Optimizing for WordPress: SEO Tips
August 6, 2014 |
Doing SEO for WordPress
websites isn’t as straightforward as it perhaps could be. Whereas other content
management systems (CMS) will offer you many of the basic features from a
standard install, a WordPress set up tends to need a little help.
In days gone by
you probably needed a handful of plugins to add the required functionality to a
site. Perhaps you wanted one for sitemaps, maybe another was added to authorize
analytics, webmaster tools or other such accounts. Maybe another tackled title
tags & other Meta data. Finally you might have added one in the last few
years to give yourself an easy way to add authorship mark up.
What a headache!
These days you’ll probably just be looking at one plugin to offer you all this
and more. Let’s have a little look at the top two contenders, before moving on
to SEO advice for WordPress in general.
All in One SEO Pack
reeling from a hack (remember to keep your WordPress system and plugins up to
date guys!) All in
One SEO Pack is nonetheless a highly recommendable plugin for your WordPress
On the basics
these two plugins are pretty evenly matched. So let’s look at areas where they
outshine the competition.
For one, they claim to be the only plugin to provide SEO integration for WP
e-commerce sites. I can’t currently dismiss this, so if you’re running WordPress
as an e-commerce website you should take a serious look at this plugin (e.g., they
offer a version specifically for WooCommerce).
WordPress SEO by Yoast
The WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin
handles Facebook open graph – this is excellent for adding extended mark-up to
describe your pages and posts. Google+ sharing is apparently on its way too.
Great news! I’m sure it won’t be long before Yoast offers you full
functionality on this type of mark-up that can produce those click through rate
boosting rich snippets on the search engine results pages.
The stand out
feature however has to be the integration of Lindex Page Analysis. There are many different aspects to providing
a page or a post with great SEO. You need to remember to set your title
correctly, give it a compelling meta description, set any tags for rich
snippets, add alt tags to your images – the list goes on and on. The difficulty
here is not necessarily giving your page the best on-page optimization you can,
but simply remembering to do all of it! This nifty little feature can give you
a little nudge in the right direction if you forget anything. Perfect!
The Basics of Good WordPress
WordPress SEO plugin of choice and then work through the basic options. I’d recommend
starting with integrating your analytics package. For most people this will be Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools too. Sign up, add the codes and
you’re ready for pretty much everything else!
Next up, have the
SEO plug in generate a sitemap for you. Once you’ve done this submit it to
Google Webmaster Tools and any other package you’re using that might benefit
After that it’s
time to sort out your main Meta data. Go to your chosen WordPress SEO plugin
and select some sensible defaults. Let’s say a page title will generally be
laid out as ‘Page Name | Site Name’. Perhaps for posts you want something a
little different, as otherwise the title is likely to be too long. How about
simply ‘Post Name’? Usually your SEO plug in will let you override these if you
need to – use with care!
I really think
you should still add authorship mark up. Yes, those ‘CTR boosting’ photos are largely
gone. However, a piece of information caught my eye recently, suggesting that
the original CTR effect of the photos may have been exaggerated somewhat.
There’s a mention of this recently in a Search Engine Land article. I’m also positive
that another blogger tracked this oft-repeated 150% figure down to a single
blog post and examined its veracity – if anybody else saw this please let me
know in the comments!
Sort out your permalinks. There’s sometimes argument over including the category names or
dates within the URL structure. Personally, I feel that shorter is better and
will always opt for just the post title in the URL. Whatever you decide at
least change it so that you don’t get something generic and nondescript like www.yoursite.com/?p=5.
Nobody wants that!
categories are always a bone of contention with me. If I’m sorting through site
errors in my favourite SEO tool it’s these pages that are generating the lion’s
share of my duplication errors. However, done right I think they can have a
positive effect on your SEO efforts that outstrips such warnings. Keep them focused and relevant. Try to actually create sensible groupings, rather than
ending up with incredibly specific categories/tags that will essentially just
refer to one post each. Your users may thank you too!
I hope you found
this guide useful. What’s your favourite SEO plug in for WordPress? What are
your go-to SEO steps that you always look at first with a new WordPress SEO
project? I’d love to hear from you.