Optimizing WordPress for SEO

Yes, I know… Just another post about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). To make it a bit more original and interesting I’ll try to highlight what really matters so that after a (really!) quick read you know the basics. Also, in this particular post I’m going to focus on WordPress whenever it is possible. Time is short so let’s get started with the most important things to be done.

1. Essential HTML elements

a) Title Tag

  • Don’t use more than 12 words
  • Should be truly relevant and unique
  • Keywords should somehow repeated on the page content

<head>
<title>Page Title</title>
</head>

b) Meta Description Tag

  • Don’t use more than 150 characters
  • Should be unique too, but always connected with page content
  • Create readable sentences, because they will be seen on actual search page results

<head>
<meta name=”description” content=”This is a description.”>
</head>

c) Meta Keywords Tag

  • Use a small selection of the most relevant words of the page
  • Not as relevant as Title and Description, but should be considered too

<head>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”great,cool,nice,stunning”>
</head>

d) Robots.txt file

  • Useful mostly if for some reason a page should not be indexed by Google
  • Should be used with special care to avoid ruining the whole SEO optimization process

User-Agent: *
Disallow: /example-folder

2. URL optimization

A page URL should be more than a unique address to access specific content. For SEO purposes it should be much more than that. It should provide information that helps search engines to understand what is the page subject, content and audience.

Finding ways to inform about the audience is vital to display results for the appropriate target market behind the search that is made. Here are some important rules:

  • URL’s should be readable
  • Use target keywords in URL’s
  • Don’t use uppercase characters
  • Use hyphens to separate words
  • Use a favicon

3. XML Sitemaps

Google states that a “A sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to more intelligently crawl your site.“.

Besides this, when you are seeing search results, if a sitemap exists you will see the more relevant pages under the “parent” search result. This is very inviting and informative to the person who entered the search.

4. WordPress Resources

To make your life easier with WordPress I recommend the usage of 2 plugins. I’m not a big fan of using plugins for “everything” on WordPress, but that is mostly when they tend to slow the websites loading time.

In this case, these plugins don’t have any effect on loading time, because they do not interfere with the size of content that is served when someone visits these pages. So here are the plugins that I recommend:

  • Yoast SEO plugin – will allow you to manage with ease the points I mentioned on number 1 of this post;
  • Google XML sitemaps – the name mentions Google, but it also works with Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com. This plugin covers number 3 of this post;

Web Designer
Web enthusiast since ever and full-time Web Designer since January 2012.
Delivering Premium WordPress Themes and freelance work to clients worldwide.

2 Comments

on Optimizing WordPress for SEO.
  1. -

    Hey Pirenko, good tips…another thing I like to do is noindex tag and category pages as I find they naturally create a lot of duplicate content.

    • Pirenko
      -

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

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