WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS), and it is a great starting point for anyone wanting to build his own website. SEO goes part and parcel with having an excellent web presence, so in this post we will take a look at some of the SEO basics for WordPress.
First up, you should know that WordPress in itself is a well-optimized system, however overall results also depend heavily on the quality of the theme you will be using, the content you write and whether or not you are using any SEO plugins.
Starting from the theme, you should make sure that you purchase a theme that already has a great reputation with regards to SEO. On the other hand, if you choose to hire someone to do your WordPress-based web design, make sure they have good coding practices and know what it takes to build an SEO-friendly theme.
A good SEO-friendly theme will have clean and semantic code, and be optimized for fast loading. Some themes also give you the facility to enter meta keywords and a meta description within the post and page interfaces.
There are a number of SEO plugins for WordPress. In my opinion, the leading plugin is the aptly titled ‘WordPress SEO’ by Dutch developer Joost de Valk. It enables you to set site-wide default page titles, as well as fine tune the page title and meta tags on each individual page. Moreover it also creates a Google XML sitemap and cleans up the <head> section of WordPress installs. It has even more features which you can optionally use once it is set up. Definitely a must when it comes to SEO on WordPress.
Make sure you also keep your content well structured, using heading tags (h1,h2 etc.) to structure your pages semantically. Images also play an important part in SEO, so include an ALT and TITLE attribute to every image you upload through the WordPress admin interface.
Finally, there are a few tweaks you can make to WordPress itself, which will make it more optimized for search engines. Perhaps the most important one is changing the permalink structure. Instead of the default structure of
it is better to use something like
This settings can be changed from ‘Settings > Permalinks’ within the WordPress admin interface. This change will enable your site to have what we call as ‘pretty permalinks’. Instead of cryptic URLs, you will have URLs which actually mean something to human readers as well as search engines.
Hope you enjoyed reading about SEO for WordPress, now get started on building and optimizing your own site!