Creating and launching a fully-fledged website is not enough to get your brand noticed by itself.
In order to improve your online visibility, you will need to carry out SEO (search engine optimization) practices.
If you want to achieve a higher ranking on Google and other search engines, you’ll need to get serious about search engine optimization. Luckily, if you use WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS), there are a number of in-built features that make optimizing your content for search significantly easier.
So what is it that makes WordPress such a strong platform for SEO? Let’s take a look.
1. Permalink Structure
Permalinks are the permanent URLs for your web pages, posts, categories and tag archives. It is the web address used to link to your individual blog post and web page. By default, permalinks look something like this:
This structure makes it difficult for search engine crawlers to read and index your web pages and posts. That means you will need to make it more accessible for both search engines and we visitors.
Fortunately, WordPress allows you to customize your URL permalinks for each of your posts and pages, adding a clear description of your page’s content as well as any relevant keywords – this makes your URL structure search-engine friendly.
To change your default permalink URLs, you will need to go to Settings → Permalink. You can change it either using /post-name/, or /category/post-name. You can also set it using date and name, but I would prefer you to use “Post Name” to optimize your permalink structure for search engines. The custom permalink URL structure will look something like this:
Tip: After creating a custom permalink structure, make sure you save all the changes.
2. Easy to create SEO-friendly titles
The “title tags”, or the title of a blog post, is one of the crucial aspects when it comes to getting a better ranking on search engine result pages. The title tags not only tell search engines what your web page is all about, but also leave the first impression on the people who see your post title in the search results.
Since search engines focus more on the initial words of the titles, make sure you add your keywords at the start of your title tag – this will help you rank better. So, WordPress allows you to optimize your title tags for SEO using the All-in-One-SEO-Pack plugin:
After installing this plugin, you will need to access your WordPress admin panel → go to Settings → All in One SEO Pack and add the following:
- Post Title: %post_title%
- Page Title: %page_title%
This will help you create unique, engaging, relevant, and search engine friendly title tags for your site, which in turn increase your CTR as well as page views.
3. Creating unique Meta Descriptions for SEO
A meta description is a snippet of content that you can see under the page link within a Google search result page. It gives a brief summary of your blog post or a web page to both the search engine bots as well as web audiences. This will help you get better ranking on SERPs.
It means that creating unique, engaging and search engine friendly meta descriptions for all your posts and pages can improve your visibility across search engines, and can also help you get a higher click-through rate.
The default WordPress settings makes it easy for you to optimize your meta descriptions for Google and other search engines. Better yet, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin or All in One SEO Pack to automatically create SEO-friendly meta descriptions for your WordPress site.
4. It’s easy to generate an XML Sitemap in WordPress
WordPress allows you to create and submit an XML sitemap easily to search engine webmaster tools. An XML sitemap allows you to tell Google and other search engine bots about all your web pages and posts exist on your site. It simply allows search engine crawlers to read and index your site quickly and easily.
Luckily, WordPress offers a ton of plugins that can help you generate an XML sitemap for all your pages, posts, custom post types, categories, and tags. You can use Yoast SEO, or Google XML sitemap plugins to let search engines better index your WordPress site.
For an example: We are using Yoast SEO plugin to generate an XML sitemap for your WordPress site. After installing and activating the plugin, you will need to enable the XML Sitemaps. To do that, go to the SEO → XML Sitemaps and click on the checkbox to enable this functionality.
Make sure you configure it and save the settings. This will generate the sitemap for your WordPress site.
5. Use of categories and tags
The main purpose of categories and tags are to help web visitors navigate your blogs quickly and easily, which in turn, help you get a better search ranking (if used properly). In a nutshell, categories are the table of contents for your blog, while tags are the index that helps a search engine to interpret your blog’s subject matter with ease.
Both the categories and tags help you create a better structure and allow Google to notice it while indexing the blog posts of your WordPress. So, make sure you have all the subcategories, and have a well-structured post to make it as easy as possible for search engine crawlers to “read” your content.
To add categories, you will need to go to the Posts → Categories and Tickets → Labels.
Ensure that you use the best tricks to optimize the categories and tags in WordPress for SEO.
6. Simple and clean code
The code behind WordPress is simple and clean, allowing search engine bots to index your site with ease. Since it is an open source platform, you will see constant modifications in terms of security, performance, and functionalities to let Google and other search engines to position your site higher up the SERP.
Although WordPress already performs well in this particular area, making sure that you install well-coded themes and plugins to ensure the high quality of your WordPress site.
7. Optimization of Images for SEO
If you want to drive more web traffic towards your site, then you can’t overlook image optimization. It is one of the crucial aspects of good SEO.
Image optimization is all about creating engaging, relevant image titles and alt text so that you will get better visibility on Google and other image search engines. WordPress makes it easy to add titles and alt text to your images when you upload them to its CMS, so that image optimization is simply a matter of filling in the right fields.
8. Linking to related posts
Allow search engines to crawl your older posts quickly and easily using the related posts plugin. It is a great WordPress plugin that can help you add a link to related posts within your new content, thereby increasing your SEO capabilities with ease.
The plugin makes it incredibly simple to add related posts to your blog posts and pages, re-ordering related posts via drag and drop functionality, without generating a single piece of code.
Other key points on WordPress SEO:
(a) Since Google loves fast-loading websites, WordPress makes it easy for you to optimize the speed of your site by:
- Compressing the CSS and JS files
- Minimizing HTTP requires
- Optimizing image file sizes
- Using Caching
- Use of CDN services
- Upgrading the core WordPress, installed themes and plugins on a regular basis.
(b) WordPress enables you to create a new page with fresh, updated and improved content to help you get better ranking on SERPs.
(c) In case you forget to optimize the permalink of an existing/older blog post, then you can tweak the slug to a more relevant and search engine-friendly URL.
If you want to avoid a 404 error, then make sure you add a 301 permanent redirect to the older version of your post. This will redirect your web visitors and search engines to the new URL, which in turn will boost your pageviews.
If you use WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS), these tips should hopefully help to you use it in the most effective way to boost your search ranking.
All you need to do is understand the out-of-the-box WordPress SEO functionalities and how get the most out from them, and you can drive quality traffic towards your website.