As the most popular CMS, WordPress offers a good basis for search engine optimization and numerous plugins that facilitate SEO. In order to operate WordPress SEO, however, you have to consider and optimize a few things. Much of this is also possible without the help of a developer, if you dug a little into WordPress:
Optimize URL structure
You need to choose the correct permalink structure from the start, or you may have SEO issues later. A best practice for structuring URLs is: domain.de/title. If you build a complex website or shop with WordPress, you should also consider the category in the URL. It is important that the URLs are not too long and complicated.
This URL structure is known as the “speaking URL” and can be activated via the “Settings”> “Permalink” menu in WordPress
With www or without?
Do you want the website to be displayed as “www.xyz.com” or just “xyz.com”? This has no effect on search engine optimization, but you have to decide which version to use permanently. If a page can be found with both variants, it causes a duplication of all content and this is extremely harmful for SEO.
This setting is usually made in the htaccess file. This blog post shows how to do it .
Set up an SSL certificate (HTTPS)
The next step is to set up an SSL certificate, which is mandatory today if you want to appear in search engines. Up to 90% of the search results from page 1 on Google are HTTPS-safe. In the long run, unsafe sites are likely to drop out of the index entirely. Ask your web host how to set up an SLL certificate. It’s not difficult at all if you follow the instructions carefully.
Install the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress
Yoast is one of the most important SEO plugins, with numerous tools to optimize WordPress for search engines. In particular, you can use Yoast to optimize your Google Snippet for a search term. We have described in detail how this works in our article on the Yoast SEO plugin.
Create an XML sitemap
With the help of sitemaps, search engines can find out more quickly when your website has been updated. Yoast will automatically configure * XML sitemaps. Check the sitemap in the Google Search Console .
Check the Robots.txt file
The Robots.txt is a file that is placed on your site’s server to tell search engines how files in your domain are crawled and indexed and which areas shouldn’t be found in search engines.
Register your website in the Google Search Console to edit and test the robots.txt. Read about everything that can be defined in a robots.txt on SELFHTML .
Optimize loading times
Only a fast website is a good website. The loading speed has a direct impact on SEO. If a website loads very slowly, many users will jump off and generate negative signals for search engines. We recommend an image optimization plugin like TinyPNG and a cache plugin like WP Fastest Cache. It’s also a good idea to change the minimize, deferred loading, and CDN delivery settings. For this you need a WordPress developer with the appropriate experience.
Install the schema markup
If you run a local business, online store, or blog, rich snippets can help get more attention in search results. Typical content for which Google shows rich snippets by default are the following:
- People, authors
- Companies and organizations
- Copyright information
All in One Schema.org offers a simple plug-in that allows you to define rich snippets without any programming knowledge.
Offer similar items
To make your articles more visible, plugins like Contextual Related Posts help. This shows similar articles for each article, which helps that users can find them.
Create redirects for pages that no longer exist
If you rename a URL or combine several small articles into one big one, the “Redirection” plugin helps to redirect these pages to a URL and to pass on the Google rankings built up by the old pages to the new one. Redirects are a central tool in search engine optimization.
Install share buttons
To give users the opportunity to like and share your articles, you can build in the Shariff wrapper to place social media buttons under your article. Advantage: Shariff Wrapper is compatible with the new data protection regulation, because user data is only forwarded when the button is clicked and not before.
Conclusion: only use essential plugins
Inexperienced webmasters, in particular, tend to install every imaginable plugin. Every further plugin slows down the loading times and therefore has a negative effect on SEO. Only install absolutely necessary plugins like the ones mentioned above. As a rule, WordPress does not need much more to reliably do its job. In particular, you should avoid complex animations, sliders or other gimmicks. This has been shown to have a negative impact on click rates and loading times.