Although WordPress is naturally set up for great on-page search engine optimization, in today’s competitive internet community it’s always important that you go the extra mile. By taking advantage of WordPress’ built-in settings and capabilities, along with the amazing plugins available for WordPress, you can ensure top quality optimization and set yourself up for success in the search engine rankings.
IMPORTANT:Before you continue and spend time optimizing your site for SEO, there are two important points to consider.
- Do you already know what keyword phrases you are looking to optimize for? If not, you may need to do some keyword research before continuing.
- Make sure search engines can actually see your site! Log into WordPress, and under “Settings”, click “Privacy”. Make sure the option to allow search engines is selected, and hit save.
Once you have those two important prerequisites down (allowing search engines and knowing your desired keywords), let’s get down to work. Before we even look at plugins, let’s get the basic settings down first.
- In the WordPress Dashboard, under “Settings”, choose General. Where you type in your Site Title and Description, play with those fields until you have something that both describes what your website is about, but also incorporates your keyword phrase. This way when a search engine like Yahoo visits your site, they see what your site is about, but also that it has to do with whatever your keyword phrase is.
- Also under “Settings”, go to “Permalinks”. Permalinks simply means permanent links- the URL format of any new posts or pages you create. Since keywords are much more interesting to the search engines than calendar dates, let’s make a permalink that incorporates keywords instead of when it was published. Select “Custom”, and type in the following: /%postname%/
Those basic settings seem like nothing, but are actually even more important than using plugins for on-page SEO. But once you have them down, you’re ready for the plugins. Plugins are extremely simple to install- it only takes a few clicks! Internet and computer savvy users will be able to figure out the process no problem, but if you need help, just look around online. Once you know how to install plugins on your WordPress site, try installing the following. Without even changing their settings, you can just activate these and it will instantly help your SEO.
- All-in-One SEO. This plugin will add “META” information to all of your pages, telling search engines the name of the page, what the page is about, and some keywords related to it. Once you install and activate this, you will have to go into it’s settings (located under Settings of course), and switch it to “Enabled” for it to begin working.
- XML Sitemaps. This plugin will create a map of all the pages on your site, and it will submit that map to the major search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Google, and Ask.
- SEO Friendly Images. Since a search engine robot can’t look at a picture, this plugin will tell the search engine what the picture is of by inserting keywords into the “alt” tag of an image.
Once you have taken care of those basic settings, and installed those plugins, your WordPress site will be ready to rank! Just add your posts and pages, and the search engines will have no problem understanding what your site is about, and what keywords to rank you for.