WordPress SEO: Advanced Technical SEO Made Easy
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WordPress SEO: Advanced Technical SEO Made Easy

WordPress is much more than just another blogging
platform. In fact, popular websites like TechCrunch
and BBC America use WordPress to attract and host millions of search visitors every single
month. But using WordPress out of the box won’t cut
it if you want to reach that kind of scale. You need to make sure that your site speed
is lightning fast and that your technical SEO is structurally sound. And in this video, you’re about to learn exactly
how to do that from the ground up. Stay tuned. [music] What’s up SEOs, Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the
SEO tool that helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and dominate your
niche. Now this is the second part in our WordPress SEO
series. And we’ve already covered a lot of the basic setup
and how to create SEO-friendly posts and pages. In this tutorial, we’re going to cover a lot
of the technical SEO aspects, particularly with page speed, duplicate content, and internal
linking, all within WordPress. Let’s get to it. Before we begin, I’m going to run a full site
audit on my website using Ahrefs Site Audit tool. And I’ll occasionally make reference back
to some of the reports, which will help us identify which pages to fix. The first thing we’re going to do is configure
our WordPress site for optimal speed and performance. And this is important because Google has officially
stated that page speed is a ranking factor in their algorithm for both desktop and mobile. So for site speed, we’re setting up the framework,
which would include things like caching, compression, CDNs, and minification. And there are 3 plugins that I use specifically
to boost my site speed. The first one is W3 Total Cache. With WordPress caching, you’re essentially
creating static versions of your posts and pages so it can be rendered quickly by browsers. And since you’re probably not updating these
every day, it should result in faster load times, and a better user experience. After you’ve installed the plugin, you’ll see a new menu in the left sidebar called “Performance.” If you go to the general settings, you’ll
see the main settings I have enabled are: Page Cache, Minify, Browser Cache, and CDN. And you can see short descriptions of what
each one does under the checkbox. To customize each of these options, you can
go to the corresponding submenu in the sidebar. Now, it’s important to note that what works
for my site’s speed won’t necessarily work for yours. And there are way too many variables to consider
like your server set up – i.e. Apache vs NGINX vs Engintron, i.e. your hosting plan – i.e. shared vs VPS
vs dedicated and more. So rather than going through every single
setting for this site, I’ll leave a link to the screenshots of my W3 Total Cache settings
in the description. The second plugin I use is called ShortPixel. And this one automatically compresses and optimizes images when you upload them to your server. So if you look at my media library, you’ll
see that there were some images uploaded, and ShortPixel automatically compressed these by quite a lot without compromising image quality. And the final plugin I use is called Speed
Booster Pack. After you’ve installed it, you can access
it by hovering over settings, then choosing the plugin name in the submenu. The one that I want to touch on here is lazy
load images. Now by enabling this option, it only loads
images as it’s needed. For example, when you load this page, images
that are further down in the page will only load as you scroll to its location. Play around with these settings, and as you
update them, you should see your home page load stats beside it. You can also use a tool like Pingdom’s Full
Page Test, which will show you the page load times and performance optimization tips. Just make sure to ping your page from the
same location to get more accurate representations of page speed. Site Audit tool also tracks page speed over
time, so let’s go to our report in Site Audit in Ahrefs and see if there are any pages that
load particularly slow. So I’ll head on over to the Performance report. And here, you can see that there are 5 pages that have a loading time of greater than 2 seconds. So I’ll click on that, which will show us
the results in Data Explorer. The first result is one that gets organic
traffic, and it looks like the time to first byte as well as the file size seem higher
than I’d like. So I’ll copy the URL and paste it into
Google Page Speed Insights. And the results seem pretty good for the most part. Now scrolling down, you’ll see some suggestions to optimize images. If your pages have issues with images, CSS,
or JavaScript, then you should see a link at the bottom of the page to download optimized
versions for this page. So I would just download the optimized versions
of these images, and replace them in the post. Now, doing this for all of your pages may
take some time, so start with pages that get organic traffic, and move down the list from
there if you’re really obsessed with speed. Alright, so our site is nice and speedy which
is great for Google and for the user experience. Next is to add internal links to pass link
equity to pages you want to rank. Using this custom filter in Data Explorer,
I’m able to identify URLs that aren’t a part of the page archive, have less than 3 internal links pointing at them, and return a 200 response code. And it looks like there are 131 URLs on this
website. Looking through the list, the vast majority
are ones that I planned to delete, but I’m sure there are others that we plan to keep
and rank higher. Now, let’s order the pages by organic traffic
in descending order. And this one on borax vs. boric acid seems
like a good one. So I’ll go to the “All Posts” page and use
the search box here and search for the keyword “borax”, to see if there are any posts I can
link from to my “borax vs. boric acid” post. And it looks like this one on cleaning with
essential oils includes that keyword in the post. Alternatively, you can do this in Google by
searching for site:yourdomain.com and then adding your keyword or multiple keywords by
using the “OR” search operator. And you’ll see that we now have 15 pages that match your search query since Google is searching through all indexed pages, which includes
both posts and pages. Another very cool yet effective way to use
internal links in WordPress is to add a “Popular Articles” widget. Now, these might be pages that you’ve found to
convert particularly well or pages that you want to rank higher in Google. Looking at Backlinko’s blog, you’ll see that
he’s done that here with some of his bigger guides. You can also take this tactic a step farther
and install a plugin called “Custom Sidebars.” This lets you insert a custom sidebar configuration
on any post or page. For example, you may want to include a custom
sidebar with links to other articles or product pages that are relevant to the content in
the post. Now, these kinds of tips aren’t something
that you have to do. In fact, Ahrefs blog and a lot of other popular
blogs don’t do this. But from my experience, I’ve found it to work
well. The last thing I want to go through deals
with duplicate content issues. Now, in the first video, I briefly touched
on installing the Yoast SEO plugin and setting up your sitemap. And everything else works pretty good out
of the box, but there are a few advanced features that deal with indexation and it will help
you avoid creating unwanted duplicate pages. So first, hover over the Yoast settings and choose
Titles/Metas and we’ll make sure that a few settings are in place. Go to the “Post Types” settings and make sure
that your meta robots settings for both pages and posts are unchecked, which will ensure
that all of your blog posts and pages are set to get indexed by default. Personally, I set the Media settings as “noindex,
follow,” because WordPress will often create separate media pages, like this, that have
nothing more than just the image. And this would certainly be classified as
thin content. Next, head on over to the “Taxonomies” tab. In most cases, you’ll want to noindex the
tags and formats option. Tags on WordPress have essentially no SEO
value. It’s more of a way to categorize your posts,
which I don’t see too many sites doing now. For example, if you look at this tag page,
it just lists a couple blog posts that can be accessed on their blog archive page. And there’s no real value in telling Google
to index the tag page too. The other one is Сategories. Now, this one is debatable. Some people prefer not to index these pages,
while others will try to rank them. And in my opinion, if you’re using breadcrumbs
like these, or use your categories as navigation items like many large publications do, then
I would recommend leaving them as indexable in most cases. Or if you think that people will find value
in discovering them in Google, then leave them as is. I wouldn’t stress too much about this unless
you’re creating thousands of pages that can potentially lead to issues with crawl budget, faceted navigation, or devaluing the link equity. Next is the “Archives” tab. Here, you’ll actually find a section on avoiding
duplicate content. Since this site is a single author blog, I’ve
chosen to noindex both the author archives and date-based archives. And the reason being, if you leave this to
be indexed by Google, your blog homepage or list of posts will be identical to the author archive. Finally is the “Other” tab. Here, I recommend noindexing your archive
subpages. And you can see in the example, that this
would be on an archive page with a URL like /page/2. In fact, Google made a video on the best practices
regarding pagination, and they recommended a few different options. The best one in my opinion, was to create
a “view-all” function and for all archive pages, to include a canonical tag to the “view-all” page. There were certain conditions that should
be met like the amount of time it takes to render the page, but I’ll let you watch that
full video if this is a concern that you have. The last thing you should know regarding
WordPress indexation is that you can noindex specific pages or posts. Just scroll down to the Yoast SEO settings
on the page that you want to noindex, click on the gear icon, and then select “noindex”
from the dropdown. This may be advisable for pages that you
don’t want to be in Google’s index like a landing page that you’re split testing or
a page within your email or sales funnel. If you want to dig deeper into duplicate content
issues, then go to the “Content Quality” report within Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool, and for this
website, you’ll see that there are only green clusters of duplicate pages, which means that
the canonical is matching. Something that you’ll want to be on the lookout for are bad duplicates or where a canonical is not set, as you can see for this WordPress
website. Now, there’s a lot more to technical SEO than
what I’ve shown you here. But by combining WordPress with some of these
plugins and techniques, you should be able to speed up your website and prevent a lot
of easily avoidable duplicate content issues. Now if you’ve found this video helpful, make sure to like, share, and subscribe. And let me know if there’s anything I missed in the comments
specific to doing search engine optimization with WordPress. So keep grinding away and I’ll see you in
the next tutorial.


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