This is not rocket science, it’s about as simple as a chick with alienation of affection.
A couple days ago I wrote an article about how to set up and get links to a site. I then had someone ask me about doing onsite optimization for a WordPress site.
Here’s how I set my sites up. I start by installing the following plug-ins.
- All in One SEO – creates title and meta tags
- · W3 Total Cache- speeds up website
- · WP Smush.it
- · WP-DBManager – optimize database and create backup
- · Google XML Sitemaps
- Easy WP SEO – does on page content optimization
Caching your website is one of the best ways to speed up your website. Using a plugin like W3 Total Cache is the best way to go however there are a lot of options and it can get a little complicated.
Once you activate the W3 Total Cache plugin you will see tab on in the sidebar called Performance. Click on the tab and it will take you to the general settings page of the plugin.
You should see a yellow bar that tells you that you’re in preview mode. Don’t do anything with this at the moment.
Set this to Disk: Enhanced for most shared servers.
Turn on the minify option by checking enable. Set it to manual.
Enable this option
The default settings are good but make sure you’re caching your home page and feeds.
Turn this on and set an update interval. Make sure you space it out enough and put the pages per interval low enough so that it doesn’t stress your server.
In order to use this feature you’ll also need to have an .xml sitemap. But you should already have the plugin installed for that. Put the url location of your sitemap and hit save settings.
These can be left alone.
and css files and combines them all into one file that is as small as possible. You can leave the rewrite url structure checked.
HTML and XML
JS & CSS
Select the .js files and .css files that you want to minify.
On your JS settings tab click enable and use the drop down to select your theme. CSS controls how your site looks so you want it to load first. JS usually adds more functionality so it can load last.
The first set of options is where you choose what files you’d like to host on your CDN.
The most important one is the first one “host attachments”.
Add your FTP info you’ll need to set up a subdomain on your site. For the ftp path put in the location where your subdomains files are stored. Click the “Test FTP Server” button to make sure everything is working.
Enable the “set cookie domain” option. Now upload files to your subdomain. Go back to the top and click the upload buttons.
Deploying W3 Total Cache
You can now deploy your settings and turn off preview mode.
WordPress has a dashboard setting page called “Privacy” Don’t forget to unblock the search engines.
Permalinks and URLs
The default permalink structures offers no SEO value. Make sure to set up the permalink my is set up like this; /%post_id%/%postname%/
Try to have a keyword-rich domain.
Titles and descriptions
The most important piece of SEO real estate on any individual page is the title, which tells both readers and search engines what to expect from the rest of the content on the page. And getting relevant keywords into your titles consistently is imperative for SEO-friendliness.
Descriptions are also important. Remember that the description is what search engine users will see when your result pops up. Crafting compelling copy is the key here. You’ll want to include keywords as well, primarily because those are (by definition) the words your users have in mind when they’re looking for what you offer.
It’s great to rank high, but if your title and description don’t inspire the searcher to click, what good is the ranking?
The standard post edit screen in WordPress obviously provides space for a title, but there are times when you may want to use a different title for readers than for search engines. To do this, you need to have a theme framework or plugin installed that provides a place for a specific SEO title.
For example, The Genesis framework comes out-of-the-box with all of the SEO options you need to craft SEO-friendly content at the post level.
One way to ensure that search engines index your content properly is with a well-structured XML sitemap. There are a number of plugins that will do this for you, updating automatically whenever you publish a new post, but not all are created equal. Some can misconfigure the sitemap structure while others can chew up large amounts of resources.
A strong sitemap option that we recommend at Synthesis is Yoast’s, which is built into his SEO plugin.
And sitemaps are not just for posts. If your site hosts videos, there are major SEO benefits to a properly configured video sitemap. Yoast has a solution for that as well.
Here is a basic SEO fundamental that you shouldn’t have to worry about, but it’s worth mentioning.
The on-page post title should be wrapped in an <h1> tag. This alerts the search engine robots to its importance on the page. But don’t try to get cute and have multiple sets of <h1> tags. Use just one. All subsequent headings should then be in <h2> and <h3> tags.
Any WordPress theme worth installing will have the post title wrapped in <h1> tags. If for some reason you are running a theme that does not, it’s highly advisable that you make a switch or, at a minimum, edit the title’s heading tag.
Enable and encourage discussion
Comments add SEO value.
Not only will the discussion typically center around the main topic of the post, which will add additional keyword frequency to the page, a constant flow of comments will keep the page appearing fresh to search engines.
Remember that the goal of search engines is to deliver the most relevant and timely content to users. A post with an active discussion appears to be both, not to mention people are more likely to share a piece of content if they were compelled to comment on it.
Some people choose to disable comments on posts, which is understandable in certain cases. Just make sure that you have a legitimate reason for disabling comments if you do. Otherwise, keep them active and encourage people to participate, even if only for SEO.
The negative effects of deploying shoddy code would warrant their own post.
Suffice it to say, search engines are going to have a hard time finding your content relevant for specific keywords if it has to waste time wading through ugly code to find your content.
Bad code can also negatively impact other oft-overlooked elements of SEO like page load time. Which reminds me …
Site speed, security, and uptime
You cannot really ensure fast site speeds, security, and uptime in 15 minutes. All three of these essential components of a good website require perpetual vigilance.
However, you certainly can get yourself on the right track in less than 15 minutes simply by getting started with the right WordPress host.
Search engines seem to be placing more importance on page load times with every update. And there is no better way to turn potential visitors away than with a malware warning.
So make sure your hosting is buttoned up on both the performance and security side to ensure that these ranking factors come out in your favor.