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Beginner’s Guide to WordPress SEO for a New Website

WordPress is the most used CMS on the internet largely because it is so accessible and user-friendly. Pretty much anyone can set up a simple site and get it online but then you need to otimise it to be found in search engines. Thankfully WordPress SEO is so simple that even a beginner can do it easily, just follow this guide to get started:

1 Do your keyword research

As with any website no matter what CMS you are using the first step should always be to do your keyword research. You can use the Google Keyword Planner to find monthly search volumes and try to get a list of keywords for all your key pages. If your business has the potential for local search visibility make sure to take this into consideration.

Install Yoast

Some people prefer the All in One SEO plugin and they are both very good but we go with Yoast as we think it slightly has the edge.

Permalink structure

Wordpress SEO permalinks settingsIt is important to set up an SEO friendly URL structure which, depending on the purpose of you site could be:

  • yourdomain.com/post-name
  • yourdomain.com/category/post-name
  • yourdomain.com/category/product-page

A logical structure with keywords where appropriate is what you are looking for, for example the url for this post could be yourdomain.com/SEO/beginners-guide-to-wordpress-seo.

You can change your permalink setting is Yoast by going to Settings > Permalinks.

4 WWW vs non-WWW

WordPress preferred domain settingsYou need to make sure your site is not accessible from both www. And non www. Versions of the URL e.g.
yourdomain.com And www.yourdomain.com

You can set one to redirect to the other in Yoast by visiting Settings > General.

There is no advantage to one version over the other so you can choose either as long as it is consistent.

5 Optimise Page Titles

The page title is a key on page element and gives the search engines information about the subject of a web page. It should therefore contain your core keyword and secondary keywords where appropriate.

See here for a guide on selecting page titles.

6 Optimize your descriptions

Although not thought to be a direct ranking signal Meta descriptions are shown to potential visitors in the search results and are an important device for persuading someone to click on you listing. Try to write informative and persuasive copy that will entice people to click.

7 Noindex thin pages

By default, pages such as blog categories, archives and author pages are indexed. These pages are thin low quality pages and you can keep them out of the index by going to the Yoast plugin to SEO > Titles & Meta and then selecting the “Other” tab.

8 Improve speed

PageSpeed insightsPage load speed is an important part of modern SEO and there are several ways you can speed up the performance of your WordPress site:

9 Use a caching plugin

w3There are several available but we always use W3 Total cache, you just need to install it and activate and it works out of the box.

10 Automatically resize images

Resizing plugin for WordPressYou can use various plugins that will automatically reduce your image size so that larger images do not need to be loaded.

11 Bonus Tips

You can do things such as reducing the number of posts on the home page and category pages, not using unnecessary widgets and removing plugins that you don’t need which are all fairly easy to implmetn even for a WordPress SEO beginner.

A WordPress site is great, but like everything online you need to be mindful of security threats. WordPress themselves provide a comprehensive list on things security which is well worth reading, London IT Support Specialist Priority One also suggest you are savvy about your log in details – Often the default username is “Admin” – so ensure you change this to something more personal straight away, it’s easy and free to do. Same goes for the password, include spaces and capital letters; don’t make it easy for the hackers!

Let us know if you need help with your WordPress SEO.

For more ways to speed up your WordPress site see this guide.