There are many CMS (content management systems) and web publishing tools; however, WordPress is the most popular among these and accepted worldwide by the leading web developers. A large number of blogs, e-commerce, and company websites, including that of many multinational corporate too run on WordPress now.
Versatility of WordPress
Designers and developers from across the globe are fascinated by the versatility of this CMS and the range of options available with it for web development and design. The users of WordPress sites are impressed with its effectiveness and simplicity.
It’s simple to use, and anyone with little knowledge of coding too can make use of WordPress to weave feature-rich websites. Now, about 25% of the top 10 million sites in the world are built on WordPress including TIME, Marketing Land, Mashable, and Search Engine Land, etc. as examples.
WordPress is also a handy platform when it comes to the need for SEO and most of the experts too rate WordPress as highly search engine friendly. For many other platforms, one may face problems while incorporating the SEO essentials. Say, for example, some of the plugin and themes with HTML codes may not work perfectly for the search engines.
However, when it comes to WordPress, chances or such errors are almost negligible. Further, in this article, we will discuss the major do’s and don’ts WordPress developers should keep in mind while preparing WordPress sites.
- Functional SEO
- Do: use the apt plugin to manage the functional SEO of website built on WP. There are a host of plugins on WordPress, some of which are specifically meant for SEO. These professional plugins will help you to administer the baseline optimization tasks.
- Don’t: rely on just themes for SEO optimization. While changing the layout using a new theme, one should always focus on the key elements such as page titles and meta tags, etc. If SEO functionality is built into a theme, then replacing it with another theme with the same SEO settings may not be possible.
- Do: make use of proper taxonomy terms with proper descriptions. While developing a WordPress site, you have to choose whether or not you index taxonomy archives. If you set is for search engines, then one should make it perfect. Adding appropriate meta descriptions to taxonomy archives is not difficult now with the help of SEO plugins for WordPress. Just make the descriptions easily identifiable and simply set the plugin to consider it as meta description tag.
- Don’t: get carried away regarding tag creation to ultimately realize that you end up with a huge number of categories with each of the tags getting tied to multiple posts. Given that you allow proper indexing of taxonomy archives, there may be a large number of duplicate archived pages to which you assign the terms.
As suggested by the Marketing Agency in New York experts, typical standard to follow is to maintain anywhere between 5 to 7 standard categories and maximum three tags to each post. Too many categories will give an assumption that your page contains a large number of topics and not focused.
- Proper permalink structure
- Do: plan for an easily understandable permalink structure.
Give the above sample URLs; you can easily identify that the second one makes more sense regarding the page content, right? Search engines too read it that way. You can change your permalink structure through settings and access Permalinks screen on WP dashboard. If not done properly, you can change the URLs to be fine-tuned with apt SEO strategies.
- Don’t: ignore the post slug. It is crucial in a permalink structure, which is also known as page slug, i.e., the ‘/%postname%/’ part of the URL. On WP, this can be auto-generated based on the blog/post title in lower case, special characters removed, and space gets replaced with hyphens. The slug may be too long if the title is also long, for which you can use SEO plugins to help clean it, but you can do it manually if possible to make it more meaningful.
- Proper content structure
- Do: maintain a good content structure for which you should understand the concepts of page content, posts, and the custom types of postings. It is easy to understand post vs. page. Something to appear in the RSS feeds and archives is a post. Pages usually contain static content. About page, Contact Us are examples of pages. Custom posts are neither pots or a page. Say for example, if you want to include a portfolio section to a website, it is ideal to make a top-level page by naming it as a portfolio with some sub-pages to showcase projects. Creating custom posts on WP is easy and can be done without touching the code.
- Don’t: Forget to put in relevant images for posts. The latest update in WordPress version 3.4 is the media uploader. So, it is now much easier for the developer to put in images. However, don’t overlook the need for putting relevant meta info before adding images to the posts. It is essential to name the images meaningfully and also put relevant alt text for SEO benefits. This has to be done effectively while uploading videos too.
You can easily achieve the above requirements by simply using appropriate plugins. You also need to know some recent changes on search engine algorithms too to handle WP SEO it in the best possible manner. Say, for example, the descriptions don’t play any crucial role now in search engine results, but these can still be valuable in contributing to the click-through rates. For this, you have to avoid putting the same description on different pages. Also, now the search engines show the 156 characters of the content if you don’t set good meta descriptions.
So, you should take care of all such key factors while trying to prepare a search engine optimized website. The result of above do’s and don’ts may differ based on the nature of your site, but with a clear understanding of these essentials, you can take a trial and error approach to do it at best.