We all know that it is easy to create a website using WordPress. Nearly 27% of the websites are built using WordPress. So if you are also planning to build your own website using WordPress I recommend you to follow the guide to make your site SEO friendly.
SEO stands for search engine optimization.
Read about SEO: What is SEO?
I personally use these tactics my self on my own and clients websites. So there is no doubt that you can adapt them to your website. Let’s get started…
Take a look at the website
Before starting any action on the website take a closer look at the site and browse through it. So that you’ll get an idea where to optimize. Look for the things like “How titles and meta descriptions are organized”, “How fast the site is loading?”, “Permalink structure” and so on…
What permalink structure you are using?
Permalinks are the structure of the URL’s of every page on your website. In order to see them just open any blog post on your website and you’ll find it at the top, as shown in the image. If you want to change this structure just log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to settings. In the settings, you’ll find permalinks. Here you’ll find various different formats of link structures for your website.
Plain https://www.searchenginecall.com/?p=123 Plain Day and name https://www.searchenginecall.com/2017/08/08/sample-post/ Month and name https://www.searchenginecall.com/2017/08/sample-post/ Numeric https://www.searchenginecall.com/archives/123 Post name https://www.searchenginecall.com/sample-post/
These are the examples and I mostly prefer to go with last one Post name. Because it is more simple, closer to the domain and more descriptive.
Some other bloggers also recommend putting your category in between the domain and post slug.
Ex: Post name https://www.searchenginecall.com/%category%/sample-post/
It is also good but the only problem with this type of structure is the length of the URL.
Here for category base, you can set your own text instead of default one and same with tag.
Read more: What are the Differences between Categories and Tags.
Check site indexability
Just log in to WordPress dashboard and go to Settings –> and then Reading. Make sure that Search Engine Visibility option is not ticked.
If you enable this option the entire website will be set to no-index by all the search engines.
Install SEO plugin:
Yes, you absolutely must need an SEO plugin for WordPress site. There are some plugins out there, but I highly recommend Yoast SEO plugin. By using this plugin you can set your titles, meta description, category templates, tag templates, Sitemap, Social tags and search console errors and much more. Actually, I’ve written a complete guide to installing and setting up Yoast SEO plugin.
Read Best settings for Yoast SEO plugin.
Yes, WordPress theme matters!
I have seen many website owners are mostly focused on design only. They completely ignore the SEO benefits of choosing the right WordPress theme. It not only applicable to WordPress but also for all other CMS’s like Drupal, Joomla or Magento.
Here I exclusively recommend the Genesis framework along with a child theme. The reason I recommend is that it has built-in SEO functionality and schema.org implemented. To learn more about Schema.org read the following guide.
Read More: What is schema.org?
Some other benefits of using the Genesis theme that:
- It is very lightweight (Loads very fast)
- SEO friendly
- Best in class support.
What plugins should I use?
Here I cannot recommend you to use the particular plugins. Because you might be building a blog or business website. But I’ll give you some recommend you that might help you. Of course, Yoast SEO is must have plugin.
Increase the speed of your site:
For increase the speed of your WordPress site you must install a caching plugin. I recommend WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache or WP Fastest cache. Use any one of these plugins. Use the content delivery network for increasing the loading speed. To know how to configure them read the following guides.
- What is Content Delivery Networks (CDN)
- How to increase the speed of a WordPress site
- WP Super Cache best settings.
- How to configure W3 Total Cache.
- How to setup WP Fastest Cache.
Noe: If your hosting provider gives any specific plugin use only that plugin.
Secure your website
After installing the plugin for caching install a Security plugin. There are so many plugins available in WordPress repository. Most of them available for Free and Premium.
Here are some security plugins I recommend and WordPress security guide.
- How to secure your WordPress website
- BulletProof Security
- Sucuri Security plugin
- iThemes security plugin
- WordFence Security plugin.
The reason I suggesting the plugins for Caching and Security is that Google doesn’t like the sites that are hacked often or slow loading websites.
Social and Schema Plugins:
Install a Social share plugin. So that users can share the content on to their social profiles. I actually have a dedicated article on Schema.org there I listed all the plugins and how schema works for your website.
Read More: WordPress plugins for Schema.org
In order to install the social share buttons, I recommend you to install the Sumome or Add to Any or Digg Digg or WPSSO etc. Use the following guidelines for installing best social sharing buttons on your site.
Read More: Best WordPress social sharing plugins and their features.
Install Table of Contents Plus plugin to create a table of contents on the top of every article. It is more useful for search engines and users to find all the information directly on the top.
These are the plugins I recommend you to install only if it is necessary.
Note: Please don’t install more than 10-15 plugins. Because that affects the loading speed of the site. The more plugins you install the slower the site loads. And also sometimes the plugins may conflict one over the other.
Conclusion: I hope the topics discussed in this article will help you to make your WordPress website SEO friendly. Of course, these not the only ways to optimize your website for search engines. This is just the basic configuration for your site. If you have any particular recommendations or doubts please don’t hesitate to ask using comments.
Here I can recommend you to read some of our best guides to optimize your website for search engines.
- What is SEO?
- Google SEO Ranking Factors