With a few simple tweaks, WordPress is amazing at SEO. Relatively little effort allows you to achieve strong rankings in Search Engines just by setting things up the right way from the start. By getting into good habits each time you write a blog post, you will maximise your blog’s visibility in Search Engines for many years to come.
In this article I share my secrets for setting up your WordPress blog to maximise SEO, amassed through my 15+ years of hands-on experience.
One of the most downloaded WordPress plugins of this year is Yoast SEO. This is an awesome free plugin which highlights all the aspects that contribute to your search engine rankings in a convenient, inline fashion. Below is an example of the Yoast SEO module that appears below each blog post you write, allowing you to keep track of all the critical elements for SEO including:
- focus keyword
- keyword density
- length of article
- page title
- meta description
- …and lots more!
Please, do yourself a favour and make sure you install Yoast SEO. It’s worth its weight in gold.
The Yoast SEO plugin offers expert advice within the WordPress admin.
There’s more than one way to catch a rabbit …and there’s more than one way to setup the Permalinks on your WordPress blog. I’ve had the most success with one specific method of Permalink setup, and because I’m a nice bloke I’m going to share it with you.
But first; if the word Permalink has you confused, don’t worry…. it’s not actually a real word so you aren’t alone. WordPress invented the concept of a ‘permalink’ in order to describe the structure of the URLs on your blog. Some people want to include dates in their URLs, others want to include categories, and some even want the author name to be included, so WordPress created a URL structure (known as the Permalink) that is completely customisable to the unique needs of the blogger.
The top secret setting that I use here on The Freedom Chaser and other blogs, is pretty simple really. Pictured below, I select the Custom Structure option and paste in /%category%/%postname%/ . This means that each URL in my blog retains a hierarchy of sorts, with the category of the post appearing before the post title in the URL.
My tried and tested permalink structure achieves the best results for SEO.
TIP: As soon as you install your WordPress blog you should set up your Permalink structure. In fact, if you make changes to a blog that is already setup and has several posts published, you may end up compromising your existing rankings, not to mention break many of your internal links, because you are essentially changing your blog post URLs enmasse through your permalink structure.