How to prepare your WordPress website


The right way for natural search optimisation (SEO)

While there is no denying that WordPress offers plenty of benefits for users, search engine optimisation (SEO) is certainly not one of them. For myself, a faithful WordPress user who just happens to generate a good bit of my income as the result of search engine traffic, this simply means I have had to get creative in order to discover what works best when optimising for WordPress setup.


To make things easier for you, I’m going to let you in on some of my best tips for increasing search engine to your site and blog. Keep in mind that after testing them for myself, as well as on numerous clients, I think they work great but not everyone agrees with me, so use them with a bit of caution. (I’ll even let you know which tips I’m referring to when we discuss them.)


Now that we have taken care of the disclaimer, it’s time to get to the information you really want to know. I’ve divided the obvious suggestions from those that aren’t so readily evident. Toward the end of the post, I’ll touch on even more advanced tactics.


Title Tags

Title tags are well regarded as the most crucial on-site factor for letting search engines know what your site or page is about. Posted titles on older WordPress versions would display as “Blog Name >>>Post Title”. As a result, there’s no reason to include the name of your site at the beginning of your title. Why? It’s highly likely that your homepage already ranks for your site name and there is no reason for it to rank a second time.


To me, it’s best to eliminate your blog name completely for two crucial reasons. One, it looks better. Two, it works. Just a few months ago one of my clients experienced a significant increase in search traffic after we took their brand name off of their blog posts title tags.


If you want to change your title tags, I highly suggest using this pretty amazing SEO plugin. After installation is complete log into your WordPress admin. Select Settings >> All in One SEO Pack. Then, this is what I entered in the following:


Home Title: CoolBison (This phrase is a brand name and what I’m trying to get my site to rank for.)


Post Title: %post_title%

Page Title: %page_title | %blog_title%


I believe these are the most important, especially the post and homepage titles. I suggest tweaking the rest to your preferred preference.


Meta Tags

When searching Google for a site, a piece of the content appears under the page link. Customising the page’s Meta description tag gives you control over this. You can add keywords to your tag to let search engines know a little more about your site contents. (By the way, recently Google reported they would no longer crawl keyword tags and I don’t use this feature as much as I once did.)


Thanks to advancements in technology, keywords aren’t as important as they once were. Search engine have more advanced methods of determining relevance and rank. Still, I’m a something of a fan of including a few keywords for the sake of other search engines. With the All in One SEO pack, you can do this by enabling “dynamic keywords”.


In terms of descriptions, there’s no perfect automation process. In fact, handwritten is best. Headspace, a plugin, does give you the ability to configure them for individual posts. You can also auto-fill a post’s meta-description depending on the description of the post you. This may be beneficial if you are a frequent poster.


Concentrate on a Keyphrase

For example I intend to rank this blog post for the keyword phrase ‘WordPress SEO agency’ and/or ‘WordPress SEO service’.

To gain search engine traffic, optimise your site around a specific keyphrase. It’s a good idea to utilise links to your homepage by using a relevant phrase to increase your search engine rankings.


In addition, the Google external keyword tool is great place to look for certain phrases favoured by your audience. For the most accurate results, select “All Countries and Territories” on the left and “Exact match” on the right.


After you’ve chosen the best keyword, be sure to use it in:

  • Your logo
  • Your site heading
  • Your homepage title tag

And, most importantly, as anchor text when linking to other sites, and in your homepage’s title tag.


This is just your posts’ URL. By default, post title appears like, but you can make this look better by appearing as By opting for this format, users will know something about your page before clicking. Additionally, the URL’s words will be highlighted in search engine results that are relevant to the search topic.


I suggest keeping your URL as short as possible whilst leveraging your primary keyword phrase.


This is best done on new blogs. Before making this change on a blog, install this redirection plugin. It properly moves your old URL in a search engine friendly direction. Don’t forget to shorten the post slug when writing an article because the URL automatically uses all of your title’s words.


Turn On Pingbacks

Linking to other sites is one of the best ways to increase links to your own site, which improves your search engine ranking. Think about it. If you routinely support another site, particularly in the same industry, they’ll probably repay the favour. If you haven’t already enabled notifying other blogs when you link to them on WordPress, it’s a good time to do it.


On a side note, Google has recently been putting a good deal of emphasis on the alt attribute when it comes to ranking both images and your posts highly. WordPress automatically applies alt attributes to images, but they are dependent upon the file name. Be sure your file names are relevant to the content.



Interlink is the term for linking your blog posts from one to the other. Guest blogging is a good way to improve your position as an authority in your niche. Just remember to link your guest posts to other blog.


WWW vs. Non-WWW

Most sites (including yours) have two access methods. The best way to see this is by visiting It can be accessed at and (If you don’t believe me, try it on our site.)


WordPress automatically takes care of redirecting for you, using a 302 redirect. This lets search engines known this is just temporary, so it you want them to know it’s permanent, you’ll need to use a 301 redirect.


It’s your decision concerning which one you want Google to include in Google Webmaster Tools, but you still have to do it. It’s entirely up to you.


Be sure to edit your .htaccess file, which is located in the folder you installed WordPress in on your server. (This is all you’ll need to redirect your site from the non-www. version to the www. version.)


# Begin 301

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.coolbison\ [NC]RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]


# BEGIN WordPress

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>RewriteEngine OnRewriteBase /RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-fRewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-dRewriteRule . /index.php [L]</IfModule>


# END WordPress


If your goal is redirecting from the www. version to the non-www. version, just interchange the 3rd and 4th line, like this.


RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^coolbison\ [NC]RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]


If you receive an error message or nothing seems to happen, be sure your host lets you edit the .htaccess file (most do).


Now that we’ve looked at the most common tips for optimising WordPress, it’s time to take a step further. Yes, just following the tips above is a great start, but there’s more you can do.


NoFollow Specific Pages

This was first implemented to decrease web spam from ranking in search results and just happens to be the first tip I’ll mention that some people disagree with. Recently, Google didn’t particularly approve of this practice (though they do in some), so do it at your own risk.


Often referred to as nofollowing sculpting, this is meant to help you divert your links in the most powerful direction. (In other words, a page that is not junk.)


This is how your typical text link looks.

a href=”http://”>CoolBison</a>


Changing the link like this makes it a nofollow.


<a href=”http://”rel=”nofollow”>CoolBison</a>



Nonindex Archive, Category, Pagination, or Tag Pages

While I prefer to just use categories and create my sitemap manually, most people opt for date-based archives, categories, and tag pages. While this is ideal in terms of usability, search engines see it as tons of pages that have links to your other pages.


Essentially, search engines don’t need to crawl through every page to find your blog posts. This is why I opted to apply Noindex to my Tag pages and Archives, using the All in One SEO Pack. In admin panel, settings will help you determine what to block. I suggest allowing one to be followed, such as categories, and blocking the rest.


Nofollow Your Read More Link

If your homepage displays entire posts, you can skip this. However, if just a piece of the content shows, you probably have a “continue” or “read more” link. Obviously, this means your post title links to the page with perfect anchor text, so there’s no reason to do this.


Go to Theme Editor (Appearance >> Editor) and open the relevant file. Look for the following:


<a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>


Now add, <a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>”rel=”nofollow, and you’re done. Just be sure you change the read more permalink as opposed to the permalink to your post titles.


Signup for Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console)

If you are serious about getting search engine traffic to your site, Google Webmaster is a must-have. It gives you plenty of valuable info including:


  • What keyphrases are ranking the highest on Google in real time
  • If your site contains broken links
  • If your website has been hacked (you will be notified)


On occasion, you may discover a blogger has incorrectly linked to you, giving visitors a 404 page. Since Google Webmaster Tools lets you know this, you can redirect the page to one that is relevant, which gives the link value and helps retain visitors who land on your site.


Disable Comment Pages

Unless you get hundreds of comments for every post, your site doesn’t need paginated comments. Previous WordPress versions didn’t have this, but if you installed WordPress 2.7 from scratch recently, paginated comments are a default option.


Simply go to Settings >> Discussion and turn it off to make certain your site doesn’t have a ridiculous number of duplicate pages that show minimal unique content.


Build Links

There is no denying that creating content and engaging with your audience is crucial when building a blog, but there are several other things you can do in about an hour that can prove to be huge sources of traffic that fall outside of SEO.


For example, backlinks, which are just links from other sites to yours, are a critical factor in getting search engine traffic. In most cases, the highest ranking site has plenty more links than the 5th highest ranking site when a search is returned. Taking the time to build links so that the on-site optimisation you have taken the time to implement will have an effect.


There are tons of articles on the web on link building, so I’ll spare you the details, but here are a few of my favourite options.


  • Guest posts on other sites (Just remember to link back to your blog)
  • Link to other relevant sites your audience may appreciate and see if they link back
  • Create outstanding content that garners attention
  • Collaborate with others in your niche. From group projects and promotions to interviews, there are several ways to get others involved and share the word about your site at the same time.


Hope you have found this blog post useful in optimisation your WordPress website for natural search. As you probably know by now, CoolBison are natural search experts with more than 4,000 page 1 rankings in Google search right now.

If the post is somewhat overwhelming and you’d like us to take care of your on-page SEO get in touch and we’ll give you a free site analysis.

Or call our office today and speak directly to me

01172 900 207

Marcus Rockey (SEM)

CoolBison are official Google Partners

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