But before you make any intelligent decision about your website you should optimize WordPress for SEO which is not as SEO friendly as we think.
Because for serious WordPress publishers with specific online business objectives, there is no more critical component to website’s long-term value than its search engine rankings and that being said, spending time on your WordPress SEO might seem like a waste of time, it most definitely is not.
WordPress is fantastic, free open source it can be installed up and running in minutes. Making your WordPress SEO friendly means it’s optimized for conversions and you will be having lots of advantages including
- Having targeted audience come to your website
- Retaining people long enough, so they read what you have to say
- Evoking desired reaction in people after they read your content
I really think that good SEO should be engrained of your all online marketing and PR activities, this guide covers a lot in details and therefore it is a long read.
1. Permanent link settings – Search Engine friendly URLs
You will find this in Settings → Permanent link, this is I assume the first things to do.The default permalink is
You should change it with the post name because Google prefers that URLs have words that describe the page, that they be easily legible to humans as well as machines, and that they be kept short and simple. Microsoft’s Bing recommends the same, saying “keep it clean and keyword rich when possible.” Bing also prefers that, where possible, one should keep out unnecessary elements, such as page content IDs and user session tracking IDs.
2. Optimizing Page Titles & Meta tags
By default WordPress will use your page title as the current page title and does not bother to add any description in that. But this is the single most factor –the first line that user read and bother’s about
There are two plugins that I like the most and are actually simple, user friendly - All in One SEO plugin
- Enable the plugin.
- Enter your irresistible page title.Keep your title with 40-60 words
- Enter an encouraging meta description. Like we see a good description will really comes in better picture when you see the pages. Its 140 words that Google takes
- Enter your targeted key phrases. Google publicly stated that they ignore this tag, but Yahoo still uses it as well as other search engines.
I really love Yoast for advance SEO like creating No Index, follow archive pages,Disable archives and canonical issue
Noindex, follow archive pages and disable some archives
It also offers writing titles and description for the categories which – All in one does not provide
I would suggest – if you are reading some advance SEO using Yoast plugin then you should read
3. Category Management& Optimizing Individual Post
Remove uncategorized category and change it to something like News or Misc. Do better category feature on your website which is having those entire list.
Individual posts are always important as:
- They always contain your brand, preferably at the end, so people may recognize you in consecutive searches.
- They should always contain the keyword you think is most important for the current post or page, which we will call the focus keyword from now on.
- The focus keyword should preferably be at the beginning of the title.
- The rest of the title should entice people to click.
4. Privacy Settings during development
Once you install WordPress, in the Settings- General section, it shows in the search engine so you need to uncheck this box otherwise WordPress will undo stop indexing websites in search engines.
Sitemaps : Auto generated and HTML Sitemaps
Sitemaps certainly can index your web pages and blogs in search engine more quickly as it provides the crawlers or bots to access the html pages and XML page. To generate HTML sitemap – you can use simple sitemap and for XML sitemap you can use Google XML Sitemap.
I would suggest to use the basic configuration, unless until you are not the expert of using the XMLs. With more if you want to do with sitemaps, then just generate your xml and html sitemap through http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ and upload it to your Filezilla and FTP.
5. 404 Errors : Fix that with Category Pagination Plugin
There is a bug with WordPress where you will end up with 404 errors when trying to access any Category page beyond the first page. Cateogry pagination plugin Fixes the bug in in category listing page pagination.
6. Remove unnecessarily links to Images with the Remove Link URLS
By default WordPress automatically …link the URLs, so what happens is when a user click on the link – it will open a new page and with just that image and with no navigation, so user has to forcefully close that one and go back to the main website. The best way to do is to install remove Link URL Plugin.
7. Google Analytics Setup
There are tons of Google analytics plugin are available, but I recommend you to directly install the tracking code by using header and footer plugin or Google analytics for WordPress
8 .htaccess files : Optimizing Your .htaccess file
The .htaccess file is the first set of code the server reads before it loads any web pages. Here you can define a set of rules. This file is very powerful and can also crash your site in a split second if you have any errors in the file, so be careful, backup and test.
Canonicalization: Force the www or non-www Version of Your URL
I personally like to use the non-www version because it’s shorter. The example code below can be added to your .htaccess file and will force the non-www version. If you want the www version, here is a link to example code.
Increase the Speed of Your Site by Caching Your Website Files
Check with your hosting provider to ensure mod_pagespeed is supported and if it is, activate it. Then add the following code to your .htaccess file.
Force Trailing Slash on URLs
Another trick to avoiding a duplicate content penalty is to force a trailing slash on all following code to your .htaccess file.
301 Redirect URLs
Often times, WordPress is replacing a static HTML website as an upgrade. You will need to properly 301 redirect all of the old URLs to the new ones so you don’t end up with a bunch of 404 page not found errors. A quick way to get a list of URLs already indexed by Google is to search “site:yourdomain.com”. And sometimes you just need to redirect a broken link.
Here is sample code to properly redirect URLs using a 301. (Note: Notice the first part of the code does not include the full URL, but the second part does.)
9. Responsive themes and customization
Whenever you are selecting a premium themes, always select responsive theme. A responsive theme will automatically adjust size, menu, layout and all its items as per the size of the screen. Google also suggest that if website is having responsive layout then will help in the SERP results.
I hope this guide will help show you the necessary steps to optimize WordPress website focusing on SEO.
Well good SEO is all about creating useful content for real people that’s convenient to read and share, while adhering to certain time-honored, algorithm-appreciated principles of structure and style.
About the author
Fascinated by Startups & VC, Love to Figure Out What Consumer Needs & to Create Market. Focusing on New Media/E-Commerce, More to Come Soon.