Some basic essential SEO settings each new blog should recognize. This is your intro to WordPress blog SEO!
Why? – you ask. Your site’s content is its most valuable asset, but it’s useless if it doesn’t attract visitors! SEO – search engine optimization – is a tool every website owner should use to make sure their content is optimized for search engine consumption, which will bring in more and more visitors.
And it just so happens that setting up your WordPress blog correctly is the first step to good SEO, so this is where the following tutorial on your essential SEO settings comes into play.
Make Sure Your Blog Search Engines See
Just started your blog? WordPress has a created-in setting that – if turned on – discourages search engines from seeming at your site. This can be valuable for development or private sites, but should regularly be switched off otherwise.
Head on over to Settings / Reading and look for the “Search Engine Visibility” setting. Make sure it is turned off and everything will be dandy!
As well as submit your blog in google search console, you can simply do it,
The process of add blog on Google Search Console:
- Step 1: Create an account with Google Search Console. Go to Google Search Console and click Start Now.
- Step 2: Add your website. Add Property to Google Search Console.
- Step 3: Verify ownership of your website.
To complete the Google Search Console verification process with Yoast SEO, Go to SEO → General in your WordPress dashboard and select the Webmaster Tools tab.
All you have to do is paste the Google verification code into the field:
This is how you find your Google verification code:
- Go to the alternative methods tab in Google Search Console
- Select the HTML tag option
- You can copy the entire code, Yoast SEO automatically removes the unnecessary parts and leaves the required code.
- Where can you find the Google verification code
Make sure you click save changes in the Yoast SEO interface when you are done.
Set Permalinks Correctly for WordPress Blog
Go to Settings in WordPress and press the ‘Permalinks’ option. Here you can choose the structure of your URL. Make sure the words in your URL give a signal to Google what your page is about. A URL that looks like this: “website.com?p=155”, therefore gives Google absolutely no information about the content of that page.
You can prevent such a suboptimal URL structure by setting your Permalinks correctly. It is also not recommended to place a date in the URL. Even websites with a strong focus on news must have compelling reasons to include a date in the URL.
The best method is to choose ‘Post name’ in the settings of the URL structure. This keeps the URL short. According to a study by Ahrefs, short URLs tend to rank better than long URLs in Google. When you create a message, it is useful not to include articles and personal pronouns in the URL of your page.
Submit Sitemap in Google Search Console
Now that you have an XML sitemap file it is recommended to submit it to the Google Search Console so that you can access additional data on the status of your WordPress site. We will assume you have a Google Search Console account already if not, check out this more in-depth post on how to submit to your site to Google.
In Google Search Console click in “Sitemaps” below the Crawl segment and next click on “Add Sitemap.” Input the location of your sitemap file which you set up in the previous step and click “Submit.” It will show you how many pages/posts have been submitted and then how many are actually indexed. Google will now automatically crawl your sitemap file on a regular basis.
Set up Google Analytics
The best way to know how well your WordPress SEO is working overtime is to set up a free account with Google Analytics. One of the very first things you should do is link your Google Analytics account with your Google Search Console account. Under property settings for your domain click into Search Console Settings and it will walk you through the process of linking them up.
SSL Certificate Installation
The primary reason why SSL is used is to keep sensitive information sent across the Internet encrypted so that only the intended recipient can access it. When an SSL certificate is used, the information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server you are sending the information to.
Google has officially said that HTTPS is a ranking factor. While it may only be a small ranking factor, wouldn’t you take any advantage you can get to beat your competitors in SERPs? And because of Google’s push for everyone to migrate to HTTPS, you can bet that the weight of this ranking will most likely increase in the future. Here is a great article on the impact of TLS / SSL on rankings.
Setup Schema Markup
You probably heard the crazy term “schema markup” or “structured markup” being thrown around the web. Scheme markup is basically an additional code that helps search engines such as Google deliver more and better data to visitors. Ever seen those stars next to a review in SERPs? Well, the stars are a result or a markup scheme. Scheme markup means you can achieve special spots in SERPs as well as a dramatic increase in CTR.
A number of WP templates have schema markup coded into them, however, there are also those that don’t. You can easily test your site or blog post by the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. Usually what you want to see is 0 errors and something comes back in return. If it is completely blank on the right-hand side that means your WordPress site doesn’t have any markup added to it scheme.
To add schema markup to your WordPress site we recommend the free Schema plugin. This will automatically add the necessary markup. You can then run another test in Google’s structured data testing tool.
Claim Social Profiles
Another suggestion is to claim all of your social media accounts as soon as possible. Typically, companies should do this quickly after starting their website. Most backlinks from social media profiles are nofollow, though, they can throw you a number of visitors.
Added great benefit is that social media profile pages rank pretty well in search engines! So for branding, this can be large. Let’s take WebMarkia for example. If you Google our name “WebMarkia” you can see our Facebook page and our Twitter profile rank on the first page.
And our LinkedIn company page ranks on the top of the 2nd page. Utilizing social media profiles is almost an instant win for your brand and requires almost no effort on your part.
WordPress Blog SEO Audits
A great way to instantly check out how your WordPress site is optimized is to do a quick WordPress SEO audit. There are great free and premium tools out there to help you. SeoSiteCheckup is a great free tool that has over 50 checks to let you know how you are doing. You can check for Googlebot access, mobile usability, security, accessibility, page speed, etc.
SEMrush is a premium service that also has a great SEO audit tool. It lets you know if you are missing ALT tags, have pages with a low text-HTML ratio, and equally, low word counts. While these tools are pretty basic, they can be a good way to get started.
Fix Broken Links
Nobody likes broken links and neither does Google. There are a couple of ways you can fix broken links on your WordPress site. The first is to simply check Google Search Console. This is yet another reason why you should be using it. If you click into “Crawl Errors” under the Crawl section you can see not found errors. You can then click on each error and see where the broken link is located.
There are broken link plugins for WordPress, however, we don’t recommend these as they will hurt the performance of your site. If you want to scan your site for broken links it is better to do a one time scan with a free online took like Online Broken Link Checker or use a site audit tool as we will go into more below.
WordPress Blog Speed Optimization
Website speed is huge when it comes to WordPress SEO. Google announced way back in 2010 that it does affect your rankings. Page speed matters to Google, and you know why? It’s because page speed matters to visitors! Here are a couple of stats for you:
- 1 in 4 visitors would leave a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.
- 46 percent of users don’t review poorly performing websites.
- Website owners have more 5 seconds to engage visitors before they consider leaving.
- 74 percent of users accessing the mobile site would leave if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load.
- Every one-second delay in page load time could lead to $ 1.6 billion in annual losses for online merchants like big as Amazon.
A couple of ways you can simply fix this is, first of all, use a speedy managed WordPress host such as WebMarka, perform a CDN, and optimize your site equally.
Google just recently announced the testing of their mobile-first indexing which means their algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages. This is a huge change in how Google is going to be indexing content.
It means that mobile is now more important than ever. If you don’t have a responsive site yet, drop everything you are doing and get on that immediately. You can use Google’s mobile-friendly tool to recognize if your present WordPress blog passes the test.