WordPress SEO Tips To Optimize Your Website
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is, in a nutshell, a method of making sure your site’s pages rank well in search engines such as Google. It’s a popular topic, as well as a rabbit hole you could get lost down if you’re not careful.
However, there are a few basic tactics you can use to make sure your content ranks well without too much effort. For example, choosing strong keywords, optimizing your permalinks, and even speeding up the time your site takes to load are all factors that can make a significant difference.
This post will look at the topic of SEO, specifically as it relates to WordPress. We’ll discuss whether the platform is good for SEO, then look into some specific features and plugins to help you improve your own site’s optimization. Let’s get started!
Is WordPress Good for SEO?
WordPress is easily the most popular Content Management System (CMS) on the market. Its prevalence is something of a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario – WordPress became (and still remains) popular in many ways due to its inherent SEO features and extendability.
For example, here are just a few SEO benefits of using this platform:
- WordPress installations are often super-quick to load, given their clean code and lean default setups. What’s more, many themes are also coded for optimized site speed.
- The platform offers myriad structures for URLs, including the popular Pretty Permalinks option.
- Since the code base is clean and logical, search engines can crawl information better, helping your content rank more highly.
What’s more, there are a wealth of default features available to WordPress users, which can help you improve your SEO further. Let’s take a look at them in a little more detail.
Basic WordPress SEO Features?
While you can extend WordPress’ SEO functionality (more on that later), there’s plenty you can achieve right out of the box. Even before pushing your site live, there’s an option to make your site ‘invisible’ to search engines, so you can get it ready without affecting your rankings.
However, for the most part, you’ll want to actively encourage indexing of your site. To do this, you’ll first want to generate a sitemap, which is possible using a tool such as XML-Sitemaps. You can also take advantage of settings such as the Site Title and Tagline fields.
To optimize your posts and pages individually, you can set custom titles, create meta descriptions, and use built-in taxonomies to make sure they are organized and searchable. There are also a few ways to set your taxonomy archive pages as noindex and nofollow, although without some development experience, you may need to use a dedicated plugin.
WordPress SEO Plugins
Certain WordPress plugins can help you achieve SEO tasks with ease. Since there are so many, we can only highlight a few. Fortunately, the WordPress Plugin Directory contains practically everything you’ll need to make your site search-engine friendly, and best of all, each solution below is completely free to use.
In order to improve loading times, you’ll want to consider using a caching plugin such as WP Super Cache:
While it’s not the only option available, this plugin performs admirably, and is almost certainly guaranteed to work with most WordPress installations. If you’re using a higher end WordPress host it’s unlikely that you’ll need this because they will incorporate custom or server-side caching. At WP Engine it’s on our disallowed plugins list, because we handle caching more effectively on the server side.
You’ll also want to look at some great SEO ‘utility’ plugins, such as Redirection and Rel NoFollow Checkbox. While the latter hasn’t been updated in a while (meaning you should check whether it works with your current WordPress installation), they’re great for being able to easily make a link nofollow, and alerting you to broken links respectively. Redirection also helps you carry out another key task – correctly redirecting broken links to the right place.
Both plugins enable you to set post and page titles, meta descriptions, social media snippets, and much more besides, all from a central interface. They can even generate sitemaps and submit them to search engines on your behalf.
Yoast SEO, in our opinion, is an essential plugin given its wealth of functionality and add-ons. Each plugin is free, however, so you’ll want to spend some time finding the right solution for you.
Other Ways to Optimize a WordPress Site
Of course, plugins aren’t the ‘be-all-end-all’ of optimizing your site for search engines, and there’s plenty you can do without them. For example, we’ve previously looked at some techniques to improve your site speed and performance, as well as various caching options.
While we’re on the subject, you’ll also want to look into optimizing your images and media. This can make a huge difference to site speeds, bandwidth, and resource usage, and contributes to quicker loading times all around.
Finally, you’ll also want to look into areas we’ve already discussed, such as your options for generating sitemaps. Converting your site to HTTPS is also an essential step. While an explanation on that topic is outside of the scope of this piece, it’s a ranking factor you’ll definitely want to focus on.
Get Support For Improving WordPress SEO From WP Engine
SEO is infinitely easier when you’re using a platform like WordPress. What’s more, having a top-quality managed WordPress host at your side powering your site can help immensely..
With a WordPress-specific hosting provider such as WP Engine, you’ll have automatic HTTPS, a site running quickly on a highly-tuned server, and much more besides. To discuss what WP Engine can do for you, get in touch today!