SEO For WordPress Websites

Written by: Jason Bayless | April 07, 2017

WordPress is one of the most popular methods for developing a quick website on the Internet. In fact, it holds approximately 80 percent of the market share among all content management systems. Although WordPress is a very easy tool to use, it doesn’t do everything for you. You’ll still need to put a bit of effort into optimizing for search engines.

Titles and Descriptions
The length of your post titles will have an impact on how well your pages perform in search engines. You don’t want them too long because it will cut off in the result page. If it’s too short, it may not have enough detail to attract your audience. Essentially, you’re looking for the “Goldilocks Zone” when it comes to title length, which is usually under 80 characters including spaces.

By default, WordPress will grab a snippet of your content to use in the result page for your descriptions. However, you can set this manually. Using your own description gives you a chance to fine-tune the text to make it more alluring to searchers. It’s good practice to keep this snippet of information to under 155 characters and highly detailed. A lot of experts will also include a call-to-action within this text.

Permalink Structure
WordPress gives users the ability to use variations of permalinks. This is set up a number of ways. Many experts state that using “pretty” links is more ideal. This is when the link itself is void of stop words while resembling the content’s title. It gives the post symmetry while making it easier to identify.

Permalinks can also be set up to make finding your content much easier later on. For instance, WordPress can separate month and date alongside the actual page URL to isolate when it is created. Otherwise, you can always set up a custom structure depending on how you want your posts displayed.

Internal Linking
Internal linking is an important fact that a lot of people don’t put much thought into. In reality, it’s an important part of SEO regardless of what platform you use to create the website. This is because each internal link is creating what’s called, “link juice.”

Essentially, link juice is what is given to pages within your site to share popularity for search engines. Each time you create one of these links, the search engine bot views the connection as favorable content. Because WordPress is an easy system to use, creating these links takes but a moment of your time.

Alt Text on Featured Images
Featured images are the graphics that you set to accompany the post. WordPress uses this image to create thumbnails while social sites uses it to share content. Unfortunately, a lot of people forget to assign an alt text and description to their graphics.

The alt text is one of the ways that search engines assign the image. Since search bots cannot crawl a graphic for content, the text will tell the engine what the image relates to. It’s also used for things like captioning in the event someone cannot load the graphic.

Using SEO Plugins
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to make sure you have the best optimization practices in WordPress is to use the right SEO plugins. There is a number of these, and all of them work exceptionally well. One of the most popular is the Yoast SEO plugin.

The reason why Yoast SEO is so popular is because it not only uses current optimization strategies, but it also teaches you how to fix issues in your content. For instance, the plugin will inform you if the readability is too high, if paragraphs are too long or if you need headers within your content.

Search engine optimization is important for any website whether you’re using WordPress, Joomla or coding it by hand. Without understanding current SEO practices, you will hurt your chances of attracting visitors. WordPress is only as powerful as the one using it. Make sure your site has what it needs to succeed.