WordPress (WP) is one of the best content management systems (CMR) today. What’s more, it’s extremely beneficial to your search engine optimization (SEO). However, just because WordPress is quite SEO friendly, it doesn’t mean that it’s enough to produce the best results on its own.
Whether you use WordPress to empower your website or blog, it’s still important to optimize it properly, so that you can enjoy more qualified and organic traffic. The fact of the matter is that the code WP produces is in accordance with the best SEO practices. Still, it requires a bit of tweaking in order for it to produce the best possible results and maximize your SEO efforts. Here’s an advanced guide to WordPress SEO.
Why is SEO so important?
Before we delve deeper into optimizing WordPress for best SEO, let’s have a look at why SEO is so important in the first place. SEO is a marketing strategy that helps websites rank high on search engines, such as Google. In other words, with the right SEO strategy, your website can appear on the first page of search results. The main reason this is important is that many consumers rarely go beyond the first page of search results to find what they’re looking for online.
Instead, they type in the desired keywords and check out what comes out first. Appearing on the first page or close to it, is essential for gaining more website traffic. In addition, websites that appear on top are considered reputable and recommended. That being said, SEO also helps you build online reputation, credibility, and authority. That’s why it’s important to properly optimize your website, even if you’re using WordPress to give it a boost.
Every individual post, category, web page, blog post and so on your website has a specific web address. These addresses are also called permalinks. Permalinks, as their name suggests, are permanent uniform resource locators or simply URLs that are used to differentiate posts, pages and individual pieces of content on your website. However, permalinks’ default structure makes it unfriendly towards search engines and their crawlers that are used to index your pages.
As an example, an unfriendly permalink looks like this:
Whereas an SEO friendly permalink looks something like this:
That’s why it’s important to restructure these permalinks and make them more search engine friendly. Fortunately, WordPress allows you to easily restructure your permalinks under Settings – Permalinks page.
Optimize tags and categories for your content
One of the main benefits of using WordPress is that it allows you to properly categorize your posts and individual content pieces, as well as add proper tags and descriptions. This is an important step in your SEO endeavors because it allows people using search engines to easily find and understand your posts. In addition, it helps search engines understand what your page is about so that they can properly index it.
Simply put, your tag is the title, and it’s the first thing people see on their search results, which is followed by URL link and the meta description for your tag. You have to carefully optimize these elements, in order to get better ranking factors. For example, it’s a good practice to involve keyword you’re ranking for into your page title. However, you could hire New York SEO services before you optimize tags and categories. That way, you’ll know where to place keywords for the best possible results.
Choose either WWW or non-WWW
This is an important step in optimizing your WP for SEO. Choosing whether to have the World Wide Web extension to your web site’s address is crucial for being indexed in search engines. You can choose to have it or not, but it’s important that to you stick to the option you’ve chosen. The main reason is that you’ll also have to make sure that all your other pages are in accordance with your preference.
Also, search engines treat websites with and without WWW extension as two different websites. However, there are a few technical advantages to using WWW than using a naked domain. In any event, you can set your preferences on WordPress by accessing Settings – General page. Make sure you include it in both WordPress Address and Ste Address. Once you’ve set how your website address will look like, you’ll also have to set your URL on the Google Search Console under Settings – Preferred Domain page.
Add an SSL certificate
Security is important for both protecting your website and as a ranking factor. Not so long ago, not all websites needed to have an HTTPS protocol. Today, however, adding SSL certificate to your HTTP protocol is a must. Back in 2014, Google announced that websites with an SSL certificate would favor positive ranking factors. That rule is still enforced today. That’s why it’s important to add an additional layer of security and improve your SEO rankings.
An SSL certificate is also very important in protecting customers’ sensitive information if you’re running an eCommerce store on your website. Many WordPress host providers include an SSL certificate, but if you don’t have one make sure you obtain it. Before you set it up, also make sure that your content delivery network (CDN) supports SSL.
Leverage internal links
Search engines have the tendency of rating every page on your website. This evaluation is called page authority. One of the main factors for page authority are links on your pages. That’s why you should leverage internal links. Simply put, you have to link to your own content from other pages, posts, and similar sources. This activity helps boost your page views while increasing the average time spent on your pages by various viewers. Ultimately, it boosts your SEO score for individual pieces of content on your website.
Furthermore, when linking externally, you’re giving a portion of your SEO score to the website you’re linking to. You have to make sure that you’re receiving more score than you’re giving away. You can easily accomplish this by adding a Nofollow attribute to external links. For example, a Do follow link looks like this:
<a href="http://yourwebsite.com">Random Website</a>
On the other hand, a Nofollow link looks like this:
<a href="http://yourwebsite.com" rel="nofollow">Random Website</a>
Basically, you’re simply telling the website crawlers not to follow that specific link, so there’s no outgoing SEO score going to the external website.
Using WordPress for your website or blog is extremely beneficial. But as mentioned before, WP is a powerful CRM, but it cannot do everything on its own. That’s why, if you want to utilize the best SEO activities, you’ll have to optimize your WordPress accordingly.