WordPress SEO Tasks: 5 Things You Always Forget

Suresh19 responsesSEO
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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!

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wordpress seo tasks

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.

4. Canonicalization

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://www.yoursite.com and 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 ?rel=author
  • 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 blog and make money 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 how to optimize your website, 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.

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  1. Prince Molak

    Hey Suresh,Nice post you’ve got there, i think Google+ authorship is the most overlooked amidst all other points you”ve mentioned above and i have a feeling that google Might use that as a ranking tool in the near future

    1. That’s right Prince. Many people expect that. Rather than PageRank,if AuthorRank will be be future criterion to represent the quality of pages.

      Thank you for the visit and leaving comments here at dukeo.

  2. Giriraj

    When it comes to SEO for wordpress most of us rely on Plugins but this guide perfectly explains how you can optimize the blog without a plugin. To my knowledge, WordPress by Yoast is one of the best plugin.

    1. Hi Giriraj,

      We can’t live without plugins these days, however it is a must to learn what the plugin does and where you should tweak it to get best results.

      I also love WordPress by Yoast plugin. This is a real wonder even if it is a free one!

  3. Noting these tech tips can make your life easier buddy. Especially on the Authorship thingee hahaha….I am learning how to build my brand by hopping on my profile and updating, for all the guest posts I churn out. Thanks Suresh!

    1. That’ll help you great if you can claim all of your guest posts. That will definitely improve your AuthorRank hugely! It is not that techie too! All you need is to have a link back to your Google+ profile page from the posts and list the sites that you are writing for in G+ profile!

  4. Nwosu Desmond

    Exactly my point, most times we bother about post optimization and forget that SEO starts from the day we begin to design our sites. If you optimize your blog design it will boast your general site SEO and this is something we need to teach people. I can’t thank you enough for sharing these awesome post.

    1. Exactly Nwosu. Most often when we discuss about SEO, we are confined within post optimization. Headings, keywords, density, images, alt tags etc are a must, but we should not forget the SEO while designing!

      Thank you for the visit and your comment here. Truly appreciate your sharing too!

  5. Hope it is an detailed WordPress SEO post by you Suresh :)

    I learned a lot through this post and hope am doing most of the WP stuffs correctly.

    Am using SEO by Yoast, but i didn’t configure it properly. Will do it soon.

    Yeah, I got authorship from google and taking care of Meta tags and tags of my blog as you specified.

    Thanks for presenting a quite interesting post for us, keep doing it :)

  6. Hi Nirmala,

    This post is about optimizing your blog while you are designing. I’m coming up about on-going SEO procedure in my coming post where I’ll talk about the things that you should care continuously.

    Thanks for liking my post and sharing over networks. I truly appreciate that.

  7. Sourya Kharb

    I really want to optimize my site
    But can you please tell me how can i increase page load speed of my blog???
    My Blog takes too much time to load
    Is more plugins make site speed low
    Please give any working solution of it

    1. Sourya,

      Page load speed has different factors to look into and optimize.

      The first thing is your host. Make sure that your blog is hosted in powerful server.

      The next big thing to affect it is your theme. Choose a theme that is well written and has no access codes or images. You can find one such theme offered in my blog bivori.com. Go there, search for Isquar theme.

      The third thing to take note of is plugins. If you have many plugins, it will increase the loading time. Try to customize theme and implement functionality in it (if possiblt) rather than go on adding new plugins.

      The fourth thing is hosting images and other resources from same folder. Fetching resources from different locations takes time.

      There are some other advance optimizations after you’ve done all of the above mentioned. Often, you’ll find you blog acceptable after the tasks.

      Hope it helps you to get started with.

  8. Pawan

    Hi Suresh,

    Wonderful article on SEO tasks that should be taken care of after installing WordPress. I believe canonicalization support has been completely removed from WordPress. I now use .htaccess code to redirect my blog to same URL.

    1. Hi Pawan,

      The situation is same with me also. I’m using .htaccess code to manage.

      However, if you can use WPSEO by Yoast, it lifts the heavy load. I really love this plugin and has features for many of the required seo tasks.

  9. Thaha

    Hi Suresh great topic you have shared with us catchy title which most important to get clicks and meta description which convey the message in short for the visitor to get enter everyone need to follow

    1. Thank you Thaha. It really inspires me to work more when I get feedback like that. Hope you’ll share the post and make it more accessible.

      Search Engines count meta title and meta description but I just wonder why WordPress has neglected it in its framework. Thanks to the plugins that fills in the gaps.

  10. Sriram

    Thanks for the information Suresh sir.
    I was searched of meta keyword plugin for long time. Add Meta Tags plugin did the work for me. I’ve got Google authorship for my blog but some of my posts in search results doesn’t contain my author’s image, instead of showing theirs, it shows mine. Any solutions?

    1. Hi Sriram,

      It may take sometime to assign the author’s profile with the post. However, if you find that it is displaying your image instead of the author’s make sure you use the author url of your blog in Google+ profile (contributor to section).

  11. Aleksey Zuravlov

    “Canonicalization” Damn! What a weird term.

    I agree with the points, people surely need to make use of their Google author tag nowadays, I do believe it helps.

    Also, after filling meta details, it’s nice idea to check your post with “Meta tag analyzer” (just search for that term on Google) and try 2 or more. If it looks correct there, your post will look great on Google.

    Best wishes,

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