Friday, July 19, 2013

3 Native SEO-Friendly Features in WordPress You Should Definitely Care About



With over 16% of the web powered by WordPress, the popular open-source blogging platform turned CMS is now viewed as a viable alternative to more traditional content management systems and holds more than 50% market-share in the CMS market, including the very blog you are reading right now. Other than it’s apparent widespread use, what is so compelling about WordPress?

When considering a CMS, WordPress' ease of use is often the first selling point to come to mind, and understandably too. Most people want a website that just works so they can focus on their core business, whether that be blogging, a small business, or a hobby. Another desirable element of WordPress, however, is the
SEO-friendly nature of it's architecture

Permalinks and Pretty URLs

The first feature to come to mind is WordPress' use of permalinks, and more specifically, it's built-in clean URL structure also known as "pretty URLs." Pretty URLs generally use the category and title of your post or page to form the URL, rather than a random character string. To adjust or customize the permalink structure in the WordPress Dashboard, go to Settings > Permalinks. On older versions of WordPress, the default structure included query strings (i.e.
http://example.com/?p=197?). The newest versions of WordPress, however, use the ‘pretty’ URL structure by default, albeit a long one: http://example.com/blog/year/dd/mm/post-title/ for posts and http://example.com/about-us/ for pages.

If you don’t have too many blog posts, it may be advisable to shorten this structure (using the ‘Custom Structure’ option in your Permalinks Settings) to something like:
http://example.com/blog/post-title/, because that will make it easier on the search engines to correlate your topic (rather than going through multiple levels of directories of dates or categories).

The reason the default structure uses the date and/or category in the URL is to make it faster for the server to search the MySQL database to find the correct post to serve back to the end user, resulting in faster load times. This is usually only a difference of milliseconds, however, unless you have thousands of blog posts, in which case the category/date structure would definitely be advisable.

Spam Control



Always require comments to be moderated before approval, and sign up for a spam filter such as
Akismet. If you allow comments to post without approval, you open yourself up to comment spam, whose mostly irrelevant and even downright disreputable backlinks can make your site appear disreputable, and not just in the eyes of search engines, but your readers as well. It’s not a good first impression to allow someone (or automated software!) to comment about viagra on a post about how to prepare your favorite brownie recipe.

As you moderate comments, make sure you pay close attention to comments coming through. Akismet will need to ‘learn’ your site at first, so you may have some spam get through or some legitimate comments be held for moderation.

Titles

Last but not least, pay attention to your titles! Under Settings > General, you’ll be able to change the default title for your entire site. For the titles of your pages and posts, WordPress will take the title of that page or post followed by the default title of your site. This is why it is recommended to always using your company name and a single keyword for your default site title, otherwise you may accidentally “keyword stuff” your page and post titles, upon which Google may not smile so kindly.

Of course there are many plugins which further customize your control over every aspect and can
improve the websiteSEO. As you become more aware of your site SEO and want to explore more, you can find many good, reputable SEO plugins on the WordPress.org plugin repository.

What other SEO features in WordPress do you like? Which plugins are your favorites? Share in the comments so everyone can benefit.

1 comment:

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