When it comes to Content Management Systems (CMS), WordPress is the leader of the pack. According to W3Techs, WordPress is used by two thirds of all the websites whose CMS is known. But how will your website stand out from the other millions out there? The answer is high quality content, as well as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Here are ten basic tips to consider when working on your WordPress SEO:
As the saying goes, content is king. However, content on your site or blog should be relevant, engaging and well-written to make an impact on your SEO. Delivering high-quality content on a regular basis is key to driving more visitors and building authority in the long run. To be SEO-friendly, your content should focus on specific keywords and be organized in a logical way.
Permalinks refer to the URLs of your posts. When creating new WordPress pages or posts, URLs include numbers after your site’s name by default. The best practice is to use the page’s title in the URL instead of numbers. Using a custom structure for your permalinks allows search engines to highlight keywords in your permalinks when displaying your page in search results. Change your permalinks using the Custom Structure option from Settings > Permalinks.
When creating blog posts, organize them by categories to improve usability. Although they help visitors browse content more easily, search engines don’t need to crawl through all of them to index your blog posts. Thus, you should apply the noindex option to some category pages (such as Tag pages and Archives), but allow one of them (such as actual categories) to be indexed for improved link juice.
- Disable Spam Comments
By default, WordPress disables comments in your posts by applying the ‘nofollow’ attribute. This protects your posts from swarms of spam comments with links to other sites. By enabling nofollow on comments, the spam links will not be indexed by search engines and, thus, won’t be ranking in search results. In addition, consider using CAPTCHAs to block automated spamming.
- Meta Descriptions
A meta description is the text snippet displayed under each link in search result pages. A well written meta description can entice visitors to click on your link. Although meta descriptions are not important to search engine rankings, you should include keywords in your meta descriptions to advertise content and let visitors know if your page contains the information they’re looking for.
- Title Tags
As far as on-site SEO factors go, title tags are one of the most important elements that communicate to search engines what your link is about. For best WordPress SEO practices, avoid displaying your site name at the beginning of the link title. You can change your title tags using WordPress SEO plugins, such as Yoast, which allow you to customize your posts’ SEO titles.
- Alt Attributes
Because images can be visually powerful and engage readers, posts with images rank higher than posts without images. However, images have to be SEO optimized by adding names and Alt tags to them. Alt tags contain an image’s description, which permits search engines to index them and display them in web searches. What’s more, Alt tags provide a text alternative of the image for screen reader users (like blind and visually impaired people).
- XML sitemaps
XML sitemaps are the standard file format that allows search engines to crawl through your site and index any new, updated, or removed content. Using XML sitemaps, all your pages are organized in a simple list that search engines can read. You can choose from multiple tools to create XML sitemaps, such as Google XML sitemap, All in One SEO plugin or Yoast plugin.
- Caching Plugins
Your site speed is essential to providing a great user experience and retaining visitors. Furthermore, excessive load times (over 5 seconds to load a page) can have a negative impact on your search rankings. Caching has the biggest impact if you want to improve your site’s load time. There are many WordPress caching plugins to choose from, so choose one according to functionality, ease of use, and your budget.
- WordPress SEO Plugins
WordPress is so popular because it’s easy-to-use and provides many customization options and tools, such as plugins. The most popular WordPress SEO plugin is Yoast. Although you can do lots of manual things to improve your SEO, Yoast or other SEO plugins make it simple to tweak various aspects in your posts (keywords, meta descriptions, title tags, readability, etc.) to improve your search engine rankings.
Of course, there are more complicated WordPress SEO tricks you could do, but these are a great starting point. All things considered, being consistent in your SEO efforts and providing high quality content written for human beings, not robots, are likely to get you way ahead of your competitors.
In case you’re considering to redesign your website, these tips may help you reach a decision. For the best results in terms of SEO and user conversion rate, we recommend working with a web design agency to create a professional website for you. Learn here what you need to ask a web design company before hiring them.