Top 5 WordPress SEO Tips
There’s no point spending a considerable amount of time making your website look good, if you miss out the vital component of search engine optimisation. The major search engines, in reality, care very little for the pretty design and images you’ve used. They care about the more technical components of your site. Such as alt tags, keywords, file names, amongst other things. Having some understanding of these technical terms, will put you in the driver’s seat, where it concerns SEO.
SEO is a word that most people who get into web creation are familiar with. Given its importance, there’s little surprise there, after all, everyone wants to rank high in the search engines, especially Google. However, for a great many webmasters, they can get a little ahead of themselves, and ruin things for their site, in the long run. For this reason, it’s best to adopt a more simple approach.
WordPress has a large assortment of SEO plugins that you can invest in, however, there are many other factors for you to consider, which can, ultimately, help you in the long run.
Below, is a number of SEO tips and techniques that you should be familiar with, especially if you want to get the most out of your site. These tips, if properly utilised, should ensure a significant boost in your sites visibility and overall traffic.
1. Discourage Search Engines from Indexing This Site
When you setup your site for the first time, the no-indexing feature can be enabled, until you’ve worked out your sites structure, and are ready to launch it. When you enable this feature, it will ensure that the search engine bots, do not crawl any of your pages.
WordPress also has the ability to apply noindex, nofollow to individual posts. This way, you can control when the search engine indexes the page. This is especially useful when first creating your site. This is because the Hello World page, which is created by default. You don’t want the search engine indexing this page, and you also don’t want any 404 not found errors on your site. Ultimately, depending on which option you choose, whether it’s to noindex your pages, or noindex the entire site. You should get optimal results.
2. Set your Permalinks
URLs that are created for your individual pages and posts, are referred to as the Permalinks. In simple terms, they are what a web surfer will type into the address bar of their web browser, when attempting to access your website or an individual page on it. They are also used by the search engines and other websites to link back to your site.
WordPress comes with its own default permalink settings. However, this can be changed right from the onset. Simply navigate to Settings ->Permalinks, and change the options from there.
Ideally, you’ll want to change the default permalinks to your post name i.e. /%postname%/, this is because it’s easier for surfers to remember, and also because it ideally will contain keywords. Which would help with ranking and click through rates.
3. Use Google Analytics
Google Analytics, is as the name states, an analytics tool, created by Google. It’s free to use, and will help you monitor the ins and outs of your website. Through this tool, you can examine your traffic source, bounce rate, and various other important things, that you could, ideally use to improve visibility and conversion rates.
Google Analytics is capable of carrying out a number of functions, all of which you should put to great use, if you intend to get the most out of your website.
4. Use a Caching Plugin
All WordPress websites must have a caching plugin. A caching plugin is designed to carry out two primary functions. The first, is to enhance your sites speed. The second is to reduce your sites load on the web server. Most of these caching plugins do that, by caching dynamic and static versions of your site.
There are many of these plugins around, but one of the most popular, has to be W3 Total Cache. This plugin comes with a range of features, including object caching, browser caching, database caching and minification.
Other viable alternatives include the WP Super Cache, which is capable of creating static .html pages, to decrease site loading times. The reason you want to decrease page loading times, is because you want to improve your sites user experience (UX). The search engines are also now prioritising site speed when it comes to ranking. So if you focus on making your site faster, you can expect increased conversions and more traffic.
5. Optimize Your Media
Media constitutes one of the most vital components of a site. For this reason, it’s very important it’s done correctly, as it can either make or break your SEO efforts. How you choose to name and tag your images will have a significant impact on your SEO. If you properly tag your images, it should help it rank higher and appropriately in the image search.
Just uploading an image to your site with an incomprehensible name, isn’t good SEO practice. When uploading an image to your site, via WordPress, it grants you the option to alter its title, alt tag, description and also add a caption. When you make the decision to fully utilise these options, it goes a long way, in improving your sites overall search rankings.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website