How to optimize SEO WordPress?

Among the best practices of WordPress SEO, some are directly related to plugins and the proper configuration of your content manager.

After installing WordPress on your server, I propose you here to study 6 points related to SEO optimization for WordPress 4.0 and higher.

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Feel free to check out our other WordPress tutorials.

SEO WordPress: Follow the guide

  1. Readable URLs or Permalinks
  2. WordPress SEO plugins
  3. Meta Tags with WordPress SEO by Yoast (YWS)
  4. The Breadcrumb
  5. Sitemap or sitemap
  6. Sharing on social networks
  7. YWS: some additional information

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1. Readable URLs or Permalinks

The URL of each page is an important parameter for ranking search engines, especially for very precise queries called “long haul”, for example for niche e-commerce sites.

By default, WordPress creates URLs with a question mark and a sequence of numbers, determining the id of the item to display.

In order for WordPress to use readable permalinks (or URL rewriting), that is, containing keywords and not parameters, you must configure the URL rewrite tool.

In the Settings >

Permalinks section, you have the option to choose what type of keywords you want to appear in them.

This first step will allow you to choose for example the title of the article, transformed into a string of characters without accents or spaces (replaced by dashes).

By default, WordPress allows you to change the permalink corresponding to the title once your article has been saved.

Just click the Edit button next to the Permalink line, just below the title of the article. Remember that the more the keyword is at the beginning of the URL, the more important it is deemed.

As This handling requires 2 steps for each item, it can be quite tedious when you create items regularly.

That’s why we will look at the solutions that offer plugins for SEO of a WordPress site.

2. WordPress SEO plugins

To simplify the work on permalinks, and for the other optimizations that we will see afterwards, it is better to install a specific plugin, because the basic features of WordPress do not allow to go far enough, or without fairly technical manipulations on the theme you have chosen.

Depending on your needs and the importance of your site content, simple extensions like FV Simpler SEO, Platinum SEO, or Google XML Sitemaps will help you on specific aspects of SEO.

You can also opt for more comprehensive extensions (All in On SEO, SEO Ultimate), which will bring together more features, but can also lose you as much configuration can be pushed.

The WordPress SEO by Yoast extension, in its free version, is a good compromise between simplicity and completeness. This is the one that this blog uses, and we will introduce you to the essential functions below.

First of all: when the plugin is installed, start by checking that the permalinks we just talked about are configured correctly. It is an essential parameterization for the proper functioning of the plugin.

Always regarding Permalinks, WordPress automatically supports the deletion of “stop words” from your URLs, that is, too common words that Google does not record (adverbs, auxiliaries, etc.), and that as a matter of fact lengthen your URLs unnecessarily.

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3. Meta Tags with WordPress SEO by Yoast (YWS)

The Meta Title Tag

YWS allows you to set up must-have Meta tags (Title and Description), as well as others like Keywords, directly within each of your articles.

By default, WordPress will use as the page’s Meta Title the title of your article.

The ideal is of course to place keywords, but without transforming your title in a list, and staying in a length of between 30 and 60 characters.

60 character titles may not be very relevant to showcase your articles. You can distinguish the title field and the Title tag of your page by using the SEO Title setting on the YWS tab of your articles.

To complete your configuration, consider also the default title of the site by going to “SEO Settings” and then on the “Taxonomies” tab.

Here, the “sitename” takes into account the name we gave to our site in the settings of our WordPress.

The “sitename” will be used especially if you decide to place it before or after the title of each page, which can simplify the choice of your keywords for each title.

To do this, go to the Yoast SEO menu and then go to SEO Settings. Click on the Taxonomies, and apply a title model of type%%title%%%%sep%%%%sitename%%. The Meta Tag Description

The Meta Description, long used by Google to better index pages, has fallen a little disgrace, following the observed drifts of over-optimization of this tag.

Today, it has a role to play in terms of your search engine click rate. Indeed, it allows you to present the content of the page at best, much more than what a robot will do if you leave it empty!

The YWS tab of your articles will allow you to set a unique Description tag and even preview what it will give when published on Google.

To do this, click on “Edit Snippet” and enter your Meta Description in the specific field. Your Meta Description can be between 260 and 300 characters.

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4. The Breadcrumb

In the world of hyperlinks, nothing worse than a dead end! To remedy this, the presence of a menu on each page of the site is a first step.

However, this will help only moderately search engines to judge the importance of one page relative to others.

The ideal is of course to find for each article several links to create to other pages of your site directly in the body of the text, but this sometimes requires a somewhat time-consuming gymnastics.

As a result, the use of the navigation thread (breadcrumb or breadcrumb) is a good idea to increase the weight of the pages located at the top of the tree of your site.

YWS you allows you to add a breadcrumb on the pages of your WordPress site.

Go to your Yoast SEO menu and click on “General Settings”. Then click on the “Breadcrumb” tab.

Then, you will need to edit the file of your theme corresponding to the location you have chosen for your crumb thread, and insert the following code into it:

In general, by going to Appearance >

Editor, you can get a good result by placing it either at the bottom of the header file (header.php), or otherwise at the top of the page template and/or article files only (page.php and/or single.php).

5. Sitemap or sitemap

Allowing search engines to know at once all the URLs of your site will save it time and thus allow you to improve the indexing of your site content.

To do this, nothing like a sitemap, also called sitemap.

Several plugins will allow you to create an XML sitemap (to submit to Google Webmaster Tools for example), with more or less extensive possibilities to include or exclude certain pages from the sitemap.

The Yoast SEO plugin allows you to easily create a fairly summary sitemap.

Go to the Yoast SEO menu and click on “General Settings”. Then click on the “Features” tab. With Yoast SEO, you simply need to activate the XML sitemap.

To view your site map, click on the question mark and click on the link “See XML sitemap”.

Find the details of creating sitemaps with WordPress on our dedicated tutorial.

6. Shares on Networks

social When your site is shared on major social networks (Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin), data is extracted from your site in a more or less random manner to be displayed on them.

In the same way as a custom Meta Description will improve your Google click rate, custom data for viewing your site on social networks will contribute to its popularity.

In the “Social Networks” submenu of YWS, you will be able to fill in the social networks associated with your WordPress site.

You will also be able to configure this data for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google , in addition to other settings related to your audience (including if you have pages that match your site’s activity on either of these networks).

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7. YWS: some additional information

In addition to the tab added directly to the edit page of your articles, YWS inserts a column in the list of your articles, as well as a filter tool, which allows you to see very quickly if the main Meta tags for each of your articles are sufficiently populated.

This feature saves time during a significant optimization work, such as that of the “Tools” submenu of the plugin, which will allow you to edit on a single page all the Meta Title or Meta Description tags of your pages and articles.

In the top menu bar of the admin interface, the SEO link, in addition to a shortcut to the different tabs of the plugin, will allow you to access tools External keyword search:

  • AdWords External, which gives you a clue about the popularity of certain keywords and their approaching terms
  • Google search trends, more focused on geographic or seasonal variations in keyword popularity
  • SEO Book, integrating keyword list generation tools

Finally, other actions can be performed directly with YWS:

  • In the submenu “Tools”, modifying the robots.txt file to include some folders in SEO by search engines, such as upload

  • In the sub-menu “SEO Settings” then in the RSS tab, adding custom content directly to the RSS feed of your site. The purpose of this tool is to limit the risk of duplicated content (a practice penalized by Google) in case a third-party site has the wrong idea to republish your content from your RSS feed

If you are not comfortable with some of these manipulations or want to call on a SEO professional push for your WordPress site, do not hesitate to submit a project for free with our freelance SEO consultants.

If you copy pages or articles from your WordPress or landing pages, be careful to rework their content so as to avoid duplicated content.

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