Self-Hosted WordPress Websites: A Few SEO Do’s and Don’ts

No doubt about it, WordPress is the most search engine-friendly content management system (CMS) used by website designers, especially that which is uncustomized. Unfortunately, it is also the rarest variety because when you start using theme or plugins that generate HTML code, the resulting site may not sit well with search engines. But that’s not to say that it ends right there. WordPress happens to be a platform where it’s pretty easy to do the right thing, given the circumstances.

The five do’s and don’ts listed below is what makes SEO companies in the Philippines go for WordPress in creating their client websites. Setting aside bias, WordPress do have everything a business website needs in terms of user interface, user experience, back-end code order and search engine friendliness.

Here are five do’s and don’ts web designers should keep in mind to make the website successful for a long time.

  1. 1. SEO Functionality. WordPress plugin handles any theme independent functionality.

Do: Use a plugin to address the SEO requirements of the website. Just as you would consult with an SEO specialist if you need tips for SEO, so should a WordPress plugin be utilized for SEO purposes. WordPress SEO plugin may be considered as a specialist and fortunately for SEO, there are more than enough great and free SEO plugins available.

Don’t: SEO basic staples like meta tags and titles are stuff that should be kept and retained even if switching to a new theme. But if these elements are built into the theme, it will be impossible to transfer those on the new theme. In this case, they are better left alone in the old theme. So don’t change the theme unless you are certain you can transfer those SEO functionality.

  1. 2. Taxonomies. In WordPress, a taxonomy is a grouping mechanism for some posts or links or custom post types.

Do: Use taxonomy term descriptions. You may want to noindex taxonomy archives or not. If you do, let the search engines find them. That means you need to do all you can to enhance them. With WordPress SEO plugin, it’s easy to add meta descriptions to your taxonomy archives.

Don’t: Go nuts about category and tag. You can easily get carried away creating content and unknowingly you might end up with thousands of categories or tags assigned to no more than one post. If you are allowing indexing of taxonomy archives, there will be thousands of archives pages that exactly duplicate posts to which such tags are assigned. The rule of thumb is to have five to seven top-level categories per site. Too many categories can be interpreted as lacking focus.

  1. 3. Permalinks. These are the permanent URLs to your individual weblog posts. A permalink is what another blogger will use to link to your article or section.

Do: Set a proper permalink structure. The URL should accurately tell the readers what the page is all about. For example, http://www.searchenginejournal.com/?p=53068/ may just appear as a page of search engine journal but it does not tell what the page is all about. On the other hand, http://www.searchenginejournal.com/select-the-right-wordpress-theme/53068/ will tell you exactly what is the essence of the page (i.e., select the right WordPress theme). Changing the permalink structure can be done through Settings>Permalinks on your WordPress dashboard. You can select which URL you deem fit to describe the page.

Don’t: Ignore the slugs. Slug is the /%postname%/ part of your URL. This is generated automatically from the post title by converting all letters lowercase, replacing spaces with dashes and removing special characters. A long title will mean a long slug. WordPress SEO plugin can clean up slugs for you but it’s recommended to be done manually.

  1. 4. Content Structure. Site visitors and search engines benefit from having a proper structure.

Do: Differentiate posts, pages and custom post types. Anything that should appear on archives and the RSS feed is a post. Page is a static content that needs no “published on” information shown to visitors. About Us, Contact Us, Location – these are examples of a page. Custom post is neither a page nor a post. An example would be an additional portfolio section on the website, Use custom post types on WordPress to have the portfolio on the top-level page and not on the same page as the Contact page.

Don’t: Be lazy when adding images to posts. You should make sure that the image files have proper and meaningful names or descriptions before uploading on the page.

  1. 5. SERP snippets.

Do: Claim Google authorship for your content. You can use the Fanciest Author Box plugin which gives authors all the exposure wanted by displaying bios and social profiles. Make sure authors have added your site to “Contributor” section of the Google+ profile.

Don’t: Autopilot meta-descriptions for meta descriptions. Even if descriptions do not play a major role in search rankings, they can still have a dramatic impact on CTR in SERPs. Use a variety of description for each page and make sure that the page description clearly represents what the post is all about.

To further know the SEO advantage of using WordPress, you can read this post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Free Analysis Request Form
x
Please fill out the form completely.
 
Your Name: *
Website:
Email: *
Phone: *
Service: *
Additional Information:
CAPTCHA CODE *
Quote Request Form
x
Please fill out the form completely.
 
Your Name: *
Email: *
Phone: *
Service: *
Additional Information:
CAPTCHA CODE *