How to Perform SEO on Your Standard WordPress Blog

When it comes to Content Management systems, there is rarely a more popular choice than WordPress. The popularity of WordPress stems mainly from the sheer range of features and plugins that are available through the tool and with this popularity has arrived an increasing number of plugins designed exclusively to address the issue of Search Engine Optimisation. When it comes to optimising your WordPress site, or any Content Management System for that matter, there are a few aspects that you really want to gain more control over, including the opportunity to exclude certain pages from being indexed, the opportunity to create an internal linking structure and add custom Page Titles for each page, the opportunity to modify URLs to make them more “SEO Friendly” and the opportunity to control the amount of pagination or non-crawlable content on-site. Luckily, WordPress is powerful enough to provide solutions to many of these common problems.

The first thing you need to do is find a suitable SEO plugin that will allow you to implement various SEO functions including title optimisation, no follow and more at the page level . Some of the more popular SEO plugins include Platinum SEO and the All in one SEO pack. You can also use these plugins to gain more control over page level redirection e.g. automatically 301 redirecting old pages whenever you change the permalink structure on your site. Another useful option in WordPress, and this option is built in to WordPress from the settings menu, is the opportunity to control the number of blog posts visible on your main blog or news page. Google and other major search engines do not enjoy crawling lots and lots of pagination, reviewing your settings to include more posts on a page will help search engines crawl all of your most important content on-site. Do not overdo this however – Google sets a customary limit of, typically, one-hundred internal or external links to a page.

In terms of modifying your standard URL structure, the standard format offered by WordPress is a page ID – these IDs aren’t particularly useful from a usability point of view, nor will they help you when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation. It’s always advisable then to revise your permalinks structure from the settings menu prior to launching your website, an optimal structure would be to include the post title and post name in the URL – this is easily achieved from using the various settings offered to your by WordPress to control how your URLs are presented.

WordPress is a fantastic platform on which to establish a website, it gives webmasters new and old near complete control over how their website appears online and allows them to add all sorts of functionality to their site that would otherwise be considered well beyond their expertise. However, as with any piece of software, there are some drawbacks and there are some important considerations you need to make with regards to Search Engine Optimisation before launching your WordPress blog.

One of the first things you need to look at when performing SEO on your WordPress blog is the permalink structure of your site. Permalinks essentially control how your URLs appear to both visitors and search engines – they allow you to present a far friendlier version of the URLs on your website which are far more aesthetically pleasing than the standard URLs offered up by WordPress. You can control how your permalinks appear by adjusting the permalinks under the settings tab in your WordPress admin panel. The best format, particularly if you have plans to appear in Google News, is to use the post_id and post-name variables.

Another limitation of WordPress is that it doesn’t give you granular control over how you Page Titles or Meta Descriptions appear – the page title in particular is one of the most important SEO factors on your website, and it’s important to ensure you insert a target keyword in there and keep the title to less than 70 characters, including whitespace, in length. An easy workaround to this problem is to install a Search Engine Optimisation plugin – two of the more popular plugins are Platinum SEO or the All in one SEO Pack. Both of these plugins will give your granular control over your page titles, and will allow you to configure other SEO options too.

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