Whether you’re launching a new blog site or managing a complex business website, your success depends on traffic – a steady stream of visitors that engage with the content you’re offering. To make that happen, search engine optimization, or SEO, is crucial for attracting readers, clients, and customers to your site, but making a new WordPress site as searchable as possible can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re not familiar with site development and SEO strategies. But with options ranging from the Settings menu on your site’s Admin dashboard, to free and premium plugins that handle all essential SEO functions, WordPress offers an array of easy to use tools for improving a site’s searchability. Below are some of our favorite tips for improving the SEO of your WordPress website.
SEO Is for Every Site
Leading search engines, such as Google and Bing operate on a system of complex algorithms that help to determine what makes a site worthy of ranking high on search pages. These systems are constantly changing, but the core elements of Search Engine Optimization remain the same: relevant keywords, quality links, and the amount of complex, useful content on the site. As the digital world revolves, new criteria are also being added. For example, Google now factors a site’s mobile responsiveness into its ranking criteria, and to promote quality content, it ranks longer articles and information-rich posts higher than shorter content.
Though it is not given to most website owners to know all aspects of search engine ranking systems, any WordPress site can be thoroughly optimized on every level for maximum search visibility. Optimizing SEO on WordPress is really quite simple once you understand the basic principles of search engine optimization. From your site’s title and permalinks to the content of its posts, pages and media, it’s possible to make any WordPress site more visible in organic searches with tools available from WordPress itself, even if you aren’t an expert in SEO or web development.
WordPress Settings Support SEO
WordPress was developed as a platform for online publishing, and that means it is inherently search friendly, with a substantial set of built-in, basic SEO tools that anyone can use to improve a site’s searchability on every level. From the user-friendly Settings panel in the site’s Admin dashboard, you can use the many available customization options to add elements that enhance searchability and boost its search engine rankings.
Keyword Rich Site Titles and Taglines
Every part of your site can play a role in boosting your search visibility, and that starts with the site’s name. When you install a new WordPress theme, its Appearance tab offers the option to set the title and tagline, both of which are searchable. Adding keywords wherever possible in these two lines can help make your site more search friendly – especially if your domain name itself doesn’t actually contain keywords or a description of your site.
Every page and post on your site has its own unique URL, but the default WordPress format is to simply assign a set of numbers to each piece of content. Adding keywords to these permalinks can help to make individual pages searchable. From the Settings tab in your dashboard, select Permalinks and choose a structure from the available options that include elements of your post and page titles – which should also contain keywords relevant for your niche.
Quality links help to boost search rankings, and this includes internal links, as well as backlinks from external sites that reference your site and its contents. For every post or page you create, add links within the content to other pages or posts on the site, such as archived posts or pages that add more information.
Optimizing Content with Keywords
Every bit of content on your site, from bios and About pages to posts, pages and media, offer opportunities for SEO. Including keywords – especially “long tail,” or keyword phrases – in all kinds of content as well as titles, tags, and descriptions can help to increase visibility naturally in organic searches.
Optimizing Media Data
Images and media can also be optimized for SEO by adding keyword rich titles, captions, and “alt,” text from your site’s media management tools. Customizing these settings whenever an image is added, or video or audio is embedded on the site can add more opportunities for increasing a site’s searchability.
SEO Plugins: A Complete Solution
WordPress itself offers many ways to optimize a site for search, but that can be a time-consuming process. A number of SEO plugins offer comprehensive, advanced SEO management for every part of your site, with both free and premium versions of SEO plugin options, like All in One SEO Pack, JetPack, and Yoast, available from the WordPress plugin directory and third-party developers from all over the world.
Yoast is one of the most popular WordPress SEO plugins, with tools to make sure that every part of your site is SEO friendly. The free version of this SEO plugin can be installed from the WordPress plugin directory, and it adds customizable SEO settings for all the content on your site to your WordPress dashboard.
Yoast SEO includes tools for setting keyword rich meta description on posts and pages, and analyzes each piece of content for the keywords you list. Well-optimized content gets a green light, poor content gets red, and a yellow light means that the piece needs improvement. Yoast and similar plugins also offer premium versions with more features that relate to specific needs, such as Yoast’s Local SEO extension, which tracks your site’s visibility in local area searches, and Video SEO, which specifically optimizes video content. With extensions like these, SEO plugins can save you time and effort, and ensure that all parts of your site are optimized.
WordPress powers nearly a third of the world’s websites, and it is designed to follow SEO best practices. From the tools available within every site’s dashboard to the many plugins that support site-wide search engine optimization, WordPress was made with SEO in mind.
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