The Complete SEO Guide for your WordPress Website

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Complete SEO Guide for your WordPress Website

WordPress is commonly quoted as the best blogging platform. One of the primary reasons is this common assumption – You shift your website to WordPress, and in a flash, your site will start showing in Google’s top search results.

Why?

This magic happens because “WordPress is SEO friendly!”

Well, first and foremost, let’s bust this myth that has been floating around the blogging world for quite a long time now.

Downloading WordPress for your website will not turn it into an SEO horse. Then why are these rumours catching fire?

That’s because there is some level of truth in these rumours.

WordPress ranked in the top three of Australia’s highest social media statistics. (Source)

Social Media Statistics for Australia

Source

Gartner quoted WordPress to be “The World’s Most Popular CMS”. This popularity isn’t that surprising considering the fact that 27% of the internet is powered by WordPress (Source)

WordPress does have an advantage when it comes to SEO marketing. All of WordPress tools and techniques are legit, so it provides you with the advantage of avoiding penalties for using black-hat techniques.

When you install WordPress, by default it’s is not SEO friendly. But, a little editing and proper handling can make your WordPress website SEO friendly.

This article is an ultimate guide to learn all the prerequisites to make your WordPress website SEO friendly.

Do you know that Google processes over 40,000 search query every second on an average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide? (source)

Google Search Engine Statistics

source

All these broad statistics collectively state one simple fact,

“If you sit back and wait for your blog to do well, it will certainly take an eternity to stand out in such a crowd.”

WordPress gets 175 million page views per month. To muster these views to your page, smart and hard endeavours need to be put into action.  

Steps mentioned under WordPress Settings and WordPress Tasks will ensure the maximum optimisation of your website.

Settings

The default settings in the article need to be adjusted according to the SEO requirements.

 

  • Visibility Settings

The default settings in WordPress enables you to hide your website from search engines. When your site is ready, you can change these settings to make your site available to search results.

For this, go to

Settings ( in the admin menu ) »  Reading

Search Engine Visibility

Source

» Save Changes

 

  • Permalink Settings

Permalink is an acronym for a permanent link.

You need to create SEO friendly URLs. Such URLs avoid random numbers and use words and phrases where users can guess the content just by looking at the URL.

SEO friendly URLs contain keywords related to the article. Such URLs are easily understandable by both Users and Search Engines.

If you are using an updated version of WordPress (WordPress 4.2), then these settings are already in use by default.

Plain is the least SEO friendly option, and Post name option is the most SEO friendly.

Use SEO friendly permalink structure and improve your chances of getting ranked in the search results.

For this, go to:

Settings  » Permalink Settings

» Select- Post Name

» Save Changes

Permalink Settings

Source

Although, if your website is well established, you should not change your permalink structure as this might cost you all of your social media share counts. Besides this, you may already have a search engine ranking which will be at stake if you change your permalink structure.

Note: It doesn’t matter whether you choose www or HTTP in your site URL. The only thing that might affect your ranking is inconsistency in the URL structure. So, pick an address and stick to it. You can find this option under the general section of settings.

General Settings

Source

  • WordPress SEO Plugin

Apart from WordPress’ built in SEO settings you can always maximise the benefits by using third-party SEO Plugins.

There are many SEO plugins available for WordPress. I have saved you the tiring task of going through all of them to find the best one.

Here are the 3 best plugins for WordPress with their video descriptions.

Choose the one that best suits your needs.

Yoast Plugin

Yoast definitely one of the best free Plugins for WordPress.

Tutorial to setup Yoast Plugin for WordPress

Using Yoast will enable you to undertake the following actions:

  • Add meta values to homepage as well as single post
  • Increase the value to social sharing and social SEO
  • Edit robots.txt and .htaccess
  • Create sitemap.xml file
  • Control indexing of your blog/website

All in One SEO Pack

This name is almost as big as Yoast among top WordPress SEO plugins.

Tutorial to setup All-in-One Plugin for WordPress

Unlike Yoast, All-in-One has all its settings on a single page and is divided into different sections.

Once your All-in-One SEO is set up you can activate some of its features from:

All-in-One SEO » Features Manager Page

Features Manager Page

Source

Include features like social meta and XML sitemap, that’ll allow search engines to crawl the site more intelligently.

For XML sitemap go to

All-in-One SEO » XML Sitemap page

» Check Notify Google and Notify Bing

XML Sitemap

Source

For Social Meta Settings go to

All-in-One SEO » Social Meta Page

» Set Information for your site’s homepage or only check the ‘Use AIOSEO Title and Description’ Box

Home Page Settings

Source

» Upload Image for social media sites to accompany your Shares.

» Scroll and Fill

Social Profile Links

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Besides these, Using All-in-One will enable you to undertake the following actions:

  1. Optimise posts and pages by entering SEO title, description, and keywords for each post.
  2. Optimise your posts and shares on social media platforms.
  3. Help both users and search engines navigate the site with XML Sitemap website content design.

The next one is not exactly a plugin. SEMrush is web tool. Almost all the tasks performed by the plugins mentioned above can be done using SEMrush. At the same time, SEMrush allows the user, the ease of using a tool, away from the complications of a plugin.

SEMrush

This is more of a web based tool than a plugin. SEMrush has all that you need to fill up your scarcity in SEO.

Watch an SEMrush tutorial for beginners

SEMrush enables you to:

  • List all the traffic keywords in your blog is ranking for. All you need to do is click on the “Full Report” option
  • Check keyword position to analyse and balance traffic accordingly
  • Increase your AdSense income, you by using “Keyword CPC”
  • Find details of any website
  • Generate more keyword ideas which lead to more traffic

You can use the analysis reports on SEMrush to:

  1. Prioritise SEO issues and decide what to fix first
  2. Track SEO optimisation progress
  3. Ensure the security of your website with HTTPS checks

You can set up an Audit campaign using SEMrush and conduct an SEO test.

Set up an Audit campaign, and you will be able to:

  • Create titles, meta descriptions, other HTML tags, users and search engines, etc.Detect and erase error pages
  • Fix problems that are blocking your SEO progress!
  • Find duplicate content pages
  • Correct broken images
  • Optimise your internal and external links
  • Add tags

Tasks

 

Categorisation and Tags

Categorisation and Tags are just the WordPress spin-off terms for Taxonomies. These are used to categorise and sort your content. This categorisation makes it easier to discover your blogs, both for the user as well as search engines.

The fundamental difference between categories and tags is based on the broader and narrower classification type that they provide.

Since categories are the broader way of grouping, you can use these in a more generic manner. Further, sub-categories can be provided to ease the usability through grouping.

Categories define the type of your blog and their hierarchical structure allows sub-grouping.

Tags, as mentioned above, are the narrower version of categories. These are post specific and do not allow a hierarchical structure as in categories.

However, even while using categories, it is important to be careful of the complexity. If your categorisation is too complex, you’ll defeat the whole purpose of adding tags and categories.

Meta Description

Google has itself claimed to not always use meta descriptions in its search algorithm. But meta description effects click-through which is a criterion in search algorithms.

It’s worth noting that while accurate meta descriptions can improve clickthrough, they won’t affect your ranking within search results.” – Google Blog

Meta description helps to improve user behaviour in favour of getting more clicks.This improvement is essential because click-through-rate (CTR) is a part of search engine algorithm. Some blogs even go to the extent of claiming meta description to be the ‘most’ important feature for improving CTR.

Now, that we know Google doesn’t use meta descriptions in its algorithm we can rule out keyword research for meta-description. We just need to know how to write the best meta description for our blog.

Here is an example:

Example of Meta Description

Source

Read on to know more about meta-description:

Let them know

Meta descriptions are supposed to be a guiding star for the readers. Before they click on your blog link, they need to know that it is something they are interested in. Let it be a basic synopsis, a hint of the crux of your blog. It is important to be descriptive even in that small space.

CTA

While a meta description with direct Call-To-Action may be a turn-off, don’t forget to tug a bit. Indirect CTA may improve the click-through-rate. So, don’t be afraid of using persuasive language in your meta description.

Let them be Curious

The first point in this list emphasises the need to be descriptive in your meta tag. This point is meant to put a limit to that. While you describe the blog in your meta description, it should not give away everything.

A meta description should tell enough so that the reader knows what the blog is all about. At the same time, you should make sure that a meta description doesn’t kill the curiosity factor. After reading your meta description, readers should be curious to know what’s your blog is all about.

Length

The length of a perfect meta description tag should be less than 159 characters.

Keyword Research

The keyword is necessary for bringing the right kind of traffic to your website. It is important that you understand your website before anyone else does. Just stuffing random keywords may bring you leads by chance. But the right kind of traffic can only be delivered to your site with relevant keywords.

The keyword research is the struggle to find the right keyword which also comes with less competition.

Google Keyword Planner and Moz’s Keyword Explorer

These are free tools that you can use for your keyword research.

You need to have a Google AdWords account for using Google Keyword Planner.

Here is a detailed instruction by Google on how you can create a Google AdWords account.

You need to enter the target keyword on the home page of Google Keyword Planner.

Keyword Research

Source

Fill in the columns and search for the perfect keyword. A keyword with low competition is usually preferred. But if a blog is supposed to be a long shot you can go for that high-on-competition. This will take time before your keyword ranking shows in a right spot.

Types of Searches

Illustrated difference between Broad search, Exact search and phrase search. Source

There are a few parts of Google Keyword Planner that are very effective. These are:

Search Type

This type is the broad, exact or phrase search type.

Exact Match Keyword, as the name suggests, attracts traffic for short tail keyword. Here you can find exact matches for the keyword that you enter.

Broad Match Keyword, is most useful for bloggers as it doesn’t limit traffic to a single keyword. Here you can find ‘related’ matches as well. In this way, a much broader action takes place while avoiding irrelevant results.

Phrase Match Keyword is for collecting traffic with an exact ‘phrase’. Instead of merely looking for words, here entire phrases can be look up in searches.

Enter your product and services

The idea behind this option is to find a keyword that has good traffic but low competition.

Advanced Option Filter

You can further categorise your keyword filter in this option. With options like country search, Language search, target device, etc. this feature adds more refined filters to your search.

Search Engine Ranking is important for the evolution of your business. WordPress provides all the necessary tools and plugins to take out the best of SEO in your favour.

Now, there is no excuse to hold you back!

 

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