Optimising a WordPress website
WordPress is the content management system used by around half of the websites on the internet. That is a lot of users! WordPress is easy to use but powerful enough to drive even the most complex sites including ecommerce sites.
People prefer WordPress sites because there is a plethora of plugins to customise the site and add extra functionality at the touch of a button. Ease of use enables users to keep the site up to date without the need for going back to a software developer each time something needs to be updated. WordPress also assists with the SEO of a site by making it easier to optimise the site for the Google search bots to crawl the site.
Customising a website is done by beginning with the basic WordPress install, then adding a theme, plugins and finally content to create the site. This layering can cause some extra thin content to be created that is best filtered out so that users don’t see it and the search engines know to ignore it.
The following instructions can be followed to get your SEO attempts started or you can outsource the work to an agency such as Colin Dorn Ballarat SEO
Taxonomies are a way to group things together and form a kind of hierarchy. WordPress groups things by using Category, Link Category, Post Format and Post Tag as the default taxonomies.
A hierarchy is formed when sub categories are created.
This might look like:
Food Blog > Recipes > Chicken > Stir Fry Chicken Recipe
As we develop a website using a theme, we create many extra taxonomies that are not needed for user viewing and these can hurt your SEO attempts. The best thing to do is to identify these pages and tag them as not to be searched by the search engines to minimise the chance of penalties being incurred. Multiple landing pages with the same content can cause penalties to be applied.
Use a WordPress SEO plugin
The plugin Colin Dorn SEO Ballarat prefers to use it the Yoast SEO plugin. It is a powerful tool that can guide on-page search engine optimisation well.
Here are the main settings to set up a WordPress site.
Site name and description – Set these in the Settings > General tab
Set up your URL and subdomains correctly
Set your protocol to either http:// or https:// and keep it consistent across the site.
Internal links should always use the preferred URL
Set your permalinks (Settings > Permalinks) to post name.
Set up and XML Sitemap to ensure your site is navigated correctly.
Set up Google Search Console to use the correct URL.
Yoast SEO Settings
Setup the Titles and Meta tags.
This enables you to customise the title and description lines in the Google search results. Use these to make it clear what the site is about and ensure your keywords are in here.
Set up the following sections:
General – select the type of separator you wish to use.
Post Types – Setup the templates for page titles on pages, posts and media. Pages can be customised individually as well.
Taxonomies – Ensure you set and taxonomies you do not wish to be crawled as “No Index”
Set up SEO > Social.
Sitemap. This is found under SE0 > XML Sitemap and allows you to flag taxonomies for exclusion that are not relevant. It is a good idea to check the links in the sitemaps to try and identify broken links and irrelevant content.