How do you go about SEO for WordPress Websites?

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There are quite a number of questions arises in your when building a new website in your mind. Should the website be CMS based or coding-based?

If it is CMS based, which CMSs to be used to suit your kind of business and style. There are hell lots of CMSs options available. But there is always one which stands strong and has gained popularity in a very short span of its launch in 2003. Regardless of budget, type of project/business, and technical experience, WordPress is one of the most popular choices among the developer and business owner.

More than 75 million websites are WordPress based websites including, CNN, eBay, and Forbes and many more popular and less popular websites.

But after building the website, the concern of SEO comes as only building website fetches nothing if SEO is not done properly.

WordPress is very SEO friendly and contains a lot of free SEO tools plug-in, even if you are not a technical person or just a beginner. It doesn’t mean that just installing WordPress and plugin do everything for you but you need to have knowledge in SEO and apply best practice of SEO in your website.

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WordPress is a tool that makes easy for you to apply your SEO strategies, knowledge and techniques in an easy way. It doesn’t do anything more, anything less for you. So, here in this blog, we are going to learn how we can apply the best On-Page and technical SEO techniques to our WordPress site, Where Off-page technique is same if you use WordPress or not.

Once the WordPress is installed and the website is live. We start installing some free plugins like

  • Yoast SEO
  • W3 Total Cache
  • Smush Image compression and Optimization

To do that, you must log in to your WordPress admin panel. On the left-hand sidebar, click plugins-> Add new.

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Search for the plugin in the search bar and click “install now”. To activate the plugin, we can go back to WP admin panel, click plugin->installed plugin. Here you have a list of installed plugins to your WP website where you can activate and deactivate them. For a few, you can also change the setting according to the requirement.

Choose and Install an SEO friendly Theme.

The WordPress default theme is really not at all SEO friendly or user-friendly. But the good thing is there are a lot more themes options available to choose among. They are SEO friendly but not SEO is done. You have to apply your SEO strategy and techniques.

So what makes WordPress theme an SEO friendly?

  • Responsive Design: Google says, Mobile friendly sites perform better for those who search on mobile. According to a recent Google Algorithm update, Search engine prefers the mobile-friendly website as most of the users searches for services/products on mobile.
  • Lightweight: Avoid installing unnecessary plugins and minimizing CSS and JS to make the website faster.

Before you choose any theme, Check if it is mobile friendly and responsive or not. To do that, go through Google’s Mobile‐friendly Test tool.

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Also to check for every page, Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to check that it loads fast.

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Screenshot of Edigibrands site on the above site once the site is live

Www vs non-www

We might have noticed that there are few websites with “www” and few without “www”. Google views non-www and www of the same URL as different reference for different pages.

So we must choose our preferred version of URL and set WordPress Address URL and Site Address URL in WP admin Panel.

WordPress redirect the other version to the preferred version.

Permalinks Setup

Setting permalink means making your webpage URL more readable to the user to make it SEO friendly. It must contain long-tail keywords that depict the content of the webpage. You can make changes by clicking on the sidebar, setting->permalinks

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Why do we make post name SEO friendly?

  • URL alone provides information about the webpages for what it is about. It is more likely to get traffic and increase the click-through rate.
  • It also helps in getting keyword-rich backlinks. Anchor text can be linked with these links with the target keywords.

Note: you must check other URLs before making any changes in the permalink. If that already exist then think before making any changes that may lead to broken pages and cause harm to the website.

Enable manual Approval of Comments

Sometimes you get valuable comments for your blog post like asking some questions or praising the knowledge you shared but also sometimes you get to see spammy comments like:

Wordpress website SEO

Blog comment spam is not at all to be neglected. Spammers comment through automated software to hundreds and thousands of blogs to build backlinks for their website.

So, in early 2005, Google introduced the “no-follow” tag so that WordPress comments are no-follow links and do not pass link juice.

But Google says spammy comments are still harmful to SEO point of view because of the low-quality content, bad reputation of your website because of irrelevant comment and spam links.

Automatic approval is by default for WordPress, but to avoid spam you must turn it off.

To turn it off, Settings -> Discussion. Check “Comment must be manually approved”.

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Use WYSIWYG Editor for Posts/Pages

Organized content is always loved by the user. It is always advisable to write the content in an organized way like in small chunks and use several heading tags to make it interesting and readable by users.

It is quite easy when you work in WYSIWYG editor. You see when you add a new post or page.

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It is very easy if you are familiar with working with MS word file. Just copy-paste the content from doc file and do formatting according to your need. “Paragraph” dropdown has several heading tags for you to use while formatting your content.

USE Alt text for the images

The search engine does not understand images but only text so it is must use alt text for all images you use in your website.

Here’s the syntax for alt tags:

<img src=”/cute-cat.png” alt=” A picture of a super cute cat.”/>

But as you are using WordPress, you can mention alt text in the visual editor.

Click Add Media > Upload files. You’ll see something like this:

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Add Internal Links

All webpages must be internally linked because:

  • They make PageRank to have flowed to all the pages of the website.
  • They direct visitors to other related pages of the website and hence gets traffic to other pages as well.

We can add internal links in WYSIWYG editor. Highlight the text, ctrl+K and paste URL of another page.

Unique Title Tags and Meta Description

This is what you see in SERP, title tag and meta description. It must be added for all the webpages.

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Title tags must be within 70 characters, must be short and precise with the keyword you are targeting.

Meta description must be within 160 characters, brief decretive with keywords that are targeted.

Yoast SEO Plugin for WP lets you optimize title tags and Meta description for every page of the website. When you scroll down to the page, you will find Yoast SEO where you can add “focus keyphrase” and edit Title and Meta description accordingly. Yoast SEO also helps in optimizing another On-page issue at the bottom when scrolling down more.

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Optimize your images

Average webpage size should be around 3 MB.

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If the webpage size is more, it takes longer to load. Hence reduces the page speed which not preferred by users or search engine. Sometimes it might be because of too many images used or high-quality video or images used in the page. So to reduce the size and improve the speed of the webpage, it is necessary to optimize or compress every image you use for the page.

We can also do it by installing “smush Image compression and optimization” plugin and activate. It will compress and optimize all the images you upload in the future.

If you already uploaded many images earlier then you can also do this:

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Conclusion:

There are a couple of things which I listed can be helpful in optimizing your WordPress site. But of course, there are more to do when you actually start working on it. But it is good to start to do SEO on WordPress site and move towards the first step to beat your competitors.

WordPress is an amazing CMS to build the website and do SEO. It is easy to use but not fully optimized, you need to figure out and install several plugins to get the most of it.

Happy working with WordPress and continue beating your competitors with your best SEO practice.

 

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