2018 Basic WordPress SEO in the light of AMP

WordPress is the most preferred Content Management System by BEGINNERS as well as seasoned marketers and publishers. The reason why WordPress is so popular is because it is so much easy to setup WordPress website, can be customized, and most importantly it is so much Search Engine Friendly. The goal of this article is to enlighten new and prospective WordPress users about how to incorporate SEO and WordPress publishing. And also to “de-mystify” the WordPress SEO process. And to encourage them to undertake SEO activities on their own. All this is explained with real-life examples. The content of this article is for those who don’t want to use too many SEO plugins. The points below are relevant ONLY to the SEO affairs relevant to WordPress and does not list the complete installation and configuration of the WordPress CMS.

The first thing you should understand is that – SEO is not a “geek’s thing”. Anyone who has enough knowledge about what content he/she is going to put on the website can achieve fairly good results on Google SERPs. In-fact SEO can be as easy as setting up a WordPress site. There is no definite or fixed methodology for SEO. It is a collection of various activities with some factors being dominant.

 

Domain name

SEO is not about doing a a lot of hard “geek” work all the time, it is also about right STRATEGIC decisions that may seem simple. Choosing the right domain name that is SEO-friendly will give you good returns for your hard work, this is especially true for segments where the competition is cut-throat. Try to choose a domain name that has the keyword in it. For example if your site is about photography, then you should have the keyword “photography” in the domain name.

 

Secured Server

Invest some more in your website and go for Secure Sockets Layer a.k.a SSL (https) . Google and all other search engine have tweaked their algorithm to promote sites with “https”over sites with non-secure protocol “http”. Also SSL protocol instills a sense of trust and security in the minds of your site visitors.

 

Post WordPress Installation

Once you have installed WordPress successfully, the next step is to configure the WP settings to make it SEO-friendly.

Go to Settings –> General and put your website and WordPress url in the appropriate fields.

Site Title and Tagline

To add title and tagline.

Go to Settings –> General

Use your primary keyword(s) in the Title tag. The important thing to remember here is that your Title Tag automatically suffixes your post or page title. For example if you offer “REVIEWS” on your website then the keyword REVIEWS should to be part of your Title. The title length (character-count) can be up-to 70. So craft your Title Tag that will compliment your SEO efforts. You can also describe your website in more details in the Tagline that is right below the Title (in the WordPress Control Panel). The WordPress Tagline appears in the header section of the site. Tagline with keyword-rich content can enhance your on-page SEO.

 

Fixed Index Page or Display 10 Recent Posts

Go to Settings –> Reading
You need to take a call on what should your website’s index page show. By default WordPress displays 10 recent posts. The beauty of WordPress is that it was built with the process of web publishing in mind. So it makes sense to show the most recent posts. The default 10-post scheme is perfect for BLOGS (business, hobby, travel, news, gadgets, reviews etc.). You can also change the number of posts to be displayed on the index page. But if you have a website and want to display a customized Index page – it is perfectly fine and can be done by choosing the custom Index Page.

 

Indexing by Search Engines

Encourage Search Engines to index your website by NOT opting for “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”. This option is provided to keep search engines from crawling and indexing your website while you are still building it. Search Engines crawling and indexing your incomplete website is not good for SEO. So once you are ready to go live, make sure this option in “un-checked”.

 

Comments Configuration

This is one of the most useful and well designed feature of WordPress. Comments are good for SEO, they help in creating user generated content. Comments increase user engagement and social bookmarking also. Users spend more time on posts that have good number of comments. Showing comment count in google results pages (with the help of “Rich Snippets”) improves your Click-through rate.

Most of the configuration options of the Comments System are simple to understand so we will talk about the niche ones only.

 

“Check” the following options:

Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article – Yes

Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles – Yes you want to communicate with other blogs with relevant content. You can always decide whether to approve them or not. So leave it checked.

Allow people to post comments on new articles – Yes you want people to express their opinion.

Comment author must fill out name and email – Makes sense.

Comment must be manually approved – Yes, internet is full of spam and filth. You don’t want those things on your site so check for manual comment approval option.

 

“Un-check” the following options:

Users must be registered and logged in to comment – Not a good idea to “force” visitors to register to comment on your posts.

Automatically close comments on articles older than – Not a very good idea to close the comments after a specific time, not sure why anybody would want to do that.

Show comments cookies opt-in checkbox. – Opt-in if it applies to you.

Enable threaded (nested) comments – Default value of 5 is fair enough. It determines the level of comment nesting.

Break comments into pages with – Nope don check this, it creates a new page after your post garners the specified number of comments. This would hamper your SEO. You want all the comments on the same page irrespective of the comment count.

 

CONTENT

It is the single most important on-page SEO factor. You being a domain expert – you can create unique informative content that offers more value than others. Research new topics for content, scan through news to explore new ideas and topics. News is a good source of finding new information and subjects to write on. You can also comment on news and events relevant to your field. After all blogging is expressing your views. Regularly update your older posts with fresh and new information. When writing articles identify the Subject/Topic first. Use Google Trends and Google Auto Suggest features to get a fair idea of keywords people are searching. Then decide the topics accordingly. After completing the article determine the Keyword-Density and try to maintain a keyword-density of 3%.

Text Formatting
Make use of various text formatting like bold, underline, strike-through, italic, quote to stress on the points your are trying make.

Heading Tags
Write short paragraphs and give sub-headings wherever possible. Use relevant heading tags (H1, H2….H6) for subheadings. Use the heading tags in hierarchical order in the article. i.e your Page title is H1 tag and appears only once, all the other subheadings can be repeated but again the hierarchy has to be maintained.

Meta Description and Keyword
Is an important piece of HTML attribute that provides the summary of the post/page. WordPress does not come with built-in Meta Description/Keyword feature so you need to add it from the plugin. Easy WP Meta Description is a good plugin that lets you add Meta Description to your posts and pages.

Tags
One of the important feature of WordPress is “TAGS”. Tags are like categories, tags bind together posts in different categories. You would observe as you publish posts on your website/blog that often a single post could be classified under more than one category. But you cannot have a single post published in more than one category. That would create “content duplication”. But you want to group together multiple posts without publishing them in various categories -use “tags”. Tagging goes beyond categories and binds posts with relevant theme. The best part is a single post can have only one category but several tags. This post itself would be the best example. The category of this post is SEO and tags associated with it are WordPress, SEO and AMP.

URL Structure a.k.a Permalink
URL structure of your website is an important factor in on-page SEO. It is recommended to use the 5th option “Post Name” because you can use the keyword in the url. If your blog is big with lot of categories then we would suggest going for the 6th “Custom Structure” option.

{ /%category%/%postname%/ }

Add these tags to make your url display “Category Name” and “Post Name” in the url. The 6 option makes your url longer than the “Post Name” option (5th) but it is better to include the category name also, in most cases the category name could also be a keyword.

 

Basic Plugins to make your Website/Blog SEO-friendly

AMP
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) plugin lets you create RESPONSIVE versions of the pages and posts including the index and category pages. This AMP plugin comes in very handy to automatically create the AMP version of the already existing page/post. You can also create a “separate” AMP post for each regular post. Google promotes AMP pages in SERPs. AMP is easy to setup and can be customized to include google ads, images, comments etc.

Google Sitemap
Submitting an up-to-date XML sitemap to Google is an essential part of your Off-page SEO. WordPress offers many plugins that automatically generate these XML sitemaps. The two that really have good functionality and flexibility are Google XML Sitemaps by Arne Brachhold and XML Sitemaps by Denis de Bernardy & Mike Koepke.

WP-Ratings
This plugin lets your site visitors to rate the post on the scale of 0 to 5 stars. This is a light-weight “stand-alone” plugin. With just a minor tweak it is ready to use. The plugin is compatible with the Google Rich Snippets and the rating data is displayed in the Google’s SERPs. Showing such rich snippets increases the Click-Through Rate of your website.

WDsoft is a seasoned WordPress website design company based in Pune, India with an experience on more than 15 years in Website Designing, Digital Marketing, SEO/SEM, Content writing and Brand Development.

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