Over 54 million websites around the world use the WordPress platform, and 100,000 new WordPress sites are created every day. If you’ve had experience using WordPress, you can very easily see why it’s the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world.
WordPress revolutionised the Internet by simplifying the way people designed and managed websites. When combined with scripts like Fantastico, all it takes to get a website up and running is a few clicks.
Out of the box, however, WordPress isn’t as SEO friendly as it could be. Here are a few tips to improve the SEO capabilities of your WordPress website.
Tweaking WordPress Options
Under Settings > Permalinks, you’ll want to select the Post Name option. If you’re planning on structuring your website so that your Category Pages are important, use the Custom Structure with:
This improves the overall URL structure of the website. If you plan to do a category custom structure, you’ll need your /category/ page to have unique content.
You can change the Home Page page title under Settings > General, in the Site Title field. By default, WordPress uses the Blog Post title as the Page Title.
Must Have Plugins
This great plugin will give you the option to customise every page title and Meta description, automatically create and update an XML Sitemap, optimise your images, Robots.txt configuration, breadcrumbs and much more. Get it!
Google Analytics is a must have for any website, providing you with amazing insights on how people are accessing and interacting with your website. Sign up to Analytics and install “Yoast’s Analytics for WordPress” plugin.
A nice plugin that automatically finds your most popular posts, based on views. I use this plugin to show posts on the home page to link to my most popular pages, keeping them topped up with delicious link juice.
This plugin will gather a list of related posts based on tags. I use this one at the end of a post to keep the reader on the website and also to distribute link juice through internally linking to other pages.
See Paula’s awesome post, 5 Must Have Plugins, for more great options.
SEO Friendly Frameworks
WordPress gives you the option to install a framework, also known as a parent theme. Frameworks improve the overall functionality of WordPress by giving you more options in the back end. Child themes work off of the frameworks to create the look and feel of a website. In short, frameworks are for better functionality between webmaster and website, whilst child themes improve interaction between audience and website. If you’re uncomfortable coding in HTML, CSS and PHP, you’ll definitely want to get a theme that is built on a framework of some sort. Without a framework, you’ll find that you’ll need to change the code of a theme to get the functionality that you want. Here are the best SEO frameworks available at the moment. Choose one of these frameworks before deciding on a child theme.
The most popular framework and for good reasons. It comes with amazing customisation and makes optimising your site simple. All the options you want out of WordPress are just readily available with Thesis, like including unique content on Category and Tag pages.
Another amazing framework that allows for SEO customisation. Easily lets you change meta data and robots meta functions.
Amazingly awesome designs for such a low price. You get access to a whole range of great looking themes that come semi-SEO ready. You’ll have to tweak the settings but the great thing is that its quick and easy to find all the SEO options under the Theme Settings.
Bringing It All Together
Here’s a simple checklist to make your fresh WordPress install as SEO friendly as possible.
- Install WordPress.
- Install either the Thesis, Genesis or Elegant Themes frameworks.
- Choose a fabulous looking child theme and install.
- Set up your permalinks to show Post Names.
- Install Yoast’s WordPress Plugin and configure your home page page title and Meta description
- Install Google Analytics for WordPress plugin and install your tracking code.
You can configure WordPress further for SEO purposes, but these 6 steps will get you on your feet ASAP.
Are there any other configurations, themes or plugins you like to use with WordPress? Sharing is caring – let me know in the comments.