure because that makes it hard for people to remember and it's bad for the search engines, which we'll talk about later when I show you how to write SEO-friendly URLs.

Install and configure my SEO plugins

I use Yoast SEO plugin because it has a lot of functionality, is easy to use, and it's free. This plugin allows you to write your title and description tags, set up your sitemaps, set up your robots.txt, and apply some light schema mark up.
Just install it like any other plugin and the default settings are good. Add your organization name and logo within the settings for some light schema.

Install and configure sitemaps

Sitemaps help search engines crawl all of the pages on your site and index them easier. We will use the Yoast plugin to configure and set up our sitemaps. Yoast automatically creates them when you install the plugin. Just type this in the url,

This will show you all of your sitemaps and allow you to navigate through each of them.

We'll also want to submit these to Google Search Console.

How to install and configure image compression plugins?
Image compression is very important for site speed. Images are often big files and too many of them on your site, make your site load very slowly.

Using image compression, we can strip unneeded metadata to make the size of the image lower while preserving quality.

I use the Smush plugin for image compression. It's completely free and you can compress images with the “bulk smash” button. It will also compress any new images you upload. Just install it in the plugin section and go through the setup configuration.

Install and configure speed plugins

Speed plugins do what they say, they speed up your site. They do this by making the code on your site load more efficiently.

I'm not going to get into inline CSS or JavaScript rendering, lazy loading, but we can do these types of things easily using this plugin, and you don't need any knowledge of code. I use the W3 Total Cache plugin. It's a free plugin and you can walk through the setup configuration using the default settings.

If you have no coding experience, don’t change any of the default settings. Incorrect settings can break your site! The default settings work just fine in most cases.