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SEO in WordPress – [Instruction Manual]

SEO in WordPress – [Instruction Manual]

Wordpress SEO, SEO WordPress, SEO for WordPress
WordPress SEO, SEO WordPress, SEO for WordPress

Introduction

In this blog we will concentrate spefically on the on page SEO of WordPress sites, highlighting the problems and working through the numerous fixes. At the end your WordPress website should be well optimized, without being over optimized.

1. Duplicated content

One of the main considerations when working on A WordPress website is duplicated content. For example every post you create will also be posted on several other webpages within the site. Whether that post is shown in its entirety on all these pages, or as a shorter excerpt, is often controlled by the site’s theme. Some themes will let you choose, whereas others will not.

What does this mean for SEO?

When a post is made on a WordPress site, it may be published in full on all of the following at the same time:

  • Homepage
  • Post page: Every post is given its own web page.
  • Category page: Posts are assigned categories, and the category pages show all posts in that particular category.
  • Date archive pages: These are pages that show all the posts made on a given date.
  • Tag pages: Tag pages are another way of organizing your content. You can assign several words or phrases to each post, and for every word of phrase, a tag page is created. These tag pages show all posts that have been tagged with the specific word. Therefore if you used a tag blue widget on five posts, the blue widget tag page will show all five posts.
  • Author page: This an archive showing all of the posts made by a particular author.
  • Multiple RSS feeds.

That is seven areas where the exact same post show up.

1.Wordpress categories & tags

If you assign just one category to a post and one tag phrase, that means each post could appear on seven areas on the site at the same time. While I recommended you only assign a single post to just one category, tags are different. If you use tags, I’d recommeded 3-5 per post. That would take the count up to 10-12 pages showing identical content. This type of duplicated content is bad. So the general rule that I recommend is to only include include the full post on one web page on your site. On any other page where that post appears, you should be using excerpts, or in some cases just the title. Having a high level of control is vital to removing this type of duplication, and the process begins by choosing a good template. The template should allow you to specify what you want to be posted on each of those six areas of potential duplication.

2. WordPress settings menu

The top two items in the general setting are site title and tagline. The site title and the tagline entered here will be displayed at the top of every page on your site. You can replace this with a logo image if you want, but how to do that will depend on the theme you are using. Each theme will have slightly different instructions for adding a logo and logo dimensions will also be theme specific. Domn’t be tempted to stuff keywords into the sitename or tagline fields. Your sitename will most probably be based on your domain name, and the tagline should be a short sentence specifying your site’s goal, philosphy or slogan.

WordPress discussions settings

The discussion settings refer to the commenting system built into WordPress. Google likes to see visitor interaction on a website, so this is an important part of your WordPress SEO. You will want to keep the comments enabled. The most important setting is the third one. It tells WordPress to allow visitors to comment on your posts. This is what we want – visitor participation.

3. WordPress plug-ins

3.1 Yoast SEO

This a comprehensive SEO plug-in that will create a self updating sitemap and allow us final control over the SEO of the site.

3.2 W3 Total Cache

A caching plug-in is essential because it speeds up your website. Page load speed is an important part of SEO. Google likes fast loading pages and once we have this plugin configured, your website should load several times faster than before.

3.3 Dynamic sidebar widgets

This allows you to create criteria for the display of our widgets. If you want a widget to only appear within a certain category of posts, you can do that.

3.4 Smush – Compress, Image Optimizer

Optimize your images, turn on lazy load, resize, compress and improve your Google Page Speed with the incredibly powerful and 100% free.

3.5 SEO Press

Boost your SEO with SEOPress, a simple, fast and powerful SEO plugin for WordPress. No ads, no footprints, no anonymous data sent, white label.

3.6 Keeping WordPress & Plug-ins up to date

You must always keep WordPress and plug-ins up to date. Hackers typically look for exploits in WordPress, so updates fix any known problems. Thus keeping your website protected.

4. Menu & Site Navigation in WordPress

Visitors like a site with good navigation and Google likes a site that keeps its visitors happy. Of course, there is more to it than that. Good navigation on a site will help the search engines find, and even categorize your content.

On a website, there are various places where navigation can appear. These include:

  • A menu above the site logo
  • Menu below the site logo
  • A search box in the same area as the site logo, often to the right
  • Breadcrumb navigation underneath the page header, but above the web page opening header
  • Backlinks to other pages within the body of the content, as in context links
  • After the content of the page, maybe as a related articles or you may also be interested in these types of link lists
  • Menu in the left and or right sidebar
  • A menu in the page footer

Recommended navigation in WordPress

I suggest that you have the following four navigation features:

  1. Legal menu: Either above or below the site logo or in the footer, where there are links to your legal pages. That’s the Contact, Privacy, Disclaimers, and so forth. These links should be nofollowed, and the actual legal pages should be set to no index, follow and no archive. This menu should also have a do follow link to the About Us Page, which is often one of the most visited pages on a website.
  2. Search box: If your WordPress theme supports a search box in the header area, you might want it there. However, I prefer a search box at the top of the sidebar.
  3. Main navigation menu: In the logo area or sidebar, that links to the main sections of your website. (the main categories and or most important pages.
  4. Sidebar dynamic menus: Each category or main section of your website should have a different navigation menu in the sidebar. Google likes dynamic menus that change dpeneding on where a visitor is.

5. Comment system relevant for SEO in WordPress

The comment systems and how to integrate them into your site is important for SEO in WordPress. It is yet often an over looked piece of the on site SEO puzzle. The comments on your site are very important. A lot of comments tell visitors that your site is busy. If it is busy, then it is likely to be trusted by more people. If it is trusted, it will do better in Google too.

However, all of this is dependent on having good quality comments. Comments need to add to the conversation that has gone before them. Put more specifically do the comments add to the original article, either by way of an opinion, additional information or a question? Another good type of comment is when a visitor replies to someone else’s remarks, but again, only if those replies are adding to the conversation. These are the types of comments you need to try and get on your website.

6. WordPress in SEO – site wide considerations

There are a couple of things that you should be implementing on a site wide scale.

6.1 No follow links

This is a concern for all posts and pages on your entire website. The no follow tag can be added to any link to stop the search engines from following it. It is a good idea to nofollow links on your site that you don’t want to waste link juice on. These include the legal pages and all affiliate links. When you are writing content that links to another authority website, do not add nofollow. We want Google to know we endorse these other credible sites by leaving the nofollow off the link.

6.2 Getting socials on your website

It is good idea to include ways for your visitors to follow you and share your content with their followers. Google does pay attention to social shares.

6.3 WWW or not www

Some websites use the www. prefix and others don’t. Google treats these as different urls. If you have a site that uses subdomains, then using www. make sense. If your site does not have subdomains, then it doen’t matter whether you choose www or non www.

7. SEO when writing content

The best approach to writing good quality content is to write for your visitor and not the search engines like Google. If you write naturally, and with a sound knowledge of the topic, you will automatically include relevant words and phrases into your content anyway, which will help it rank for a whole host of search phrases. By all means include a specific phrase somewhere, such as the title or H1 header, but don’t whatever you do, start stuffing the same phrase in as may places as possible. Google is clever enough now to know what the page is about, even without strategic keyword placements by the webmaster. Concentrate on providing great quality content that will please your visitors and that Google will want to rank highly because it deserves to.

With that in mind, create a compelling headline for your post and don’t try to stuff it with individual keywords or keyword phrases either. Just aim to create quality content.

7.1 SEO checklist for excellent content

  • The title needs to appeal to the searcher
  • Including your primary keywords in the title if you can, but don’t stuff it.
  • Words that appear at the beginning of the title are given more emphasis by Google.
  • Try to minimize the use of stop words.
  • Limit the title to less than 60 characters in length.
  • You can use H1-H6 tags on a webpage.
  • Your web page should contain only one H1 heading.
  • Use H2 and H3 in a hierarchical manner. Split up the article into sections.

8. Images

Alt tags help visually impaired visitors to your website. Create good, accurate Alt tags for your images. Don’t try to stuff keywords into these tags. Give images a descriptive name that might contain a keyword phrase. Optimize your images before you upload them.

9. WordPress SEO plugins – Yoast

9.1 Features

The next features will be available:

  • SEO analysis
  • Readability analysis
  • Cornerstone content
  • Tekst link counter
  • XML sitemaps
  • Ryte Integration
  • Admin bar Menu
  • Security

The XML sitemap option takes care of indexing your website. This is really important for excellent SEO rankings.

9.2 SEO analysis – most important SEO tips

  • Use a keyword in subheadings
  • SEO title needs to be about 60 characters
  • Outgoing links are important (follow and no follow links)
  • You need internal links for indexing your website properly.
  • Don’t use a keyword more than once.
  • Images need an Alt tag.
  • Longer articles rank higher in Google.

10. Schema structured data

Structured data is like a dictionary for search engines like Google or Bing. By describing your content in code, you can make it clear what that particular piece of content is about. Also a FAQ or how-to content are relevant functionalities for SEO In WordPress, For instance, you could let search engines know about this. This is how, search engines get a better understanding of your website. In return, they can use this to help your site get rich results.

Structured data in Yoast SEO

It used to be difficult to add structured data to your site, but with structured data in Yoast SEO, we set out to make it easy. Today, we generate the code search engines need to make sense of your site and its connections automatically. You only need to make a couple of choices in SEO > Search Appearance. Select Person if your site is a personal site or Organization if it is a business or professional site.

11. Pagespeed

Measuring the speed of your site can be confusing. Different tools give different scores and results, and sometimes even give conflicting information. Use this guide to help you on how to measure your speed. 

SEO & Content Marketing Blogs

Hire a SEO specialist or Content Marketing expert

Herman Geertsema is the owner of Connect your World based in The Hague, The Netherlands. He is an experienced SEO consultant & Content Marketing expert. Do you have a question about SEO in WordPress? or do you want to hire me as a SEO expert? Surf to my contact page and call or e-mail me.

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Mijn naam is Herman Geertsema. Ik ben de eigenaar van SEO & Content Marketing Bureau Connect your World uit Den Haag. Wij voeren projecten uit in de regio Den Haag, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht & Breda. Hoe kom ik bovenaan in Google is een vraag die ik kan beantwoorden. Gespecialiseerd in lokale SEO, linkbuilding, content marketing & Google Ads.

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