What you should know about Wordpress SEO | Process Street What you should know about WordPress SEO – Process Street

What you should know about Wordpress SEO

Getting Through your Basic Checklist
  • 1
    Read through this Intro
  • 2
    Make sure you understand Title, Meta, Alt tags, Permalinks.
  • 3
    Run a Free Website Report
  • 4
    Look out for any errors detected Title, Meta, Alt and URLs.
  • 5
    Install a Plugin to correct these errors
  • 6
    Trial MarketGoo to continue learning

Great job on wanting to take your site's SEO into your own hands! You're a go-getter!

As its title suggests, this checklist is basic and meant to introduce you to some concepts you should be aware of and understand in order to begin optimising your site. If they sound more technical than what you're used to hearing about such as links and content, you're right. This is the more 'boring' part but it is still necessary and will complement your other optimisation efforts. 

Once you're done with these, you can continue your journey by seeing the other sections evaluated in your Free Website Report or trialing MarketGoo. But there is time for that later!

(If you're a more advanced Wordpress/SEO user and this proves to be a snoozefest, go ahead and skip to step 3). 

Your Wordpress Theme and your SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. Optimising your site for search engines means using a combination of strategies and techniques to increase the number of visitors to your website by achieving a high position in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, etc.

You may have heard that Wordpress is great for SEO, and we would amend that phrase to say Wordpress has great potential for SEO. That means that you need to make adjustments yourself in order to optimise it as well as possible. Just because you have a site on Wordpress doesn't necessarily mean it is going to do well if you don't dedicate time to optimising it for search engines.

So what does your theme have to do with any of this? It is important for you to know that some Wordpress themes such as Genesis come with built-in SEO options, and if you switch to a different theme, your SEO may be affected. This is why we recommend using a plugin. Remember you need to have a self-hosted website (wordpress.org, not wordpress.com). 

Wordpress is the World of Plugins

One of the things that makes Wordpress great is that there is a plugin for everything. Plugins are bits of software you add to extend the functionality that already exists in Wordpress. For SEO, there are two major plugins that you can get for free (they also offer paid versions): Yoast SEO and All in One SEO. Which one is better? You can read a comparison here. Whichever one you install, it will help you eaily make the changes you need and additionally your site will take less of a hit if you switch themes. 

Got this far? Good job, you can mark this section as complete :) Go on to the next section, 'Title Tags'.

Wordpress: Title Tags

Spot the Title tags!

The title tag, is literally your page's title and an important factor in your search result rankings. The text you see on your browser tab or window, the first line with blue text you see in the search results, all that is your title. Your titles for each page should contain a keyword you are focusing on, and ideally also your business name such as the examples above (Octopus Figurine is the title of the page (and the main keyword/key phrase they are focusing on) and at the end there is the store/business name | Joss & Main). If you see the HTML code of any site, the text between <title> and </title> is the title tag. 

Managing and Editing your Title Tags

You can manage and edit your site's title tag directly on your Wordpress site through your header.php file (maybe a little confusing if you're a beginner), but to be able to edit titles for each page and post on your site, you can use one of the plugins we have mentioned (much easier): Yoast or All in One SEO. Whichever one you use, they both provide step-by-step instructions on how to change Titles once you've installed the plugin. 

Take a look at the image above again, and wonder whether you would click on either if you were looking to buy some octopus figurines. The title matters, right? However you probably noticed the text below which describes a little more about the octopus figurine. That matters too, and its the Meta Description. Check this as done and go ahead to the next section, Meta tags.

Meta Descriptions

Those 2 lines of black text are very important!

In the image above, we already saw the blue text which is the Title, and now let's take a look at the black text which is about 2 lines long. This is the meta description, and gives a concise and attention grabbing description of what your page offers. In the example, you can see that the results seem to have somewhat generic descriptions, although they mention the keyword 'octopus figurines' many times. Make yours more descriptive and relevant, because you want the person reading it to click through to your website. 

Keep in mind...

  • Length: Make it no longer than 160 characters long, just to be safe. 
  • Relevancy: make your description relevant! This means it should be accurate as to summarising the content on the page. 
  • Keywords: make sure you know what keyword is the most important for the page you are optimising, and don't just stick it in everywhere. Would you want to read a bunch of keywords that don't really make sense together if you were searching for something? That's called keyword stuffing and search engines know how to weed it out. 
  • Do not duplicate: Every page in your site should have a different purpose, so there should be no need to duplicate your meta descriptions. 

You might have noticed we still haven't said anythng about that one green line in the image at the top of the section. It's the URL, and it is more important than you'd think! So, you've made it this far, so keep going! Mark as done and keep going to the next section about URLs, Permalinks.

ALT Tags

Source: Section 101 (section101.com/website_tips_and_best_practices&postid=1529376)

Alt tags (also known as Alt Text) describe your images to people who can't see them as well as to search engines. It describes the image depicts. When you hover over an image on a site, and a small snippet of text appears, that is the alt tag. It is important for search engines to know what an image is about to determine whether it is relevant to the content of your page, and to show it as a result to those searching for it or something related to it. And yes, you guessed it, it is great if your alt tag contains your keyword for the page it's on. However, no keyword stuffing please, and remember this not only frowned upon by search engines, but can actually be disruptive for blind users. They depend on your alt tags to know what kind of image is on their screen. 

Source: Xpertxone Blog (http://blog.xpertxone.com/what-are-alt-tags-and-title-tags/)

To add alt tags, you can use one of the 2 plugins we have been mentioning, or manually. As soon as you upload an image to your site, fill in the alt text, there is a field specifically for it. Doesn't get any easier than that!

And..you're done! Go back to the first section in this checklist "What you should know about Wordpress SEO" and check off the 2nd item. Then, keep going and generate your Free Website Report!