SEO is all about making it as easy as possible to for search engine crawlers and the algorithms they feed to figure out what your site is all about and which search terms it should rank for in search engine results pages.
WordPress is already fairly good from an SEO perspective out of the box. It’ll mostly take care of issues like creating a decent link and navigation structure without much user intervention, but there are ways to give your WordPress blog or site a helping hand.
1. Install The Yoast Plugin
The Yoast plugin is by far the most popular and comprehensive WordPress plugin for SEO.
It’ll help you make sure that your article titles and descriptions are all in order, that you’ve paid proper attention to keywords, and that your sitemaps are set up.
2. Use Google Authorship
Back in the day the most important factors for a page to rank well was the number of incoming links it had. That’s still hugely important, but other factors are beginning to be taken into account as well. One of these is the level of authority the author has. Google identifies authors through the Google Authorship program, which requires a Google+ Plus profile and the addition of some HTML to a site.
Another major benefit of setting up Google Authorship is that search results get a photo of the author next to them and other information in the text snippet below the blue link.
The Yoast plugin will handle setting up the WordPress side of Google Authorship.
3. Get Your Meta Tags In Order
Meta tags are pieces of HTML that give search engines extra information about a page. Two of the most important are the title tag, which determines the text that appears in the blue link on Google’s results page, and the description tag, which is what shows up underneath the blue link.
The content of both of these ––although less so the description tag in recent times –– is important for letting Google know what an article is about.
They should contain the keywords that are most relevant to the content of the article. There is also a meta robots tag that tells Google how it should treat the page and the links on it. Getting the robots tag wrong could result in your page not appearing in the SERPs at all.
Again, the Yoast plugin can help you with getting the most benefit from meta tags.
4. Make It Quick
Site speed is one of many signals that Google pays attention to when determining ranking. It’s not the most important, but, all other things being equal, a slow site is going to rank lower than a site that loads snappily.
There are various ways of ensuring that a WordPress sites runs as quickly as possible. One of the most important is choosing a hosting company that has the expertise to get the best performance out of WordPress.
Additionally, installing a caching plugin will give a site a significant speed boost. The most popular caching plugin is W3 Total Cache. It has a lot of settings to tinker with, so you play try out many different combinations to find what works best for your site. However, all that configurability can be a bit overwhelming for some. If that’s the case, check out Quick Cache, which will do a similar job, but with less to be configured.
5. Create Rich Content
Unfortunately, no plugin in the world will make this straightforward. SEO exists to ensure that the content of a website is shown to its best effect in the search engines and that it gets the place it deserves in the rankings. All of the above advice is about giving Google hints that it can use to assess your content.
Basically, we’re trying to make life easier for Google so that it doesn’t have to struggle to determine whether our content is relevant and worthwhile. That said, no amount of SEO is going to do the trick if the quality of the content is low. The number one best SEO tactic is to write content that encourages people to link to your site and share it on social media.
Without that, it’s all for naught.