WordPress SEO Tasks: 5 Things You Always Forget
Hope, you’re well aware of WordPress SEO for WordPress blog and doing all on-page optimization. This post is not about headings, keyword density, alt tags and so on, but about WordPress SEO Settings that you can configure and forget to continue the benefits.
WordPress is well praised for its SEO friendliness. That’s true. But most of the newbies mistake to take it as “out of the box” ready, which is far from the truth! Here are the 5 most important tasks you need to nudge to the core software so that search engines like Google can find your blog well behaved!
You are really missing something great if your SEO process reaches only up to:
- Injecting your title and description with keywords,
- Achieve good keyword density,
- Inserting images with alt text having your keywords,
- Well anchored outgoing links and
- Using primary keywords in different levels of headings
Then, what’s the missing piece? Is there anything else to improve WordPress SEO?
WordPress SEO Tips
Okay, let me discuss about the 5 important WordPress SEO tasks you should care in addition to those on-page optimizations. Make your blog more friendly!
I am pointing out the tasks and offering straightforward process to each one.
1. Well Planned Categories and Relevant Tags Boosts WordPress SEO
Categories and tags are probably the best mechanism in WordPress. If used properly, they can add up to your SEO efforts.
Because Google cares keywords in URL, many bloggers completely removed categories from their permalink structure and the intention was to pull the targeted keywords to the possible left; and after “the duplicate content alarm“, displaying tags in blogs crumbled away. For many new bloggers, today, the categories and tags appear redundant, which is truly a misconception.
Categories and tags were devised to allow easy navigation of blogs. They saved the older posts from decaying that are buried deep down in blog stream. Categories and tags just made the posts discoverable and it’s not wise to ignore their use yet.
I’ve made this crime for my couple of blogs. I wish I’d planned properly at that time. Once you are away, it is virtually impossible to return to and redo the things. I can’t change the permalink structures anymore (can’t risk the URLs already indexed) nor can I re-organize the tags. However, for my next project, I’ll make better use of them rather than discarding in bin.
What is the better solution?
Identify your primary keywords when you are designing your blog. Decide your categories and include keywords in them at very first stage. Choose the tags that best describes the topic of your post while writing.
AND include categories in your permalink structure!
If you noticed the recent search results, you must be already aware that archive pages are easily ranked over the posts pages. Why to miss this WordPress SEO opportunity by not passing due juice to category archives?
Categories works like table of contents for your readers (and the beloved spiders too!) while tags serve the purpose of indexes. Don’t you think they are as important in blogs today as they were in printed books?
2. Existence of Sitemaps in WordPress SEO
I just wonder why WordPress did not offered this feature in it’s ‘out of the box’ installation! There should be no argument against sitemaps.
You can have a sitemap for search engines (XML Sitemap) and another (HTML sitemap) for your readers.
Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover ~Google
Creating XML sitemaps are not difficult, but most newbies simply forget it because it is not already there. To generate and publish sitemaps automatically, all you need is a light and robust plugin.
Google XML Sitemap is one of the popular free plugin to get the work done. I’ve used it for some of my blogs. Most recommended!
Instead, if you have WordPress SEO plugin like WP SEO by Yoast, it has XML sitemap generation component in it. You won’t need a separate plugin.
Webmasters will benefit from sitemap submission, and in no case will you be penalized for it. ~Google
Now, the another kind of sitemap – the sitemap for readers. It may not be directly related to SEO, but it really comforts your readers to find the information they are looking for when your blog is not intuitively organized. It is always a good idea to guide them through your blog. It helps to reduce bounce rate and make your visitors happy, which in turn will improve your WordPress SEO score!
3. Forgotten Metadata Hinders WordPress SEO
Though you don’t have total control over how your posts are listed in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), you can help search engines to pick the better and more relevant data from your pages to display in SERPs. Metadata are the tools to communicate with crawlers and search engines.
When I first jumped to WordPress platform, I was searching for meta title, meta description and keywords fields. To my surprise, they were nowhere?
The best use of these meta data is not simply fill in the related information for the crawlers but also inspire the searcher to click on the search listing.
The well described and catchy titles can improve clickthroughs in SERP awarding you more organic traffic. The well thought and planned meta description plays major role in clickthrough. Searchers read the description to find if the page really contains the information they are looking for.
I believe, you are well aware of the competition for each keywords searchers enters in search boxes. You need to put sufficient wit to get listed on the first page of Google or get ranked in top 10 posts, but all this effort is spilled away if your description can’t compel the readers to come in.
As I already said, there is no default way to define these meta data in WordPress. You need a plugin to do the job and for which a stand alone plugin ‘Add Meta Tags’ is my recommendation.
Let me not forget to inform you that WP SEO by Yoast has this feature built in, so, you won’t need any other plugin in case you are using WordPress SEO by Yoast.
The term sounds complicated, doesn’t it? If you never encountered this term before, it may be slightly confusing concept. Let me try to make it simple:
Canonicalization is the process of picking the best URL when there are several choices, and it usually refers to home pages. ~Google
That’s the Google’s version. For your easy understanding: the same page of your blog may have different URLs; and in WordPress, there are definitely multiple URLs for same content.
http://yoursite.com are very common example. Both the URLs present same page but technically they are different. The consequences can be any of two:
- Search engines may not pick the better one
- Less SEO score due to distributed effort
How can you solve the problem?
You need to set your WordPress to use only one kind of URL and inform Google about your preferred URL type. But how?
After WordPress 3.5, it is supposed to manage canonical URLs automatically but I’ve found it many times the feature stopped working. So, could not rely on it completely. Follow the procedure below to help search engines pick the best URLs from your blog:
- Set your preferred URL type in WordPress: Go check in your WordPress dashboard!
- Tell Google about your preferred version of URL: Login to Google Webmasters!
After the above tasks, you can make sure that each of your posts and pages have canonical URLs defined, you can use WP SEO by Yoast plugin.
5. Google+ Authorship And WordPress SEO
We don’t expect the WordPress to be pre-optimized for Google+ or Facebook or any other social network, however, as a blogger, you can’t ignore optimizing your site for Google+ Authorship.
I hope, you’ve already noticed a small thumbnail featuring the author of the post in search result page listing. They make the search result more interesting and shouts loud about who is the author of post. When the search result is by someone you recognize, you are more inclined to click on the link and visit the page, won’t you?
That’s pretty interesting, but you may wonder how Google+ Authorship can affect SEO of your WordPress blog? Does Google Authorship affect the ranking of posts?
Though it is not evident yet if Google Authorship affects ranking, but it is found that the little image in search results improves the CTR by 150%. So, it can be useful to gain more organic traffic with your existing ranking.
How to optimize your blog with Google+ Authorship?
It may not be a straightforward process, but the effort is well worth. Follow the procedure below:
- Insert Author link in every posts of your blog. You just need to place a link pointing to your Google+ profile suffixed with
- Add your blog in Google+ Profile under the ‘Contributor to‘ section
- Wait till Google verifies your authorship.
Your Turn Now!
Do you think it would be great if WordPress core integrate these features? How are you managing to fill in these gaps for your blog? Do you have better recommendation of plugins? Is there any other forgotten aspects about your WordPress SEO?
When you're learning website optimization, you need to understand that the very first step is to create a website. If you're interested in starting your own blog, I have written a step-by-step guide that will show you how to start a successful blog for as little as $3.49 per month (this low price is guaranteed only through my link). You will also receive your own domain name for free ($15 value) by clicking on this link and purchasing at least 12 months of hosting with BlueHost. Keep in mind that if you're learning search engine optimization, the first thing you need is your own self-hosted website. It will help you look more professional in front of your visitors, clients, companies, and everyone else, including search engines.