WordPress is much more than just another bloggingplatform.
In fact, popular websites like TechCrunchand BBC America use WordPress to attract and host millions of search visitors every singlemonth.
But using WordPress out of the box won't cutit if you want to reach that kind of scale.
You need to make sure that your site speedis lightning fast and that your technical SEO is structurally sound.
And in this video, you're about to learn exactlyhow to do that from the ground up.
[music] What's up SEOs, Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, theSEO tool that helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and dominate yourniche.
Now this is the second part in our WordPress SEOseries.
And we've already covered a lot of the basic setupand how to create SEO-friendly posts and pages.
In this tutorial, we're going to cover a lotof the technical SEO aspects, particularly with page speed, duplicate content, and internallinking, all within WordPress.
Let's get to it.
Before we begin, I'm going to run a full siteaudit on my website using Ahrefs Site Audit tool.
And I'll occasionally make reference backto some of the reports, which will help us identify which pages to fix.
The first thing we're going to do is configureour WordPress site for optimal speed and performance.
And this is important because Google has officiallystated that page speed is a ranking factor in their algorithm for both desktop and mobile.
So for site speed, we're setting up the framework, which would include things like caching, compression, CDNs, and minification.
And there are 3 plugins that I use specificallyto boost my site speed.
The first one is W3 Total Cache.
With WordPress caching, you're essentiallycreating static versions of your posts and pages so it can be rendered quickly by browsers.
And since you're probably not updating theseevery day, it should result in faster load times, and a better user experience.
After you've installed the plugin, you'll see a new menu in the left sidebar called “Performance.
” If you go to the general settings, you'llsee the main settings I have enabled are: Page Cache, Minify, Browser Cache, and CDN.
And you can see short descriptions of whateach one does under the checkbox.
To customize each of these options, you cango to the corresponding submenu in the sidebar.
Now, it's important to note that what worksfor my site's speed won't necessarily work for yours.
And there are way too many variables to considerlike your server set up – i.
Apache vs NGINX vs Engintron, i.
your hosting plan – i.
shared vs VPSvs dedicated and more.
So rather than going through every singlesetting for this site, I'll leave a link to the screenshots of my W3 Total Cache settingsin the description.
The second plugin I use is called ShortPixel.
And this one automatically compresses and optimizes images when you upload them to your server.
So if you look at my media library, you'llsee that there were some images uploaded, and ShortPixel automatically compressed these by quite a lot without compromising image quality.
And the final plugin I use is called SpeedBooster Pack.
After you've installed it, you can accessit by hovering over settings, then choosing the plugin name in the submenu.
The one that I want to touch on here is lazyload images.
Now by enabling this option, it only loadsimages as it's needed.
For example, when you load this page, imagesthat are further down in the page will only load as you scroll to its location.
Play around with these settings, and as youupdate them, you should see your home page load stats beside it.
You can also use a tool like Pingdom's FullPage Test, which will show you the page load times and performance optimization tips.
Just make sure to ping your page from thesame location to get more accurate representations of page speed.
Site Audit tool also tracks page speed overtime, so let's go to our report in Site Audit in Ahrefs and see if there are any pages thatload particularly slow.
So I'll head on over to the Performance report.
And here, you can see that there are 5 pages that have a loading time of greater than 2 seconds.
So I'll click on that, which will show usthe results in Data Explorer.
The first result is one that gets organictraffic, and it looks like the time to first byte as well as the file size seem higherthan I'd like.
So I'll copy the URL and paste it intoGoogle Page Speed Insights.
And the results seem pretty good for the most part.
Now scrolling down, you'll see some suggestions to optimize images.
So I would just download the optimized versionsof these images, and replace them in the post.
Now, doing this for all of your pages maytake some time, so start with pages that get organic traffic, and move down the list fromthere if you're really obsessed with speed.
Alright, so our site is nice and speedy whichis great for Google and for the user experience.
Next is to add internal links to pass linkequity to pages you want to rank.
Using this custom filter in Data Explorer, I'm able to identify URLs that aren't a part of the page archive, have less than 3 internal links pointing at them, and return a 200 response code.
And it looks like there are 131 URLs on thiswebsite.
Looking through the list, the vast majorityare ones that I planned to delete, but I'm sure there are others that we plan to keepand rank higher.
Now, let's order the pages by organic trafficin descending order.
And this one on borax vs.
boric acid seemslike a good one.
So I'll go to the “All Posts” page and usethe search box here and search for the keyword “borax”, to see if there are any posts I canlink from to my “borax vs.
boric acid” post.
And it looks like this one on cleaning withessential oils includes that keyword in the post.
Alternatively, you can do this in Google bysearching for site:yourdomain.
com and then adding your keyword or multiple keywords byusing the “OR” search operator.
And you'll see that we now have 15 pages that match your search query since Google is searching through all indexed pages, which includesboth posts and pages.
Another very cool yet effective way to useinternal links in WordPress is to add a “Popular Articles” widget.
Now, these might be pages that you've found toconvert particularly well or pages that you want to rank higher in Google.
Looking at Backlinko's blog, you'll see thathe's done that here with some of his bigger guides.
You can also take this tactic a step fartherand install a plugin called “Custom Sidebars.
” This lets you insert a custom sidebar configurationon any post or page.
For example, you may want to include a customsidebar with links to other articles or product pages that are relevant to the content inthe post.
Now, these kinds of tips aren't somethingthat you have to do.
In fact, Ahrefs blog and a lot of other popularblogs don't do this.
But from my experience, I've found it to workwell.
The last thing I want to go through dealswith duplicate content issues.
Now, in the first video, I briefly touchedon installing the Yoast SEO plugin and setting up your sitemap.
And everything else works pretty good outof the box, but there are a few advanced features that deal with indexation and it will helpyou avoid creating unwanted duplicate pages.
So first, hover over the Yoast settings and chooseTitles/Metas and we'll make sure that a few settings are in place.
Go to the “Post Types” settings and make surethat your meta robots settings for both pages and posts are unchecked, which will ensurethat all of your blog posts and pages are set to get indexed by default.
Personally, I set the Media settings as “noindex, follow, ” because WordPress will often create separate media pages, like this, that havenothing more than just the image.
And this would certainly be classified asthin content.
Next, head on over to the “Taxonomies” tab.
In most cases, you'll want to noindex thetags and formats option.
Tags on WordPress have essentially no SEOvalue.
It's more of a way to categorize your posts, which I don't see too many sites doing now.
For example, if you look at this tag page, it just lists a couple blog posts that can be accessed on their blog archive page.
And there's no real value in telling Googleto index the tag page too.
The other one is Сategories.
Now, this one is debatable.
Some people prefer not to index these pages, while others will try to rank them.
And in my opinion, if you're using breadcrumbslike these, or use your categories as navigation items like many large publications do, thenI would recommend leaving them as indexable in most cases.
Or if you think that people will find valuein discovering them in Google, then leave them as is.
I wouldn't stress too much about this unlessyou're creating thousands of pages that can potentially lead to issues with crawl budget, faceted navigation, or devaluing the link equity.
Next is the “Archives” tab.
Here, you'll actually find a section on avoidingduplicate content.
Since this site is a single author blog, I'vechosen to noindex both the author archives and date-based archives.
And the reason being, if you leave this tobe indexed by Google, your blog homepage or list of posts will be identical to the author archive.
Finally is the “Other” tab.
Here, I recommend noindexing your archivesubpages.
And you can see in the example, that thiswould be on an archive page with a URL like /page/2.
In fact, Google made a video on the best practicesregarding pagination, and they recommended a few different options.
The best one in my opinion, was to createa “view-all” function and for all archive pages, to include a canonical tag to the “view-all” page.
There were certain conditions that shouldbe met like the amount of time it takes to render the page, but I'll let you watch thatfull video if this is a concern that you have.
The last thing you should know regardingWordPress indexation is that you can noindex specific pages or posts.
Just scroll down to the Yoast SEO settingson the page that you want to noindex, click on the gear icon, and then select “noindex”from the dropdown.
This may be advisable for pages that youdon't want to be in Google's index like a landing page that you're split testing ora page within your email or sales funnel.
If you want to dig deeper into duplicate contentissues, then go to the “Content Quality” report within Ahrefs' Site Audit tool, and for thiswebsite, you'll see that there are only green clusters of duplicate pages, which means thatthe canonical is matching.
Something that you'll want to be on the lookout for are bad duplicates or where a canonical is not set, as you can see for this WordPresswebsite.
Now, there's a lot more to technical SEO thanwhat I've shown you here.
But by combining WordPress with some of theseplugins and techniques, you should be able to speed up your website and prevent a lotof easily avoidable duplicate content issues.
Now if you've found this video helpful, make sure to like, share, and subscribe.
And let me know if there's anything I missed in the commentsspecific to doing search engine optimization with WordPress.
So keep grinding away and I'll see you inthe next tutorial.