So, you have a website running on WordPress and you feel like Internet marketing ninja? Slow down! There is still a lot of work to do before your website starts to generate traffic.
In this post I will show you what you should do to improve your WordPress website visibility in the Google search.
If you still do not have a website on WordPress and you wonder how to configure your WordPress website on your own, check my article: How to prepare a website on your own absolutely free.
Table of contents
- Turn on and set up permalinks
- Install a SEO plugin for your WordPress
- Install the All in One SEO plugin
- All in One SEO Pack configuration
- All in One SEO general settings
- WordPress website SEO optimization
Turn on permalinks
First thing you need to do is turn on the permalinks in WordPress. Permalinks are the links which are better for search engines.
To set up permalinks go to settings/permalinks in your WordPress dashboard.
Thanks to the permalinks your website URL’s will look like yourwebsite.com/article-title-keywords instead of yourbwebsite.com/index.php?123 etc.
Just check the URL address of this post: https://businessdevelopment.life/how-to-improve-seo-on-your-wordpress-website
Install a SEO plugin for your WordPress
The best SEO plugins for WordPress are Yoast and All in One SEO. Both are great. For me it’s easier to use All in One SEO, so in this post I will focus on that.
If you want to read more about how to properly configure Yoast check this great article: https://yoast.com/help/configuration-guide-for-yoast-seo/
Install the All in One SEO plugin
To install All in One SEO plugin just go to Plugins/Add New. Then type “All in one SEO” in the search. Once you find the All in One SEO plugin, you have to install it and activate it.
All in One SEO Pack configuration
Before we start SEO optimization of your WordPress website you have to turn on the features that are needed for a proper optimization.
Please note that this post is for the beginners. This is why I will focus only on the most important things you should know. I will not cover advanced All in One SEO settings in this post.
From the main menu in your WordPress Dashboard go to All in One SEO / Feature Manager and activate XML Sitemaps, Social Meta, Robots.txt, Bad Bot Blocker, Performance.
XML Sitemaps will automatically generate a sitemap of your WordPress for the search engines. You sitemap will be accessible under specific URL address which will look something like this: yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml.
Each search engine needs a sitemap of your website to crawl it properly.
Social Meta feature will allow you to set up how your specific page or post will look once shared through the social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or so.
This feature will allow or disallow robots to crawl your website. If you are a SEO beginner just turn on this feature. Default setting are enough at the beginning.
Bad Bot Blocker
There is a lot of bad bots in the internet. Some of them may slow your website. Some of them may generate fake traffic. This feature will secure your website from such bad bot behaviour.
All in One SEO general settings
First of all make sure that the Canonical URLs option is turned on. This option will automatically generate Canonical URLs for your entire WordPress installation. This will help to prevent duplicate content penalties by Google.
Home Page Settings
Set up your Home Title and Home Description. This text will be shown in the the search engine results and when your website will be shared through the social media.
Please note that each page could have its own title and description. If the page does not have any title and description set up, then this one from the general setting will be added as a default.
A proper title should be like 60 characters with spaces long. A description should have not more than 160 characters with spaces.
Make sure that post title format is set up the same like on the image below. As mentioned above most search engines use maximum 60 characters for the title. If you add a page title to your post title, then your page title could be too long, and it will not look properly in the search engines results.
Content type settings and Display Settings
In this guide we will focus on the pages and posts. So, make sure that posts and pages are turned on the same like on the picture below.
Here is the place to provide verification code and verify your website’s ownership in the most common search engines. Once you verify yours website’s ownership, then you will be available to manage it through the search engines webmaster tools.
If you want to track your website visitors you have to add a tracking code to your website. This is a place where you can provide your Google Analytics tracking code.
Noindex and Nofollow settings
Noidex tag means that pages with this tag will not be indexed in the search results. Nofollow tag informs bots to not follow this page. You do not want to have everything indexed in the search engines.
In the All in One SEO default settings: Media, Attachements, oEmbed Responses, User Requests, Blocks, Legal Pages, Date Archives – are marked as nofollow and noindex. And this is ok for the SEO general optimization.
Make sure that Posts and Pages are not checked as nofollow and noindex because then your website will not be visible in the search engines results.
Google is still working on improving positive user’s experience. You can read more about it in my my article: The Google’s Algorithm Big Change is coming.
This is why it is good to use noindex for: date archives, author archives, search page, 404 page. Users do not want to be redirected from the search results to another search results. Also, users do not want to find 404 pages when they are Googling for some information.
In the old SEO techniques keywords meta tag was really important. Now Google is searching for the keywords in the content. This is why it’s better to turn off keywords metatag.
WordPress website SEO optimization
Ok, now it’s time to optimize your pages and posts. Thanks to All in One SEO plugin it should be easy.
Once you edit each of your posts or pages you will find All in One SEO settings at the bottom of every page or post.
Title and Description
Make sure that you provided proper title and description for the each page or post. On the Preview Snippet you can see how your website will look like in the Google Search Results.
Then switch to Social Settings Tab and set up how your website will look like when shared through the social media.
Beside adding the title and the description you can choose a picture which will be shown once your website is shared through the social media.
You can add a custom image, choose a one from the images in the post, or choose the post’s featured image.
You can also set up how your post will look like when shared on Twitter or Facebook. My article will be shown as “Article” on the Facebook, and as “Summary large image” on the Twitter.
To check how your page or post look in the social media you can use special validators. Just click the these links below and provide there a URL address to your page/post.
We are all using the social media all the time. This is why you have to make sure that your website is properly optimized for the social media.
Check your post/page URL Slug. As mentioned in the section about permalinks, it is really important to have the proper URL address. You will find these settings in the “document tab” in the right column while editing a post or page.
NOINDEX and NOFOLLOW configuration
Another thing you have to do is to make sure that your page or post IS NOT marked as NOINDEX or NOFOLLOW.
Image ALT tag
The last thing you need to do is the image alt tags optimization. Each image has a special tag that describes this specific picture. It is a great place to provide a keyword there.
To add text to image ALT tag just click on the image and then image settings will appear in the right column. Then describe what is on the picture.
Congratulations! Your website is well-optimized in general!
Of course, there is still a lot to do. But trust me, this is enough to see the results soon.
Depends on the market you are in, you will see the results in 3-6 months. Now just wait till the Google update yours website in its Search Results.