SEO Guide For New WordPress Websites

Suppose you have just recently had a brand new WordPress website built for your business. Perhaps you had an old website that was no longer consistent with current trends. It could also be that visually, you did not feel it was competitive with others. However, you now have a website that is aesthetically appealing and mobile-friendly and will generate a fantastic return on your investment.

Having a fantastic website is one thing, but unless you are getting additional visitors, it won’t generate the best results. You can use multiple channels to create fresh enquiries: TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines are just a few.

Search engine optimisation is one of the best ways to improve your website’s online visibility. Not only will it help you to rank directly in front of customers, but it will also help strengthen your brand awareness. Therefore, it is a fantastic channel you can use to help you scale your business.

SEO is not a one-off website optimisation; you will need to consider it part of a long-term channel. To help ensure you are following best SEO practices, consider reaching out to a professional SEO company that specialises in providing SEO services.

Perhaps you are new to WordPress or have used it in the past but were busy running your business and didn’t have the time to learn about it. Although SEO is a long-term strategy, following the steps in this guide will help ensure that your website is SEO friendly.

 

 

Canonical Tag

One of the difficulties search engines have is verifying which website version they should index. The world wide web is growing at a staggering rate; therefore, search engines prefer not to have to index every web page in multiple ways.

For example, a webpage could be indexed with or without the ‘WWW‘ in front. On top of this, depending on if it has a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate installed, it may also be indexed as either ‘HTTP‘ or ‘HTTPS‘.

That’s where something known as the canonical tag can be used. It’s HTML code you can use to notify search engines of your preferred version of your web pages. It would be best if you used it so that search engines index the correct version of your website.

To help reduce any ranking fluctuations, you should review how your website has already been indexed. To do this, you need to go to Google search and add the word ‘site:‘ to the beginning of the search bar, followed by your domain. Google will display all the existing pages already indexed for your domain.

Once you select your preferred version, it’s essential to set it within your new WordPress dashboard. Simply go to:

General Settings > WordPress Address (URL);

And enter the preferred version for your domain. Select ‘update’ so the settings are saved and updated.

It is possible to change this later; however, it may cause fluctuations in your rankings. Therefore, it is best SEO practice to ensure you select the correct version as soon as possible.

 

SSL Certificate

The primary purpose of SSL certificates is to create a secure connection between browsers and visitors to your website. They decrease the ability of hackers to steal personal information such as credit cards or contact information. Google has confirmed that they use SSL certificates as an SEO ranking factor. Therefore, ensuring you have one installed on your website is critical.

SSL certificates are available in multiple versions. However, the main difference is that depending on the version selected, the amount of insurance provided by the provider will vary. However, from an SEO perspective, it doesn’t matter which version you choose. What is important is that it is installed and working correctly.

Click the padlock symbol from the domain address bar to check that your SSL certificate works correctly. If it says ‘connection is secure‘, you can assume that an SSL certificate is installed and working correctly on your website. However, if there is an error message, you may need to use an SSL website checker to help you fix it.

 

Permalinks

A permalink is another way of saying Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or page name. Every URL should clearly outline the primary topic of the page. WordPress will automatically implement best SEO practices for any newly created URLs.

However, by default, it usually creates folders to categorise when posts are created by month and year. In general, these folders will not add much value to your pages. They could also harm your online visibility because people may avoid selecting your pages if they appear several years old.

To ensure your URLs are created, excluding folders that highlight the month and year they were made, use the following steps from within the admin panel:

Go to Settings > Permalinks > and select the option Post Name.

 

Meta Title and Description tags

The primary purpose of the meta title and description tags is to help inform search engines about the primary topic of your web page. They are also displayed in the organic search results. Therefore, they must be optimised to maximise your listing’s click-through rate.

It would be best if the title tag is kept within 50-60 characters, and the description tag should be 150-160. If it is too long, it will become truncated by search engines. The best SEO practice is to ensure they are unique for every page.

 

Sitemap

The primary purpose of a sitemap is to help search engines easily find all the pages of your website. It can help to improve the speed at which your website is indexed. Therefore, it’s essential to create one for your new website.

Pro Tip: Once you have created your new sitemap, don’t forget to upload it to your Google Search Console account.

 

Noindex Tag

When web designers build a new website, they may use their staging servers. They will usually implement the noindex tag, which notifies search engines to avoid indexing web pages on the site. It can be used on web pages separately or across the entire domain. It prevents pages from being indexed that are under construction and not ready to be published.

However, once the website is complete, you will want your website to be indexed so that customers can find it. Sometimes web developers may forget to remove the noindex tag from the website. Therefore, you should double-check to ensure it has been removed.

The easiest way to check is by logging into the WordPress admin panel. Then you will need to select:

Settings > Reading > Search engine visibility and ensure the box has been unchecked.

 

Unique Content

An important SEO ranking factor is the content on your web pages. When a person types a keyword into Google, they want to ensure they deliver the best possible information.

It’s critical to ensure that all of the content on your website is unique and hasn’t been copied from other websites. It can potentially harm your website’s online visibility. Therefore, you must use a plagiarism checker and check that the content created across your website is unique.

 

Page Speed

The speed at which a browser can render a page is also a critical SEO ranking factor. Nowadays, more and more people are using mobile phones to access the world wide web. Therefore, your website must load as quickly as possible. Otherwise, it could negatively impact user experience and damage your website’s online visibility.

A fantastic tool you can use to check your website’s speed is PageSpeed Insights from Google. Use it to compare the speed of your website vs your major competitors. The speed at which your website loads is only an SEO factor if it creates a negative experience; however, it can never be too fast.

 

Duplicate Pages

It’s common for web developers to use a WordPress theme when building new websites. One of the advantages of using a theme is a large portion of the development work will already have been completed. Therefore, it can help to build your new website sooner.

However, one of the drawbacks of using a theme is that it commonly has what is known as example pages. These are pages that the theme developers have created to provide templates for future projects. Therefore, you must review every published page on your website and remove any that make no sense. They are often full of lorem ipsum text.

 

Strong Password

Often, developers will use a basic password when they are designing and building your new website. However, once they have completed it and handed it over, you should create a new strong password.

Within the WordPress admin panel, go to:

Users > Account Management > New Password and then click Set New Password.

Don’t forget to record the new information somewhere safe. Creating a separate user ID is always best if you need to share access with others. It helps track any changes made on your website.

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