WordPress is by far the most popular content management system today, used by millions of businesses and individuals all around the world.
Its success is mostly thanks to it being open source software, meaning that developers do not need to purchase the rights to install it. WordPress also has a huge community of volunteer developers, who ensure that it works smoothly and is kept as secure as possible.
WordPress is also very SEO friendly straight from the start. However, to fully optimize a WordPress website and improve your web page ranking, you need to make a few improvements to the basic installation. This is an absolute MUST if you run a business blog in a competitive niche.
Fortunately, most of these changes can be made within the WordPress admin pages or with the use of a free and secure plugin. If you are unsure how to install these plugins, speak to your web designer or SEO manager, who will be able to assist.
In any event, let’s take a look at the following 8 ways you can improve your WordPress web page ranking:
Set Your Permalinks
The permalinks setting determines how URLs are structured. As WordPress was traditionally a blog, URLs would show the date and post title. A better URL structure uses the category and post title, so create a custom permalink like this:
Or, if you wish to display a post id, use:
This may be useful if you wish to be indexed in Google News.
Tags and Web Page Ranking
Tags can help to order content, but for most businesses they are totally unnecessary.
Order your content in categories and stop using tags altogether. Tags can cause thin content and duplicate content problems, both of which can result in a Panda penalty.
For example, if you write just one post that talks about Windows 10, and you tag it Windows10, you will have the same content appear on your post page and your tag page.
If you do use tags, always display unique post excerpts in the tag archive pages, rather than the full article.
Categories are very important but do not treat them as tags! Pick 4-10 categories that will allow you to cover all of your business products or services.
It is usually better to have a broad category that has a range of quality content, rather than a very narrow category with just a few short posts.
There are two types of “title” for a web page. There is the title that you can see on the page (strictly speaking, this is the “Header”) and the META title that is shown in web browsers and displayed in search engines.
In most WordPress sites, the subject chosen for a post will be the main header, and this will become the META title (although some site themes mess this up).
A title is a very important signal to Google about what the page is about – but you may not wish your header to be exactly the same. Also, a shorter title looks better in search and is likely to engage readers better, but, it may not be suitable for a page header.
Your titles should also include your company name. It is generally best to display the company name after the post name, although some major brands will display their name first. Take a look in Google to see how other companies do this, e.g.:
- Using Marketing Tools – eBay
- SEO Books – Amazon.com
- BBC One – The Apprentice
SEO plugins do a good job of allowing you to specify a title for each post – the WordPress SEO plugin is recommended for this, although others will also work.
A good theme for WordPress will rarely enhance your SEO, but a bad theme can easily damage it.
SEO friendly themes should have minimal code, load fast, be responsive and have a clean navigation. An experienced SEO consultant will highlight any technical issues with your site and theme.
Sitemaps are not vital for small sites, but they are still useful.
Your site should ideally have an HTML sitemap, that is, one that is readable by your customers on the site, and also an XML sitemap, which can be added to Google Search Console and crawled by search engines.
Turn off comments on all pages and posts, unless you plan on managing discussions. Comments are abused by “black hat” SEOs and this can quickly harm your website.
If commenters are posting duplicate content and linking out to harmful sites, expect a penalty from Google.
Keep It Neat
It is tempting to add every product, service, review and blog post on the homepage, but this will quickly put off your readers and also dilute the power of the links that point to your homepage.
Keep your homepage relatively clean and link only to the top level categories and most important product pages.
There are many other more technical ways to improve your WordPress web page ranking, but this list will get you off to a great start.
Nevertheless, if you need help with complete optimisation, contact Freelance SEO Essex today.
Did this article give you any useful insight on how to improve your WordPress web page ranking?
Then please let us know by dropping a comment below.
About the Author
Danny Hall is a Co-Director for the well-established Search Engine Optimisation agency, FSE Online. Danny has worked within the SEO sector for many years and is always keeping up-to-date with Googles latest news.
- License: Creative Commons image source