SEO Tips for WordPress Websites and Blogs

Written by: Jason Bayless | May 29, 2013

WordPress can be a great CMS for SEO purposes because it’s so quick to learn, easy to use and has a lot of good SEO-friendly features either built in or available as plugins. But right out of the box, WordPress isn’t very SEO-friendly.

Make sure your WordPress website is SEO-ready with these tips:

  1. Uncheck the box next to “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” in the Privacy settings. That should have been done right before you launched the site in the first place. But if you didn’t do it then, do so ASAP.
  2. Remove the “Hello World” post and “Sample Page” before your site goes live. Some SEO experts also recommend removing them from your WordPress site’s database altogether. (These defaults aren’t necessarily bad for your site’s SEO, but it doesn’t make your site look very professional.)
  3. Categorize the “uncategorized” category. Give this category a name that has to do with the overall subject matter of your website or blog. This also helps if you or a guest blogger forgets to choose a category for a given blog post.
  4. Set your permalinks to work harder for SEO. If you want your permalinks to be optimized for SEO, you’ll need to change the setting from the default to “Post Name.” Or you can choose “Custom Structure” and add the /%category%/%postname%/ parameter, but be sure your categories are optimized first.
  5. Choose whether your Home page should be static or display your latest blog posts. You can create a new blank page for your latest posts. Then, under Reading Settings, choose whether you want a static page or your latest blog content for your Front Page Displays.
  6. Be sure your chosen theme is “responsive.” That means that the theme automatically adjusts the layout, images and menu of the page so it looks its best on any medium, whether the user is on a desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone or other device.
  7. Add some update services to your WordPress site. Sure, you can wait for the search engine bots to find your site. But you can help your website to get indexed much faster by going to the General Settings page and making sure that these four update services are in the list: http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2, http://rpc.pingomatic.com/,     http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping, and http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/pingSubmit?bloglink=http%3A%2F%2www.domain.com/.
  8. Use Google Analytics for WordPress to track your website’s traffic, user behavior, 404 pages and other metrics. There are a few ways to add Google Analytics to your site, but one of the most direct ways is to install the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin. Create a new Google Analytics profile first, however, and be sure to enable site search.

These eight WordPress SEO tips are a great start to make your WordPress site more search engine compatible, but keep in mind that all WordPress sites are different (even though they all begin life with the same default content). Your WordPress website or blog may need other SEO strategies to help it rank as highly as possible for your most competitive keywords.