September 15, 2022

The content on your website is its most important asset, but it means nothing if it doesn’t bring in visitors! Every website owner should use search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure their content is designed for search engine consumption, which will bring more traffic to their site.

This tutorial covers the essential SEO settings you need to set up on your WordPress blog for good SEO.

1. Make sure search engines see you

10 SEO For WordPress Blogs Guidelines

Just launched your blog? WordPress has a built-in setting that limits search engine access to your site. This feature can be useful for development or private sites, but it should always be turned off for public sites.

Settings / Reading is where you can find the “Search Engine Visibility” setting. As long as it’s turned off, you’ll be fine! The most important setting for WordPress is probably the SEO setting.

2. Fine-tune permalinks

In case you’re not sure what this is about; here’s the permalink for this very post, the underlined part, “essential SEO settings WordPress”:

However, your blog does not allow you to set permalinks in this custom way by default. -To enable pretty permalinks, go to your WordPress dashboard, then click on Settings, and finally Permalinks. Select the structure labeled “Post name”, like so:

Now you can give each of your blog posts and pages a unique permanent link. WordPress will automatically assign the best permalink for any given post.

WordPress is now automatically removing unnecessary words from default permalinks. This isn’t the case anymore. A few years ago, a post with the title “Ten essential plugins for ecommerce websites” would have used the URL “ten-essential-plugins-for-ecommerce-websites.” However, this is no longer the case.

You can target your article for ecommerce websites by using either essential-plugins-ecommerce-websites or essential-ecommerce-plugins. Either way, the word “for” is completely unnecessary there.

You can fine-tune permalinks under the post title. If a permalink is not visible, save a draft and it should appear after the page reloads.

The most important thing to do when creating a blog post is to include the main keyword in the permalink. Speaking of posts and their impact on your WordPress blog SEO:

3. Write good content and write often

We think it is crucial to have this SEO setting, even though it might not sound intuitive.

Content is important, but there are other factors that also affect your ranking on Google. Google is pretty good at figuring out what content is good.

If you plan to write about “motorcycling helmet cleaners”, it is advisable to use the phrase a few times throughout the article. However, don’t overuse it.

Repeating your key phrase too many times in a paragraph will not improve your ranking and may actually cause your ranking to go down.

Write naturally, but be smart. If you have the opportunity to incorporate a keyword or two into your text, do so, but don’t go overboard. If you use too much of it, it can actually hurt your SEO rather than help it.

A site that is regularly updated will help you with your SEO efforts. A website that is regularly updated with new content will not only be favored by Google, but will also have a better chance of being higher in search engine results pages. This also helps with user engagement and retention – a twofold benefit.

Don’t go overboard with SEO or you will be penalized. If you update your website frequently with similar content, your ranking will go down.

If you are able to post content that is both unique and valuable multiple times throughout the day, then you should take advantage of that opportunity. A site that is updated weekly with a great article is more valuable than a site that is updated daily with lousy content.

4. Optimize your site for speed

10 SEO For WordPress Blogs Guidelines

Website speed is a crucial factor. Google takes it into account as well. Your site’s speed not only affects your ranking, but also has other negative consequences that will ultimately stop all your progress.

The speed of a website is a very important factor in things such as how long someone spends on the site, and how likely they are to leave the site. This is because it directly affects how enjoyable or easy to use the site is. If you don’t make changes, you’ll have even fewer visitors, and your SEO ranking will drop, making it harder to attract new visitors. Frustration will build among those who do stay on your site.

Managed WordPress hosts can help you speed up your website a lot. We can highly recommend:

  • Kinsta – starts at $30 / month, 1 WordPress install, up to 20,000 visits / month
  • Flywheel – starts at $13 / month, 1 WordPress install, up to 5,000 visits / month
  • WPEngine – starts at $22.50 / month, 1 WordPress install, up to 25,000 visits / month

Both of these hosts will take care of the necessary SEO settings on their end, so you won’t even have to look under the hood. These tools can be used to perform basic speed tests on your site.

This post provides additional tips and tactics on how to speed up your WordPress site.

5. Set your categories and tags correctly

Categories and tags are used by WordPress to help you organize the content on your blog. The general idea with categories and tags is to:

  • use categories to group your posts under a common topic
  • use tags to single out individual aspects or sub-topics of your posts

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 blog posts:

  • “Spanish Paella Recipe” – category: recipes, tags: dinner, rice, spanish
  • “How to Make Scrambled Eggs” – category: recipes, tags: breakfast, eggs
  • “How to Pair Wine With Food” – category: drink, tags: wine

That’s just an example, but you get the idea. Categories are more general than tags and can be thought of as being one level above them.

This way of organizing content has the main SEO benefit of creating separate archive pages for your categories and tags. If you have a well-organized category and tag structure, the automatically generated category and tag archive pages will be valuable resources in and of themselves.

You can see an example of this by going to the WordPress tutorials category on this blog.

6. Use an SEO plugin

Yoast SEO is a great option for optimizing your WordPress site for search engines. There are other good choices out there as well, so feel free to explore your options. It is continuously updated to keep up with changes in search engine algorithms, and contains all the information you’ll need to make your site optimized for search engines, effectively taking care of all your essential SEO settings.

Yoast is easy to use and doesn’t require any complicated setup. For the most part, you’re good with factory settings.

Although it may only take a few minutes to fine tune some things, it can be beneficial. 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:

Navigate to SEO → Search Appearance and explore the various tabs. Start with Content Types:

Enable all options for both your posts and pages. Next, Media. Just one thing there:

Redirect attachment URLs to the attachments themselves. Next tab, Taxonomies. You can control how your category and tag listings appear on your WordPress blog.

If your blog has a lot of categories and tags, it’s a good idea to show them in search results.

If you have a small number of categories or only one category, you can deactivate it from search. Duplicate content is an important issue to avoid for the SEO of your WordPress blog.

Next tab, Archives.

WordPress also creates separate archives for author accounts and sets up date-based archives in addition to your categories and tags. For single-author blogs, disable the author archives. It’s up to you whether or not to disable the date archives, but many people recommend disabling them.

This sums up your essential SEO settings inside Yoast.

7. Image optimization on WordPress

Images are an important part of any post, but many people overlook the importance of optimizing them. If you’re using WordPress, you can add alt-text, caption, and description to your images. I suggest you take advantage of this feature.

8. Google author profile on WordPress

If you are not using Google+ yet, you are already falling behind. Waste no more time and start using it. If you use Google, you can choose to have your profile picture appear next to articles or other writings you have published.

You can read more about it on Google. If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, you can go to your profile and add the link to your Google+ page with the ?rel=author tag.

By adding a ?rel=author tag to the backlink of your Google+ profile on your author bio, you can manually add it on WP Admin >> Users >> Your Profile. Look for the Biographical Info under About Yourself. Add in a short description about yourself along with something like:

You may find that WordPress strips out ?rel=author from the link. To fix this, you can install the HTML in Author Bio plugin.

In order to complete this task, you must add a link from your Google+ profile back to this site. In the “Contributor To” section of your Google+ profile, add a link to your website.

9. Schema.org microdata on WordPress

You’ve probably noticed the Rich Snippet data that Google is now using in search results.

If you want to make your posts more visible in the search engine results pages, you can use the Schema Creator plugin by Raven to add rich snippet data. They support the following markup

  1. Person
  2. Product
  3. Even
  4. Organization
  5. Movie
  6. Book
  7. Review
  8. Recipe

Hopefully, more markup gets added in to that soon. This plugin is an easy way to add Schema.org markup to your WordPress site, unless you want to add it to your WordPress installation’s core theme.

10. Webmasters tools and analytics

This powerful tool allows website owners to track their website’s traffic and activity. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that website owners can use to track their website’s traffic and activity. Both Google and Bing offers feature packed Webmasters tools.

I strongly recommend that you have other options to track this data on your site as soon as possible if you don’t have any. You can use the Yoast plugin to set up both of the Webmaster tools we talked about earlier.

Yoast provides another plugin for Analytics that makes it easy to track your site.

Here are some simple tips to get your WordPress site to rank well in the search engine results pages. I hope you find this article useful. It’s my first one here at SEJ.

I recommend reading Dan from Evolvingseo’s article on SEOmoz for more excellent WordPress SEO advice. If you have questions or comments about the article, please use the comments section below, and I promise to answer them.

Conclusion

WordPress is an amazing publishing platform with an strong community that supports it.
 
For the uninitiated, WordPress is an open source blogging platform which can also function as a content management system (CMS) / eCommerce site (personally I would not recommend you look at WordPress as an e-commerce solution), news site, and what not.
 
When you see that sites like these have trusted to use WordPress, then you know that it has to be an exceptional product.
About the Author Brian Richards

See Brian's Amazon Author Central profile at https://amazon.com/author/brianrichards

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