Looking to maximize the WordPress SEO or your website or blog? By default, WordPress is generally considered to be one of the best Content Management Systems for search engine optimization, but there is still a lot of simple things anyone can do to maximum their search results and get their content the attention it deserves. With a few techniques and adjustments your search engine rankings will soar!
So, where do we start?
WordPress Permalink Structure
When setting up your WordPress blog, you will want to use the postname structure. This will ensure the keywords used in your article’s title will be included in the URL.
Arguably my favorite feature of WordPress is the wide variety of WordPress plugins available, most of which are completely free! It makes it easy for anyone to customize their website without the need to deal with any WordPress code. The first, and most important thing a website can do, is to install the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. This plugin will take care of a lot of the dirty work for you and allow you to take care of the rest from the SEO settings panel within your WordPress dashboard. You’ll also want to consider activating the SEO Friendly Images plugin which will optimize your website’s images for Google’s image search results without any manual work for you.
WordPress SEO Title Structure
Assuming you activated the WordPress SEO plugin mentioned above, you should have an SEO menu in your dashboard. Locate this section in the lower-left portion of your dashboard and select Titles & Metas. Here you can easily setup the structure for your entire website! Below is the information you need for each tab:
- Home tab – Enter your desired home page information, select the website’s primary author, and link to your website’s Google+ page.
- Post Types tab – For the posts and pages tab, you’ll typically want to just use the plugins default settings.
- Taxonomies tab – Taxonomies is a common place for duplicate content to exist. Depending on your blog’s setup, you may want to consider selecting No Index, Follow for these two options. You’ll only want to enable indexing of your tags if you are extremely disciplined in your use of tags.
- Other tab – If you run a single author blog you’ll want to Disable the author archives. All WordPress blogs will also want to disable the date-based archives.
WordPress SEO Description Structure
By default search engines will only use your established meta description if it includes the keyword that was searched for. As a result, we recommend each article include a custom meta description which gives a quick snapshot of what the article is covering and entices the reader to click through to the article. If this is not done you are leaving it up to Google to create their own meta description.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could give Google a map of your entire website? Thanks to the XML Sitemap plugin you now can, or if you prefer to minimize the amount of plugins your website uses, you can simply use the built-in functionality included with the WordPress SEO plugin.
Adding breadcrumbs to your single posts and pages is a great way to help search engines learn the structure of your website, but this also will improve your website’s navigation for your human readers as well. There are a number of great breadcrumb WordPress plugins, any of which will work, but we use the Breadcrumb Navigation XT plugin.
Google’s Author Tag
In 2012 Google introduced its author information initiative, which is a way for content writers to verify they are the author of a piece of work by tagging the work with a machine-readable attribute that uniquely identifies the author. I would argue this is now a critical part of modern SEO for a WordPress blog. Check out more information about Google’s Author information initiative.
Setting Up Google Webmaster Tools
A webmaster’s best friend is Google Webmaster Tools, a free product provided to us by Google. Here you can control how Google views your WordPress blog, see what errors may have been discovered, and address any problems that may have come up.
Last, but not least, write great content! When you write content that people love, you will get inbound links. Join communities, participate at forums, or whatever it takes to get people to discover your content. From there the links will come on their own.