WordPress is a wonderful and popular format used by many companies for a variety of purposes, from blog and article posts to ecommerce. Businesses of all sizes prefer the adaptability and range of versatility WordPress provides, along with the ease of use that does not require any prior programming experience. Using WordPress sometimes tempts businesses into doing things they should not or overlooking things they should do, like SEO, and creates problems for them with search engine rankings, website traffic, and potential earnings. The following questions are the 10 most commonly asked ones in regards to search engine optimization and WordPress.
Is WordPress Search Engine Optimized right after it is installed? So-and-so said it was.
Whether your use WordPress or code your website content using a programming language, no product is search engine optimized after it is installed. The reason for this misconception is because businesses do not clearly understand the difference between search engine optimized and search engine friendly. WordPress is a search engine friendly application and using it does not mean your content is magically optimized to give you top rankings on Google. Search engine friendly simply means WordPress includes elements in its design to make it easier to implement SEO without much effort or investment, as long as you understand how to correctly implement SEO strategies.
What are the best SEO Plugins for WordPress?
There are numerous SEO plugins designed to work with WordPress. Before you rush out and start downloading every single one, take the time to conduct a little research about the plugin and ask pointed questions, like:
- Are there compatibility issues?
- Will the plugin be compatible with the sites other plugins and functionality?
- Will there be potential compatibly issues in the future?
- Is support readily available for the plugin?
- What types of reviews has the plugin received?
- How many people have downloaded the plugin?
- Are their online community forums for the plugin?
- How popular is the plugin?
- How hard is it to obtain help to resolve problems and issues?
- Does the developer update or revise the plugin?
- Is the developer a reputable vendor of WordPress plugins?
Do I need an SEO consultant if I have downloaded and installed SEO plugins for WordPress?
Going back to the first question, WordPress is not search engine optimized, and therefore, any SEO plugins for the application are also not search engine optimized. Plugins do make it easier to optimize your site content but again, this is referring to search engine friendliness, not optimization.
SEO plugins are not a turnkey solution you simply install, configure and move on. Proper search engine optimization is an ongoing process. Search engines constantly update rules, regulations, guidelines, ranking criteria, and more. You have to be able to adapt to these constant changes. If you lack experience or the knowledge to correctly implement SEO strategies you should seek assistant from a professional SEO consultant.
In addition, there is not a single SEO plugin to address every aspect of SEO. Oftentimes, WordPress sites require several different SEO plugins to address every potential area of site development, tracking, reporting, and analytics. Most companies, even small business owners, retain the services of a SEO website specialist, who understands the complexities and intricacies of search engine optimization and the proper methods to utilize to market your site and its content.
Some other things to consider with WordPress SEO plugins are anytime you download, install, or upgrade a plugin, or even your WordPress theme, the programming code changes. Changes to the code could potentially change how your site is ranked with search engines. Further, site page loading times might be impacted by plugins. Slower load times are ranked lower by Google and even though initially it seemed like a good idea to try the plugin, impacts your rankings.
WordPress will not tell you which keyword and keyword phrases are the most appropriate for your business and website content. Developing content requires conducting an in-depth SEO analysis to determine the most appropriate keywords to use within your industry. In addition, the placement and utilization of keywords directly affects site rankings. So, to put it quite simply – you still need a SEO consultant, either on your payroll or on a contractual basis through a qualified firm.
Can I damage my SEO rankings by using free WordPress themes?
It depends. One of the major attractions of WordPress is the vast amount of freebies and themes. Many of these can help save you money and are wonderful choices. However, some are not worth your time as they damage your SEO rankings. Before downloading and applying a new WordPress theme, some key elements to look for are spammed links, links you cannot remove, security vulnerabilities, and upgrade compatibility. If the theme is not supported by future WordPress updates, or contains any of these other elements, do not use it or else you put your SEO rankings and website at risk.
To find free themes you can use, read user and developer reviews. These tell you whether or not you can trust the theme. Verify the theme meets Google’s current SEO guidelines and follows best business practices. Google offers tools you can use to run a quality check on the theme’s demo site before deciding whether to download the theme. Lastly, verify the theme is mobile friendly. Google has started placing a high priority on mobile friendly websites.
Should I Use a WordPress Hosting Solution or Host My Own Site?
The answer to this question comes down to the amount of time and resources you want to dedicate to your website. If you do not mind taking care of security, antivirus, backups, restores, and upgrades all on your own, then obtaining your own server or a virtual server solution is the way to go. On the other hand, if you do not want to be tasked with all these additional responsibilities seek out a reputable and reliable web hosting company with experience hosting WordPress themed websites.
Some hosting companies include a wide range of optional services as part of your monthly hosting plan, like being able to have a development environment where you can experiment with your site, but not have it accessible by the general public. Keep in mind, some hosting companies do regulate and restrict certain themes and plugins, especially if they pose security vulnerabilities. These restrictions can be a blessing in disguise.
Where Should I Install WordPress?
Where WordPress is installed depends on the purpose for the site. If your goal is to add a blog to your main website, then install it into a subfolder. On the other hand, if you are launching a temporary website campaign, using a new domain targeting the specific audience with optimized content may be more appropriate. Another option is to install WordPress onto subdomain. This option is another option for websites starting a blog, but in cases where they do not want it directly tied to their primary website.
How Many WordPress Categories Should I Use When Adding a New Post?
It depends on where the content is going to be posted. If it is only featured on a single URL, then using multiple categories can have a positive effect on SEO. In cases where the content is going to be published across different sites, such as your main website and social media sites, getting too carried away and assigning excessive categories might result in duplicate entries search engines will not look upon favorably because their indexing methods do not know which site contains the original posting. If in doubt about the number of categories to use, it is better to follow restraint if you are unsure about how choosing multiple categories affects SEO, or better yet, ask your professional SEO consultant for their advice.
Will Using WordPress Widgets Improve SEO?
Using WordPress Widgets can be beneficial if they are implemented correctly. For instance a widget that replicates content across multiple site pages may not be a good idea as it could result in duplicated data. Widgets where you are able to incorporate additional layers of content or target a sub-niche within your targeted audience can be beneficial. The main thing to remember with Widgets is to implement them one at a time, test results, and consider whether their use actually provides any relevancy to the content. The goal with SEO is to focus on a specific target audience and ensure the content is relevant for this group. If the Widget is not relevant, do not use it.
My WordPress Theme Allows for Multiple H1 Tags. Should I Use Multiple Tags?
From a development perspective, the use of multiple H1 tags is not a bad thing. But, when it comes to SEO and search engines, using multiple H1 tags may be interpreted by indexing algorithms as spam and negatively impact search rankings. It is better to identify the most important page heading and only use that one for your H1 tag.
Will My SEO Rankings Suffer If I Do Not Use the Visitor’s Preferred Language?
WordPress offers multiple language support and it should be configured to the preferred language for the area you are targeting. It is never a good idea to mix languages within a single site. Avoid enabling IP localization as some visitors could be connecting to your site through a VPN or proxy server situated in another country. Instead, give them the option to change languages on their own and set up multiple websites in each language.
For instance, in Canada there are both English and French speaking people. But there really is no easy way to tell what language is going to be preferred by the visitor. The easiest solution is to display pages in English and have a link where users have the option to be taken to a different website with the same content translated into French. Offering this option not only provides better user experiences, but can also improve SEO.
If you have further questions, concerns, or need additional help, do not be afraid to contact a professional SEO consultant with experience in WordPress.