HOW TO SET UP SEO ON WORDPRESS

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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Whichever type of hosting you decide on, just ensure they can provide adequate WordPress support and will make sure your website is always online.

This setting could seriously wreck your site’s rankings. What this is telling Google and other search engines is you do not want them crawling and indexing your site, or showing it to users in search results. You’re de-indexing your site. If you accidentally do this and don’t catch it quickly, you can have a hell of a time regaining your lost rankings and indexed pages.

Here’s an example from our own process: We write on a wide range of SEO-related topics, and my focus is usually on local SEO. We have a Category for the overarching topic of local SEO, but within that category are all sorst of subtopics we discuss, and sometimes regularly. If I did a post on Google My Business edits, I might have the Category as “Local SEO” and the Tag as “Google My Business.” If I were writing a piece on fixing citation errors, the category would stay the same but my tag would be “Citations.”

Choosing WordPress Themes.

Go to www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home and set up your account. Next you will need to click the Add a property button.

Our preferred hosting service is WPEngine. We host our website there and, whenever possible, we put clients’ websites on WPEngine. WPEngine is dedicated to hosting WordPress websites and do not host any other platforms. That means its customer service team members are WordPress experts, but in addition to that, you are given a development platform (to make site edits behind the scenes without messing with your live site) and daily backups which are easily published in case you run into issues with your site and need to revert to an older version.

Here are some additional tips and tricks for building out your WordPress site:

Before adding lots of pages and posts to your site, make sure you edit the permalink structure of your URLs.

Because of how easy it is to get started on WordPress, many users are not web designers or programmers. And thanks to that, WordPress has made it easy to make a site your very own with the use of themes.

There are thousands of themes available for WordPress, both free and paid, and you can also use a basic WordPress install for creating a custom theme.

WordPress Plugins and Our Recommendations:

This is what WordPress was originally created for. Posts are your blog posts and are displayed in chronological order (from newest to oldest). To add a new post, go back to your dashboard then to the posts section and choose “add new”—it’s the same process as adding a page.

The beauty of plugins is that they allow you to add all sorts of features to your site without having to know any code. If you have a specific need, there’s probably a plugin for you to install. Many of the plugins in the WordPress plugin library are free or free with a premium upgrade option.

But if you’re running a service business or you sell products, and information is secondary to your offerings, then a static homepage is probably best for your needs.

No one wants to have their site go down or crash. It can, however, happen due to the most innocuous things, such as updating a plugin or having a theme that isn’t compatible with the version of WordPress you have on your site. Backups of your site are critical to ensure an easy fix if this happens to you. While some services offer regular backups (like the WPEngine hosting we recommended earlier), a backup plugin is your next best bet. We really like Backup Buddy, a reliable and easy to se tup plugin.

Adding Posts.

In addition to it being a trust signal to users that their information is being securely protected, it is also a ranking factor for Google.

Those are really ugly, user-unfriendly permalink structures. We prefer something much simpler and user-friendly: We use an easy post-name structure. When setting permalinks go to Settings → Permalinks and choose the “Post Name” or the “Custom Structure” setting. This will make your URLs read like: site.com/post-name.

Plugins are simply software programs that are installed on your WordPress site to add specific functionality or features to your site.

First you will need to create a couple new pages (as opposed to posts in WordPress, which show chronologically). One of the pages you create will be assigned as your “ HOME ” and the other will be for “ BLOG ” posts.

Note: If your site has been up for a while and you’re not doing a new WordPress setup, do not randomly change your permalink structure. Doing that on an established site can destroy all of your links. You will need to set up 301 redirects to ensure all internal and external links point to the right pages and posts.

Use alt text like ‘starry square dog bed’ rather than defaulting just to ‘dog bed.’ Be as descript as you can be, and use unique alt text for each image.

Before you begin to optimize your site, you need to install an SEO plugin. Luckily, there are a couple of main options which come commonly recommended, both of which are free to install:

But what about other things which you can do to improve your site’s performance and help it to rank above your competitors? Here are a number of advanced WordPress SEO tactics for you to use.

By default, WordPress uses your page’s title to create the URL, meaning that these can end up being lengthy and sometimes truncate on the SERPs.

First, we need to look at how to approach SEO when optimizing pages and posts before sharing a number of advanced tips and tactics you can use to take your site to the next level.

Advanced WordPress SEO Tips: Take Your Site Performance To The Next Level.

Head to: SEO > Search Appearance > Taxonomies.

You can either use snippet variables, add custom text as your title tag, or use a mix of both.

The good news is that you can quickly optimize your WordPress site’s entire media library, as well as all future images you upload using the Smush plugin.

It s simple and easy to use. You don’t need to be a developer to launch a WordPress website, and it is extremely user-friendly, even for beginners.

Please note , a plugin won’t optimize your site for you; it just makes it easier for you to do so and to adhere to best practices.

If this box is ticked, you need to untick it.

One of the reasons you have chosen WordPress as your website’s CMS might be because you have read that it is SEO-friendly out of the box. In fact, you only have to check out WordPress' own list of 'powerful features' on their homepage to see that they are proud that the platform is SEO-friendly:

Your choice of CMS doesn’t dictate whether or not you can rank well unless your site suffers from extensive technical issues that stop it from being crawled and indexed. You shouldn’t think that WordPress is a magic weapon without further effort; it requires time and effort. SEO can get technical very quickly, but the beauty of WordPress makes it easily accessible to those who aren’t experienced or even those who don’t class themselves as being technical.

It is all too easy to simply upload a screenshot or image with a useless file name, and it is not something we always pay attention to, but we should.

Let’s say you have launched a piece of content which is titled ‘The Best Dogs Beds to Buy In 2020.’ Dependent on how you set your permalinks, you are likely going to end up with a URL of https://domain.com/the-best-dog-beds-to-buy-in-2020.

3. Install a Free WordPress SEO Plugin.

WordPress started out as a blogging platform in 2003 but quickly pivoted to become a powerful and flexible solution to run entire websites, and in 2020, it is also capable of being used as an eCommerce solution.

WordPress on its own isn’t a replacement for a solid SEO strategy, and while there is no denying that the CMS saves you time and helps you to adhere to best practices without experience, you need to understand that you need to put in the effort to rank your website on Google.

If you are using lots of images and rich media within your content, the size of the page can increase noticeably, but this is often because images not being properly optimized. A common image issue is using one that is much larger than the size than the image will actually display at — this is a sign that the image was not optimized.

Once you have implemented the WordPress SEO basics, you are ready to get started optimizing your site and working through the things that will make a real difference to how you rank.

And the same applies to media pages and other post formats that WordPress uses. Usually, you don’t want these to be indexed by Google, and you can add ‘noindex’ tags straight within Yoast.

While many themes claim to be SEO-friendly, it is not uncommon for themes to come bundled with scripts and plugins that you will not use, and that will slow your site’s performance down. Before installing a theme, run its demo through Google’s web.dev tool to get insights on potential performance and SEO issues.

If you need to rename images after they have been uploaded, here is how.

16. Install a Cache Plugin to Improve Site Speed.

Just because you are using WordPress doesn’t mean the SEO tactics you use will change. You still need to create great content, earn great links, and ensure that your site is well-optimized and free from technical issues that could hold it back. But WordPress helps you to take care of, out of the box, many of the basics which help your site to rank, and what you will find below are tips and tricks which help you to implement growth-driving tactics specifically on the platform. Getting Started: WordPress SEO Basics.

Make sure you select ‘no’ for any taxonomies, content types, or archives (found in another tab), which you don’t want Google to index.

If you’ve not previously done so, you’ll need to verify your site with Google Search Console. If you have never done this before, you can learn how to do so in our definitive guide to Google Search Console.

Luckily, you can choose a custom URL structure at: Settings > Permalinks.

WordPress uses a number of different page taxonomies, including categories and tags. Categories serve a great purpose, especially when grouping content together:

Of course, it isn’t the right platform for everyone, and there are times when there may be other CMS options that are better suited to your individual needs. Commonly cited disadvantages and cons of WordPress usually relate to the need for frequent updates, potential vulnerabilities (if you are not keeping your site updated), and a little bit of a learning curve to launch bespoke themes. But for the most, it is an extremely powerful platform and one which also gives you great foundations for SEO success.

Yoast automatically sets your page’s title tag using your page heading, but you also have the ability to overwrite this to improve on it and work in variations of keywords that you might not include in your page’s heading:

And while meta descriptions are no longer a direct ranking factor, they do indirectly impact your site’s organic performance due to CTR (click-through rate). It is worth spending time to write enticing descriptions (these can be any length but typically truncate after around 160 characters). You can add meta descriptions within the same section as title tags:

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