WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems out there. In fact, according to Forbes, one in six websites is powered by WordPress, totaling a whopping 60 million.
That number includes some notable companies like The New York Times, CNN, Sony, Forbes and eBay — and that number it is ever-increasing, with an estimated 100,000 websites being added daily.
One of the biggest reasons for WordPress‘ popularity is its user friendliness. Users don’t need a coding background to get started; really, all they need is a basic understanding of how to navigate around their dashboard area.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is setting up your website in a way that gives it the best possible chance of being discovered and indexed highly by search engines.
If you want your site to be found, you need to optimize your site. Luckily, WordPress has you covered!
WordPress is already set up with the basic foundation for SEO — all right out of the box. All you need is a basic understanding of what search engines look for and a few simple plugins.
Speaking of which, here’s a look at four popular SEO-friendly plugins that can help you get you started.
All in One SEO Pack
The All in One SEO Pack is chock-full of optimization options, some of which include the ability to automatically add SEO-optimized alt and title attributes to your images, the automatic generation of meta description tags for your pages, as well as the ability to check your site for duplicate content.
Yoast WordPress SEO
This plugin allows users to create their own custom meta tags for meta descriptions and meta keywords. Additionally, it has the ability to comb through your post to give you an overview of your keyword density, and it also checks to see if those keywords are found in other important locations like your URL, page title and so on.
One particularly nice feature is that you can check your posts against the Flesch Reading Ease scale, which gives you valuable insight into how easy your writing is for others to read.
Google XML SiteMap
An XML sitemap functions as an outline of your site; it shows how all of your site’s pages are hierarchically related to each other, and its main purpose is to assist search engine spiders in successfully navigating and indexing your site properly.
The Google XML SiteMap plugin helps to minimize the pain of creating one by automatically generating one for you! Additionally, whenever you create a new post, it sends out an alert to all the major search engines, letting them know there’s new content to crawl.
Once you set it up, the SEO-Friendly Images plugin can automatically add alt and title attributes to your images.
Optimizing your images is yet another necessary, but often overlooked, aspect of search engine optimization. Adding accurate, descriptive alt and title attributes to your images helps you and your end users.
Not only does doing so help to search engines spiders to accurately “see” what your site is about, it also helps users with disabilities, too!
By the way, how accessible your site is to users with disabilities is yet another factor for ranking well in search results.
These are just a few of the many plugins available to you, but feel free to peruse around the WordPress repository to see what’s out there. While plugins can greatly help you get your site perfected, do keep a couple things in mind.
First, make sure that the plugins you choose are reputable and that they are compatible with your version of WordPress.
Finally, don’t go overboard with plugins. Doing so can actually hurt your page load times. Page load times are another factor in ranking well, so aim for a nice balance between functionality and speed.