Wordpress SEO: Take control of the default SEO features the CMS has to offer
Just so you know, WordPress isn't SEO friendly by default
Not sure if you know it but WordPress powers 39% of all sites online. That’s a huge number for a free piece of software.
I’ve used Blogspot, Wordpress.com & now I’m using wordpress.org. And I can say that wordpress.org is the best CMS. Period. I’ve tried Squarespace too, it’s decent but lacks a ton of features Wordpress has to offer.
This post is about SEO, Wordpress SEO to be specific. So let me walk you through the process of optimizing the CMS as per your needs.
What makes a blog SEO-friendly?
The whole point of SEO is to help search engines understand your content. Gone are those days when you can fool search engines into assuming your blog to be the right fit for the end-user, just because you’ve stuffed relevant keywords in your pages.
Wordpress is generally optimized for Search engines. This means you have to tweak the CMS for your specific needs. You will need to ensure that your blog not only stands out from the noise but actually is relevant to the user.
The best way to make a blog SEO friendly (be in on any goddamn CMS) is to address, nurture & support your audience with your content.
The users turn up to search engines to find solutions to their problems or seek help in deciding which laptop for blogging they should buy or which is the best web hosting for their blog?
If you don’t address such search intent, no matter how much you optimize the content, you’re never going to rank on top of SERPs.
So to answer the question, ‘addressing the search intent makes the blog SEO friendly’
How to optimize WordPress for visibility on search engines?
I’m seeing a lot of beginners wrongfully indulging in getting traffic to their blog. All the efforts to gain traffic is waste when you post links on social media with the caption “visit for visit”
When the whole point of blogging is to make money by helping the users first. When you channel all the efforts to bring traffic that way without worrying about conversions, how are you going to monetize?
Optimizing for search engines ensures highly qualified users get in front of your web page. To do that, you should first help the search engine understand your webpage. Wordpress is just a tool that makes SEO easier for you & your blog.
So here are key steps you should perform to optimize your Wordpress blog:
Meta tags: Tags like title, description, alt & headings help the search engines get a gist of your webpage. That doesn’t mean it will rank just because you’ve done it. Relevance & helpfulness of the page comes into the picture before it ranks. Tags play a crucial role for e-com businesses.
Permalink structure: Though there’s no textbook rule for the blog to have a certain type of permalink structure. I recommend having a readable URL for your blog posts. What if Facebook had the URL connectwithyourfriendsandfamilyonfacebook.com? So here’s how you change the URL structure of your Wordpress blog. Readability helps win at SEO. Imagine the hypothetical URL of Facebook on SERPs, I wouldn’t click on it, hence affecting the CTR which eventually affects the SEO.
Visibility setting on WP: What’s the point of having a blog when you’ve kept it hidden from search engines? I know you wouldn’t but just in case you’ve set it hidden, here’s how you can change it.
Setting up webmaster tools: I’m not sure how other use it or how you’ll use it once you get used to it, but I use webmaster tools to update existing posts. Once I publish my post, I wait for it to get indexed in Google & for the data related to the page flows in the Google search console. Then I list the keywords the page gets impressions for but doesn’t rank. I optimize the page for that particular keyword without disturbing the existing setup.
Submit sitemaps: Elementary! If you don’t submit the sitemap to search engines, you’ll have to wait for search engines to discover your blog on its own (if other domain/page links to your blog & that domain/page get crawled). Site maps are the headstart for search engines to crawl webpage. If you’re using the Yoast plugin, you can submit sitemaps to search engines from within the plugin dashboard, here’s how.
Robots.txt: This is a simple text file to instruct the search engines plan the crawl budget for your blog. You might want to exclude pages like checkout, profile, exclusive offer pages, you can instruct the search engines with this file. You can do a ton of things, here’s a detailed guide to help with that. Alternatively, check out this & this too.
So there you have. 6 of the most important techniques to optimize your Wordpress for search engines. But remember, search engines are interested in knowing about the pages on your blog with the hope that your pages can be useful for their end-user.
If you fail to focus on helping the user & only optimize your post for search engines, you’ll only be wasting time. In the end, it’s the users who’ll consume your content, not the search engines.
I’ll see you in the next one!
Until next time :)