WordPress isn’t the most popular content management system in the world without reason. It’s extremely feature-rich, with a gallery of both free and premium plugins that allow the platform to do…well, pretty much anything. Like any tool, however, WordPress is only really powerful if you know how to use it.
That’s especially true if you’re trying to optimize your WordPress site for search.
“There’s a nasty rumor going around that WordPress is beautifully set up for Search Engine Optimization out of the box,” writes ManageWP’s chief blogging officer Tom Ewer. “Now don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of WordPress – but the core software does need a little nudge in the right direction when it comes to SEO.”
It isn’t just a matter of knowing all the basics of search engine optimization, either. As with any content management system, there are a number of very particular steps you can take to maximize your optimization efforts. Ignore them, and all the other stuff you’re doing to bring in traffic – keyword research, layout, image optimization, et cetera – won’t really matter all that much.
Here are a few search engine optimization tips that are more or less specific to the WordPress platform – use them in addition to what you already know.
Install An SEO Plugin (Or Several)
The first – and perhaps most important – recommendation I’ll give you is that you should make use of WordPress’s most powerful feature. I’m speaking, of course, about plugins. There’s an absolutely staggering selection of SEO-geared plugins that’ll help immensely with your efforts to rank your site. Below is a list comprised of some of the most popular.
- Yoast: A powerful, full-featured platform that allows you to create better content and optimize the stuff you’ve already made, many webmasters swear by Yoast as their SEO plugin of choice.
- Squirrly: A premium SEO plugin that offers many of the same features as Yoast and All-In-One, in addition to assisting in keyword selection.
- Simple URLS: Lets you create, track and control outbound links.
- W3 Total Cache: Allows for easy optimization of website performance – a minor ranking factor.
- Webmaster Tools: Technically, this is a built-in feature, but it’s still extremely important to a website’s success.
Take Advantage Of Permalinks
Assuming you’re using WordPress to run a blog, you’re going to want to ensure that your permalinks are properly configured. That is, you’ll want to check to make sure that the “Permalink Structure” under your Settings menu is configured for “Post Name.” This’ll create URLS that are based on your post titles instead of the default (which does absolutely nothing for search). Of course, it goes without saying that you’re going to need to put a fair bit of work into optimizing your titles – but so long as you’ve an understanding of how SEO works, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Make Use Of WordPress’s “Pages” Functionality
Whether you’re designing a blog or a full-featured website, Pages are going to prove invaluable. These allow you to construct static, permanent listings which include information about you, your business, or your brand. Assuming they’re easily accessible your users, including these details will do a world of good for your ranking.
WordPress is an incredibly powerful tool – but only if the person using it knows what they’re doing. So long as you’ve the necessary knowledge, it can empower you to create some of the best sites in the world – and to market them effectively, besides.