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WordPress is one of the greatest content management systems (CMS), if not the absolute best outright. This is in no small part due to its customizability, ease of use and of course its SEO benefits.
The Basics of SEO for WordPress
WordPress SEO has challenges, however, because WordPress is such a well optimized CMS, it comes with a few functions that can help any user give their rank a well-deserved shot in the arm.
WWW or not WWW
WordPress users need to decide whether they will use an URL which includes www or not.
There is no SEO advantage (that we know of) when utilizing one over the other. But it is important as it can minimize the chances for being penalized for duplicate content.
To edit the URL simply tap the Settings tab of your dashboard and select General. In the fields that state WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) punch in the preferred URL.
Edit Page URLs for Maximum Optimisation
One of the benefits of the WordPress platform is that it comes with the ability for users to edit the URLs of their pages to make them more readable to crawlers and humans.
An example of an un-optimized WordPress page URL might look like this:
While an optimized one would look like:
From the latter option, a user can guess what the page is about without having to even visit the page, can you say the same about the former? With WordPress permalinks, you can optimize your pages so that they resemble the latter.
Don’t worry it’s easy:
All you need to do is open settings via the WordPress dashboard and select Permalinks, from there you should be provided with a list of choices for your link structure. Select the Post name structure and save the settings.
Bingo you are done, its that easy and you never have to do it again because it changes all the URLs on the website, the past, present and future.
Check you are being Indexed
One of the features of WordPress is that it comes with the feature of allowing users to discourage search engines from crawling your website. This function is often utilized for sites not yet ready for public consumption and looking to avoid any penalties.
If this option is selected it is up to you to remember and uncheck it when the time is right. Even if you did not activate it, check it anyway. If you are not working in a solo operation, another member of your team might have turned it on.
To check simply tap Settings then Reading and look for Search Engine Visibility and make sure it is ticked/unticked depending on your preference.
Another method is to input site:nameofthewebsite.com into the Google search engine and see how many results are produced. Remember only the sites indexed will be listed. Different platforms will produce different results, Google may return 500 pages and Bing only 400. Neither platform is wrong, they both merely have different rules when it comes to indexing.
Turn on Pingbacks and Trackbacks
Linking to other websites is a good means of attaining more, high-quality backlinks. This is because you are fostering mutual alliances among your industry, give a link to get a link. With WordPress the option exists to have the sites you link to notified so that they know WHERE their links come from.
This option may be already active on your website but if not, head over to Settings then Discussion and check to ensure Pingbacks and Trackbacks are enabled.
Plugins: Yoast SEO vs All In One SEO Pack
There are a lot of WordPress SEO plugins out there but at the top of the heap sit, Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack. Both have attained millions of satisfied customers between them.
But which one is better?
Either plugin would prove invaluable to a WordPress SEO campaign but let’s take a step further.
Features and benefits
- Meta box – A tool which allows you to improve the SEO scores of your posts by empowering snippets and other meta info.
- XML sitemaps
- Editable htaccess and robots.txt file
- Page optimisation
- RSS optimisation
- Social media and multi-site compatible
- Functionality can be imported from other plugins
All in One SEO Pack
Features and Benefits
- XML sitemaps
- Canonical URL optimization
- Compatible with Google Analytics and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
- Title and meta tag optimization and automation
- Avoid duplicate content
- Compatible with most other plugins
- Major search engines automatically notified of website changes
- Performance Manager
Both tools are strong in terms of providing all round and effective approaches to WordPress SEO, however, Yoast SEO wins in terms of sheer volume of positive reviews compared to All in One.
For best practice, however, users are best off investing in both options to ensure that all areas are covered.
Categories and Tag Optimisation
WordPress is good because it allows users to easily sort their content into categories and tags. The former is designed to group broader content while tags help in attracting the niche corners of your industry. Because of this, multiple tags can appear per posts.
For example, if you operated a blog about gaming, then one of your categories could be Nintendo and example tags for your articles could include SuperMario or LegendofZelda. It is all about zeroing in on the niche members of the market while improving website navigation.
Do NOT forget to tag or assign categories to all your posts. Utilize keywords for best SEO effect.
Utilize Internal Links
Individual pages with lots of links garner authority among the search engines. As a result whenever possible users should strive to link their articles to other related content throughout their website.
Posts with a high volume of comments are strong indicators of high-level quality and engagement. They are also backlink goldmines.
Unfortunately, not all comments are helpful to your SEO campaigns. Higher quality articles have higher visibility which means they are open to greater harassment by spammers and other nefarious online characters.
To combat this, users can utilize Akismet, a pre-installed WordPress plugin that filters spam comments.
Because WordPress is such a popular content management platform, many businesses around the world use it to manage their websites. As a result knowledge of WordPress SEO is an integral weapon in any expert’s arsenal.