It’s widely known that WordPress is one of the best content management systems when it comes to search engine optimization. In fact, many have joked that Google and Wordpress are very much in love. Matt Cutts, a software engineer at Google, has praised WordPress for being easily crawlable and for solving up to 90% of the mechanics of SEO. If you are already sold on the benefits of WordPress for SEO and use WordPress for your website or blog, you’ll be interested to know that you can tweak Wordpress to further enhance your SERP results.
Most SEO specialists agree that permalinks should contain keywords. This helps your rank better in SERPs. In Wordpress, the default permalink structure contains the postid but the postid is not a SEO-friendly URL structure. Therefore, it’s good practice to change your permalink structure to reflect the post name. URL’s that contain the post name, or even better the category name and post name, are great for SEO. In Wordpress, you’ll find the permalink settings under Settings – Permalinks. Choose custom structure and include the value /%category%/%postname%/.
WWW or non-WWW
Search engines treat www and non-www versions of a page as two distinct pages. To avoid being penalized for duplicate content, you’ll need to ensure that the version you want to show up is properly setup. You can do this under Settings – General Settings. Include the relevant URL in the “Wordpress address (URL)” and “Site Address (URL)” fields.
Install All-In-One SEO Plugin
The All-In-One SEO plugin is a powerful tool that will help you take your SEO to the next level. One of the most important features of this plugin includes optimizing your title and meta description tags. Search engines place more importance on keywords that are placed at the beginning of the page title. Wordpress, by default, creates page titles with the post name at the end. In order to bypass this, you can use All-In-One SEO. The plugin gives you the option of overriding a post title. It also lets you include a fairly lengthy description of your post. Once a page ranks in SERPs, your description will help entice a potential reader to click on your page. This is the text shown below the URL.
The images on your site can have a huge impact on your SEO. To optimize your images properly, you should include descriptive alt tags and file names. Use your relevant keywords in both the image file name and alt tags. Don’t stuff in too many keywords. Your alt text and file names should be sort and descriptive and definitely not a long list of keywords.
Sitemaps keep search engines abreast of changes on your site. They are extremely important for SEO. You can use a Wordpress plugin to generate a XML sitemap for your site. Search engines find it easier to index sites that have sitemaps in place.
You can specify which directories a search engine should and shouldn’t crawl using a robots.txt file. It’s a great way of telling search engines where to find your high-quality content. Search engines look for a robots.txt file before they do anything else on your site. There are Wordpress plugins available to help you generate a robots.txt file and include it in your root folder.
These are just some of the many tweaks you can do to enhance Wordpress and your SEO. Wordpress is powerful right out-of-the-box but these small and effective enhancements will be worth the time and effort to get the best possible results.
Benjamin Sawyer is passionate blogger and SEO strategist. Currently he is content writer for well known SEO New York company.