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Keywords

When adding keywords to your website, it is important to include your keyword in 6 places on each page of your website. Including your keyword in these 6 areas will help search engines identify the subject of your page and rank your page in search results.

  1. Page Title
  2. Meta Description:
  3. Header
  4. Sub Header
  5. Body Paragraphs
  6. Image Alt Tags
Page title:
<title>The Title of the Page</title> While technically not a meta tag, this tag is often used together with the “description”. The contents of this tag are generally shown as the title in search results (and of course in the user’s browser).

 

Meta Description

 

<meta name="description" content="A description of the page" />  

This tag provides a short description of the page. In some situations this description is used as a part of the snippet shown in the search results.

Keywords

 

To add keywords to the <head></head>, in wordpress, basically add it to the header.php file, between <head></head>.

  <meta name="description" content="Free Web tutorials">
  <meta name="keywords" content="HTML,CSS,XML,JavaScript">

 

SEO in wordpress

 

Search Traffic (Organic Traffic) is the traffic you get from web search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Organic traffic is the king of all traffic sources because it benefits you the most in many ways.

In this blog post, I am going to share how you can optimize your WordPress blog for SEO [Search Engine Optimization] without using any WordPress plugins, as usage of so many plugins can slow down the website loading speed.

Update: We recently have been contacted by Webucator asking  if we’d be interested in the creation of a video tutorial for the ”How to Optimize Your WordPress Site Without Any SEO Plugins” article. We were thrilled by the idea and soon a video got created. You can watch the descriptive video bellow or if you prefer reading, feel free to read the full article :). By the way you can check their WordPress training course.

1. Set the WordPress URL and Site URL

Since the Google Panda Algorithm was released, having duplicate content on your blog is like you are inviting Google to penalize the blog.

Many a times, even you don’t copy content from others; you face duplicate content problem due to some internal issues on your blog.

The first thing to avoid duplicate content I would suggest checking whether you have set WordPress URL and Site URL in your blog correctly.

If you haven’t set it properly, you might end up having two different URLs of your blog www.example.com and example.com. Though the same page will open in the browser if you open any of these URLs, but Google considers these as two different sites as they are opening on two different URLs.

If a blog has this problem, it is called canonical issue [Read more details of canonicalization on Moz]. When you type the domain address in the browser’s address bar with www, then the blog opens with www, and if you type without www, it opens without www. That means one site opens on two different URLs.

But if a blog doesn’t have this problem, then either you type with www or without www it will always open with the URL that you have set in your blog.

Go to your blog’s dashboard, and then Setting >> General.

general settings

See the above screenshot, where I have set the URL of my blog as www.techtricksworld.com, means everything is perfect here.

If you find it blank, set these immediately or if you find one with www and other without www then make them same in both to avoid the canonical issue and thus, relief from duplicate content issue.

2. Have SEO friendly URLs

If you have been researching the topic SEO, you might have heard that you should have SEO-friendly URLs on the blog. When it comes to WordPress, it is extremely easy to get such neat and clean URLs that search engines love.

To do it, go to your blog’s dashboard, and then Setting >> Permalink.

permalink settings

And choose the permalink structure that looks more readable and SEO friendly.

Remember one thing; fewer depths in the URL are better. That means less number of “/” (slashes).

I recommend you use the /%postname%/ or /%category%/%postname%/ as they are more search friendly than others. These structures allow you to place your keyword in them as well which the default structure doesn’t.

If you don’t set the permalink of your blog, then it will show the default example.com/?P=123 that is neither human friend nor SEO friendly.

Getting search-friendly URLs is called as URL optimization which is very important factor of SEO, and it’s too easy with WordPress.

3. Adding title and meta descriptions

Adding Title and Meta Description to a website is really very important because Title is one that impacts search engines the most, thus help in search ranking. Meta descriptionis one that forms the search preview for search engines, it even shows up when you share your links on social media.

Google search snippet

Google snippet

Facebook snippet

Facebook snippet

You can see in above screenshots that how important the title and description are for a website by modifying the header.php file.

To add <title> tag to your website, go the header.php file of the theme running on your site, and put this code over there

<title><?php bloginfo('name'); ?><?php wp_title(); ?></title>

<?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?> = this calls the site name which you have set

<?php wp_title(); ?> = this calls the title of the page, and use the same for title tag as well.

Now, to add Meta description to your website, add this code snippet in the header.php file

<meta name="description" content="<?php bloginfo('description'); ?>" />

<?php bloginfo(‘description’); ?> = this code calls the description from the settings where you have putted the site description in tagline section [Settings >> General].

These settings are for home page for now but if you have to do for single posts as well then you can get it done by putting a conditional tag query

<meta name="description" content="<?php if ( is_single() ) {  
   single_post_title('', true);  
   } else {  
      bloginfo('name'); echo " - "; bloginfo('description'); 
   }  
   ?>" />

Limit the meta title to 60-65 characters including spaces, and meta description to 160-165 characters including spaces because if you add more characters within this range then they will not show in search preview in Google because It counts till this limit, and rest are trimmed, thus not considered.

There are search preview tools available where you can paste your title and descriptions to check.

Here are 2 great tools:

  1. Title tag preview Tool by Moz
  2. Snippet optimizer tool by SEOMOFO

Note: After Google SERP Redesign they display titles on the pixel width basis so there are no exact number which you may follow while writing title tags

4. Content optimization

There are few points you should keep in mind while writing the content as that are important to optimize the content.

  • Use the target keyword in the very first paragraph of the blog post.
  • Use the target keyword in the last paragraph of the blog post.
  • Use the keyword at least once in <H2> and once in <H3> tags within the post.
  • Use the target keyword within the post within 2% keyword density. Don’t stuff keywords.
  • Use few semantic keywords instead of using the primary target keyword all the time in the post.
  • Interlink the content. The great example of Interlinking is Wikipedia. Read this post on Moz to know more about it.

5. Image optimization

image optimizationImage optimization is important because image search does send a good chunk of traffic to the blogs and websites. Image optimization is simple and straightforward. With WordPress, it’s super easy as when you upload an image, you get these boxes where you can put the title of the image, Caption, alt text and description.

As per SEO, Alt text is important to fill, and the rest are up to you either you fill or not. One more thing, when you save an image on your desktop, do give it a readable name rather than 123.jpg, 345.png Because when it gets uploaded on the blog, it gets a URL in which the name comes at the end. For example:

https://teslathemes.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/blog-description.png

Check the bolder part of above image URL. It has the name as blog-description.png that is pretty descriptive about the image. It is SEO friendly but if it were 12.png at the end, it would be bad practice.

6. XML sitemap

An XML sitemap is important for all kind of sites as it helps search engine crawlers to find all the posts, pages, and other links of the site on one page.

The standard structure of an XML sitemap looks like:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″>

   <url>

     <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc>

     <lastmod>2015-07-23</lastmod>

     <changefreq>monthly</changefreq>

     <priority>0.8</priority>

   </url>

</urlset>

You can make use of third party tools to generate XML Sitemaps for your website. xml-sitemaps.com is one of the most popular tools to generate sitemaps.

You can even generate it manually by following the above-mentioned structure as that is based on the sitemap protocol.

Generate, download, and upload on your website’s root folder in a way that it displays at example.com/sitemap.xml URL.

Now, there comes the submission of XML Sitemap to the Google webmaster.

 Let me show this step by step

Step 1. Set up a webmaster account.

Step 2. Submit your website there, and copy the verification code.

Step 3. Install the verification code into your website’s header.php file between <head></head> section.

Step 4. Go to webmaster tool again and click on verify. It will show you verified status once the webmaster tool finds the verification code on your site.

Step 5. Click on Crawl >> Sitemaps

Step 6. Click on ADD/TEST SITEMAP

Step 7. Enter the sitemap address that is sitemap.xml, and hit submit sitemap

That’s it! You are done!

This helps Google to crawl your site smoothly.

7. Improve page speed

Google considers loading speed as a ranking factor. Therefore, it’s important to improve the page loading speed of your WordPress blog. You can do it by considering few things:

  1. Choose one of the best hosting providers.
  2. Use CDN.
  3. Check image size before uploading on your blog.
  4. Crop images rather than scaling because cropping takes out some bytes from the image and make it lighter.
  5. Use very few banners in the sidebar.
  6. Make use of Google Speed Test tool to get suggestions to improve the page speed.
  7. User few number of plugins.

 

Enable Gzip:

Open the .htaccess file, append below if they are not there:

# Compress HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Text, XML and fonts
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml


# Remove browser bugs (only needed for really old browsers)
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
Header append Vary User-Agent

 

 

Conclusion

SEO is a must do task for every blog or website because, without it, it’s tough to get organic search traffic. When you work with WordPress powered sites, On-page SEO becomes very easy to do as you read in the post above.