If you’re using WordPress for your blog or company website (or anything else for that matter), congratulations! I love WordPress because it’s easy to set up and update regularly, and also because it’s optimized for the search engines right out of the box (and I don’t get paid by anybody to say that).
That’s right- without touching a thing, WordPress automatically implements some of the best practices for website structure, keyword insertion, and formatting a website. But, as with any other task in life, you can always go the extra mile. In the ultra-competitive internet world these days, it’s more important than ever that you do go that extra mile and take steps to max out your on-page search engine optimization inside your blog or website.
The following 6 steps are designed to quickly do a complete, sitewide optimization of any WordPress installation. The first three are based on the built-in settings, and the second three utilize free plugins that you can easily install with a few mouse clicks.
If you have trouble with any technical aspects of plugins then sometimes it is better to employ a technical SEO specialist who can guide you through the processes without worry.
The Front Three: Settings Configurations
- Allow Search Engines! This sounds like a real “duh”, but it can actually get messed up sometimes. Ensure that search engines are allowed to view your site by checking the following setting. Log into your backend with your administrator username and password (this is located at /wp-admin), and click on “Privacy,” which is located under Settings. (Again, there’s a video if you need help). Ensure that the “Allow Search Engines to View This Page” option is selected and saved.
- Put Keywords in your Site Title and Description. This is another basic step, but also extremely important it – carries a lot of weight when it comes to on-page optimization! Under Settings, choose General. Then, find appropriate (and readable) ways to add a keyword phrase you want to optimize for in your Title and Description.
- Change your Permalinks to become Search Engine Attractive. Permalinks literally just means “permanent links”. When you post your blog, will the address be website.com/June112010, or will it be website.com/keywordphrasehere? Obviously, the second one will help you out more when it comes to on-page SEO for WordPress. Under Settings, choose Permalinks, and select the “Custom” option, typing in /%postname%/. Hit save.
The Back Three: Utilizing Plugins for Easy Sitewide Changes
I will assume you can install a WordPress plugin for simplicity’s sake. If you’ve never done that before, it’s really quite simple, and the software will walk you through it all. It’s just a few clicks! If you need help, there IS a video for you to watch.
- All-in-One SEO. Install the “All-in-One SEO Pack” plugin. You can literally just activate this plugin and not need to touch many of the settings at all. Still, I recommend accessing the configuration page (It’ll be under Settings once you install it), and changing the Site Title and Description to something that describes your website but also works in a keyword phrase or two.
- XML Sitemaps. Another set and forget deal. Install the “Google XML Sitemaps” plugin, and activate it. Without touching a single setting, the plugin will build a new sitemap for you every time you update your site and submit it to all the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask).
- Robots Meta. This one is a little complex to explain without diving into the “duplicate content” penalty/myth debate, so that’s a story for another time. For now, here’s how to set this up the way we want it: install the “Robots Meta” plugin. Once there, check the boxes that ask you to nofollow/noindex all of your Archives pages. This will clean up your site in the Search Engine Results and ensure you don’t pass link juice to unimportant pages.
So that’s it! Once you’ve taken those six steps, you’re off to a great start with optimizing your WordPress site for the best possible SERP rankings.