SEO or search engine optimization is a very important part of any blog or website. If you want to make sure you’re found on the search engines, proper SEO is vital. The best part about WordPress is the enormous amount of plugins you can use for various tasks, including SEO.
You can increase your on page SEO by using either the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin or the All-in-One SEO Pack plugin. Both of these plugins will provide you with plenty of help for your on page SEO. Of course, you need to do more than just install a plugin for the best possible SEO.
After you choose the right plugin for your needs, you will want to set it up properly. You can compare the two plugins by reading about all the benefits of WordPress SEO by Yoast here and All-in-One SEO Pack here.
A Few Basics for Setting Up Your SEO Plugin
If you’re using the All-in-One SEO plugin for WordPress, you will want to install and activate the plugin. This will give you a new section in your WordPress Dashboard sidebar called “All In One SEO.” You want to go to the “General Settings” of this section first.
You will find all the necessary settings in this section of the plugin. Make sure to adjust the settings because the default settings are not the best choice. Start by filling in the following section:
Use the title of your site, give it a description and add a few keyword phrases that fit with the overall SEO of your website. Now, you will need to scroll down and adjust a few more settings.
You will see a section with “%blog_title%” repeated quite a bit:
Adjust these settings to match our recommendation below:
This will help to optimize your blog post titles to ensure you get the most out of your on page SEO. WordPress has a default settings, which is a “Keyword Rich Title of Your Post” and without using one of these two SEO plugins to adjust this setting, you won’t get the most out of your on page SEO.
If you understand this section of the plugin, you will know that we don’t recommend putting the blog’s name in the post title or the page title. This tends to dilute the title and makes it harder to rank because of overuse of the keyword phrase. In addition, it looks a little more natural.
Setting up Better SEO for Each Blog Post
Both the All-in-One SEO Pack and the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugins will give you a new section for each blog post. This section will allow you to optimize your blog post titles, keywords and descriptions. It’s very similar to the homepage section you’ve already set up and looks like this:
This section allows you to write a custom title and description. The title should always match the title of the post, but the description can either be the first 155 characters or you can create a custom description. You will also want to match your blog post tags to the keywords entered in this section.
Adjusting your Permalinks for Better WordPress SEO
WordPress doesn’t install with the right set up for great SEO in the permalinks section. Instead, each post you create gets assigned an ugly URL with “?p35” at the end. This doesn’t do anything to help with your overall SEO.
Luckily, making a simple adjustment in the Settings >> Permalinks section will fix this issue. Simply change it from the default setting to the “Post Name” setting. This will give you a new URL for each new blog post, which will match the title.
You will want to shorten some of these URLs as you create posts with the section under the post title.
It may not be necessary to shorten every URL, but for longer titles, you will want to cut it down to your keyword phrase or a shortened version of the title.
Additional WordPress SEO Tips for Beginners
Along with the basic on page SEO adjustments above and the use of one of our two recommended SEO plugins, you should consider the following:
- Interlinking within your Website – You can use the Breadcrumb NavXT plugin to help with the structure of your site and the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin to help with interlinking.
- Create an XML Sitemap – If you use the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin, you already have an XML sitemap. If not, you can use the Google XML Sitemaps plugin to create one.
- Optimize your External Links – Whenever you link to something in your sidebar, you can add the rel=”nofollow” tag to increase your SEO.
- Use a Premium Theme – Many of the free themes are not designed for SEO. However, a premium theme will provide the best possible SEO design, in most cases.
- Speed up your Load Times – Google takes your site’s speed into consideration when ranking your blog posts and pages. You can speed up your load times with the WP-Super Cache plugin.
These are just a few additional things you can do to create better SEO with your WordPress blog and website.