How to Search Engine Optimize WordPress
1. Title tag
Title tag or the article title is one of the most important SEO parameters. That is what appears as the title of the post in search engine result pages (SERPs) and hence you should make sure that itâ€™s relevant, has keywords, is neither too long nor too short, and accurately conveys what the content is all about.
2. Meta description
The meta description for your blog or a blog post is a short description that appears below the content title in SERPs. If the description is precise and informative, a user is more likely to click on the post title and hence end up on your site.
Content, obviously, is the heart and soul of SEO. Great content can attract attention and links, and hence search engines would prefer showcasing it too. Plus, it is what your readers would like to read, isnâ€™t it?
Having a general understanding of keywords (words, sentences, or phrases) relevant to the content on your site and how to use them properly always helps.
5. Web host
The web host is what your site calls home and where the Googlebot comes knocking on the door whenever you publish articles. Hence, be careful while choosing a host for your site.
6. Site loading speed
Site loading speed is something bloggers recently started focusing on when Google announced that it would be treated as one of the ranking factors. The faster your site loads, the better.
Robots.txt is a text file on your server that tells search engine bots what to index and what to skip. Itâ€™s better to create one and place it in your root directory. Hereâ€™s a guide to create a simple robots.txt file.
A sitemap is basically a list of pages or URLs that the search engineâ€™s crawler can access. Ideally, you should have both XML and HTML sitemaps on your site. WordPress users can use Google XML Sitemaps plugin to create an XML one.
The default permalink structure in WordPress isnâ€™t that good. You can customize permalinks according to your preferences and for better search engine optimization.
10. Headings and Post Slugs
Headings and sub-headings in an article are important for readers as well as for search engines. Use them wisely. Regarding post slugs, you should make them short and keyword-rich (donâ€™t overdo it though).
WordPress bloggers have this advantage when it comes to SEO. They can select from a wide range of SEO plugins that are built for WordPress. Some of the popular ones are All in one SEO, Platinum SEO, and Robots Meta. There are many more.
2. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools let you know if Google is able to successfully crawl your blog, and about other issues it might encounter with your site. Upload your sitemap in the webmaster dashboard to get started. It is recommended though that you do it only after your site has some content.
3. Browser Extensions
There are a lot of browser extensions that help you to analyze your WordPress blog and optimize it better for search engines. SEO Site tools for Chrome and SeoQuake for Firefox are two of them that I use myself.
4. Google Adwords Keywords Tool
The Google Adwords Keywords Tool can show you the keywords relevant to your article along with the number of times they are searched for every month.
5. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a must-use tool for WordPress bloggers. Apart from showing general traffic stats, itâ€™ll tell you what search engine keywords are driving traffic to your site, which you could further capitalize on.
Other SEO Tips
Breadcrumbs refer to a chain of links that directs a visitor back to the main page. You could install Yoast Breadcrumbs for WordPress to get them on your blog.
2. 404 pages
404 or â€œNot Foundâ€ pages shouldnâ€™t be ignored. Use them to lead the visitor to other parts of your blog. Hereâ€™s a guide to creating great 404 pages for WordPress.
When it comes to images, you need to keep in mind mainly the alt and title tags (apart from relevancy of course). Descriptive alt tags are recommended by Google.
Linking to your own blog posts as well to other blogs not only provides more information to your readers, but is a good SEO step too. Do it as often as possible.
5. Anchor text
Anchor text refers to the text on the page which is being linked to a different page. The more connected the text is to the link, the better it is for your blog and the other page.
How Much Should You Focus on Search Engine Optimizing?
If you are newbie when it comes to WordPress and SEO, you might find all this a bit overwhelming. Well, SEO is a time-consuming process so I wonâ€™t say that you could get it done quickly. But hereâ€™s the thing: Donâ€™t consume your days tweaking your site just for the search engines. You should instead focus on producing great content and building relationships.
While SEO is important, it depends on the content and not vice-versa. If the content is good and you can promote it well, it will attract links automatically.
Hope you found the above on-site optimization tips for WordPress useful. Do share your SEO tips in the comments.