WordPress is a great content management system to build a website on. It is easy and there widely used. In fact WordPress powers one third of all the websites on the internet.
That is a massive number of websites. The reason WordPress is so popular is because it is an open source content management system. Deciding to use WordPress also has the benefits of a lot of support. There are tons of businesses out there that just support WordPress, so if you need a designer or Determined Solutions SEO agency, or whatever type of tool or service, you have plenty of options to choose from.
Ok, so you’ve decided that WordPress is going to work for you and you want to make sure you set it up correctly for the best search engine optimization.
The first thing you want to start with is to get good website hosting. Why? Well, a good host makes getting your secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate easy. Your SSL certificate is the S in HTTPS, and you need this so that web browsers don’t display the “Not Secure” warning on your website. If you have good hosting, installing your SSL certificate is as easy a pressing the “on” button
Basic SEO Setup for WordPress
Ok, let’s start from the beginning and assume you just installed WordPress on your domain. The first thing you want to do is the “Posts” and the “Pages” tab and delete any default post or pages. There is usually a page called “Hello World” or something like that. Clean all that garbage out of there.
Next go to the Plugins tab. Select Add New Plugin. In the search bar look up either All In One SEO or Yoast SEO plugins. Either one will work.
Now you want to go to the Settings tab. This is were you need to pay attention. Select the General tab.
At the top of the page you will see a box that says Site Title. This is very important. This is where you will input your business name and your service and maybe your service area. Here is an example of a good site title: Bob’s Plumbing | Tampa, Florida | Plumbing Services. You have the option to add a website tagline if you want, although you do not have to and it is not necessary.
Next, under the Settings tab select Discussion. In the Discussion area is where you set your Comment settings. Basically, if you are a local business, like the Bob’s Plumbing example, you can just turn off all these comments settings. You do not need any comments on your Services or About pages, etc.
Now you need to go to the Permalinks tab which is located under the Settings tab as well. Under Common Settings, select the Post Name permalink setting. This is a very important setup and one that is often overlooked. This is also one of the reasons why WordPress is so good for search engine optimization, this CMS gives you complete control over your URLs and also give you clean URLs.
What I mean by a clean URL is this. An ugly, confusing, and not useful URL might be mybrand.com/4545asd??sdf8. How useful is that? That URL doesn’t give us any good information on what that page is about. A clean URL might be bobsplumbing.com/service-areas.
Can you see the difference?
That page is obviously going to have information on it about the areas or locations that Bobís Plumbing travels to fix plumbing problems.
So, you need to select ‘Post Name’ because it will create the simplest and easiest to understand URL’s. And a URL is an important place to put information for a machine or algorithm to understand.
I forgot to mention that after every change in setting that I talked about, you need to hit the ‘Save’ button. This is for obvious reasons.
Ok, that is all for the Settings tab. Next up is the plugin that you installed earlier. Like I said, it doesnít matter if you get All In One SEO or Yoast, they are both good and both basically do the same thing. I am going to act like you put the Yoast plugin on your site.
Go to the General tab in Yoast.
You want to select the tab that says Company Info. On the Company Info page you will see a box at the top that is label Website Name. In the Website Name box simply enter the exact same thing you enter in the Site Title box in Settings earlier. Using the example above you would enter: Bob’s Plumbing | Tampa, Florida | Plumbing Services.
Next, you will want to go to the tab that is labeled XML Sitemaps. All you need to do here is to make sure that the XML Sitemap button is Enabled. It should be Enabled by default, but you need to double check.
And that is basically all you need to do with Yoast. The main thing is the SEO plugin with let you control the page title and the meta description on each page that you write. This is very important because the Page Title and Meta Description are places that a machine or an algorithm go to look for information to understand what a website page is about.
Optimizing Images For Search
Something I didn’t mention in regards to on page SEO for a WordPress website is image optimization. Image optimization is very important and most people skip this part. But this isnít specific to WordPress. This is something you need to do to your images before you upload them to your WordPress media library.
You need to give your image files appropriate keyword rich titles. Basically an image file name is the same important like a page title is important. So let’s say you have a picture of a pipe leaking under a sink. If you just let your camera give the image a default name, it will be something like aldfkjlkj646546.jpg.
That doesn’t tell you anything about the image, does it? No.
Instead, change the name to something that people would actually search for, something like plumbing-services-for-leaky-sink.jpg. That gives a lot more information about the image.
These are the basics of SEO for a WordPress website. WordPress is a great platform with tons of tools and tons of support. There is a WP website to fit just about every business need. And these are some of the reasons that WP has grown to be the largest content management system on the internet.