6 Easy Steps to WordPress SEO

Take Advantage of Built-In Features and Plugins for SEO

If you’re using WordPress for your blog or company website (or anything else for that matter), congratulations! I absolutely love WordPress because it’s easy to set up and update regularly, and also because it’s optimized for the search engines right out of the box (and I don’t get paid by anybody to say that).

That’s right- without touching a thing, WordPress automatically implements some of the best practices for website structure, keyword insertion, and formatting a website to help you get traffic. But, as with any other task in life, you can always go the extra mile. In the ultra-competitive internet world these days, it’s more important than ever that you do go that extra mile and take the steps to max out your on-page search engine optimization inside your blog or website.

The following 6 steps are designed to very quickly do complete, site-wide optimization of any WordPress installation. The first three are based on the built-in settings, and the second three utilize free plugins that you can easily install with a few mouse clicks. I’m also including a video here that will walk you through everything step-by-step, should you so desire.

The Front Three: Settings Configurations

  1. Allow Search Engines! This sounds like a real “duh”, but can actually get messed up sometimes. Ensure that search engines are actually allowed to view your site by checking the following setting. Log into your backend with your administrator username and password (this is located at /wp-admin), and click on “Privacy”, which is located under Settings. (Again, there’s a video if you need help). Ensure that the “Allow Search Engines to View This Page” option is selected, and save.
  2. Put Keywords in your Site Title and Description. This is another basic step, but also extremely important- in fact, it carries a lot of weight when it comes to on-page optimization! Under Settings, choose General. Then, find appropriate (and readable) ways to add a keyword phrase you want to optimize for in your Title and Description.
  3. Change your Permalinks to become Search Engine Attractive. Permalinks literally just means “permanent links”. When you make a post to your blog, will the address be website.com/June112010, or will it be website.com/keywordphrasehere ? Obviously the second one will help you out more when it comes to onpage SEO. Under Settings, choose Permalinks, and select the “Custom” option, typing in /%postname%/. Hit save.

The Back Three: Utilizing Plugins for Easy Sitewide Changes

For simplicity’s sake, I will take it that you can install a WordPress plugin. If you’ve never done that before, it’s really quite simple, and the software will walk you through it all. It’s just a few clicks! If you need help, there IS a video for you to watch.

  1. All-in-One SEO. Install the “All-in-One SEO Pack” plugin. You can literally just activate this plugin, and not need to touch many of the settings at all, but I recommend accessing the configuration page (It’ll be under Settings once you install it), and changing the Site Title and Description to something that describes your website, but also works in a keyword phrase or two.
  2. XML Sitemaps. Another set and forget deal. Install the “Google XML Sitemaps” plugin, and activate it. Without touching a single setting, the plugin will build a new sitemap for you every time you update your site, and submit it to all the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask).
  3. Robots Meta. This one is a little complicated to explain without diving into the “duplicate content” penalty/myth debate, so that’s a story for another time. For now, here’s how to set this up the way we want it: install the “Robots Meta” plugin. Once there, check the boxes that ask you to nofollow/noindex all of your Archives pages. This will clean up your site in the Search Engine Results and make sure you don’t pass link juice to unimportant pages.

So that’s it! Once you’ve taken those 6 steps, you’re off to a great start with optimizing your WordPress site for the best possible search engine rankings.

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