It’s no secret that WordPress is one of the most popular SEO platforms available for blogs and websites. There are plenty of reasons for this including ease of use, minimal need to know HTML, ease of customization and, most importantly, how it simplifies SEO. While the first few benefits are obvious, you might be wondering just how you can optimize your site for the search engines with WordPress. It’s fairly straightforward and requires just a few simple steps to get your page ranking highly on Google and other important search engines.
Permalinks for SEO
The Permalinks are the way that search engines and users find your particular posts. As a default, WordPress links use web URLs which have question marks and lots of numbers in them, such as: your domain/?p=123. This typically does not have any significance to your users and it definitely does nothing for the search engines. Instead, you need to customize those links. In order to do so, simply go to Settings on your Dashboard, and click on Permalinks. WordPress offers the options of creating custom URLs or choosing from Common Settings . One of the most popular Settings is to have the Title of the post or page after the domain name, such as: your domain/sample-post. What you choose as your tag for your Permalink is how the search engines will find your posts. Use this area for your keywords for enhanced SEO and improved search engine rankings.
SEO Site Title and Tag Line
Under the General category of Settings, you have the option of changing the Site Title and the Tag Line to be not only more descriptive, but SEO friendly. The Site Title is pretty self-explanatory: what is the name of your site. Make it relevant and inclusive of keywords if appropriate. The Tag Line is where you can explain in a few words what your site is about, again, using keywords that are relevant. Your Site Title is important for SEO, so do not overlook these and rely on the default settings as they may not be advantageous to your website.
SEO Images and other Media
You might not think that your images play a role in search engine optimization, but the next time you upload an image, video or recording, pay attention to the title and alt text section. If they are keyword optimized, they will gain the attention of the search engines and help with your SEO. Remember, the search spiders can’t read the actual images that you post, but they can read the alt text. Choose appropriate titles that include a primary keyword for better results. Another option is to optimize the images when placed in a post or on a page. When adding an image, you can change the title, add alt text or a caption after insertion by clicking on the upper left hand corner of the image. What you do not want to do is leave some non-descript alt text such as “Stock Photo No. 123” to be indexed by the spiders.
Related Posts Links
Believe it or not, you can “vote” for your own posts and pages by offering related links in each of your posts. Offering further information about content on your site with links, preferably imbedded within content, enables users to find it easily and hopefully spend more time on your site. This decreases your site’s Bounce Rate, one of the factors Google considers when ranking. In addition, it helps search engines to find other relevant information that helps them determine where you should rank. WordPress makes it easy to insert links into your posts or page content with an Insert/Edit Link Tab available in the Toolbar. Remember, the more relevant content that your site has on a topic, the more that Google or Bing will think that you are an expert on that topic and will rank your site higher.
Plugins for SEO
There are many free Plugins (although donations are appreciated) that can be downloaded right from the Add New Plugin section of WordPress. These Plugins can help with SEO by working with Google, helping to make posts and pages SEO optimized, and making your site more efficient and fast. Following are a few of the Plugins that I use with a very brief description, but there are many others available that are similar or that offer other benefits. Important: be sure to read the details provided about each Plugin before installing and make sure that it is compatible with your Theme and version of WordPress.
Google Analyticator adds the necessary code to your site to enable Google Analytics. It also displays a widget on your dashboard that provides key performance metrics over the last 30 days.
Google Author Link allows you to easily manage your Google Authorship for your posts.
Google XML Sitemaps generates a special XML sitemap which helps search engines like Google to better index your site.
Shareaholic makes it easier to share your posts with social media and other venues.
W3 Total Cache helps improve the speed of your site with browser, page, object and database caching as well as other features.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is a well regarded, all in one SEO tool that is great for optimizing content as well as your site. It will also create an XML Sitemap, but I have found the Google Plugin to be more reliable. Your experience may vary.
WordPress makes SEO Easy
As you may have concluded by now, WordPress makes SEO a snap for your blog or website. WordPress is easy to work with, so much so that even a novice can create a great basic site. And being able to optimize it with all of the great tools at your disposal puts WordPress at the top of the SEO food chain for blogs and websites.
If you would like to discuss creating a WordPress site or blog, please feel free to contact us or schedule a free 30 minute consultation.