5 Juicy WordPress SEO Tips for Beginners
WordPress is used to create great-looking websites by most designers, developers, and businesses small and large. But did you know that you can work search engine optimization (SEO) into the site design phase? See if these 5 WordPress SEO tips help you. I’ll bet they will!
Working SEO into WordPress design means you can start heading up the search engine rankings as soon as your site goes live. It also means you could save yourself hard cash if you ever hire a professional SEO services company because they won’t have to do that spade work for you.
So here’s our cut-out-and-keep guide to WordPress SEO. Pay attention and your beautifully crafted website will rise up the search engine results pages (SERPs) charts like a new single from Maroon 5. We understand, too, that a lot of guides out there are pretty technical. They’re not best suited to beginners. So we’re going to strip out the technicalities and give you some good old down home advice. We promise not to make your head hurt!
Used on almost 75m sites, WordPress is the solution most people turn to when they want to make a web site. Why is that? It’s because the Web design platform is like a one-stop shop for bloggers or site designers. It’s relatively simple to create great-looking websites without being a geek. WP has a lot of templates and shortcuts, too, and these save you time.
Yes, you’re right: it’s optimized already. WordPress ensures that their software is largely Google-friendly. When you design a site on the platform, you’ll get no black marks from search engines. However, it’s not all that optimized in its basic version, so you’re going to need to tweak some areas a little to get the most juice out of your web design. So, here are our top 5 recommendations for beginners when you first set up your website.
WordPress SEO Tips
- Check all your settings, and sort out your permalinks
When you first install WordPress, it will most likely have a whole bunch of default settings that you’ll need to change if you’re going to make your site or blog rank where it should.
First up, you’ll have to sort out your permalinks. These are what they sound like: permanent links to the posts or elements of your site that will not change over time. If you have a permalink to a blog post, even when you update or revise the post, the permalink will not change. This is important in SEO, for pretty obvious reasons.
However, the default permalink in WordPress is: https://www.seorw.com/?p=123. Notice the p=123? WordPress numbers posts rather than using words that describe it…definitely not all that sexy when it comes to SEO. So how do you change it, and to what? Harsh Agrawal at Shout Me Loud reckons the best form of permalink is as follows, and I agree:
This format uses he title of your post ather than a random umber. These permalinks aren’t too long (as long as you don’t make the title too long), and can contain keywords that assist SEO. For example, the post you’re reading right now might be called: https://www.seorw.com/beginners-wordpress-seo-tips.html. This will help Google or any other search engine because you’ve got key words in the actual permalink, rather than merely a number assigned to that particular post. Remember, a keyword is NOT something you jam-pack throughout your article. Keywords are naturally sprinkled in the text, title, and URL (using permalinks).
Here’s the legendary Google webmeister Matt Cutts (whose posts have permalinks of exactly the kind I’m recommending) explaining how the structure of your URL affects PageRank: https://youtu.be/UbimY0exQIA.
‘OMG!’ you’re exclaiming. ‘I’m a newbie on WordPress, How do I do all that?‘
Simply go to ‘settings’ in the left-side menu bar when logged in to the wp-admin section of your website, then select ‘permalink’. You’ll see a range of options with the silly WordPress default setting at the top. Simply click on ‘Post name’ and you’re good to go.
Other settings that you need to get right include setting your time zone (‘settings’, ‘general’) and ensuring that there’s an address dedicated to administration of your site in the ‘email address’ field. Make sure you’ve checked the ‘anyone can register’ box if your site is going to have multiple authors. If you do, you’ll have to watch out for spam registrations, but there are plenty of plug-ins to deal with these.
- Titles and meta-descriptions
These are crucial for SEO. Page titles are the blue links that appear at the top of Google entries, while the meta-descriptions appear, usually with a date at the start, below the site URL.
Not setting these cleverly will seriously harm your SEO health. So almost as soon as you’re into WordPress you’ll find you need a plug-in to enable you to edit titles and meta-descriptions. Probably the most popular out there is Yoast’s, but there are lots of others, and they’re pretty simple to use. My favorite, for example, is Squirrly. What ever you use should have a ‘snippet editor’ to enable you to see how your post will look in Google. A decent plug-in will allow you to set templates for your titles and meta-descriptions, too.
Craft these carefully and make sure they sum up both what the post is about and also include the keywords you’d like to rank for. Oh, and make them intelligible. Repeating your keyword 50 times in your meta-description will not just make you look like a dork, it’ll harm rather than help your PageRank.
- Speed and compression
These days, with mobile users having the attention span of protozoa, you’ll need to ensure that the content on your site loads as quickly as possible. Laggy load speed on pictures or video will affect your PageRank as well as prompt visitors to ‘bounce’ off your site.
Load speeds are something to watch over time. As you add themes, pages, and plug-ins to your WordPress database, load speeds will slow down. However, as with so many other things related to WordPress and SEO, there’s a fix.
Slow load speeds could be because you’ve a poor hosting service, so check that out. But optimizing images and video for quick loading will definitely help your SEO. Plug-ins such as W3 Total Cache, will help your site achieve superfast image load speeds that’ll definitely up your rank.
Look for advanced features such as optimized progressive rendering and browser caching that allow your pages to be rendered and interacted with by visitors within a few seconds. Your target for load speeds is well under three seconds. The most common tool used to test load speeds is Pingdom.
- Keep it neat and streamlined
What else will help load speeds and raise your PageRank? Well, one way is to keep an eye on your plug-ins. Don’t just let them stack up to the ceiling. Only install those you really want and need. Fewer plug-ins means faster load speeds. Another canny tip is keeping your posts organized by deleting old versions from your database which have been superseded by updates. Keeping your database clean and tidy will allow your pages to load quicker and get you rising up the search engine rankings.
Also, be careful about adding too many advertisements on your site, especially if they’re for affiliate programs or advertising networks. Every one you put on your site can dramatically increase the load time for your site. If you want to learn more about this, check out this great article from Ryan Sullivan of WP Site Care.
Keeping things neat and tidy also includes sorting out your ‘replytocom’. I haven’t got the space to go into the detail of that here, but a number of tutorials on the Web will show you what to do.
- Sort out your ping list
WordPress has default ping services, but you’ll need add at least a couple more. Pinging lets search engines know that you’ve posted, or edited or updated a post by sending them a wee reminder each time you do. Then the search engines send their bot to come and have another crawl of your site, thus updating the site data held by search engine servers.
There’s huge debate about whether you should have just a few ping services or a bunch of the. This article explains the debate in detail. For me, I use just two services, http://rpc.pingomatic.com/ and http://rpc.twingly.com . But then, I’m also quite conservative when it comes to SEO. I don’t want to do anything that might anger Google!
To add pings, get into the WordPress dashboard and click on ‘settings’, then ‘writing’. Scroll down to ‘update services’ and simply paste in whatever ping list you’d like.
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