The WordPress Developer’s Guide to Basic SEO
WordPress is a great and easy to use platform for publishing content, but effective search engine optimization is essential to maximize traffic and income. There are numerous plugins which claim to help sites optimize for SEO, but Yoast SEO is generally recognized as one of the best. That said, simply installing a plugin will not do all the work for you.
Keyword Title and Meta Description
For best results every content page on a website should have a keyword focused title and meta-description designed to encourage searchers to click through. For maximum visibility the title should be no more than 55 characters and the meta- description no more than 155.
But it’s not just a matter of numbers. For best click through results you need the kind of intriguing headline which successful copywriters have been using on and off line for generations. Numerous headline templates are freely available online for you to peruse and utilize on your site.
There’s also some evidence that leaving a website name out of the title of a particular post or page may help with rankings.
Use the No Index Function Of Your SEO Plugin
Major search engines allocate sites a quality score and generally give a boost to those which have pages such as “About”, “Contact” and “Privacy”. But although these are important, they need not generally be indexed. Your SEO plugin should give you the option to do this and also to exclude affiliate links and tag pages from search results.
Choose Your Keywords Carefully
Long tail key phrases (3 or more words combined into a keyword phrase) in your title and meta-description can bring a significant boost in traffic. Use keyword tools for research and avoid those which are highly competitive. The MozBar Chrome extension allows you to assess the domain and page authority of any site ranking for the keywords you are interested in.
Use An XML Sitemap
Many WordPress plugins allow for the incorporation of a sitemap, and this is crucial to enabling the search engines to rapidly find all the pages on a website.
WordPress has an option which alerts other sites when a site links to them. Often they will link back, which gives an immediate boost to search engine rankings.
The days when building artificial links to a site would improve its search engine rankings are long gone. But that’s not to say that links are unimportant. What is important as a web developer is to understand where your site’s links are coming from. A number of online tools can help with this. For example:
- Open Site Explorer
- Open Link Profiler