When it comes to publishing tools, WordPress is most likely on top of the food chain. Its simplicity and ease-of-use is especially favored by publishers and its wide community support by developers makes it particularly attractive for plug-in development. WordPress is also an excellent medium to improve your website’s search engine rankings. The countless number of SEO plugins that have been developed for WordPress are a good start for most people. SEO for WordPress is however slightly different from other platforms. What should you know about WordPress SEO?
When you open a web page from a website running on WordPress, you will notice that the URL is just a number with some symbols. This is usually not very descriptive and WordPress uses it to make it easy to organize your posts and pages. For SEO purposes however, this is not good news. Fortunately, you can change your permalink structure to make it more descriptive of your posts right inside your WordPress dashboard. Navigate to the “Common Settings” section and change the settings from “Default” to “Custom Structure”. Your posts will not only reflect well on search engines, but it will be easy for people to easily link to them.
Search engines like Google take your titles as important ranking factors and thus have a direct impact on your SEO. Its not only search engines that put more weight on your page title, but people scanning results pages will also click on what they consider more relevant, based on the titles they see. Most titles on WordPress blogs and sites follow the syntax: Blog Title > Blog Archive > Blog Title To get people clicking on your posts however, you need to have your titles use the syntax below: Blog Title > Blog Archive > Blog Title
One of the best tools for image optimization in WordPress is the Smush.it plug-in. This tool removes unnecessary bytes form image files without changing their look or visual quality. The plug-in strips an image’s meta data from JPEGs, optimizes JPEG compression, converts certain GIFs to indexed PNGs and strips the unused colors from indexed images. Adding relevant file names and title and alternate text (ALT) definitions to describe the image makes it easy for both search engines and visually-impaired visitors or those accessing your site from a mobile device that strips the images, visually appealing.
An XML sitemap is necessary to help search engines like Google and Bing better index your blog. A sitemap helps crawlers see your entire site structure making it possible to have new content indexed faster every time you push a new post on your site. Plugins like Google XML Sitemaps can help generate a Sitemap and notify the major search engines.
Breadcrumbs are links usually added above the title post and they allow users to easily navigate your site and allow search engines to determine your site structure more easily. Ensure that breadcrumbs link back to your homepage and categories. You can use a WordPress SEO plug-in like the Yoast plug-in to accomplish this.
Others Ways you can Optimize
There are other things you can do to further improve your search engine rankings. These include cleaning up your code, preventing indexing of irrelevant pages on your site, pagination and linking to related posts on your site. There is a lot you can do when it comes to WordPress SEO, but remember that creating great and compelling content should always take priority.