If you’re here trying to get the most out of your WordPress, I’m not really surprised. Users are increasingly aware of how essential it is to be well positioned on Google to sell.
On top of that, WordPress is the largest CMS in the world. That’s why, as I was saying, it doesn’t surprise me that you want to optimize WordPress for SEO.
I want to give you some keys that I consider essential for your WordPress to start overtaking the competitors that have not optimized the SEO of their websites.
At the end of the day, your website is a ferrari without starting, you just have to fill it up with gas, put the key in, start the engine and step on the gas (what a nice metaphor of SEO I have come up with 😎).
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Optimizing Tracking and Indexing Factors
Let’s cut to the chase, as a dermatologist would say. Let’s start with the most important thing, the Tracking and Indexing of your website. It’s essential to have your WordPress optimized for SEO so that Google crawls and indexes the correct urls.
To do this we must make a series of optimizations in your WordPress that are essential if you do not want to visit your website, do not see it, and have to go to give you of collejas for not listening to me.
The urls are a very important factor for the positioning of a website. A url must be readable by the user, because if it is for the user, it is for Google. This is what we mean by friendly urls. I have an article about friendly urls, so I recommend you to read it by clicking here -> The importance of friendly urls in SEO.
“A url with symbols like $ or & is friendly?”. No. “What if it says ‘?p=123’?” No. “But Ramon, my urls in my WordPress automatically generate weird symbols”. That’s what we’re getting at. Just calm down a little bit, please!
In WordPress you have several ways to generate the urls: Simple, Day and Name, Month and Name, Numeric, Entry Name and Custom Structure. By default, when you install WordPress, the urls are generated as “Simple”. These urls will be parameterized, NOT FRIENDLY. Urls of the style ?p=123. If you have indexed your website like this, give yourself a feedback from me.
Now we have to make them friendly. To do this, we will have to hit “Entry name”.
WATCH OUT!!!! ALERT!!!! Don’t even think about hitting and saving if you’ve already indexed your website, you’ll have to do 301 redirects. That loads up your site’s indexing, the authority you’ve generated from links and how little (or probably nothing) you’ve positioned in Google.
Crawlable and indexable URLs
Once we get our friendly urls, we’ll work a little magic. We’re going to optimize WordPress to add the tag “noindex” to the header of those urls we don’t want indexed.
“But Ramon, I want all the urls on my site to appear in Google.” Well, then you’re throwing away the entire crawling budget. Dear reader, just because you have more urls, you’re not going to rank more.
In fact, quite the opposite. That can annoy you and well. No more is better, in this case the right urls will give you traffic. Do you think someone will visit you for “legal advice”? Well, that’s it, it’s all said and done.
As I was saying, magic. And for the magic we’re going to shout out the window very loud “Google bot, I summon you!!!”. Please, if you do, send me a video I want to laugh hehe.
We are going to install Yoast SEO, a plugin that is a wonder. This plugin serves to optimize WordPress for SEO in some factors, like this one that concerns us. It is the best known plugin for this, so you probably have it. If not, run to install it and keep reading.
We’re going to do two things. The first one, directly from the Plugin configuration. We’re going to go to “Search Engine Appearance” and we’re going to select in the url groups if we want them to be indexable or not selecting in the url settings “Do we show entries in the search results?” as “No” the ones we don’t want to be indexed.
This already depends on each website, although I don’t usually index tags or files, for example. Think about your website and what should not be visited from Google. You can always do a keyword study to see if it’s worth indexing or not, but that’s another story for another post.
Once we have done it at a general level, let’s go to specific urls that we do not want to index. For example, your legal notice page I was telling you about before. Well, let’s edit that page and in the Yoast configuration for that url we select in advanced “Allow search engines to show this Entry in the results” as “No”. And ale, we already have your indexable urls ready.
Okay, we have the urls optimized (and redirected 301, please). We have also selected which urls we want to index. Now let’s go a step further, let’s make it easy for Google.
Search engine spiders crawl .xml files, like the one in the sitemap we are going to create. This makes Google detect the urls that are important in your website. But this is not the only factor it takes into account, because if, for example, it is in your sitemap but has a “noindex” tag in its header, Google will explode its head by contradictory orders and start doing weird things.
That’s why it’s important to have everything well configured, to avoid weird rolls of the algorithm and that they don’t send us emails like “your url has crawling problems” or “your url has been indexed despite having a noindex tag”.
Having Yoast installed in your WordPress the optimization and creation of the sitemap is very simple. Precisely the previous step has helped us to create it in an indirect way (you are welcome 😎). Now, we will have a Sitemap with indexable urls ready for Google to read.
“And that’s it, Ramon?” Well, almost. Let’s take it one step further. Let’s give Google a good chew, so it doesn’t choke the asshole… We’ll go to your Google Search Console account and in “Sitemap” we’ll put your url. Ale, Google already has your sitemap and can read it easily.
Well, so far so good, right? It’s going to make it easier to optimize your WordPress for SEO. Now let’s get the content going. After all, Google reads content the way you would read it (well, more or less). I told you before when we were watching the friendly urls.
I’m not going to get into content optimization factors, so I invite you to read an article in which I tell you how to create web content.
I want you to leave your WordPress content optimized and ready for Google to crawl and index it correctly. Let’s do it!
Si las urls eran un factor imprescindible, vamos a otro tan importante como estas. Las etiquetas meta, en concreto la etiqueta título y meta descripción.
Las etiquetas meta se muestran en los resultados de búsqueda, el título en azul y la meta descripción en gris.
“Come on, I thought that was Google’s choice.” Oh, young Padawan, you have so much to learn. We can (and should) modify these tags as we please and optimize them for SEO.
The most important one is the meta title tag. This meta tag should not be more than 70 characters long according to Google. According to me it should not be more than 62.
The meta description should be no longer than 155 characters. This is much less important, but we must also add it manually. In total, while we’re at it, it’s only 155 characters maximum, so don’t be lazy.
Without going into content factors, I’m just telling you that both tags must have the target keyword. And so far I can read, I’m more interested in the technical part right now.
To configure the meta tags of our urls I recommend you to make it url to url indexable. “But Ramon, my web has a lot of urls. Can’t you do it massively?” Yes, but as I said, do it hand by hand url by url. Better results you will have, young jedi.
For this, we enter again in the page or article that we are going to optimize the meta tags and go to the Yoast box (the one before we have modified the indexation). This time we are going to stay in “Snippet Preview” and modify from there the SEO Title and Meta description. Listen to Yoast on this, he knows what he is saying.
Optimizing WordPress loading times
Come on, let’s optimize factors to make your WordPress start flying. I don’t know if you knew this, but loading times are another very important factor for the positioning of your website.
I’m not going to go into detail on all the factors to optimize your WordPress load times, since I’m leaving the article very long and you’re going to get bored reading it. But I am going to deal with a couple of topics that I frequently find on websites, either because I don’t know them or because I’m lazy (you’re so fucking lazy sometimes).
Image Optimization for a SEO of 10
Yeah, your images aren’t optimized, and you know it. It is essential that we reduce the size of the images to a minimum without compromising their quality. That’s why we don’t upload photos directly from the iPhone as they come out because, even if you see that it looks good, that image is gigantic. And you see it well because WordPress has rescaled it, which is another unforgivable mistake that you deserve a slap on the wrist from me (please, give it to me).
Since I know you already have, let’s go back to doing magic. Now, stand in front of a mirror and repeat my name three times. I’ll show up to give you the smack I owe you.
We’re going to install the Smush plugin and let it work. You’ll have to configure it so that it doesn’t resize the images and optimizes them for you. When I’m done, which will take a while, your images will be 11 out of 10 (don’t forget to give 5 stars to the article just for this).
Just don’t be a sucker and optimize the images before uploading them from now on. That plugin does magic but avoid it if you can. Pull TinyPNG for example and upload them in the right size, if the “hole” where you’re going to put it is 600px wide, don’t upload a 10megas image 8000px wide, for the love of Gandalf.
Don’t miss the ALT text on your images
Come on, I’ll double down on this. I bet you’ve never filled in that field when you upload an image that says “Alternative text”. If you’ve filled it in, you’ve been spared all my wrath. If not, get that neck ready.
The alternative text or ALT text must be in the image for a simple reason, because Google reads text, not images. How the fuck is Google going to know what your image is about if you don’t write it down? That’s what the ALT text is for.
“But Ramon, I have a lot of images uploaded. Do I have to go through them one by one with the ALT text?” I could be a bastard and say yes, you do, just because I haven’t done it so far, but I’m going to be good and give you the last magic trick in the article.
We’re going to install the Auto Image Alt Attribute plugin. This plugin will put the name of the image file as ALT text. Even if it’s not 100% correct for SEO, at least you won’t have that damn error that I get so often when I audit the SEO of client projects. Hell, if I’m the shit, I’ve saved you a lot of suffering. You’re welcome.
I wanted to make it easy for you to optimize your WordPress for SEO. As you can see, we’ve set up fundamental aspects of your WordPress and corrected errors easily, simply, and for the whole family with plugins that solve your life.
Of course, that’s not all. There’s plenty of room to get your WordPress optimized and upscaled. But with this you have a good run.
As a last magic trick, if you write a comment saying that I’m the coolest, the Google bot will give kisses and love to your website. If you share it on your social networks, I will be the one who will thank you very much!