Practical SEO guidance for WordPress CMS owners

Let’s start by saying how great Content Management Systems (CMS’s) are. They give website owners a huge amount of flexibility allowing them to manipulate large portions of a website without involving a web company or developer.

However like any website, unless they can be easily found, they are unlikely to do well. Fortunately for anyone using the WordPress CMS there are a lot of simple optimisation techniques that can be used to help boost your websites online presence.

Research

Before any optimisation work is carried out we would always recommend that you carry out as much research as you can. Look at your main competitors. Find the ones that are already doing well for the keywords/phrases you want to be found for and use what they are doing as a jumping point for your own campaign.

Permalinks

By default, WordPress gives you a functional but not very SEO friendly URL structure such as http://www.mywebsite.co.uk/?p=35. This can be easily changed in the default WordPress settings. We recommend that you use text based URL’s such as http://www.mywebsite.co.uk/goodcontent.

Plugins

One major plus for WordPress is the plethora of plugins available. While there are all manner of plugins available; when it comes to SEO our top picks are the ‘All in One SEO pack’ and the ‘Yoast’ plugin. Both are extremely good but we feel that the Yoast plugin is perhaps better for the more experienced user.

Headings (H1, H2, etc.)

Historically, heading tags played a large part in SEO. While it is true that they are not as important as they once were, they are still one of the indicators used by search engines.

Title tags and Meta Descriptions

Assuming that you have installed an SEO plugin, customising Title Tags and Meta Descriptions will be a breeze. Every page or post will have a section where you can create your own SEO friendly Meta data. Remember, it is best practice to keep the Title Tag to around 70 characters and Meta Descriptions to 350 characters whenever possible. This will prevent them being cut off in the search results.

Alt tags

Alt tags are used to describe images that are not rendered properly. They are also used by screen readers to speak out a description of an image to someone who cannot see the computer screen. If possible, you should use these tags (you can specify them when inserting an image) to include a keyword or synonym providing it looks natural.

Post interlinking

Just as you would on any website, linking posts and pages with other areas of the website is a great way to promote relevant or complimentary content.

Pages/Posts

WordPress allows you to create new pages as well as new posts. Whereas posts are good if you use your website for blogging or news, pages are better if you want a page that will contain evergreen content.

Noindex non important parts (tags,etc.)

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Webmaster/Analytics

If you are serious about optimising your website then you should be utilising Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. Both are free and linked from your WordPress website with ease via your SEO plugin.

Site Speed

While not strictly under your control, page speed is something that major search engines such as Google are taking into consideration.