WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems in the world - and for good reason. In fact, it's the system we rely on to support our own website, so we decided to share some of the most important things you can do in Wordpress to support your SEO efforts.
These six tips will help you move past the noise and start improving your organic traffic numbers.
1) A Great Design Does Not Mean Great SEO Results:
That's why you should pay attention to the back end of things and focus on the code instead of limiting yourself to looking at the overall design.
If you're not building a custom theme, make sure to set up and use Optimized Themes. The percentage of content (and keywords) on your site is a factor that search engines are looking for. Long strings of website coding will actually reduce your scores and make it harder to reach the top ranks in search engines. Optimized themes solve this problem by using the minimum amount of code necessary to get things done - and they tend to be faster to load as well. Remember, adding content to your website while using an optimized theme will further improve your ratio of code-to-content - this is one of the many ways that blogging helps your overall scores.
2) Use Important Keywords in the Page URL:
Many WordPress plugins will automatically generate a URL for each page you add, and it's important to ensure those URLs have the right keywords. Instead of ".com/page12", a permanent link should be structured like ".com/best-seo-tips-ever". Keep in mind that only the first four words matter - search engines will likely ignore everything past that point, so there's no reason to make your permanent URL any longer than four words - discourage your Plugins from doing so.
3) Use Popular SEO Plugins:
Outside of high-quality content, plugins are the best way to improve the optimization of any WordPress site. Popular options like Yoast can help you determine the effectiveness of your current pages before they're even added to the search engines, and more importantly, they'll let you know if there are any important elements you're missing. You should be checking for things like keyword density, number of links, and overall compliance with best practices for a given page. Spend some time and play around with the features of any tool you use - mastery is important.
4) Create a Sitemap:
More importantly, create an XML Sitemap. Search engines quite literally love it when these are included on a site, because they make it a lot easier to crawl the site, obtain relevant content, and move on quickly. Various WordPress plugins (such as the Google Sitemaps Generator) can work together with WordPress to create these sitemaps with ease. There is no good reason to avoid doing this - adding sitemaps can improve your scores with search engines literally overnight, and is one of the fastest ways of getting a one-time boost.
5) Rename Your Image Files:
Your WordPress control panel gives you the ability to rename files - including their file names, tags, alt text, and other elements. If they don't, find a plugin that gives you more control and start using it - images are something that search engines do check, and using both keywords and descriptions can make your website appear more interesting and comprehensive. Remember, images also show up in search engines - if you're not using your WordPress tools to optimize both content and images for search engine optimization, then you're lowering your scores and accepting a worse result.
6) Pay Attention to New Releases:
New tools and plugins are released on a regular basis. There's no point in trying to keep up with all of them - that's inefficient at best, and stops you from taking advantage of what you already have. However, you should check the most popular new tools on a regular basis - every month or so should suffice. This will keep you on the leading edge of what's possible and help you decide when to add a new plugin or change the way you've been doing things.
These six search engine optimization tips for WordPress will help you see real, measurable improvement in your results over time. Best Practices have that name for a reason - following them is the most reliable way of achieving the organic traffic results you need.