Tag - SEO

14 Best WordPress SEO Plugins and Tools That You Should Use


Often we’re asked about what are the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that we recommend.

That’s because search engines are a major source of traffic for most websites on the internet. Optimizing your website for search engines can help you rank higher in search results and significantly grow your business.

In this article, we will share the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that you should use. Some of these tools offer similar functionalities, so we will also highlight which ones are the best for specific use-cases.

Best WordPress SEO plugins and tools

Things You Must Know About WordPress SEO Plugins & Tools

When reading SEO tips or searching for “best free WordPress SEO plugins”, you will come across articles that feature several dozen tools.

This can be quite overwhelming for beginners and non-techy users.

The truth is that you don’t need dozens of top SEO tools to get higher search rankings.

While most blog posts (including ours) will share the top most popular SEO plugins, it is extremely important for you to understand the use-cases of each tool.

For example, you never want to use more than one WordPress SEO plugin on your website. We will mention Yoast, All in One SEO, Rank Math, and SEOPress. You need to pick only one to avoid plugin conflict.

We’ll mention SEMRush, Ahrefs, and few other powerful tools, but you don’t need them all when you’re first starting out since they have similar feature set. We will share what tools we use in our business, and which features are the best among each tool.

With that said, let’s take a look at our expert pick of the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools.

1. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market. It offers a complete website optimization tool that helps you improve your website.

It lets you easily add SEO titles and descriptions to all posts and pages on your website. You can also use it to add Open Graph metadata and social media images to your articles.

Yoast SEO automatically generates an XML sitemap for all your website content which makes it easier for search engines to crawl your website. It also helps you easily import your SEO data if you have been using another other SEO plugin.

For more details, see our complete guide on how to install and setup Yoast SEO plugin in WordPress.

We use Yoast SEO plugin on WPBeginner to help optimize our on-page SEO meta titles and descriptions, manage SEO redirects, control index settings, generate sitemap, etc.

However we don’t use all of Yoast SEO features such as content analysis because we feel it falls short when compared to a more comprehensive writing assistant solution like SEMRush.

This brings us to the next SEO tool in the list.

2. SEMRush

SEMRush

SEMRush is the best overall SEO tool on the market. Used by professional SEO experts, marketers, bloggers, and businesses of all sizes, it provides a comprehensive set of tools to grow your traffic.

You can use it to find organic keywords and search terms that you can easily rank for. It also allows you to do competitive research and see which keywords your competitors rank for, and how you can beat them.

SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant tool helps you improve your website content to beat the top 10 results for your focus keyword. It integrates with WordPress, and this will help you write more SEO friendly content.

To learn more, see our complete guide on how to do keyword research for your website.

3. Google Search Console

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool offered by Google to help website owners monitor and maintain their site’s presence in Google search results.

It alerts you when Google is unable to crawl and index pages on your website. You also get helpful tips on how to fix those crawl errors.

Most importantly, it shows which keywords your website is ranking for, anchor texts, average position, impressions, and more. You can use this data to find keywords where you can easily rank higher by simply optimizing your content. You can also use this keyword data to come up with new blog post ideas.

For more details, see our comprehensive Google Search Console guide for beginners.

Yoast SEO comes with an easy integration that lets you setup Search Console without writing any code.

MonsterInsights, another tool we’ll mention later, helps you bring the Search Console reports right inside your WordPress dashboard for easy access.

4. Ahrefs

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool for marketers, bloggers, and businesses. It is a popular alternative to SEMRush and offers a lot of similar tools and features.

It allows you to do keyword research, competition analysis, backlink research, monitor keyword rankings, and more.

It also offers a detailed content analysis tool that helps you improve content while targeting specific keywords.

While there’s a huge feature overlap, what Ahrefs does really well is backlink analysis. We can use it to see which sites are linking to multiple competitors, but not us. This helps us get more backlinks and build more partnerships.

They also help us identify which content multiple of our competitors are ranking for that we aren’t, so we can create content on those subjects to get more exposure.

Last but not least, Ahrefs helps us better identify duplicate content and keyword cannibalization which helps us merge and upgrade the right content to boost our rankings.

For the reasons above, we pay for both SEMRush and Ahrefs because they’re both good for specific use-cases.

5. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner

No one on the planet has more insights into what people are searching for than the search giant Google.

Did you know that you can get your own keyword ideas from Google itself by using the Google Keyword Planner tool.

This free tool is offered to Google’s advertisers for free and anyone can use it. Its main purpose is to show advertisers the keywords they can bid on for their advertising campaigns.

It also helps advertisers choose the right keywords by showing them an estimate of search volume, number of results, and difficulty level.

As a content marketer or blogger, you can use this data to find keywords with high search volume, high advertiser interest, and more importantly keywords where you can easily outrank all other sites.

Bonus: See these 103 Blog Post Ideas that your Readers will Love (Cheat Sheet).

6. All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack is a popular WordPress SEO plugin offering a comprehensive set of tools to improve your website. It allows you to easily add SEO title and meta tags, open graph meta tags, XML sitemaps, image sitemaps, and more.

It works out of box with WooCommerce to optimize your online store for SEO. It comes with easy setup and allows you to control access to different settings using a feature manager.

You may also want to see our complete beginner’s guide to All in One SEO Pack and our comparison of the Yoast SEO vs All in One SEO Pack.

All in One SEO Pack Pro plugin gives you access to more addons, and it is a more affordable solution than Yoast SEO which is why it’s the second most popular WordPress SEO plugin in the market.

Note: All in One SEO Pack is a Yoast SEO alternative. Remember, you only need one WordPress SEO plugin on your site.

7. SEOPress

SEOPress

SEOPress is another simple yet powerful WordPress SEO plugin. It includes all the features you would expect from a SEO plugin like meta title, description, open graph support, image and content XML sitemaps, redirects, and more.

It comes with easier setup for beginners and advanced controls for more experienced users. It is comparable to all top WordPress SEO plugins on the market in terms of features and ease of use.

A big reason some users choose SEOPress over Yoast SEO is because the premium version is significantly cheaper and comes with a lot of the similar features.

Note: SEOPress is a Yoast SEO alternative. Remember, you only need one WordPress SEO plugin on your site.

8. Rank Math

Rank Math

Rank Math is a fast growing user-friendly WordPress SEO plugin that allows you to optimize your website for search engines and social media. It comes with a setup wizard and allows you to import data from other SEO plugins during the setup.

It allows you to easily add meta title, description, and Open Graph metadata to your blog posts. The plugin also allows you to generate an XML sitemap, connect Google Search Console, and control access to plugin features based on user roles.

Note: Rank Math is a Yoast SEO alternative. Remember, you only need one WordPress SEO plugin on your site.

9. All in One Schema Rich Snippets

All In One Schema Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets allow you to make your website stand out in search results by showing star ratings below a review, prices below a product, image or video next to the description, and so on.

Search Engines use data available in Schema format to get this information. All in One Schema Rich Snippets helps you optimize your website by adding that Schema metadata to your website.

It supports reviews, events, people, products, recipes, software apps, videos, and articles as Schema content types. It works nicely alongside your existing WordPress SEO plugin.

10. KeywordTool.io

Keyword Tool

Keyword Tool is one of the best free keyword research tools available right now. It allows you to simply generate keyword ideas by typing in a keyword. These keyword suggestions are gathered from Google’s autosuggest feature. It also shows you keyword suggestions from Bing, YouTube, Amazon, and more.

These keyword suggestions are a treasure of information. You can also get search volume, cost per click, and other data for each keyword by upgrading to their paid plan.

11. Broken Link Checker

Broken Link Checker

Broken links can affect your site’s SEO and create a bad experience for your users. If you have been running a blog for some time, then you should check your site from time to time for broken links and fix them.

Broken Link Checker is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to find broken links on your WordPress site. You can then fix those links without even editing your posts. See our tutorial on how to fix broken links in WordPress with Broken Link Checker.

It is a highly useful plugin, and it’s totally free. The only downside is that it can become resource-intensive and may slow down your WordPress hosting server. Some hosting providers like WP Engine already block this plugin.

Because this plugin can slow down your site if you have a lot of content, we use Ahrefs tool for broken link detection because it helps us make sure our website is always fast.

Bonus: Redirection is a free plugin that helps you redirect broken links to an appropriate page on your website.

12. SEOquake

SEOquake

SEOquake is a useful SEO tool for website owners. It is available as a browser addon for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari web browsers.

It provides SEO related information for any website. This data includes page health, age, last updated, Alexa rank, and many other parameters. It is one of the most downloaded browser addons by SEO professionals.

Apart from that, the SEOquake toolbar can show you all the same data search results when you type in a keyword. This information can be extremely useful if you are gauging competition for different keywords. You can even download search results in CSV format and prepare your own excel sheets of search data.

Bonus Plugins for WordPress Website Owners

These tools give you additional advantage when optimizing your website for SEO. They do not advertise themselves as SEO tools but they are essential for every website and play a significant role in your website’s search performance.

13. WP Rocket

WP-Rocket

Site speed is a major factor in search rankings. That’s why you need to monitor your website speed & performance to make sure it’s not affecting your SEO.

The easiest way to boost your website speed is by enabling caching. WP Rocket is the best WordPress caching plugin on the market, which allows you to set up caching without diving into any technical stuff.

Alternative: WP Super Cache

14. MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights

Many beginners rely on their best guess to make their marketing decisions. You don’t need to do that when you can easily get the insights you need to improve your website’s SEO strategy.

MonsterInsights is the bets Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to easily install Google Analytics in WordPress and shows human-readable reports inside your WordPress dashboard.

It tells you where your users are coming from, your top content, what users do on your website, and more. It also allows you to track your WooCommerce SEO by seeing which products are popular and where you are losing customers.

Bonus tip: See what other marketing data you must track on your website to grow your business.

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools for your website. You may also want to see our proven tips to easily increase your website traffic.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



Source link

How to Use the SEO Writing Assistant in WordPress to Improve SEO


Many of our readers ask us about how to write better content for SEO? Some ask whether they should focus on Yoast SEO green light or not?

Well when it comes to SEO content optimization, we don’t focus on Yoast SEO’s score. Instead we use a different SEO writing assistant.

This helps us optimize our content for SEO, so we can rank higher in search engines.

In this article, we will show you how to use the SEO Writing Assistant in WordPress to improve SEO and create better content on your website.

Using SEO Writing Assistant in WordPress to improve SEO

What is SEO Writing Assistant?

SEO Writing Assistant is a content optimization tool created by SEMRush, one of the best SEO tools on the market.

It allows you to check your content in real-time for SEO suggestions and improve the overall SEO score of your content.

Here is how it works.

  • Enter your focus keywords to generate content templates based on the top-10 results for that phrase
  • Instantly get semantically related keywords to include in your article
  • Improve your content with readability score based on rival results
  • Optimize your article headline for SEO
  • Adjust article length based on average length of top results
  • Check for plagiarism without leaving your website
  • Check content tone to make it sound more natural and casual

It is an extremely useful tool and can help you improve the SEO as well as writing style across your website.

If you manage a multi-author site, then it allows authors to follow the same SEO best practices across all content.

Having said that, now let’s take a look at how to use the SEO Writing Assistant to improve SEO and get more search traffic to your website.

Setting up SEMRush’s SEO Writing Assistant in WordPress

First thing you need to do is visit the SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant website and click on ‘Create new template’ button.

Create new template

You will be now asked to login or register for a free account.

SEMRush offers a basic free account with just 1 free content recommendation. You will need to sign up or upgrade for a paid SEMRush subscription to get all features (this is totally worth it).

Register for a free account

Next, you’ll be asked to provide an email address and enter a password. After that, you will see a screen where you can enter the focus keywords to create an SEO template.

Creating SEO content template for an article

Your focus keyword is basically the keyword you’d like to rank #1 for with this particular blog post or page. Once you enter the focus keyword, SEMRush will generate your SEO content template. You can also do this right inside your WordPress dashboard.

You simply need to connect the SEO Writing Assistant tool to your WordPress site.

First, you’ll need to install and activate the SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant plugin on your WordPress site. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to edit an article that you want to optimize for SEO. On the post edit screen, scroll down and you’ll see the new SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant section below the content editor.

Connect WordPress to your SEMRush account

It will show you basic readability and SEO score. To get the full picture, you need to click on the login button and sign in to your SEMRush account.

Once signed in, you’ll be asked to give permission. Click on the ‘Approve’ button to continue.

Give permission

Now that you have connected the plugin to your SEMRush account, let’s generate SEO recommendations for our article.

Generate SEO recommendations

If you had entered the focus keywords before, then you’ll see them listed as suggestions. Otherwise, click on the ‘Create new recommendations’ button to continue.

Add keyword suggestions

Simply enter the focus keywords and click on the ‘Get recommendations’ button. Need help finding the right keywords? See our beginner’s guide on how to do keyword research for your WordPress site.

SEMRush will now check the top 10 results for the given keywords to generate a list of semantically related keywords to include in your content.

LSI keyword recommendations

Keywords already included in your article will appear with a green background. You can go ahead and start adding missing keywords in your existing content where applicable or expanding your content to add new sections when necessary.

As you write, the tool will also adjust the readability and article length scores to match the average scores of top results.

Checking Tone of Voice using SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant

All SEO experts and marketers advise using a casual tone for all your articles. Search engines consider this conversational tone to be more engaging and useful for most audiences.

Now the problem is that sometimes it becomes harder to maintain a casual tone throughout the article.

SEO Writing Assistant comes with a Tone of Voice checker. This AI-powered tool checks your content’s tone and give it a score randing from formal to casual. Most articles fall somewhere in between, so don’t worry if it says your article has a neutral tone.

Checking for tone of voice

Checking for Internal Links

Links play a crucial role in SEO and the SEO Writing Assistant helps you keep track of links inside your article.

It will remind you if your article does not have an optimal number of internal links. It will also check for external links and links to your homepage.

Keep track of links in your posts

This tool comes in handy if you have other authors working on articles. Editors can quickly see if the article includes internal links to other posts on your website.

Checking Plagiarism in WordPress with SEO Writing Assistant

If you are hiring writers to contribute articles on your blog, then you’ll need to make sure that the articles they are submitting are original content.

Normally, editors and website owners use plagiarism checkers like Grammarly or Google to see if an article is original. SEO Writing Assistant makes this easier with a built-in Plagiarism checker tool.

Plagiarism checker tool in SEO Writing Assistant by SEMRush

The downside is that even with the paid plans, you can only perform a limited number of checks. If you need more, then you can buy additional checks from your subscription page on SEMRush dashboard.

Getting a Perfect SEO Score for Your Article

As you implement suggestions provided by the SEO Writing Assistant tool, your overall score will improve as well.

Overall SEO score

The overall score bar takes into account all the parameters and suggestions shown by the plugin. You need to make sure that this bar turns green for a better SEO rankings.

Sometimes the plugin may suggest LSI keywords that may not fit in your content. You can safely ignore them instead of stuffing them into your article.

Remember that while these SEO tools provide recommendations, you know your audience better than these tools . Keep your users in mind and make sure that they find your content useful and engaging.

Tracking Your SEO Performance in WordPress

Once you have started using SEO Writing Assistant for a while, you may want to track how it is affecting your website’s positions in search.

We have detailed guide on how to track your website’s keyword rankings with SEMRush and other tools.

You may also want to keep an eye on your top content using Google Analytics. The best way to do this is by using MonsterInsights. It brings your Google Analytics reports in WordPress and displays them in a human-readable format.

We hope this article helped you learn how to use SEO Writing Assistant in WordPress to improve SEO. You may also want to see our complete WordPress SEO guide with step by step instructions for beginners.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Use the SEO Writing Assistant in WordPress to Improve SEO appeared first on WPBeginner.



Source link

How to Install and Setup WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast


Do you want to properly install and setup Yoast SEO plugin in WordPress?

Yoast SEO is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market and offers the most comprehensive set of tools to optimize your website.

However, many beginners are not familiar with SEO lingo and find it difficult to decide which plugin options they should turn on.

In this guide, we will walk you through complete Yoast SEO plugin set up in WordPress and give your website an SEO boost.

Properly installing and setting up the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

Features

Yoast SEO is the most comprehensive WordPress SEO plugin with many built-in tools and features. Here is a quick overview of some of those features.

  • Change post’s SEO title and meta description on a per post basis.
  • Title and meta description support for taxonomies (e.g. category and tags).
  • Google search result snippet previews.
  • Focus keyword testing.
  • Meta Robots configuration:
    • Easily add noodp, noydir meta tags.
    • Easily noindex, or nofollow pages, taxonomies or entire archives.
  • Improved canonical support, adding canonical to taxonomy archives, single posts and pages and the front page.
  • RSS footer / header configuration.
  • Permalink clean ups, while still allowing for Google Custom Search.
  • Breadcrumbs support, with configurable breadcrumbs titles.
  • XML Sitemaps with:
    • Images
    • Configurable removal of post types and taxonomies
    • Pages or posts that have been noindexed will not show in XML sitemap (but can if you want them too).
  • XML News Sitemaps
  • .htaccess and robots.txt editor
  • Ability to verify Google Search Console, Yahoo Site Explorer, and Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Basic import functionality for Platinum SEO Pack and All in One SEO plugins. (You can also use the SEO Data Transporter to transfer functionality from themes like Genesis child themes).

The premium version of the Yoast SEO comes with even more features.

  • A redirect manager that allows you to easily set up redirects.
  • Ability to use multiple focus keywords
  • Internal linking suggestions
  • Ability to export focus keywords
  • Video tutorials to help you understand each feature of the plugin.
  • Premium support provided by the folks at Yoast to help you make the most out of your site’s SEO.

For more features and details you may want to see our comparison of Yoast SEO vs All in One SEO Pack.

Video Tutorial

Subscribe to WPBeginner

If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.

How to Install Yoast SEO Plugin

First, thing you need to do is install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you will notice a new menu item in WordPress admin bar labeled SEO with Yoast SEO logo on it.

Yoast SEO plugin installed

Now that you have installed and activated the plugin, let’s take a look at how to properly setup this powerful plugin.

How to Setup WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast

You should remember, that the settings that we select are the ones that we recommend. Other experts may have their own preferences and discretion, so advanced users can ignore anything that they do not like.

If you are a beginner, and you want to use Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin as we do, then please follow along with the steps carefully.

Step 1. Data Transfer

Many of you probably have another WordPress plugin like All in One SEO pack, or a theme framework like Genesis dealing with your SEO data.

If you want to successfully use this plugin, then you need to make sure that all of your previous data has been transported to this plugin before you deactivate the other one.

To accomplish this, we recommend using SEO Data Transporter by StudioPress. If you’re setting this up on a new blog, then skip this step.

Step 2. General Settings

Clicking on the SEO icon takes you to the settings page for the plugin. Switch to the ‘General’ tab and you will notice a button to open configuration wizard. We want you to ignore this wizard, because we will be taking you step by step through each option.

Close set up wizard

Step 3. Features

Yoast SEO comes with a lot of features. This page allows you to easily turn those features on and off. By default, all options on this page are turned on.

Enable or disable Yoast features

We’ll talk about some of them later in this article. For now, let’s take a quick look at each item and what it does.

  • SEO analysis : Shows the SEO score and analysis for your content.
  • Readability analysis : Shows the readabity analysis and score for your content.
  • Cornerstone content : This feature allows you to mark and filter cornner stone content. These are your most important pillar articles.
  • Text link counter : This feature shows the number of internal text links to and from and article.
  • XML sitemaps : Creates XML sitemaps for your website.
  • Ryte integration : Ryte is a third-party service, it will weekly check your site and notify Yoast SEO if your site is deindexed.
  • Admin bar menu : Shows Yoast SEO menu in the WordPress admin toolbar.
  • Security: no advanced settings for authors : Hides advanced SEO settings from authors to improve security.

Step 4. Webmaster Tools

Popular search engines allow site owners to add their sites using webmaster’s tools area. See our complete Google Search Console guide to learn more about these tools.

Yoast SEO makes it easier to verify your website with all top search engines. In order to do that you need to sign up for webmaster tools program for each search engine.

After that, you’ll be asked to add a meta tag to verify your ownership of the website. Simply add the meta code that you received from the search engines in the respective fields.

Verifying webmaster tools in Yoast SEO

Step 5. Search Appearance

Search Appearance in Yoast SEO settings controls how your website appears in search results. This includes several options for your homepage, single articles, archives, and taxonomies.

We’ll walk you through each one of them. Let’s start with the general settings first,

1. General

Here you can choose the symbol you want to use a separator between titles. The default option is a dash, you can use it if you are unsure which symbol to choose.

Search appearance settings in Yoast SEO

On this page, you can also choose the SEO title and meta description for your website’s homepage.

Homepage title and description

After that, you will find the knowledge graph and schema options for your website. You can choose whether your website represents an organization or an individual.

Knowledge graph and schema options in Yoast SEO plugin

You can also upload an Avatar (profile picture) for the individual or a website logo for a business.

2. Content Types

You can choose an SEO title and description for each post or page that you write. Yoast SEO also allows you to set up an automatic template to use for them.

In case you forget to add them manually, these options will allow Yoast SEO to use default settings to automatically fill in those options.

Search appearance settings for each content type on your website

You will be able to set search appearance, date snippet, and whether or not to show SEO meta box for each content type. The default options would work for all websites.

After that, you can set SEO title template and a default meta description.

However, we recommend you to only tweak SEO title and leave the meta description field blank. This would allow Yoast SEO to dynamically generate a description from the first few lines of your article.

3. Media

By default, WordPress creates a new page for each image or media you attach to your posts and pages. This page only displays the attachment media.

Those attachment pages have no significant text to provide search engines a context. Such pages are considered low-quality content by search engines and have a negative SEO impact.

Yoast SEO helps you fix that by redirecting users to the attachment file instead of the attachment page. This option is set to ‘Yes’ by default and you don’t need to change it.

Disable attachment pages

4. Taxonomies

On the taxonomies tab, you can configure titles and meta for categories, tags, custom taxonomies, and post format archives.

Default template variables should work for most sites. As for descriptions, please remember that Yoast SEO picks up descriptions from your categories and tags.

Taxonomies

5. Archives

Archives tab allows you to control search appearance options for miscellaneous archive pages on your website. This includes author, date, search, and 404 pages.

The default options will work for most websites. However, if you run a single author blog, then you need to disable author archive pages from search engines.

Disable author archives from appearing in search results

On a single author blog, the author archive pages are exactly like the date archive or your blog pages. This creates duplicate content which affects your SEO rankings.

6. Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are great for internal linking because it defines a clear path or trail to the page you are on. These breadcrumbs also appear in search results giving your site extra advantage in the search.

Breadcrumbs displayed in search results

Make sure that you click on ‘Enabled’, this will reveal more breadcrumb settings.

Setting up breadcrumbs in Yoast SEO

The default settings should work for most websites, but if you want to change something then go ahead. Once you are done click on the save changes button.

If you want more robust breadcrumb features, then take a look at Breadcrumb NavXT plugin, that’s what we use on WPBeginner.

7. RSS

RSS Feeds are often used by content scrapers to copy content from your website. Yoast SEO allows you to add a backlink to your own site for each post in your RSS feed.

RSS settings in Yoast SEO

This way, you will get backlinks from their site, and Google will know that you are the original source.

There are options to add your author link, Post link, blog link, and blog description. So get creative. This can also be used to add advertisement to your RSS feed.

Step 6. Search Console

Search Console section in the Yoast SEO plugin, allows you to connect your WordPress site to Google Search Console (formerly webmaster tools).

You can also connect WordPress to the Search Console and allow Yoast SEO to fetch and display your search console data.

Simply go to SEO » Search Console page and click on the ‘Get Google Authorization Code’ button.

Search console

This will take you to Google Search Console where you will be asked to give permission. After that, you need to copy and paste the Authorization code in the plugin settings.

Google Search Console provides a ton of useful information about your search rankings. See all the things that you can do with it in our complete Google Search Console guide.

Step 7. Social

As we said earlier, Yoast SEO is a powerhouse packed with many features to provide comprehensive optimization.

One great feature of the plugin is that it integrates your site with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ social platforms.

Clicking on the Social link under the SEO menu will take you to set up these platforms. We will show you how to configure each of them.

1. Accounts

The first tab under the social settings is for all your social accounts. This allows Yoast SEO to tell Google about your social profiles. You need to simply add the URLs and Twitter username for the main social profiles of your site.

Add social accounts in Yoast SEO

2. Facebook

You need to make sure that open graph metadata option is enabled under the Facebook tab. It allows Yoast SEO to add Facebook open graph metadata in your website’s <head&gt section.

Enable Facebook Open Graph in WordPress using Yoast SEO

This will help Facebook pick up the right thumbnail and page information when a post from your website is shared on Facebook.

Next, you need to provide a Facebook App ID if you have one

Below that, you will find the option to provide a thumbnail for your homepage with SEO title and description. This image and description will be used when someone shares the homepage of your site on Facebook.

Front page settings

Additionally, you can provide a default thumbnail image URL. This image will be used for all articles that do not have a thumbnail or any other image.

3. Twitter

As for Twitter, you can add Twitter cards into your site’s head section.

You can also choose the card type to use. We recommend using summary with large image.

Twitter cards settings in Yoast SEO

4. Pinterest

Pinterest uses Open Graph meta data just like Facebook. Make sure that you have open graph meta data box checked under Facebook settings.

After that, you just need to enter the site verification code provided by Pinterest. Simply visit your Pinterest account settings to add and verify your site. You will be provided with a meta tag that you need to enter here.

Confirm your site on Pinterest using Yoast SEO

Step 8. Tools

Yoast SEO comes with some built-in tools that allow you to perform some advanced tasks. Most beginners may not need to use these tools. However, we will show you each tool and what it does.

Tools in Yoast SEO

1. Import and Export

If you previously used another WordPress SEO plugin or a theme with built-in SEO functions, then you can use this tool to import SEO data.

Import export SEO settings and data

You can also use it to import and export Yoast SEO plugin’s settings and use them on a different WordPress site.

2. File editor

As your WordPress site grows, you may often come across tutorials asking you to add some code to your website’s .htaccess file or robots.txt file.

Both of them are configuration files and have a huge impact on your website’s SEO. Yoast SEO allows you to easily edit both files directly from the WordPress admin area.

Edit robots.txt and .htaccess file in Yoast SEO

3. Bulk editor

The bulk editor tool in Yoast SEO allows you to quickly add SEO title and description for all your blog posts and pages.

Under the Titles tab, you will find a blank field to add your new SEO title for that blog post. After that click on Save link to store your changes.

Bulk edit SEO title and description

To add descriptions, you will need to switch to the descriptions tab. Once again, you will be able to add a description for each blog post or page and save it.

Bulk description

Step 9. Redirects Manager (Premium)

Yoast SEO Premium adds a powerful redirect manager. This allows you to quickly set up redirects on your WordPress site.

Using the redirect manager you can quickly fix 404 errors, redirect users from an old article to a new one, and more.

Redirects manager in Yoast SEO

Note: Redirects play an important role in your website’s SEO. We recommend not tying it up with your SEO plugin.

Instead, you should use a dedicated redirect manager like Redirection to manage your redirects. This allows you to keep redirects working even if you stop using Yoast SEO.

For more information, see our guide on how to set up redirects in WordPress.

Step 10. Optimizing Your Posts and Pages with Yoast SEO

Just installing and setting up this plugin is not enough. In order for you to really maximize the benefit of this plugin, you need to customize the settings on per post basis.

Let’s take a look at how you can maximize the benefits by optimizing each post/page in WordPress.

Simply edit any post or page and you’ll notice a new Yoast SEO metabox below the post editor.

Yoast SEO meta box below a post editor

You can start by adding focus keyphrase or keyword. This is the main keyword, which you think your users will enter in search engines to find this post.

After that, Yoast SEO will check your post content for SEO and Readability analysis. You can view the analysis to further improve your article.

Sometimes your post title, and your SEO title might not be the same. Every time, you should write a custom SEO description because the excerpt generator only picks up the first paragraph which might not be the most important one.

Pro Tip: SEO and readability analysis report in Yoast SEO are quite accurate and immensely helpful in improving your content. However, don’t kill yourself over it or you will be spending more time on following the analysis instead of creating better content for your users.

To learn more about on-page optimization with the Yoast SEO plugin, see our article on how to optimize blog posts for SEO.

Step 11. Optimizing Taxonomies for SEO (Categories and Tags)

Just like your post and pages, you can also override the SEO title and meta descriptions for category, tag, and author archive pages.

Simply visit Posts » Categories page and click on the edit link below any category. On the category edit page, scroll down to the bottom and you will see the Yoast SEO meta box.

Optimizing a category or tag in Yoast SEO

You can do that for all your categories, tags, and custom taxonomy archives.

Step 12. Optimizing Ecommerce Products

Yoast SEO comes with full support for online stores and eCommerce websites using WooCommerce. This allows you to optimize your product pages just like you would optimize blog posts and pages.

You’ll find all eCommerce SEO options when adding a new product to your website. You can also edit any old product and optimize it by entering a focus keyword, SEO title, SEO description and more,

Optimizing products for SEO

For more details, see our complete WooCommerce SEO guide with step by step instructions.

We hope this guide helped you install and setup WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. You may also want to see our step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



Source link

Blog SEO: 11 Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO (like a Pro)


Many of our readers have asked us to share tips on how to optimize blogs posts for SEO, so they can get better search rankings.

The best time to optimize your blog content for SEO is when you are creating it, but you can always go back and improve your old articles as well.

Blog SEO is important because it helps you consistently get more traffic to your website. There are many things you can do to optimize your blog posts for SEO.

In this article, we will share our best blog SEO tips to help you optimize your blog posts for SEO like a pro. These are the tips that we use on our own blogs, which gets millions of visitors from search engines.

Tips to optimize your blog posts for SEO

1. Plan Your Content with Proper Keyword Research

Many beginners just use their best guesses to write about topics they feel that their users would be interested in.

You don’t need to rely on blind guesses, especially when you can do keyword research to find out exactly what your users are looking for.

Keyword research is a technique used by content creators and SEO experts. It helps you discover topics your users are interested in based on the search engine data.

Plan your content with keyword research

You can then use these keywords to plan your content strategy. This will ensure that you write about topics that people are actually looking for, and it’s a great way to find new blog post ideas.

We recommend using keyword research tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs. They offer in-depth keyword data, competition analysis, keyword position tracking, and tons of other useful features.

For detailed instructions, see our article on how to do keyword research for your blog posts.

2. Find Semantic Keywords for Your Focus Keyword

After you have done your keyword research and discovered keyword ideas, it is time to pick one that has the highest search volume and low competition.

This will be your focus keyword. It is the search phrase that your users are most likely to look for.

If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, then you can set the focus keyword in your article’s SEO settings. This would allow you to see how effectively you have used it in your article.

Setting focus keyword in Yoast SEO

Next, you need to find out the Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords. These are the searches related to your focus keyword.

The easiest way to find them is to simply enter your focus keyword in Google Search and scroll down to the bottom of results. There you’ll find them listed as ‘related searches’.

Related keywords

You need to incorporate as many of these keywords in your content, so you can have the most complete content for users.

It’s very important that you don’t try to stuff them in your content. This would look odd to your users and search engines are pretty good at detecting keyword stuffing.

3. Write an Effective Blog Post Title

The title of your blog post is extremely important for search rankings.

A good blog post title makes your article more relevant to the search query. More importantly, it motivates users to actually click on your article when they see it in search results.

You can make your blog post title more SEO friendly by using your focus keyword in the title.

Focus keyword in blog post title

Aside from adding your focus keyword, we also recommend making your headline catchy and click-worthy. That’s because click through rate (CTR) plays an important role in SEO.

There are several formulas to write effective headlines. The one that still works is called EMV or emotional marketing value.

This formula recommends using power words that trigger specific emotional responses in your audience. There are online tools like EMV headline Analyzer which help you calculate your title’s EMV score.

For more tips, see this article on headlines that went viral and how to copy their success in your own articles.

4. Make Internal Linking a Habit

Once you have blogged for a while, you will have enough content that you would want users to read. With internal linking, you can send new readers to check out your older relevant posts.

Internal linking is a great way to develop a contextual relationship between your new and old posts. It also allows you to pass relevant link juice to your older articles.

WordPress makes it easy to search for your old posts right inside the post editor. Simply select the text that you want to link and then click on the link button.

Internal linking

A text pop-up will appear below your selected words. You can start typing to search for the older articles that you want to link here.

Making internal linking a habit will make sure that your on-page SEO is good, and that your older articles continue to get new links.

Often beginners make the mistake of doing 1-way internal linking where they link to older posts from new articles. You can and should also go back to edit older posts to link to your new articles for maximum benefits.

5. Add Images and Videos to Your Blog Posts

Add images and videos to your blog posts

Search engines often rank engaging content higher in search results. Images and videos are far more engaging than plain text.

You want to make sure that your blog posts contain images between paragraphs.

When adding images, you want to be careful about image copyrights. Often beginners copy images from other sites to use on their site, and this can get you in legal trouble if you do so without proper permissions.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of places where you can find royalty free images to use in your blog posts. You can also use your own original photographs or use websites like Canva to create engaging graphics.

Make sure that you optimize your images for SEO. See our tutorial on how to optimize images for search engines for detailed instructions.

Videos are even more engaging than images. You can convert your blog posts into videos by creating slideshows, vlogs, or experiment with other formats.

However, you should never directly upload videos to your blog posts. WordPress is not optimized to serve videos, and your shared hosting service can’t handle them.

We recommend uploading your videos to YouTube. It is the second most popular search engine, and the second largest social media platform right after Facebook.

See our article on how to embed videos in WordPress for more details.

6. Add a Meta Description to Your Blog Post

The meta description is an HTML meta tag that you can add to any page. Its purpose is to provide a short description of your article for search engines and other crawlers.

Some SEO experts believe that the meta description tag on a page has become irrelevant. However, many others would disagree. At WPBeginner, we recommend using the meta description for all of your posts.

A good meta description can explain a lot more about an article. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also display it when your articles are shared on those platforms.

Meta description shown on Twitter

Since now you know that people are going to be reading your meta descriptions, you want to make sure that it’s helpful.

You also want to make sure that you at least mention your focus keyword once in the meta description for search purposes. The character limit for Meta Description is 155 characters.

Try to stay within that limit or your meta description will be truncated after 155 characters. You also want to make sure that you use the focus keyword earlier in the meta description rather than later.

To add meta description, you need to scroll down to the Yoast SEO meta box on your post edit screen.

Adding meta description for your blog posts in Yoast SEO

7. Make Your Articles Easier to Read

Readability is an important factor considered by search engines. Articles that are easier to read often rank higher than articles that are not user friendly.

Computer and mobile screens are still not an optimal platform for reading.

This is why most users just scan through articles. In fact, studies found that users spend less than a second to decide whether they want to stay on a page or leave.

That’s a very short time for you to convince the user to stay and scroll through. By improving readability, you can make it possible for your users to quickly scan an article.

You can improve readability by using shorter sentences, smaller paragraphs, punctuation, headings, and bulleted lists. We recommend adding white space around text and use images to make your text look easier on eyes.

You can use tools like Grammarly, which allows you to check grammar, punctuation, and spelling on the fly. It also gives suggestions to improve the readability of your articles.

Yoast SEO plugin also comes with a built-in readability checker. It shows the flesch reading score of your article under ‘Readability analysis’ tab.

Readability score

For more on this topic, see our article on how to improve the readability score of your blog posts.

8. Use Categories and Tags to Organize Content

Categories and tags help you sort your content not only for yourself, but for the readers and search engines.

The problem is that many WordPress beginners often end up using them incorrectly.

If you think about your website as a book, then categories would be the table of contents and tags will be the index part of the book.

Categories are used to divide your content into major topics discussed on your blog. Tags, on the other hand, are the topics discussed in an individual blog post.

To learn more, see our beginner’s guide on using categories and tags for maximum SEO benefit.

9. Aim to Be The Featured Snippet in The Search Result

Google has been trying to answer user questions as quickly as possible. As part of this effort, they have introduced the featured result or answer box.

Answer box in search results

This is the highlighted search result that appears on the top. Google generates a custom snippet from the article’s content highlighting the part that their algorithms believe to be the answer of user’s query.

According to research conducted by Advanced Web Ranking, Answer boxes secure almost 32.3% CTR. This makes them immensely important for your SEO strategy.

There is no specific set of instructions provided by Google regarding how they would pick the featured snippet. Their recommendation is to improve your content and make sure that it offers the information users are seeking.

However at WPBeginner, we have created helpful tips based on our research that will help you appear in Google answer boxes with your blog posts.

10. Make Your Blog Posts Comprehensive

Search engines love articles that cover a topic with great detail. This is why we asked you to gather the semantically related keywords (LSI Keywords) as part of your content planning step.

These related keywords give you an idea of different variations of user searches regarding that particular topic. By covering those keywords in your article, you would be able to make it more comprehensive, informative, and useful.

You should use headings and subheadings to include those keywords and try to cover as much ground as you could.

Aside from LSI keywords, another tip to create complete content is to type your desired keyword and then switch to Image Search. You will see topic bubbles with a variety of keywords.

Blog SEO - Image Search Complete Content Tip

We recommend including these when creating your content, so you can have the most comprehensive content.

11. Optimize Older Blog Posts

Many beginners tend to forget about a blog post after they have published it. In fact, you are not done optimizing your blog post for SEO once it is published.

Here are some things that you need to do after publishing your blog post:

  • Promote it on social media – Promote your blog post across your social media profiles. You can even automate this task by using IFTTT to share your content.
  • Add internal links – Once you have published a post, you can go back to relevant old articles and add a link to your new blog post. This gives your new articles link juice while also allowing users to discover it more easily.
  • Track search rankings – You have optimized a post for SEO, but how do you keep track of its search rankings? See our guide on how to track search rankings for your blog posts for instructions.

We recommend optimizing old posts on a regular basis, so you can continue to improve your rankings.

We hope this article helped you optimize your blog posts for SEO like a pro. Need more tips to promote your content? See our article on how to get more traffic to your blog posts.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Blog SEO: 11 Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO (like a Pro) appeared first on WPBeginner.



Source link

Beginner’s Guide to Image SEO – Optimize Images for Search Engines


Are you looking to improve image SEO on your website? When optimized properly, image search can bring many new visitors to your website.

To benefit from image SEO, you need to help search engines find your images and index them for the right keywords.

In this beginner’s guide, we will show you how to optimize image SEO by following top best practices.

Image SEO guide for beginners

Here is a brief overview of what you’ll learn in this article.

  • Optimizing your images for SEO and Speed
  • What is Alt text?
  • Difference between Alt text vs title
  • Difference between alt text and caption
  • How to add alt text, title, and caption to images in WordPress
  • When to use captions for images
  • Disable attachment pages in WordPress
  • Additional tips to improve image SEO

Optimizing Your Images for SEO and Speed

Speed plays an important role in SEO and user experience. Search engines consistently rank fast websites higher. This is also true for the image search.

Images increase your overall page load time. They take longer to download than text, which means your page loads slower if there are several large image files to download.

You need to make sure that images on your site are optimized for web. This can be a little tricky to get used to since many beginners are not experts in graphics and image editing.

We have a handy guide on how to properly optimize images before uploading them to your website.

The best way to optimize images is by editing them on your computer using a photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop. This allows you to choose the right file format to create a small file size.

You can also use an image compression plugin for WordPress. These image optimizer plugins allow you to automatically reduce file size while uploading an image to WordPress.

What is Alt Text?

Alt text or alternative text is an HTML attribute added to the img tag which is used to display images on a web page. It looks like this in plain HTML code:

<img src="http://www.wpbeginner.com/fruitbasket.jpeg" alt="A fruit basket" />

It allows website owners to describe the image in plain text. The main purpose of the alternate text is to improve accessibility by enabling screen readers to read out the alt text for visually impaired users.

Alt text is also crucial for image SEO. It helps search engines understand the context of the image.

Modern search engines can recognize an image and it’s content by using artificial intelligence. However, they still rely on website owners to describe the image in their own words.

Alt text also accompanies images in Google image search, which helps users understand the image and improves your chances of getting more visitors.

Alt text used in search results

Usually, alt text is not visible on your website. However if an image is broken or cannot be found, then your users will be able to see the alternate text with a broken image icon next to it.

Alternate text displayed next to a broken image

What is the Difference Between Alt Text vs Title

Alt text is used for accessibility and image SEO, while title field is used internally by WordPress for media search.

Search image by title

WordPress inserts the alt tag in the actual code used to display the image. The title tag is stored in the database to find and display images.

In the past, WordPress inserted the title tag in the HTML code as well. However, it was not an ideal situation from the accessibility point of view, which is why they removed it.

What is the Difference Between Alt Text vs Caption

The alt text is used to describe the image for search engines and screen readers. On the other hand, the caption is used to describe the image for all users.

Alt text is not visible on your website while captions are visible below your images.

Example of a caption displayed below an image

The alt text is crucial for better image SEO on your website. The caption is optional and can be used only when you need to provide additional information about the image to website visitors.

How to Add Alt Text, Title, and Caption to Images in WordPress

Alt text, title, and caption make up the image metadata that you can add to images when uploading them into WordPress.

When you add an image using the default image block, WordPress allows you to add caption and alt text for the image.

Adding alt text and caption to an image in WordPress

It automatically generates a title for the image from the file name. You can change the title by clicking on the edit button in the image block’s toolbar.

Editing an image in default WordPress editor

This will bring up the media uploader popup where you can enter your own custom title for the image.

Changing image title in WordPress

You can also edit the alt tag and title for the images that you have already uploaded to WordPress. To do that, you need to visit Media » Library page and locate the image you want to edit.

WordPress media library

Simply clicking on an image will bring up the attachment details popup where you can enter title, alt text, and caption.

Add alt tag and title via media library

Note: Changing an image’s alt tag or caption via Media Library will not change it in the posts and pages where the image is already used.

When to Use Captions for Images in WordPress

Captions allow you to provide additional details for an image to all your users. They are visible on the screen for all users including search engines and screen readers.

An image gallery with captions for each image

As you may have noticed that most websites don’t normally use captions with images in their blog posts or pages. That’s because captions are often not needed to explain an image.

Captions are more suitable in the following scenarios:

  • Family or event photos
  • Photos that need additional explanation describing the background story
  • Product image galleries

In most cases, you would be able to explain the image in the article content itself.

Disable Attachment Pages in WordPress

WordPress creates a page for all images you upload to your posts and pages. It is called the attachment page. This page just shows a larger version of the actual image and nothing else.

This can have a negative SEO impact on your search rankings. Search engines consider pages with little to no text as low quality or ‘thin content’.

This is why we recommend users to disable the attachment pages on your website.

The easiest way to do this is by installing and activating the Yoast SEO plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, it automatically turns off attachment URLs. You can also manually turn off attachment pages in WordPress by visiting SEO » Search Appearance page and clicking on the Media tab.

Disable attachment URLs in WordPress

From here, make sure that the ‘Media & attachment URLs’ option is set to ‘Yes’.

If you are not using Yoast SEO plugin, then you can install the Attachment Pages Redirect plugin. This plugin simply redirects people visiting the attachment page to the post where the image is displayed.

You can also do this manually, by adding the following code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

function wpb_redirect_attachment_to_post()  
if ( is_attachment() )  
global $post;
if( empty( $post ) ) $post = get_queried_object();	
if ($post->post_parent)	
	$link = get_permalink( $post->post_parent );
	wp_redirect( $link, '301' );
	exit(); 
	
else	
	// What to do if parent post is not available
	wp_redirect( home_url(), '301' );
	exit(); 
	


add_action( 'template_redirect', 'wpb_redirect_attachment_to_post' );

Additional Tips to Improve Image SEO

Adding alt tag is not the only thing you can do to improve image SEO. Following are a few additional tips that you should keep in mind when adding images to your blog posts.

1. Write descriptive alt text

Many beginners often just use one or two words as alt text for the image. This makes the image too generic and harder to rank.

For example, instead of just ‘kittens’ use ‘Kittens playing with a yellow rubber duck’.

2. Use descriptive file names for your images

Instead of saving your images as DSC00434.jpeg, you need to name them properly. Think of the keywords that users will type in the search to find that particular image.

Be more specific and descriptive in your image file names. For example, red-wooden-house.jpeg is better than just house.jpeg.

3. Provide context to your images

Search engines are getting smarter every day. They can recognize and categorize images quite well. However, they need you to provide context to the image.

Your images need to be relevant to the overall topic of the post or page. It is also helpful to place the image near the most relevant text in your article.

4. Follow the SEO best practices

You also need to follow the overall SEO guidelines for your website. This improves your overall search rankings including image search.

5. Use original photographs and images

There are many free stock photography websites that you can use to find free images for your blog posts. However, the problem with stock photos is that they are used by thousands of websites.

Try to use original photographs or create quality images that are unique to your blog.

We know that most bloggers are not photographers or graphic designers. Luckily, there are some great online tools that you can use to create graphics for your websites.

We hope this article helped you learn about Image SEO for your website. You may also want to see our guide on how to fix common image issues in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Beginner’s Guide to Image SEO – Optimize Images for Search Engines appeared first on WPBeginner.



Source link

How to Easily Move WordPress to a New Domain (without Losing SEO)


Do you want to move your WordPress site to a new domain? Changing your website’s domain name can significantly impact your SEO rankings, and it’s a process that needs to be done very carefully.

While you cannot avoid temporary SEO fluctuations when moving your website to a new domain, you can definitely minimize the impact and quickly regain your search traffic and rankings.

In this guide, we will show you the proper way to move WordPress to a new domain without losing SEO.

Properly moving WordPress to another domain name

Here’s the 5 step process that we will cover to help you migrate your WordPress site to a new domain name:

  1. Create a Duplicator package of your WordPress site
  2. Create a database for new domain name
  3. Unpack WordPress on new domain
  4. Setup Permanent 301 redirects
  5. Notify Google about the change

Before You Start

Before you start, we want to emphasize a few things.

The process of switching to a new domain will temporarily affect your search engine rankings as Google and other search engines adjust to the changes.

Yes, this will also temporarily affect your search traffic as well. Please keep in mind that this is normal, and it happens to all websites that switch to a new domain.

However, you can dramatically decrease the SEO impact by following this guide. We will show you the right way of moving your WordPress site to a new domain name, setting up proper 301 redirects, and notifying search engines.

Please note that this guide is not for moving WordPress site to a new web host. This is for switching a domain name. Yes, while the process is similar, there are extra things involved in this process.

Pre-Steps

In this guide, we are assuming that you have your WordPress site setup on oldsite.com, and you are trying to migrate it to newsite.com.

We are also assuming that you already have a web hosting account, and you are familiar with your web hosting control panel.

You will also need to know how to use FTP.

In case you don’t have a web hosting account, we recommend using Bluehost (great for small sites + comes with a free domain) or WP Engine (great for large sites).

Once you have your new web hosting account and domain name, you’re ready to start the process.

Step 1: Create a Duplicator package of Your WordPress Site

The first thing you need to do is create a full backup of your WordPress site. While there are many WordPress backup plugins available, the one we’re going to show in this step does both backups and migrations.

It’s Duplicator and it’s a completely free plugin.

Let’s start by installing and activating the Duplicator plugin on your old domain name. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once activated, the plugin will add a Duplicator menu item in your WordPress admin. You need to click on the Duplicator menu, and then click on the create button to create a new package.

Create a new Duplicator package

After that, you will be asked to click on the Next button to continue.

Duplicator will now run the website duplicator wizard. First, it will run some tests to see if everything is in order. If all items are marked ‘Good’, then click on the ‘Build’ button.

Build Duplicator package for switching to new domain name

The plugin will now start creating a duplicator package of your WordPress site. This process may take a few minutes depending on the size of your website.

Once finished, you’ll see download options for Installer and the Archive package. You need to click on the ‘One click download’ link to download both files to your computer.

Download Duplicator package

The archive file is a complete copy of your website, and this will allow you to move WordPress to another domain name. The installer script will automate and run the migration by unpacking the archive file.

Step 2. Create a Database for New Domain Name

Before you can move, you’ll need a database to unpack WordPress on your new domain name.

If you have already created a database, then you can skip this step.

To create a database, you need to visit your hosting account’s cPanel dashboard, scroll down to the ‘Databases’ section, and then click on the ‘MySQL Databases’ icon.

Database icon in CPanel

On the next screen, you’ll see a field to create a new database. Simply provide a name for your database and click on the ‘Create Database’ button.

Create database for switching to another domain name

cPanel will now create a new database for you. After that, you need to scroll down to the MySQL Users section.

Next, provide a username and password for your new user and click on the ‘Create a user’ button.

Adding a new MySQL user

The new user you just created, still does not have permission to work on the database. Let’s change that.

Scroll down to the ‘Add User to Database’ section. Simply select the database user you created from the dropdown menu next to the ‘User’ field, then select the database, and click on the add button.

Add user to database

Your database is now ready to be used on for moving WordPress to the new domain name. Make sure to note down the database name, username, and password. You’ll need this information in the next step.

Step 3. Unpacking WordPress on New Domain Name

Now you need to upload the Duplicator files you downloaded earlier to your new domain name.

First, connect to your domain name using an FTP client. Once connected, make sure that the root directory of your website is completely empty.

After that, you can upload the archive and installer files to the root directory.

Upload Duplicator files to new domain name

Once both files have finished uploading, you are now ready to unpack WordPress.

Open a new browser tab and go to the following URL:

http://example.com/installer.php

Don’t forget to replace example.com with your new domain name. This will launch the Duplicator migration wizard.

Duplicator wizard

The installer will look for the archive file. You need to check the terms and conditions checkbox and click on the next button to continue.

Now, the installer will ask you to enter your WordPress database information.

Your host will likely be localhost. After that, you will enter the details of the database you created for your new domain name in the earlier step.

Connect to the database for your new domain name

Once done, click on the next button to continue.

Duplicator will now unpack your WordPress database backup from the archive into your new database.

Next, it will ask you to update site URL or Path. You shouldn’t have to change anything since it automatically detects the URL of your new domain name and its path.

If it doesn’t, then you can change the URL to your new domain name. After that, click on the next button to continue.

Update URL to your new domian name

Duplicator will now finish the migration.

You can click on the ‘Admin Login’ button to enter the WordPress admin area of your website on the new domain name.

Finishing WordPress migration to new domain name

Step 4. Setting up Permanent 301 Redirects

Setting up a permanent 301 redirect is very important for both SEO and user experience.

This step will allow you to automatically redirect users and search engines to your new domain name.

In other words, whenever someone lands on one of your old posts or pages, they will be automatically redirected to your site on the new domain.

To setup a permanent 301 redirect, you need to connect to your old site using FTP and edit the .htaccess file.

This will be located in the same directory as your wp-includes or wp-admin folder. Open the .htaccess file and paste the following code at the very top:

#Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.newsite.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Note: Replace newsite.com with your new domain in the above code.

Once you have applied these changes, then visit your old domain name. It should automatically redirect you to the new domain.

If it doesn’t, then it means the redirection is not setup properly, and your server likely doesn’t support redirect rules. You need to reach your web hosting’s support to get RewriteEngine turned on.

Step 5. Notifying Google About the Change

Now that you have moved WordPress to a new domain name and setup redirects, it is time to notify Google about the change of address. This will help Google find your new domain name quickly and start showing it in search results.

First, you need to add your new domain name to the Google Search Console. See step 1 in our Google Search Console guide for instructions.

After you have added your new site, you need to switch to the old version of Google Search Console.

Go to old version of Google Search Console

Next, you need to switch to your old domain name and then click on the gear icon at the top to launch change of address tool.

Change of address tool

On the next screen, Google Search Console will show you a step by step wizard to submit your change of address request.

First it will ask you to select your new site from the drop down menu. After that, click on the check button to test 301 redirects and then confirm verification.

Change of address for your old domain name

Finally, click on the submit button to send your address change request.

Notify Users About the Move to New Domain Name

While the 301 redirects do their job, it is always good to make a public announcement about the migration.

You can do this by simply writing a blog post on your new site and sharing it on your social media accounts.

If you have an email marketing list, then you should send a newsletter to let all your subscribers know.

This can be helpful in a lot of ways.

First and foremost, your users are more likely to remember the new domain once they read about it.

Second, you can ask your users to let you know if they see any bugs. You alone cannot test your site in all different type of browsers and system environments. It’s always helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes looking at it.

We hope that this tutorial helped you move your WordPress site to a new domain name. You may also want to see our guide on how to track your search keyword rankings after moving to a new domain name.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Easily Move WordPress to a New Domain (without Losing SEO) appeared first on WPBeginner.



Source link

How to Optimize Your Robots.txt for SEO in WordPress (Beginner’s Guide)


Recently one of our readers asked us for tips on how to optimize the robots.txt file to improve SEO. Robots.txt file tells search engines how to crawl your website which makes it an incredibly powerful SEO tool. In this article, we will show you how to create a perfect robots.txt file for SEO.

Using WordPress robots.txt file to improve SEO

What is robots.txt file?

Robots.txt is a text file that website owners can create to tell search engine bots how to crawl and index pages on their site.

It is typically stored in the root directory also known as the main folder of your website. The basic format for a robots.txt file looks like this:


User-agent: [user-agent name]
Disallow: [URL string not to be crawled]

User-agent: [user-agent name]
Allow: [URL string to be crawled]


Sitemap: [URL of your XML Sitemap]

You can have multiple lines of instructions to allow or disallow specific URLs and add multiple sitemaps. If you do not disallow a URL, then search engine bots assume that they are allowed to crawl it.

Here is what a robots.txt example file can look like:


User-Agent: *
Allow: /wp-content/uploads/
Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/
Disallow: /wp-admin/

Sitemap: https://example.com/sitemap_index.xml


In the above robots.txt example, we have allowed search engines to crawl and index files in our WordPress uploads folder.

After that, we have disallowed search bots from crawling and indexing plugins and WordPress admin folders.

Lastly, we have provided the URL of our XML sitemap.

Do You Need a Robots.txt File for Your WordPress Site?

If you don’t have a robots.txt file, then search engines will still crawl and index your website. However, you will not be able to tell search engines which pages or folders they should not crawl.

This will not have much of an impact when you’re first starting a blog and do not have a lot of content.

However as your website grows and you have a lot of content, then you would likely want to have better control over how your website is crawled and indexed.

Here is why.

Search bots have a crawl quota for each website.

This means that they crawl a certain number of pages during a crawl session. If they don’t finish crawling all pages on your site, then they will come back and resume crawl in the next session.

This can slow down your website indexing rate.

You can fix this by disallowing search bots from attempting to crawl unnecessary pages like your WordPress admin pages, plugin files, and themes folder.

By disallowing unnecessary pages, you save your crawl quota. This helps search engines crawl even more pages on your site and index them as quickly as possible.

Another good reason to use robots.txt file is when you want to stop search engines from indexing a post or page on your website.

It is not the safest way to hide content from the general public, but it will help you prevent them from appearing in search results.

What Does an Ideal Robots.txt File Should Look Like?

Many popular blogs use a very simple robots.txt file. Their content may vary, depending on the needs of the specific site:


User-agent: *
Disallow:
 
Sitemap: http://www.example.com/post-sitemap.xml
Sitemap: http://www.example.com/page-sitemap.xml

This robots.txt file allows all bots to index all content and provides them a link to the website’s XML sitemaps.

For WordPress sites, we recommend the following rules in the robots.txt file:


User-Agent: *
Allow: /wp-content/uploads/
Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/
Disallow: /wp-admin/
Disallow: /readme.html
Disallow: /refer/

Sitemap: http://www.example.com/post-sitemap.xml
Sitemap: http://www.example.com/page-sitemap.xml

This tell search bots to index all WordPress images and files. It disallows search bots from indexing WordPress plugin files, WordPress admin area, the WordPress readme file, and affiliate links.

By adding sitemaps to robots.txt file, you make it easy for Google bots to find all the pages on your site.

Now that you know what an ideal robots.txt file look like, let’s take a look at how you can create a robots.txt file in WordPress.

How to Create a Robots.txt File in WordPress?

There are two ways to create a robots.txt file in WordPress. You can choose the method that works best for you.

Method 1: Editing Robots.txt File Using Yoast SEO

If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, then it comes with a robots.txt file generator.

You can use it to create and edit a robots.txt file directly from your WordPress admin area.

Simply go to SEO » Tools page in your WordPress admin and click on the File Editor link.

File editor tool in Yoast SEO

On the next page, Yoast SEO page will show your existing robots.txt file.

If you don’t have a robots.txt file, then Yoast SEO will generate a robots.txt file for you.

Create robots.txt file using Yoast SEO

By default, Yoast SEO’s robots.txt file generator will add the following rules to your robots.txt file:


User-agent: *
Disallow: /

It is important that you delete this text because it blocks all search engines from crawling your website.

After deleting the default text, you can go ahead and add your own robots.txt rules. We recommend using the ideal robots.txt format we shared above.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to click on the ‘Save robots.txt file’ button to store your changes.

Method 2. Edit Robots.txt file Manually Using FTP

For this method, you will need to use an FTP client to edit robots.txt file.

Simply connect to your WordPress hosting account using an FTP client.

Once inside, you will be able to see the robots.txt file in your website’s root folder.

Editing WordPress robots.txt file using FTP

If you don’t see one, then you likely don’t have a robots.txt file. In that case, you can just go ahead and create one.

Create robots.txt file using FTP

Robots.txt is a plain text file, which means you can download it to your computer and edit it using any plain text editor like Notepad or TextEdit.

After saving your changes, you can upload it back to your website’s root folder.

How to Test Your Robots.txt File?

Once you have created your robots.txt file, it’s always a good idea to test it using a robots.txt tester tool.

There are many robots.txt tester tools out there, but we recommend using the one inside Google Search Console.

Simply login to your Google Search Console account, and then switch to the old Google search console website.

Switch to old Google Search Console

This will take you to the old Google Search Console interface. From here you need to launch the robots.txt tester tool located under ‘Crawl’ menu.

Robots.txt tester tool

The tool will automatically fetch your website’s robots.txt file and highlight the errors and warnings if it found any.

Final Thoughts

The goal of optimizing your robots.txt file is to prevent search engines from crawling pages that are not publicly available. For example, pages in your wp-plugins folder or pages in your WordPress admin folder.

A common myth among SEO experts is that blocking WordPress category, tags, and archive pages will improve crawl rate and result in faster indexing and higher rankings.

This is not true. It’s also against Google’s webmaster guidelines.

We recommend that you follow the above robots.txt format to create a robots.txt file for your website.

We hope this article helped you learn how to optimize your WordPress robots.txt file for SEO. You may also want to see our ultimate WordPress SEO guide and the best WordPress SEO tools to grow your website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



Source link