With the advent of technologies like Cloud and Open Source launching your own self hosted CMS based Website or Blog is now nothing more than a series of operational activities which is why lot a surge of enthusiasm is seen among a lot of people from various professional backgrounds; be it technological or non-technological. Most of these Websites and / or Blogs are developed using WordPress with a free or premium theme as per the requirement of the user. I personally feel WordPress’s technological growth and tremendous community support are among the key reasons that more and more people are showing interest in launching their very own Website using WordPress.
One’s main goal for launching a personal Website is to build a strong social and online presence, yes of course there are social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Quora, Tumblr, etc to facilitate the same but they can never give you the same gratification or feeling of identity you get from your own Website.
Is launching your self hosted Website enough to make sure you are found online? Or guarantee of a strong online identity for you? The answer is… NO! You need the support of Digital Marketing, precisely Search Engine Optimization or SEO. But a Digital Marketer or SEO Expert doesn’t come for cheap, forget marketing agencies even an individual would cost you premium! Does that mean the end of your online identity dream? Of course not! There are few simple things you can do to make sure Google, Bing and other search engines are duly notified about your Website’s presence and their crawlers / bots visit your Website quite often which in turn will make your Website rank well in search engines.
SEO Tips for your WordPress Website
Navigation… A search engine friendly navigation is the most important thing for any website, make sure you have a well structured menu and permalink is turned on to make the URLs search friendly, click here for WordPress Permalink Settings. My recommendation would be to select the postname as permalink structure.
Content Optimization… Content is the King!… Might sound cliched but content still is the thing that works best. Make sure your content is unique and plagiarism free, not stuffed with keywords but contains a healthy balance of the same. Titles should be intuitive and represent long tail keywords. Try to cover common topics at the initial stage because that will increase your Website’s chances of getting found frequently… “Travel the world in 80 days” or “Write your first PHP program” or “Understanding ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture” or “How to cook Dal fry” are some good examples of intuitive and search friendly content titles. Make sure you to use More and Nextpage tags to increase pageviews.
Yoast is the most popular WordPress plugin but I would never recommend that because it slows down your Website and at times even throws errors but most importantly I have never seen it helping any Website or Blog rank well in search engines. The plugin I would recommend is All in One SEO Pack. Very simple and easy to use, lightweight and works well for WordPress SEO. Every image in your Website must have ALT / TITLE tag, if you are using one image then use the content title for ALT and if there are multiple images then use long tail keywords relevant to your content. Simply search with your content title in Google, if it is competitive enough Google will show some keyword suggestion at the bottom of the search results page. Use these keywords in the keyword field of your post / page and for tags.
Use the plugin called Google XML Sitemaps. Then submit your XML sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools. If you don’t know how to use Google Webmaster Tools, click here. Use the Fetch as Google feature sparingly, in fact use it only when your Website or Blog has changed significantly.
Majority of the WordPress themes comes with a lot of jQuery and every time your Website is opened all these jQuery scripts also load which slows down your entire Website and causes bad user experience. Also Google and Bing bots don’t like slow Websites. Use the the plugin called Use Google Libraries so that all the jQuery are pulled from Google repositories lowering the burden on your Server and Website. You can use W3 Total Cache plugin for caching, remember this plugin is a bit tricky and technical and it sometimes breaks the functionality of other plugins like Google XML Sitemaps. Google loves faster loading websites! Keep testing / quality checking your Website’s performance in Google Page Speed and understand the performance issues. Sometimes these issues may sound really technical, simply search Google with the issues or consult somebody technical if you can.
Until you are measuring what you are doing all these fuss don’t make any sense. Integrate Google Analytics in your Website using a plugin called Ultimate Google Analytics, don’t go by the threatening message on the top of the plugin directory page, this plugins still works very well with all the WordPress versions since 188.8.131.52.
Though these are the stepping stones of your WordPress Website’s SEO but they do fairly well for better search engine rankings, at least you’ll start seeing organic traffic coming to your Website.