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Tom Howlett

SEO Basics for WordPress

7th Nov 2011 SEO | 4 Comments


Wordpress LogoWordPress is becoming an ever popular CMS, used for blogging as well as managing static websites. Part of its success is down to the huge amount of quality site themes that are available as well as it also having a thriving community of users.

If you are a company who chose to use WordPress to manage your website, you may have used a theme available on the marketplace, a free theme or you may have sought a custom theme designed specifically for your needs. Either way, you are more than likely left managing the website using the back end and are unable to make any significant changes to the structure and layout without using the services of a WordPress developer.

If this is the case, we have put together some information to help you manage the SEO activities for your site without any advanced knowledge of WordPress.

SEO Plugins

Plugins for WordPress enable you to do many weird and wonderful things, and they are easy to install and use. Here are some useful ones to aid your SEO activities:

All in One SEO Pack

This plugin enables you to manage page Meta including page Titles, Meta Description and Keywords. There are many other options such as being able to generate Meta tags automatically and managing canonical URLs.

Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

This plugin is similar to the All in One SEO pack and enables you to optimise the page Meta. This also lets you manage the Robots.txt file, XML Sitemap, Canonical settings, Edit .htaccess and more.

For more information on other useful SEO plugins for WordPress, have a look at the great list compiled by Koozai_Mike.

URL Parameters

To keep your URLs friendly and keyword relevant, use the ‘Permalinks’ option under the main Settings in WordPress, this enables you to specify a structure for your URLs. An example of a custom structure is:

/%category%/%postname%/

This will force a clean URL structure in the form of www.example.com/category/postname/ without having to manually make changes.

You can manually edit the URL after the forward slash when editing a page or post. Towards to top of the page there are a few Permalink options below the name of the page/post. Here you can edit the URL as you please (see below).

Wordpress Permalinks

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a very useful tool for analysing the traffic passing through your site. To install this on your WordPress site all you need is a plugin to help you do this. Here are a few that we know of:

This requires you to sign up to Google Analytics prior to setting up the Plugin.

Header Tags

Header tags are an important part of structuring of a web page. These can be managed in WordPress by highlighting text and selecting an appropriate Header tag (whether it is a H1, H2 etc.). In WordPress, these are listed under ‘Heading 1, 2, 3…and so on’.

The styling of the header tags are setup within the Theme coding, some themes will give you the option of editing the font and colour used, within the back end. For most, this will require an initial setup and the system will use these settings whenever the Header tags are used.

Images

The best practise for images is to have an appropriate filename (keyword specific) before uploading to the site. When adding an image to a page or post in WordPress, you have the option to enter various information including an image Title and Alt text. You should include a relevant and keyword optimised Title and Alt text when adding images.

Internal Links

When adding new posts and pages to your site or even optimising existing pages, you should consider improving your internal link profile by linking to related pages or posts. This can simply be done by highlighting a string of text and clicking on the chain link icon to ‘insert or edit a link’. A box will appear where you are able to copy in the URL of the page or post you want to link to.

A plugin called SEO Smart Links exists that enables you to program WordPress to automatically link to a certain page when a specific string of text is included elsewhere the site. Mike talks about this in a bit more detail in his post (can be found above). This can be a useful way of automatically generating those links.

Automatically Post Related Articles/Services

Automatically placing related posts on a page is a good way of improving the internal link profile of a website. There are plenty of plugins that enable this functionality including ones called:

Site Speed

Site speed is becoming increasingly important from both a search engine and user point of view. WordPress sites typically take longer to load compared with pure HTML websites and this can potentially have a negative effect on rankings. It is better to optimise your website to load quickly; here are a few tips when using WordPress:

Images

Make sure when uploading images that the images themselves are optimised for a
smaller image size. You can do this by reducing the physical size of the image (most
users don’t need to view a 1000px x 500px image). There are also a variety of tools
that reduce the file size of an image.

WP Super Cache

Another WordPress plugin dedicated to speeding up your website. Again this is one
Mike goes into more detail about this in his post.

Noupe design blog have done a great write-up about improving WordPress site speed here.

I hope this has given you an introduction on how to manage your WordPress site when it comes to SEO. For more information and other detailed tutorials regarding any of the areas/plugins covered above, perform a search and you will be able to find lots of information around the web.

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About the author

Tom Howlett

If you’re looking for information on Link Building then read Tom Howlett’s posts. Tom has a specialist insight into link building strategies designed to improve website’s visibility and ranking. He will help you become a master in finding new link sources.

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