SEO Tips for WordPress Websites
Generally the last thing people think about when building a WordPress theme is search optimization. Features and design come first, and search optimization generally comes last or not at all. This article will discuss a few easy steps to make your WordPress theme a little friendlier to search engines. More specifically I’ll concentrated on explaining why it’s a good idea to optimize your WordPress theme, what the key elements of good on page SEO are, and discuss today’s best practices for on page SEO when designing websites that use WordPress as a CMS.
There isn’t a whole lot you can do for on page SEO, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. We’ll look at the following best practices for on page SEO and then see how we can apply them to our WordPress themes.
- Using descriptive page titles.
- Having unique meta description for your pages and posts.
- Having clean URLs.
Descriptive title tags for WordPress themes
Your title tags should clearly describe what the content of the page or post is about and should be unique for every page. It’s also a good idea for the title to include your site’s name. Fortunately the default theme for WordPress does this out of the box.
This is great. However, if your using WordPress as a CMS you’re probably going to be using pages more often than posts and you may want to keep your page names to one word or less to keep your navigation menu at a reasonable size. For example your about page is most likely titled “about”. If this is the title for your page and you’re using the default WordPress title function, then your title will be “about « your site’s WordPress title”.
I recommend that you do this for all of your pages by using conditional statements. You can even go further by creating unique titles for all of your different post categories.
Creating meaningful meta descriptions
Meta keywords aren’t incredibly important when it comes to achieving better search engine results, so I don’t put much effort into these. However, having a good meta description for your site’s pages and posts is important. Some search engines use these descriptions when displaying results, and it’s these descriptions that can make the difference between a user choosing whether or not to visit your web site. Needless to say, it’s a good idea to make unique meta descriptions for all of your pages and posts.
Clean URLs for a better search engine ranking
Using clean URLs improves your site and the search engine rankings. It’s more likely that people will be able to remember certain locations within the site. Your page-rank in Google is likely to go up and you stand a better chance of turning up in search engines.
Google — “If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a “?” character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few.”
It’s better to send people the URL http://example.com/pagename.
Happy SEO writing!
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