The concept of creating a new website is overwhelming and daunting. For that reason, it’s a good idea to work with a professional web designer. Even when you do hire a professional, however, you should still have an idea of how things work. You need to know what your requirements are, you should define your expectations, and once your website design is complete, you’ll need to understand how to manage it.
Many people opt to use WordPress for their website, which is an open-source content management system or CMS. You can build a site even without coding experience, but it’s still something that you may work with a professional on. WordPress is the most powerful and simultaneously simple blogging and website builder that exists. It’s a solution for sites of all sizes.
You can use WordPress to create a range of types of websites, including blogs, e-commerce sites, business and membership sites, portfolios, forums, and more. No site is completely secure, but WordPress does rank well here, and there’s a robust community made up of developers and users.
A lot of the features of WordPress make technical SEO easier to manage too. With that in mind, the following are things to know about technical SEO for a WordPress site.
What is Technical SEO?
Whether you use WordPress or not, technical SEO is a top consideration. Search engines prefer websites with certain technical features and characteristics, including a responsive design, secure connection, and fast loading times.
Technical SEO means your site is designed in a way that’s going to meet the requirements of search engines to improve your organic rankings. This type of SEO encompasses crawling, indexing, website architecture and structure, and rendering.
If Google, on a foundational level, can’t find and crawl your site properly, you aren’t going to rank no matter how good your content is.
Some of the important elements of technical SEO include:
- Site structure and navigation
- Having consistency in your URL structure
- Internal linking
- Security, including the use of Security Sockets Layer or SSL
- Responsiveness and a mobile-friendly site
- Structured data markup
So specifically, from a technical SEO perspective, what do you need to know about WordPress? The following are some of the best practices for WordPress that also are important for technical SEO.
WordPress is unique and better than essentially any other CMS available because of the community-based open source plugin development. There is a plugin for almost anything you could ever need to do. Plugins facilitate flexibility and functionality, but you have to be careful that they don’t negatively impact your technical SEO.
If you have too many plugins that you’re not properly managing and aren’t using, it can slow your website down and create compatibility issues. It may even harm your data security.
Core Web Vitals
Your page speed and how responsive your site is are essential for user experience. User experience is something Google prioritizes. The slower your page is loading, the more likely a user will leave it. Users don’t have the patience to wait for a page to open, and the average wait time is less than three seconds.
Core web vitals are a set of factors related to page experience that influence how visitors interact with the content on your site.
Three specific factors are part of core web vitals. They are the largest contentful paint, which is how quickly your page loads and how fast the primary content it contains is available to a reader; there is first input delay, which is a measurement of how soon a user can interact with a page after it loads. There’s also cumulative layout shift, which tracks the stability of the content on your page.
Google offers tools to help you find any problems with your core web vitals. Some of the core web vitals issues you’re facing might be fixed simply by managing your plugins. You can improve your speed by reducing your page elements, enabling caching, and optimizing images as well.
Your site structure can help you get indexed by search engines, and it’s a key part of technical SEO for WordPress and otherwise. WordPress does a lot of the organization for you because it uses taxonomies. You can set up a clear order that both humans and machines will be able to understand easily. Then, once a search spider lands on an archive for your categories, it can understand the content on the page belongs to the same topic and what the topic is.
You can also eliminate crawl errors and set up redirects or have your web design team do it. A crawl error is a page that can’t be accessed or found, leading to a 404 error. Creating a custom 404 page can help your visitors find what they’re looking for, but it’s better to just altogether eliminate missing pages.
You can use page redirects to tell search engines if you’ve moved content to another URL or to point them in a different direction if there’s no longer a page that exists.
In WordPress, plugins can help you with this. Most of these plugins make redirects easy, and they’ll track when someone is landing on an error page so you can make sure future visitors are getting to the right place.
Creating a Sitemap
A sitemap is a list of the URLs on your site, and it can be set up in HTML form or XML. An HTML version of your site map is meant for people, and it might be in the footer of your site.
An XML sitemap is a text file mapping your entire site and all the content that’s for machines. Technical SEO for WordPress isn’t necessarily the simplest topic, but it’s extremely important. Unless you have a fair amount of experience dealing with WordPress, it is generally optimal to let your web design team help you in this area.