The basic WordPress installation requires some tweaking if it is to do well in the search engines. The following are WordPress SEO steps everyone should take.
Start with the right theme
With WordPress, everything starts with the theme. Far from just determining the look of the site, good themes are also designed with SEO in mind. In addition to including features that will eliminate the need for SEO plugins, premium themes will generally have better coding, allowing for faster loading times and other features that make sites more attractive to search engines and visitors alike.
ClickBump and other premium as well as top free themes are covered in WordPress themes.
Create a sound permalink structure
The linking structure should be decided on before any posts are made as it will affect the organization of the site as well as SEO. In WordPress Admin>Settings>Permalinks, different link structures or custom structures are available. The default setting is not recommended as it does not include any keywords or tell what the post is about.
Instead, the URL should have the category and post name or only the post name. Generally, just the post name is recommended at it keeps the URL shorter and to the point. It makes it possible to re-categorize the post later without having to change its URL. The structure should look like this:
It is also a good idea to remove common stop words (keep the URL short and to the point) and not to use dates, as the content will not appear fresh after a short period of time.
If the site has been using a different structure for a while and you would like to change it, use redirects or plugins to include Permalink Helper to guide visitors to the right pages.
Organize the content and set up categories
A great SEO benefit of WordPress is the ease in which content can be organized into categories. The importance and ways of categorizing is covered more in siloing. Plan out what topics will be covered and organize them into categories and subcategories where appropriate. As the theme permits, include a description and pictures for each category.
Set up authorship
Google authorship is the picture and link to the author increasingly seen in search results. ClickBump and other themes offer tools to make setting authorship up easy so that you may reap the SEO and other benefits this offers. If it is not in the theme, plugins will also do the job.
Keep things speedy with good hosting and CloudFlare
Remember that WordPress requires more resources than html sites, and this affects load times, which in turn affects visitor experience and SEO. Therefore, be sure to select good WordPress hosting and to have at least 1024 MB of RAM. In addition, use CloudFlare’s free service to further increase speeds and better deliver your site to visitors.
Ways to speed up WordPress has more tips on how to keep WordPress as fast loading as possible.
Set up ping services
WordPress automatically pings servers notifying them of any changes to your site. In the admin panel, go to Settings>Writing and paste a list of the top pinging services (do a search of “ping services” for a current list) into the Update Services box.
However, as most people want to occasionally update their posts and too many pings can cause you to be labeled a spammer, use WordPress Ping Optimizer to limit the number of times a post is pinged.
Internal and external linking
It is easy to concentrate too much on trying to bring in links and forget about linking that can be done on sites, which also offer SEO value. Link related content whenever possible within a site. In addition, SEO Smart Links and other plugins can be used to automatically link keywords to posts.
At the same time, do not skimp on linking to other quality sites. This shows search engines you are focused on offering the best user experience possible and will attract more visitors and better rankings over time.
Make sure you have the plugins to cover all the basics
WordPress does not include some basic SEO features, but they can be covered with plugins. Go WordPress SEO plugins to make sure these functions, to include meta tags, sitemaps and broken linking checking are covered.
Posts without any images tend to look drab, and people often expect some type of visuals in articles. WordPress makes it easy to add images, position them anywhere on the page and to add the ALT and title tags. Be sure to add these tags as image searches can be a significant source of traffic.
Check for errors
To find those things you might have missed or may not know how to look for, use SEO Doctor to examine pages for missing attributes or other errors.
Disallow robots from crawling some directories
Both for security reasons and to keep the search engine bots crawling and focused on the parts of the sites you want to show up in search engine results, disallow bots from crawling some areas of the site by creating a text file with the following and uploading it to the root directory of the site.