In the ever-expanding digital landscape, a website’s visibility in search engine results is often the key to its success. WordPress, a versatile and widely used content management system, offers a ton of tools and features to optimize your website’s SEO performance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore essential WordPress SEO practices, from ensuring search engine visibility to fine-tuning your metadata and handling redirects. Whether you’re a seasoned WordPress user or just starting, these tips and best practices will empower you to harness the full potential of your website in the online realm. Let’s embark on a journey to elevate your WordPress website’s search engine presence and, in turn, your online success.
Search Engine Visibility
During development, a website is usually blocked from being indexed in the search results. Once the website is live and ready to be indexed by search engines, make sure that Search Engine Visibility is turned on.
To do so, go to Settings > Reading
Make sure that the box is not checked
WordPress creates a sitemap automatically – https://www.yoursite.com/wp-sitemap.xml. However, the majority of sites use an SEO plugin that creates more detailed XML sitemaps.
Yoast is a common SEO WordPress plugin used. To turn on and/or view the XML sitemap, go to Yoast SEO > Settings.
Locate the website’s XML sitemap and submit it in Google Search Console if it hasn’t already been done.
Meta Robots & Canonicals
To mark a page no-index, you can use Yoast. Go to the page editor and scroll down to the Yoast SEO section. Under the Advanced tab, you can select whether you want a page to appear in the search results and whether or not crawlers should follow links. You can also set canonicals in this section.
Pages vs Posts
There are two different types of content in WordPress: posts and pages.
Pages should be used for static pages (ex. about, contact, product page).
Posts should be used for blog posts. Posts are shown by most recent first and typically include dates and authors.
Creating & Editing Pages
To create or edit a page, navigate to the Pages section. Click Add New to create a new page, clone an existing page, or click on an existing page to edit.
WordPress doesn’t nest pages by default. If you want to nest pages, you need to do it manually.
For example, say your website has a services page – domain.com/services. You also have a page for a sub-service, or Service 1. By default, WordPress would create a page URL like domain.com/service-1. If we wanted to display it as a sub-service on the website, we would have to set domain.com/services as the parent page. Then the sub-service URL would become domain.com/services/service-1.
To nest a page, you need to Edit the page. Then Page Attributes > Parent Page.
*Note this will not add a page to the menu under the parent page. You need to add pages to the menu manually.
To create or edit a menu in WordPress, go to Appearance > Menus.
You can select a menu to edit or create a new menu.
To add pages, check them under the pages section on the left. You can nest pages by dragging and dropping the pages under the Menu structure section.
To make the menu appear as the main menu, go to the bottom of the page and mark the Display location as Primary Menu.
Don’t forget to save your changes.
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Page titles are used by default when creating new URLs. This can make URLs very lengthy. You can change or set what the URL of a new page will be with Yoast.
Note that if you are changing an existing URL, you need to redirect the old URL.
To update or set a URL, go to the page editor. Scroll down and edit the slug.
To update metadata, go to the page editor. Scroll down to the Yoast SEO section. You can then edit the SEO title and Meta description.
Don’t forget to publish your changes.
You can implement redirects in WordPress using plugins. Two common plugins are Redirection and Yoast.
You can find the redirection tools from the side navigation.