Out of the box, WordPress is a Content Management System that plays well with Google in terms of SEO best practices. Our last article shared some of the built-in tools that help with SEO. In this article, we’ll share additional features on WordPress that help bloggers rank high on search. As these specific WordPress features show, it’s not just about keywords, but proper website structure.
WordPress offers the ability to customize permalinks, which is the URL structure of blog posts. It’s possible to edit specifics by going to Settings > Permalinks when logged into the WordPress dashboard.
Your options will look something like this:
The first option (“Plain”) is the worst bet for SEO – it uses an arbitrary numbering system, not keywords, to name the URL of a post.
You may be tempted to embellish your URL structure by appending categories or dates, but beware – these URL additions are bad for SEO. One of the main tenets of SEO is speeding up your website so that Google can quickly search it and suggest it as a top result. By adding unnecessary extras to your URL structure, you’re creating one more thing to slow down your website.
The best option is the simple “Post Name” – which should be rich in the keywords you’re optimizing for!
Interested in learning more? A2 Hosting shares an in-depth guide to how WordPress permalinks affect SEO
Breadcrumbs and Related Posts
Depending on your theme and it’s implementation, there are a lot of built-in internal linking opportunities. Internal linking helps with SEO by showing Google the relationship between pages on your website, and how they connect with each other. The more (relevant) connections you create, the more positive effect on SEO.
Breadcrumbs are a standard implementation on most WordPress themes, and are basically navigational elements that help visitors understand where they are on your website, and where they came from.
To give an example, say you initially landed on a blog’s home page, then clicked on a post about tacos in the food category. The breadcrumb structure displayed near the top of the page would look something like this:
Home > Food > Tacos
Breadcrumbs help from a user experience standpoint, but also create more internal links between pages on your website.
Another easy way to create internal links on WordPress is by using a related posts plugin. Related posts plugins show search engines additional similarities between pages, and also suggest relevant content that keeps visitors on your website for longer. More time on your blog and more pages visited results in positive feedback to Google that assists with SEO.
If internal links are bronze for SEO, then external links from other relevant blogs are gold (or platinum, if that counts as being higher than gold).
If you’ve turned on pingbacks, you’ll be able to see what websites are linking to your blog content, and approve that link. Being able to approve pingbacks is a control you shouldn’t give up (don’t just automatically allow pingbacks), because spammy links from unrelated websites and blogs can actually hurt SEO.
Besides being good for SEO, pingbacks also represent a great way to start a relationship with a high-quality fan. If someone is willing to link to your blog, that person deserves your thanks and will hopefully continue the practice!
Automatic 302 Direct
Most of the time, the http://yoursite.com and www.yoursite.com.
look like the same thing, but if someone is linking to your site using one prefix over another (http vs www), it’s unevenly distributing the weight of those external links on different “versions” of your website.
Luckily in cases like these, WordPress applies an automatic 302 direct, which consolidates the weight of the links to benefit your blog as a whole. This, however, is only “temporary” and should be changed into a permanent redirect for optimal results. Viperchill has a tutorial on exactly how to do that.
WordPress has plenty of built-in SEO benefits that start with the software itself, and are expanded by the ability to use different plugins to detect and fix mistakes. Are you ready to take your blog to the next level?