WordPress website engine is considered the most popular if we do not consider the niche of e-commerce, which uses specific CMS. This content management system allows implementing rather complex and large-scale modern projects. This makes some novice developers believe that effective promotion of a WordPress-powered site is possible only if you have professional knowledge.
However, this CMS is the friendliest to SEO. The platform was originally developed with an intention to simplify the promotion of the site in search engines. But, do not relax just yet. WordPress has “innate” problems with content duplication, pagination, headers, site map, and some other important points for SEO like many universal engines. So, below you will find four general recommendations to solve most common problems and optimize your site on a whole new level.
1. Select SEO friendly design
In fact, this step is not the SEO-optimization of the site on WordPress, but the preparation of fertile ground for promotion. There are basic features that allow you to distinguish a suitable topic:
- the layout is made in accordance with CSS 3 and HTML 5 technologies
- pages are optimized for different devices, including smartphones and tablets
- fast loading
- correct positioning of H1 and H2 headers
However, how do you know that the template matches these qualities? It’s very simple, because developers will make sure you know. The following phrases signal usability of the template: “SEO friendly”, “Optimized for search engines”, “SEO Optimized”, and the like.
2. Define the main address: with or without WWW
To promote your WordPress-powered site, you need to determine how it should be displayed in the address bar: wowessays.com or www.wowessays.com. You can choose any option, but it must be defined. Otherwise, search engine algorithms will take both addresses as two different sites. To make a choice, you need to perform the following steps in the admin dashboard:
- find the “Settings” section
- select the “General” item
- specify the desired address
It is recommended to adjust the result in the appropriate settings of Google Search Console. After that, search engines won’t be confused when choosing the correct web address for your resource. To ensure that all the actions were performed correctly, you need to enter an alternative domain name into the address bar and press Enter. If everything works correctly, the site should automatically open at the primary address.
3. Setup User-Friendly URLs
By default, WordPress CMS generates links like site.com /?p=121. This address does not say anything about the page content. Search engines and users much prefer URLs that look like: site.com/everything-about-site-optimization. To make your links informative, you need to perform the following actions in the admin dashboard:
- select “Settings”
- click on “Persistent Links”
- select “Name of the record”
After that, the page address will be generated according to the content title. If you want to make the URL more structured, select “Arbitrary”, and write: /%category%/%postname%.html in the window that appears. This will allow to display the site’s category as well as page title in the URL.
4. Choose plugins
Many webmasters working with WordPress prefer using one of the following multifunctional plugins:
The latter is newer and slightly more functional. However, the former continues to be popular among many professionals. Both plugins have similar functions and operating principles. Therefore, we will only look in detail at All-in-One SEO Pack features.
To install the plugin, follow these steps:
- find the “Plug-ins” section in the CMS settings
- click “Add new”
- enter or copy All-in-One SEO Pack in the search bar
- activate the plugin
After that, new All-in-One SEO section will appear in the admin dashboard and you will be able to work with it.
Basic plugin settings
First, you need to protect the site from content theft. To do this, check the following boxes:
- “Canonical URLs”
- “Deny pagination for canonical URLs”
- “Enable custom canonical URLs”
This will protect you from search engines’ displeasure with copies of pages or individual content elements. Now you need to make the following adjustments:
- enable “Use Schema.org markup” (allows creation of advanced snippets linking back to your site from the search results;
- enable “Use default header” (prevents conflict with user-friendly URLs plugin).
Home page settings
Here the fields “Title”, “Description” and “Keywords” correspond to the classic combination of three main page descriptors. Title and description fields are essential. Search engines largely determine the content topic using text presented there. Information from these fields is also displayed in the snippet, i.e. it is seen by the potential target audience. If the title and description are informative and attractive, it will significantly increase the link’s clickability and improve user behavior signals.
Creating useful meta-tags is easy enough. The title must be “catchy” and concise with a limit of 60 characters. Also, the size of the description displayed in the snippet is 155 characters. Within the limit, you need to mention key phrase naturally and add a CTA to visit the page.
Adjusting the headers
In this block of settings, you should first activate the “Title overwrite” item, which will allow you to create unique titles for all pages. You should also enable the “Capitalize tags” option so that the names of text blocks start with capital letters. It is recommended to write %page_title% in the “Page header format” box. Otherwise, the title will automatically add the site’s name, which will not fit into 60-character limit.
In “Page 404 Header Format” and “Navigation Format” it is better to write “Nothing found by %request_words%” and “Page %page%”. So that the visitor will know exactly what happened.
Custom record types setup
Here you need to activate the ability to manage different components of SEO. To save the ability to create descriptions and headings for individual pages, you need to do the following settings:
- in the item “SEO only for these records” select “Records” and “Pages”;
- confirm that advanced options are enabled;
- tick the box to approve the use of your own headings.
Here you need to synchronize All-in-One SEO Pack with Google Search Console. To implement this, enter a unique code that the webmaster gets during the Google panel verification process.
In this block, you can perform the following actions:
- link your Google+ account (helps in search engine promotion);
- enable the display of structural links to the site (allows users to go directly from search results to the necessary section of the site);
- specify the optimal name of the web resource to the search engine (promotes high-quality promotion by brand requests);
- synchronize with Google Analytics;
- activate advanced blame settings.
This is a fundamental block for website promotion. Therefore it is in it you can hide from indexing some sections of the project. Hiding from indexing is a kind of request to search engines not to add to the database selected pages. This is done for the following reasons:
- Search engines do not like to see pages that are useless for users in their database;
- the WordPress control system tends to generate takes. For example, news announcements may be displayed in categories, authors’ archives and dates, tags, etc., in the search engines’ database. Such a number of copies does not contribute to a good ranking.
Therefore, it is recommended to hide archives of authors, tags and dates, filter and search pages, records with pagination and 404 pages from robots. After you have made the appropriate settings, be sure to click on “Update settings”, otherwise the changes will not take effect.
Features of creating an XML-card of the site on WordPress
For search algorithms to better “understand” the site’s structure and index its pages faster, you need to form an XML map of the resource. So this task will help to cope with the additional module All in One SEO, which can be found in the administrative panel. To do this in the menu All in One SEO you need to go to the section “Module Management” and activate the card with the Activate button. Also for complex search engine optimization of the project need to include modules:
Social metadata customization
This step is necessary for the correct display of a site in social networks. In the “Home page settings” menu, you need to perform the following steps:
- activate the “Use AIO SEO” checkbox (it will allow using correct title and description);
- spell out the name of the web resource;
- set the default image.
In the “Social Links” menu, add links to your social network accounts, organization name and other data. To set up displaying in Facebook it is necessary:
- approve automatic forming of tags to the content;
- prescribe id of your account;
- integrate categories into article labels;
- include publication tags in content labels.
To set up displaying on Twitter it is necessary:
- choose long or short format of demonstration;
- spell out the user name;
- enter the name of the web resource.
Creation of Robots.txt
To implement this task, go to the “File Editor” section of the All in One SEO plugin. Then you need to copy the template below to the file and save the changes. It is important not to forget to change site.com to the domain name of your project.
User-agent: * Host: site.com Allow: /wp-content/themes/*.css
This file specifies which partitions cannot be indexed and which can be indexed. For objectivity, it should be noted that indexing will still be performed, but its results will not be taken into account in the ranking. Namely, this is the result you need to achieve.
WordPress content management system is a powerful and convenient tool for creating modern websites. This CMS is considered very friendly towards SEO in the perspective. Yes, the system is without its flaws, and eliminating them requires accurate configuration and tweaking. Hopefully, with the help of this post you will eliminate all the disadvantages and will effectively promote your WordPress-powered site in search results.