In this piece, I’ll go through 11 key SEO settings for new WordPress blogs. This is your WordPress blogs SEO primer!
Why? – you ask. Your site’s content is its most important asset, but it’s useless if it doesn’t attract visitors! SEO, or search engine optimisation, is a tool that every website owner should employ to ensure that their material is optimised for search engine consumption, resulting in an increase in visits.
And because correctly setting up your WordPress blogs is the first step to effective SEO, this is where the following guide on your critical SEO settings comes into play.
Just launched your wordpress blogs? WordPress has a built-in setting that – if turned on – discourages search engines from looking at your site. This is good for development or private sites, but it should always be turned off otherwise.
Head on over to Settings / Reading and look for the “Search Engine Visibility” setting. Make sure it’s turned off, and everything will be OK!
This is most likely the most significant of all WordPress vital SEO settings.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s the permalink to this post, with the underlined part “essential SEO settings WordPress”:
However, your blog does not allow you to configure permalinks in this manner by default. Go to your WordPress dashboard to activate beautiful permalinks. → Settings → Permalinks. Select the structure labeled “Post name”, like so:
At this point, you can assign custom permalinks to each of your blog posts and pages. Furthermore, WordPress will predict what the best permalink for any given post is and assign it automatically.
WordPress blogs has recently grown wiser, taking away superfluous terms from default permalinks. Until recently, an article like “Ten essential plugins for ecommerce websites” would have used the URL ten-essential-plugins-for-ecommerce-websites. You could want to use essential-plugins-ecommerce-websites or even essential-ecommerce-plugins depending on how you want to target your content. Either way, the word “for” is completely unnecessary there.
The essential concept here is to include the post’s major keyword in the permalink.
Speaking of posts and their impact on your WordPress blogs SEO:
Granted, when discussing vital SEO settings, this may not seem straightforward, but we believe it is a critical SEO technique. Good content alone will not catapult your site to the top of Google, but it will help.Google has become pretty good at determining what constitutes good content.
As before, don’t go overboard, that’s one of the main rules of SEO. Updating your site ten times a day with similar content will just lower your rank. If you have the option to post unique and valuable content 3-4 times a day, by all means do so. Otherwise a site updated once a week with an extremely good article is way more valuable that one updated every day with fluff.
Website speed is a crucial factor. Google takes it into account as well. Furthermore, site speed has a number of other affects that will combine to grind all of your efforts to a standstill.
Site speed is a critical factor in early exits, bounce rates, page view times because it directly affects user experience. As a result, you will keep fewer visitors, your SEO rank will fall, resulting in even fewer visits, and many of those who stay will get progressively frustrated.
WordPress uses categories and tags to help you organize the content on your wordpress blogs.
The general idea with categories and tags is to:
To make this a bit more clear, consider the following example:
If you’re blogging about the hottest topic of them all – food(!), here’s how you might organize three example wordpress blogs posts:
One of the best SEO plugins for WordPress blogs is Yoast SEO (though there are viable alternatives, too). It is updated continuously to keep up with search engine changes and contains everything you’ll need to make your site an SEO powerhouse, effectively taking care of all your essential SEO settings.
That being said, fine tunning some things will only take a couple of minutes and can pay off.
Here’s what you can do:
Go to SEO → General → Webmaster Tools. Provide your verification code for Google Search Console. Follow the highlighted link to get your code:
Go to SEO → Search Appearance and go through the individual tabs.
Start with Content Types:
Make sure you have all options enabled for both your posts and pages.
Next, Media. Just one thing there:
Enable the option to have the attachment URLs redirected to the attachments themselves.
Next tab, Taxonomies. This is where you can decide how you want to handle the category and tag listings on your WordPress blogs.
Generally speaking, if your blog features a lot of categories and tags then you should choose to show them in search results. If you have only a few categories or just one category then disable it from search. This helps you avoid the issue of duplicate content – an important factor for your basic WordPress blogs SEO.
Next tab, Archives.
Apart from your categories and tags, WordPress blogs also creates separate archives for author accounts and sets up date-based archives.
For single-author blogs, disable the author archives. The date archives are up to you, but many people advise disabling them too.
This sums up your essential SEO settings inside Yoast.
Managing your media properly is a great way to get an SEO edge, thus making it one of the essential SEO settings. Many website owners overlook image captions, alt text and file names. All of these are important and can be added so easily. The reason they are often skipped is that images are added after the post has been written. wordpress blogs It took the author three hours to write the post, adding bits of text to 20 images is soooo tiring and will add another 20 minutes of work.
Fair enough, but is this worth losing rank over? Providing information to Google about what the images is about by filling out the name, making sure the file name itself is readable, typing up a caption and an alt text will add that much more information about your content.
Now, with that taken care of, the other aspect of image optimization is handling the image files properly in the first place. Here’s the thing with images; wordpress blogs they take up a lot of disk space on your server, and thus also take a lot of time to load in your reader’s web browser.
The problem with that is two-fold:
Luckily, fixing this issue is rather simple. All you need is an image optimization plugin that will take good care of your image files all on its own – working on autopilot. Check out Optimole, it’s the top blog posting in the market.
Titles are the most important part of your page. This is what search engines see first and this is also what users see first. For users it has to be catchy, in wordpress blogs for search engines it has to be keyword targeted. Try to find a good balance between the two.
While I’d be a little hesitant to say this in front of an SEO crowd, I would lean toward the user if push comes to shove. As you’ll see below you can set the meta title of your page which gives search engines information about the page. The actual title is more for user-consumption in my opinion.
If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, you’ll see a “Yoast SEO” box under each post. Use the snippet editor to control how your result will look on Google. Set the focus keyword as well to get an assessment of how your post conforms to current SEO guidelines.
This is a great way to write content better targeted to search engines and gain extra visitors through the process.
I like to edit the snippet of every post, even though an automatic one is generated. These little touches are what can separate the serious websites from the floundering ones.
Another thing that Google likes to see with websites when it comes to essential SEO settings is an optimized design that looks good on mobile devices. The reason? Simple; wordpress blogs there are more people accessing the web via mobiles these days than there are doing so via desktop computers and laptops combined.
The deal is simple, if your site fails to load on mobile, you’ll lose your rank. Not a great sounding deal, right, but a clear one nonetheless!
Okay, so how to make sure you’re in the clear? Luckily, Google provides us with a tool where we can test our sites and make sure everything is okay. It’s simply called the Mobile-Friendly Test. You can access it here.
Test your site with it thoroughly. Make sure there are no issues with your homepage, your blog posts and pages.
If you can see anything worrying, follow Google’s tips to fix the issues.
One part of this is social media. Make sure you have an active presence, engage with visitors and potential visitors (i.e.: your target group) as much as you can. Getting people to talk about you is one of the best ways to get incoming links which Google will take into account. The larger the website linking to you, the more weight it receives.
Another part of this is talking to website owners who write about your sector and making friends. Don’t just contact people if you want something from them. wordpress blogs Offer to give advice or other means of help you can give. This will make you friends quickly who will want to write about you – again, valuable SEO fodder.
I’ve found that being nice has awesome far-reaching consequences and opens a lot of doors. Even if you need to go out of your way now, it may come back to give you a boost when you really need it.
Don’t know if naming image files properly should be one of your essential SEO settings for WordPress blogs? Then take the time and name them properly, the worst that can happen is nothing, the best that can happen is that Google appreciates the effort and uses this in some small way to increase your ranking in wordpress blogs. It might not mean much, but a few minor things like this could give you the edge you need.
The image file example is a good one because many website use screenshots and are too lazy to rename them. It is so much easier to just take the screenshot, drag & drop and be done with it. Taking the time to rename the file seems like a waste of time.
Also, Google does take file naming into account, so there!
Remember the most important rule: Google is, and always has, attempted to figure out what your content is about by mimicking the behavior of humans. Humans are much better at figuring out what is valuable and what isn’t than computers. Therefore the more “naturally good” your content is, the better.
While there are certain tips and tricks you can use, these will quickly become obsolete. For example: In the olden days, people used to litter their pages with keywords and then hide them from view, gaining SEO ranking quickly. Google then figured out how to deal with these and punished offending websites with significant rank cuts.
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