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As long as there is search, there will be SEO.
Ye Olde Blog of SEO
Jan 17
wordpress SEO settings

My Default WordPress SEO Settings

 

I get a lot of emails, tweets, etc asking me what are the “default” settings I use on WordPress websites, so thought I’d put a post together.

Here are my SEO ‘settings’ for most WordPress websites:

Tags

For new sites, I do not use tags of any kind. Older sites, like this one I never had a policy on tags but over the years I’ve found them to be pretty much useless.

Categories

Only use 5-6 categories for most sites, unless a very large website that is content based.

SEO Plugin

I use SEO ultimate plugin (paid) for most basic SEO tasks, such as title tags and meta descriptions. This is a great SEO plugin I’ve been using for probably 10 years now. It also does a great job of Twitter Card and Open Graph settings.

Schema

Most schema markup I add to the site manually, on a page or post by post basis. I use JSON-LD type of schema rather than the traditional form.

What I No-Index and No-Follow

Over the years I’ve changed my opinion on this, but I prevent indexing, and no-follow:

  • admin pages
  • author archives
  • blog search pages
  • category archives
  • comment feeds and subpages
  • date based archives
  • tag archives (no tags)
  • user login pages

Essentially I try to make it so Google doesn’t have to crawl the same page twice. I normally noindex and no-follow these pages. WordPress URL’s such as:

/category/SEO
/tag/SEO and /2010/01/
/page1/etc

…all yield the same result, and I don’t want to waste a crawl budget on that, especially for larger sites. These pages usually don’t rank very well, but there are a few exceptions to this rule. Yes, canonicalization “fixes” a lot of this, but I thin its better to remove it from the equation.

Image attachment pages get the axe.

Robots.txt

Robots.txt file really varies. A lot of times I just leave it empty for the most part, or just add the sitemap.xml file reference to it. We also normally block the wp-admin portion of the site from being crawled. Googlebot knows a WP site for the most part by now.

Sitemap

I have been using this sitemap plugin for almost 10 years. Within it, I use the following settings:

  • notify Google / Bing
  • add sitemap to virtual robots.txt
  • try to compress
  • no automatic priority
  • standard content: homepage, posts, pages
  • include last modification time
  • change frequences: (homepage=weekly) and (posts=daily)
  • Priorities .6 homepage and 1 for psots .6 for static pages blank for everything else

Server and Database Maintenance

I run a database cleanup tool every month. Sometimes I use the WP-Optimize plugin for this, other times I do a database cleanup using PHPMyAdmin when I need to do it on a more granular basis.

I manually cleanup the server probably once per month. This includes examining any error log files and attending to them, looking for core dump files, or any other stray files.

Daily backups.

Images

I optimize images with EWWW image optimizer. Settings vary from site to site, but I’ve found this plugin is easy to use, and shaves off on average 50% of image size.

I don’t use any tools for image alt tags, permalinks, etc. All done by hand on an image to image basis.

AMP

For content based sites, I use a combination of the AMP plugin and the plugin by PageFrog to enable AMP. For me, the jury is still out on this but I use it just to fit in with other SEO’s (JK).

Other notes

I use the “Yet another related posts” plugin to help users find more helpful posts, and is a great way to do some smart internal linking. There are a few other plugins that do this, this is the least intrusive.

Google Publisher is added and verified in child theme head.php.

I try to make all permalinks helpful to the user visiting the page, and keyword rich at the same time. I try to keep it at 2-3 words. This is good practice in general.

I verify Google Search Console using HTML file.

I do not like Yoast SEO plugin, in particular because of the issues it causes with schema markup. I’ve also had a lot of sitemap issues with this plugin. I don’t think an SEO plugin should be responsible for the generation of an SEO sitemap, these should be modular.

About The Author

Patrick is an SEO blogger and the founder of Elite Strategies, an SEO and internet marketing agency located in Delray Beach, FL.

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