SEO for WordPress Websites

Just found a great article over at Search Engine Journal about SEO for WordPress Websites. I will summarize and comment on their recommendations here.

1) Optimizing your URL Structure.

This is a very easy fix to the most basic problem I see on WordPress sites, most people take the default URL structure which includes something like ?p=765 as the URL for each page or post. This tells the search engines nothing about the page. A better way is to use one of the settings that includes the Post Name (and then remember to name your posts intelligently!). This setting can be changed in Settings>Permalinks. Search Engine Journal recommends the Post Name setting. I prefer Month & Name setting. This is so that I could have other posts with the same name, but are differentiated by when they were written.

2) Use of the H1 Blog Title on all Pages

This one I have to look into in a little more detail, but according to SEJ, the H1 tag is used for the Title of the Site/Blog on all pages. This is a mistake because Google places a fair amount of importance to what text uses the H1 tag and you don’t want to have them the same throughout the site. Much better to use the H1 tag as you would a page title, unique to each page of the site.

3) Allow Categories/Tags to be Indexed?

Yes, if you have setup Tags and Categories with appropriate names, your page and blog archives can help users find exactly what they are looking for. SEJ recommends a follow up article on this topic from WPBeginner.

4) Use a good SEO Plugin for WordPress

My favorite is Yoast and SEJ agrees.

5) Image Optimization on WordPress

Don’t forget to use Alt-text, Captions and Descriptions when uploading image content!

6) Google Author Profile on WordPress

This is an option in Yoast as well, but you definitely want to link your content to your Google+ profile so you have the option for Authorship Markup. Here’s an example of what Authorship Markup can do in the search results:

Ask Joanne Google+ Authorship

Authorship Markup on Search Results

7) microdata on WordPress

I’m learning more about structured data and microdata every day, in fact there’s a very cool new tool over at Webmaster tools called the data highlighter for sites that feature event listings. Anyway, this is something I need to check into in more detail. SEJ gives a link to a plugin that will help: Schema Creator by Raven. Note: So far this plugin has only a few schema types (and when I tried it, all the data was visible on the page. I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work -will check it out and report back.)

8) Keep an Eye on Your Plugins and Themes

This is always good advice…make sure the plugins you’ve installed and rely on for the best functioning of your site are working as they should. Questions?, go to the WordPress Community Forum.

9) Webmaster Tools and Analytics

Now this is always good advice, WordPress site or not! Make sure you are setup with Webmaster tools on both Google and Bing. Also, make sure you are tracking your site analytics!



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