SEO is complicated, but if you’ve just built a WordPress website there are a few things you can do now to set yourself up for success. Here are three simple WordPress SEO tips to help you get started:
1. Choose an SEO tool
There are several SEO plugins to choose from, but the important thing is that you actually choose. It’s easy to get caught up in content, but if you don’t have a solid foundation in place search engines, and users, might not even find it. An SEO plugin like Yoast is a great way to easily manage the basics of SEO without having to be an expert.
To install Yoast, simply visit https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/ and download the plugin. Then navigate to Plugins -> Add New -> Upload Plugin
From there, it’s easy to upload the downloaded file. Here are some quick Yoast configurations you should set as soon as you’ve installed the plugin:
- Under Titles and Metas – Other – Go ahead and add the noodp tag site wide and no index subpages of archives. You can also add the noydir tag, but this isn’t important anymore.
- Enable your XML sitemap by going to XML site maps and checking this box.
2. Update your permalink settings.
Have you ever visited a blog and noticed the date of the post is in the URL you clicked? Your permalink settings is the place where you will control what your URLs look like. There are two ways you can do this:
- Keep things simple: The easy way will place the name of your post right after your domain name. This will make your URLs clean, short and to the point.
- A little more complicated: If you plan to organize your posts by category, I recommend updating your permalinks to feature the category in each URL. This way you’ll show a clear hierarchy to search engines and users will know the broad topics your post is covering.
- Let me spell it out for you: So if I were to choose Post name, the URL to this blog would be: http://www.marketinglively.com/wordpress-SEO-tips/ but because I chose Custom Structure, the URL is http://www.marketinglively.com/wordpress/wordpress-seo-tips/
3. Last but not least, avoid duplicate content.
WordPress was created for bloggers, so by default every post features information about the author, the category you choose, and the tags you add. WordPress aggregates blogs by author, category and tag and creates a page featuring all of the blogs that fall under each of those. Sounds great, right? Not so much… because this means your post lives in several places and search engines can see this as duplicate content.
To see this in action, take this page. The content on this page appears here, at http://www.marketinglively.com/wordpress/wordpress-seo-tips/ it appears on http://www.marketinglively.com/category/wordpress/ and http://www.marketinglively.com/tag/seo/ AND http://www.marketinglively.com/author/slively/ – that’s a lot of duplicated content….
This is how wordpress functions, and it can be great to give your users so many ways to organize your content. So, to keep everything working and to keep search engines from thinking this is low quality duplicate content, simply update your taxonomies in Yoast. You can do this by going to Titles & Metas -> Taxonomies -> and checking no index,follow for Categories and Tags.
That takes care of the Tag and Category pages, then to prevent that last author page from being tagged go to Archives -> Author Archives and check the noindex, follow box here, too.
By following these three steps, you’ll help search engines find your pages, remove duplicate content and have everything in place to take your SEO to the next level.