As popular as WordPress is as a blogging and website platform, the product isn’t exactly SEO friendly right out of the box. You’ll need to perform a few simple tasks while setting up your new website to make sure you receive the full benefit of SEO. If you’ve already set up your site, don’t worry; most of these can be remedied even after the fact. If you’ve conducted an SEO audit and were appalled by the results, try these steps.
1. Choose Responsive Themes
A website that performs on all devices is imperative. Without one, your rankings just might suffer. Sites that don’t respond or take too long to load can result in penalties, according to Google’s quality guidelines. To avoid this, make sure your theme, whether free or custom, has a responsive design across all devices.
2. Privacy Settings
As you put the finishing touches on your site, you’ll see a small line that reads Search Engine Visibility, followed by a check box. The box is checked by default, which tells your site to discourage search engines from indexing it. If search engines can’t find it, your site can’t rank.
3. Create SEO Friendly URLs
For best results, configure search engine friendly URLs. In the permalinks menu, you’ll be presented with several different options for creating URLs. Your best bet is to choose Custom Structure, which will allow you to create your own URL with the appropriate target text.
4. Rename the Uncategorized Category
Any time you post and forget to choose a category, your blogs will be shuffled into this catchall. Uncategorized isn’t really a help during searches. The best way to make sure you get the best optimization for your posts—outside of remembering to choose a category every time, that is—is to rename the Uncategorized category. Choose something that will encompass your company so anything that falls into that bucket by accident will still fit the category.
5. Google Analytics for WordPress Plugin
You can keep an eye on how your website is performing with Google Analytics right there within your dashboard. Up-to-the minute information about your site’s rankings, page views, and clicks will help you make better decisions for your future posts. Just remember this tool is a plugin, so you’ll need to install it while developing your site.
6. Examine Other Plugins
The Google Analytics plugin isn’t the only one that can help boost your SEO in WordPress. Dozens of other tools are also available, and all of them can help you improve your results in one way or another. Seek out the Google XML Sitemaps plugin, the Remove Link URL plugin, the Category Pagination plugin, and the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.
You’ll still have to remain vigilant when growing your site, whether through adding landing pages or blogs. Make sure you’re never engaging in activities that might cause Google to penalize you, such as buying links, guest blogging on sketchy sites, or stuffing keywords in unnatural places. Developing a quality site that ranks well with Google takes time and effort.
Were you aware of these basic SEO fixes for WordPress? Do you know of others that might benefit others? We’d love to know, so leave us a comment.
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