In WordPress, SEO functionality is not fully implemented, but the settings built into the platform are quite easy to figure out. And the missing options are integrated using plugins. Let’s take a look at all the features of WordPress site optimization in order.
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SEO WordPress Themes
The popularity of CMS WP is due to the availability of a large number of free themes (website templates) on the Internet. Even a beginner will be able to cope with the installation – almost all options are available in the “internal” store. They differ in functionality, design and SEO capabilities. True, there are “surprises” like the generation of two H1 headers, duplicate pages without specifying the canonical page.
An SEO-optimized WordPress template should have:
- Layout with full adaptation to mobile devices. Ideally, to pass the Google Mobile Friendly Test without a single error.
- Editing block for typography headings H1-H6. Better separately by pages, this will simplify the design of the main, sections, blog.
- Visual module for filling in micro-markup. They are filled in automatically by copying the content or manually.
- Canonical tag support. Ideally, the main copy is automatically marked as “canonical”.
- Ability to generate links in CNC format. This is partially offset by one of the WordPress SEO plugins (e.g. RusToLat)
When considering English-language templates, it is recommended to focus on the mention of phrases in the description – SEO Friendly, SEO Optimized, Optimized for Search Engines. But the optimal check is a trial installation and activation before making the rest of the settings. Checking the list of functions is on the test domain. Sometimes outwardly unprepossessing templates turn out to be “sharpened” for optimizers better than beautifully designed ones.
You can pay attention to the topics:
Basic WordPress SEO Optimization
Platform settings are made before starting website promotion on WordPress. Because they all affect the display of the resource in the search – from the type of links in the address bar to the prohibition of indexing individual pages and sections. After completing the basic optimization, they usually start installing plugins for SEO, for another purpose.
We fill in the “General” section in the “Settings” menu
Setting up a WordPress site begins by specifying its name and a short description. They will be displayed in the header, automatically added to the Title snippet. Some themes hide these “headers” in the body of the page, but you still need to add them. Usually the name of the site matches the profile of the company. For example, “Delivery of crushed stone in Moscow and Moscow region”. The short description includes a basic offer like “non-metallic materials with delivery”.
Specifying general settings for the site
List of settings:
- Website address. It must be specified along with the HTTPS or HTTP protocol.
- Administrative email address. System administrator email.
- Date and time format. The view can be left as default.
The first point is considered the most important here. Immediately after registering a domain, it is available via the HTTP protocol, therefore, when deploying the WP platform on a hosting, this prefix is automatically set.
After purchasing an SSL certificate, it is important to manually change it to HTTPS, otherwise the system will still use the old link. An optimized site should always work through a secure protocol.
SSL connection information also needs to be specified in the settings of the webmaster’s panel. Otherwise, two identical copies will be indexed in the search database of the same Yandex – one with the HTTP prefix, the other with HTTPS. This negatively affects SEO promotion. Therefore, it is recommended to switch to a secure protocol immediately after registering a domain, in order to exclude the “unnecessary” version from entering the index.
The same applies to the options for displaying the site with and without WWW. There is no particular significance which species will be chosen. But it is necessary to do this and publish the exact link everywhere, for example, without WWW. To avoid mistakes, especially with a large link mass, the site is configured to redirect using the 301 code to the correct version. Then, when entering a domain with any prefixes in the address bar, the user will be taken to the “main” site.
- It is recommended to set up redirection to a single link from links without a slash, indicating at the end index, index.html, index.php.
- The correct spelling of the address of the main page must be specified in the “General” tab of the “Settings” section.
- The best way to enable such a redirect is to edit the .htaccess file.
It is preferable to choose the main mirror immediately when registering a domain, deploying the WordPress platform on the hosting. The correct spelling of the home page address must be specified in the Yandex. There is no such parameter in the new version of Google Search Console, so you should specify it in the sitemap.xml file.
One of the main SEO plugins for WordPress, which is installed on the platform during the search engine optimization process, is the Cyrillic translator for Latin links. Only in this form will the addresses be displayed correctly. Russian symbols turn into “gibberish” when copying, reposting on social networks, publishing links on external resources. There are two popular plugins: RusToLat, CyrToLat.
WordPress admin settings:
- Go to the “Permalinks” tab of the “Settings” section.
- Select the item “Arbitrary” and specify the format of links – /% category% /% postname%.
- Click the “Save changes” button.
After saving, it is recommended to check the display format of the links. Sometimes the system crashes and does not accept changes the first time. If you plan to blog, you should immediately decide whether you need the word “category” in the address bar. It lengthens the URL, and for SEO it is better to get rid of the extra characters in the links. The easiest way to shorten them is to install and activate the WPML (No Category Base) plugin. It works automatically and requires no configuration.
When making the specified settings, the link of any page will look like this:
https: // domain / section-name / h1-header
It will remain in the future to make sure that the full link with the domain name is placed in the 90-character limit (together with slashes, hyphens). Translation into Latin is usually also done without user intervention, but the length is not automatically adjusted. When you click Save or Publish after creating a new page, the entire H1 heading is added to the permalink. Therefore, sometimes you have to compose the URL manually.
Search engine visibility
The above settings affect the ranking of the site in the search engines. But only after permission for indexing. During the initial deployment of the WordPress platform, a question is asked about turning off visibility for search engines. If you agree with the proposal, none of the pages will be visible to Internet users, even with good SEO optimization.
Indexing is enabled at any time. The corresponding item is located in the “Reading” tab of the “Settings” section. To do this, uncheck the box “Ask search engines not to index the site.” Next, it is recommended to send links, sitemap.xml for forced crawling by the Yandex and Google robot. This step will speed up the appearance of the site in the search base.
Setting visibility for search engines
Robots.txt and sitemap.xml files
Both files are considered key for effective search engine promotion. For example, instructions for blocking the indexing of service sections are added to the robots.txt text. By default, search engines process absolutely all pages, including customer accounts, site search results, temporary URLs created when filters are activated. The file also contains a link to the current sitemap.
Options for setting up your robots.txt file:
- Supply a WordPress SEO plugin like Yoast SEO.
- Paste the standard list of commands for WordPress into the file.
- Fill in manually according to Yandex help.
The latter requires certain skills, because each template contains service sections that are different from the “typical” ones. And they should be hidden from search robots so that the index contains only promoted links (main, categories, product cards, blog articles). If the site is already working, “extra” links can be easily found in the webmaster’s panel, in the list of indexed pages. They are often marked as “low-quality”, “duplicates”, so it is convenient to work with the list.
The sitemap.xml should also contain the URL of the pages being promoted only. It is recommended to delete the rest before placing the file on the hosting. Usually no one writes it manually because of the large amount of work. It’s easier to install a plugin that will generate it automatically and replenish it as new pages are published. Or generate a file in the Google XML Sitemaps online service.
When using plugins, several sitemaps are often created – “main” with a link to “additional”. This allows you to speed up indexing with a large number of site pages (online stores, aggregators). In addition, there is a limit of 50,000 entries, or a size of 50 MB. In any case, it is recommended that after creating and posting a sitemap, connect it to the webmaster panel of Yandex and Google.
Website promotion is possible not only in the “main” search. Pictures from articles are ranked separately, and, in general, all images available for indexing. The same rules and restrictions work here – for example, it is recommended to close graphic template files using robots.txt, because they are official. The rest should be optimized to increase the chances of being in the TOP sections of Yandex.Images and Google Images.
- The size of the image files affects the overall loading speed of the website page.
- Pictures with titles relevant to the content (in Latin) are ranked better.
- Images are searched according to the Title and Alt attributes.
The platform supports filling in the default SEO data. The file names will be changed automatically when installing a plugin like RusToLat. But you will have to work with the size separately – install plugins like WP Smush, Imagify or use online compression services without loss of quality. When SEO optimizing a WordPress site, it is recommended to enter keywords that are relevant to the content of the pages in Title and Alt.
Best SEO plugins for WordPress
The regular capabilities of the WP platform in search engine promotion are somewhat limited. But it can be easily upgraded with free plugins. Many of the add-ons are Russified, this simplifies their configuration. It is better to install them immediately after deploying the CMS.
One of the best SEO plugins with a whole range of functions to help you promote your website. These include the generation of XML maps, the ability to edit robots.txt, .htaccess files from the admin panel, evaluation of the filling of snippets, the relevance of the page content.
The plugin also includes setting Title and Description for categories, which is not included in the standard package. And activates “bread crumbs”. The module comes in two versions – free and paid, with additional functions.
All in One SEO Pack
All in One SEO Pack Plugin
The second most popular SEO add-on pack is called the All in One SEO Pack. The functionality is similar to Yoast, but there are significant differences. For example, the module works with two OpenGraph micro-markup standards, Schema.org, and generates canonical addresses if there are duplicate pages.
Also in the settings you can enable blocking of “harmful bots”, edit robots.txt, .htaccess, and other system files. The paid PRO version has a built-in card generator for video content. Its use extends the snippets with a video that is published at a particular link.
Among similar plugins, users note SEO Framework, SEO Press, and a number of others that comprehensively complement the WordPress platform. There are also a lot of modules for narrow tasks (like the RusToLat mentioned above).