- WordPress can be an ideal platform for SEO development
- Use WordPress plugins to help develop your websites SEO structure
- Building a solid SEO foundation is key for successful online marketing
Welcome to The Ultimate Guide to WordPress SEO. This guide is for those who are beginners at SEO and use WordPress as their content management system. The aim of the guide is to give the required knowledge to launch a WordPress website that is optimised to SEO industry standards.
Let’s get started on the technical requirements for your WordPress site.
By default WordPress URLs consist of characters that are not SEO friendly. In order to change the URLs from default to SEO friendly you need to
- Surf to Settings > Permalinks
- Within Permalinks you will see 6 different options.
- Choose “post name” to create SEO friendly URLs for your pages and posts.
If you have purchased a WordPress template one of the setting set as default will be “discourage search engines from indexing your website”. This setting essentially blocks Google from indexing your website and will lead to disastrously poor traffic levels if left checked. In order to prevent that from happening simply uncheck the tick box beside search engine visibility. You can do that by surfing to:
Settings > Reading
This step is vital to your websites visibility in Google search results and needs to be addressed as soon as you launch your website.
WordPress SEO Plugins
The Yoast interface is easy to navigate and clearly labelled.
The first tab is called the dashboard where the main features are for Webmaster Tools. Using this feature allows you to register your website with Webmaster Tools fast and easily. In order to use this feature you need to set firstly up your Webmaster Tools Account in Google, Bing and Yandex. You will then be asked for a code to verify the account and it is this code that you paste into the respective forms.
Titles and Meta Data
The Titles and Metas area of the plugin is the most important feature as it allows you to control your websites Meta Data.
There are five tabs included within the Titles and Meta Area.
- General – Gives you options for enabling the Meta keywords tag (Google ignores this) and other site wide Meta settings.
- Home – Allows you to edit the Meta data for the home page only.
- Post types – Gives you options to control the Meta data and indexation of posts and pages. You can also choose to display rel-author for posts and pages or neither.
- Taxonomies – Allows you to edit the Meta data and indexation of tags and categories.
- Other – Contains all the other elements within your site such as date and author archives.
Page and Post SEO
A unique SEO Title and Description needs to be created for each page of your website. When you install Yoast SEO the plugin will allow you to control the Meta data for every page and post by adding text box underneath the content interface.
The two most useful tabs on the form are the General and Advanced Tab.
- General – The general tab contains your SEO Title and Description. The plugin shows you a snippet of what the Title and Description will look like in search results. We recommend limiting the SEO Title to under 60 characters and the Meta Description to 150 characters.
- Advanced – The advanced section is convenient for limiting the indexation of a webpage and to point to a canonical URL (to prevent duplicate content).
We recommend using the social setting for optimizing your social media accounts.
- Facebook – Simply add in your Facebook page URL. If you have a default image that represents your brand add it in the space provided. It will be used when your blog post has no image.
- Twitter – Add your Twitter username. Note: that for the Twitter Cards to work, you have to check the box below and then validate your Twitter Cards through the Twitter Card Validator.
- Google+ – Enter your Google+ page name into the text box.
In order to test whether your Google+ page is up correctly use the Structured Data Testing Tool. If it has been set up correctly you should see green text as below.
In order to create your XML sitemaps simply tick the box to enable the functionality. You can also exclude pages on your website that you don’t want in the sitemap- for example: tags or categories.
The permalink settings gives you control over your URLs. Only use this feature if needed and if you know what you are doing!
This area of the plugins allows you to create breadcrumbs for your website.
Import / Export
The import feature is extremely useful if you need to import data from other plugins such as All in One SEO. You can also export your Yoast Data to use on another website.
Bulk Title Editor
The bulk title editor allows you to edit all the page titles on your website in one area. This feature can save you time if you need to edit titles in bulk.
Bulk Description Editor
The bulk description editor provides an identical function to the bulk title editor except you will be editing the Meta description on your website.
Structured data is a type of mark-up language that helps Google understands content on your website. We recommend including structured data at every available opportunity. For example:
- Contact details
Raven Tools have created a detailed guide on how to create structured data for your website which you can read here.
Your WordPress website should not only look good but also be fast and easy to navigate. Speed is not only essential for the user experience but is also one of the many Google algorithm ranking factors.
Use Web Page Test to test the performance and speed of your website. To improve the speed of your website you can:
- Compress images.
- Cache static content.
- Delete unused plugins.
- Avoid using Flash.
- Use Max CDN.
In a recent blog post we outlined the surge in hacking of WordPress websites. We recommend using WordPress security plugins to give your site additional protection from potential hackers. A security plugin that we recommend is Better WP Security.
If you are developing content you want your audience to share your posts across their social media profiles. Social media sharing plugins allow your audience to share content at the click of a button. The plugin that we recommend using for social sharing is Share This. It is easy to use and contains the most popular social media platforms.
While SEO is an ongoing process, getting the SEO fundamental’s right is key to future success. By following best practices you can lay the foundations for future success by starting to attract the right type of traffic in Google search results from the outset.
If you need help with WordPress SEO or web development, contact your sales team for expert advice.