WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site

WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your WordPress site 

WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site 

WordPress Web Hosting

OK, so you may be wondering why I am talking about web hosts. After all, isn’t this supposed to be a book about WordPress SEO?
Yes, it is. However, the speed at which your site loads (and even the uptime of your site), are factors that are taken into account by search engines. Slow loading websites, or those which are unavailable for long periods of time (because the host server is down), suffer poorer rankings because of it. Siteswhich go down frequently, negatively impact the reputation you have with your visitors too.

There are many types of web host, and lots of different plans that come with each one. You can get shared hosting, a managed or unmanaged Virtual Private Server (VPS), or a Dedicated Server. There are even some hosts that specialize in WordPress site hosting (although not all that advertise ‘WordPress hosting’ are p specifically for it). I also know of one host that specializes in hosting WordPress sites that is built with the Genesis WordPress theme.

So which should you go for?

Well, that will depend on how much money you have available for your hosting. If you have a good budget, I would recommend going with a true ‘WordPress optimized’ web host. Here are two of the better known options:

1. WPEngine
2. WebSynthesis – This is hosting specifically designed for
StudioPress themes (Genesis Framework), which we will look at in the

next section of this book.

If you visit those hosts, you’ll notice that they are quite pricey, starting at $27/$29 per month for a single website. I have never used these personally, so cannot comment on their reliability. I do suggest you read the small print though, for whatever hosting package you decide to go with. The first host listed above has a price of $29 per month, but that only allows you 25,000 visitors a month in traffic. That is less than 850 visits a day, and for big, popular sites would be a problem.

WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site 

Shared Hosting & Dedicated Servers

Most hosts offer a wide range of packages, from simple shared hosting, to dedicated servers (where you basically are given a computer and told to get on with it).

Dedicated servers, and unmanaged VPS hosting, both require a certain level of technical know-how, so I don’t recommend you consider those unless you are technically capable.

For most people, shared hosting will be the best option because of the lower costs, especially for new sites. However, shared hosting is generally the most unreliable in terms of uptime and server response times (how long the server takes to respond to a request to show your web page).

As you look for a host, if you know of a website that is hosted with a particular company, I suggest you sign up for a free (or paid), account at Monitis.com and set up a ‘monitor’ to check the site every 5 minutes for response time. This will give you a good idea of how reliable that hosting company actually is.

See http://ezseonews.com/wpseo

Two of the most popular shared hosting companies are Hostgator and Bluehost. I have tried both, and until recently, Hostgator was the one I would have recommended. However, they have since ‘upgraded’ the server I was on, and uptime and response times plummeted as a result. Here is a screenshot from Monitis showing the details for one of my Hostgator hosted websites:

Look at all those peaks (these indicate when the server took longer to respond),

and the small circular dots on the baseline (where the server did not respond).

The top graph is the homepage of the site. Over a 24 hour period, the homepage
was down for 58 minutes, and the server response time was over eight seconds!
That means it took eight seconds on average (although there are a lot of peaks
over 40 seconds), to connect to my server, and that’s even before the webpage

started to download.

The lower graph is an internal page on the same site. This page gets less traffic
so should have better response times – which it does – at around 2.5 seconds.

However, that page was down for over two hours in the previous 24 hours.

I moved this site from Hostgator to Bluehost, but I found Bluehost to be just as
unreliable. I guess Hostgator and Bluehost (being two of the most popular

shared hosting companies); have suffered because of their own success.

I eventually found a host that I am happy with. They are called StableHost


WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site 

StableHost offers free CDN with their hosting (which basically means your site
is served from a network of servers around the globe). My site is hosted on their
‘En-Basic’ Enterprise hosting package, costing $19.95 per month at the time or
writing. I have enabled CDN on the site (which only takes two minutes to
setup), and here is the data from Monitis for the last 24 hours.

I moved this site from Hostgator to Bluehost, but I found Bluehost to be just as unreliable. I guess Hostgator and Bluehost (being two of the most popular shared hosting companies); have suffered because of their own success.

I eventually found a host that I am happy with. They are called StableHost

StableHost offers free CDN with their hosting (which basically means your site is served from a network of servers around the globe). My site is hosted on their ‘En-Basic’ Enterprise hosting package, costing $19.95 per month at the time or writing. I have enabled CDN on the site (which only takes two minutes to setup), and here is the data from Monitis for the last 24 hours.

That’s 100% uptime and a response time of around 1.5 seconds.
An inner page:

The inner page was down for one minute, and response time was 0.65 seconds.

You’ll notice that there were far fewer peaks in response times on StableHost,
and when there were peaks, it was a maximum of around 6 seconds, compared to

the 40+ second peaks on Hostgator.

What all of this shows you, I hope, is that not all hosts are equal. If you want
reliable hosting, go for the best that you can afford (and remember price does not

necessarily correlate with quality). My order of choice would be:

1. WPEngine OR WebSynthesis.
2. Enterprise level hosting on StableHost

(http://ezseonews.com/stablehostreview), using CDN.
3. Shared hosting, but buyer-beware!

WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site 

3. Themes & Theme Settings
There are lots of great themes out there, many of them are free. However, I don’t

generally recommend free themes, and here’s why:

• Some might include malicious code.
• A number of them contain footer links back to the creator’s website (or any
website they choose), which is really bad for SEO.

• They could be poorly written, and therefore slow to load.

There is one free theme that seems to have a huge following though, and is

therefore updated regularly. It’s called Atahualpa.

If you want to go down the free route, this is a good one to choose.

I have two recommended commercial themes for WordPress:

1. Genesis
2. Thesis

Both of these can be found at http://ezseonews.com/wpseo

Both of these are ‘frameworks’. Essentially a framework powers your WordPress
site, and you change the appearance of your site by installing child themes, or

skins that work with the framework.

Both Genesis and Thesis are excellent choices, though it has to be said that there
is more of a learning curve with Thesis. For this reason, I recommend Genesis
to my own students, and use it on all of my own sites. It’s highly customizable,
there are lots of child themes to choose from, and I can completely control the

duplication issues that WordPress causes (see chapter one if you need to recap).

If you want to use a different theme, here is a five point checklist to help you


1. Theme is fast loading.
2. Theme allows you to control how posts appear on all of the six
‘potential duplication areas’ of your site that we looked at earlier. You
should have the options of full post, excerpt, or just the title.

3. Theme has at least one sidebar.
4. Theme allows one (or two) menus at the top of the website.
5. The theme does not include any mandatory links or attributions in

the footer.

Points 2-5 can be answered by the theme’s support desk. What about the first
point though? How can you tell the load speed of a website, and check for
potential problems with a template? You’ll be pleased to know that this can be

done quickly and simply.

For this we can use a free service at GTMetrix.com
GTMetrix allows you to analyse the page load times of any web page you want.

Find a site that uses the theme you are interested in using, and enter the URL of
that site into GTMetrix. This tool then breaks down the page load speed into

elements, and tells you exactly how long each element takes to load.

First the summary:

WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site 

The summary gives you an A, B, or C rating of the page speed. You also get to
see the page load time in seconds, the total page size, and the number of requests
that were needed to download the page.

You should be looking for A or B ratings.

Under the main summary are 4 tabs: Page Speed, YSlow, Timeline, and History.
The Page Speed and YSlow tabs offer advice on how to speed up the website.
Click on any entry in these tables for an expanded view that shows you
specifically what you need to do to fix an issue.

The timeline tab offers an interesting view of theThe timeline tab offers an interesting view of the page load speed. It tells you exactly how long each element on the page took to load. This is where you can get information on any ‘theme-specific’ problems.

On the right hand side you can see the times taken to load each element. The
timings are in milliseconds (1000ms equals one second).
On the left hand side you get a list of the page elements. If you move your
mouse over an element, it will expand to show you the full URL of that
component. For example, the element below took over half a second to load:

In this case, it tells me that the element is related to the theme.

By looking for slow loading elements on the page, and checking whether they
are related to the theme you want to use, you can make judgments on the how

well that theme is optimized.

TIP: You will find that a lot of the slower loading elements on a page are
images. Some images are related to the theme, whereas others are not – they are
merely images added to a post. Don’t worry about any slow loading image if it

is not part of the theme.

Also, look for any element that has a large file size as these take longer to

download. Here are a few in the theme I am testing:

The images of the demo theme are 1024 pixels by 485 pixels on their server. So
the theme needs large images if you want to use its Slideshow feature. This
means you will have physically large image files as well, although you could

WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site 

most probably reduce their size in KB using various techniques.

NOTE: If you use the Chrome Browser, you can install an extension called
‘PageSpeed’ (by Google). This will give you a measurement of how fast the site

loads. Anything over 85 is considered a good score.

Here is the PageSpeed score for the same theme demo site shown in the

GTMetrix example above:

One final thing to be mindful of is that it’s unlikely the demo sites set up by
theme vendors use caching plugins, or a content delivery network (CDN). That
means the speeds you see with tools like this will probably be faster once it is
setup on your server and properly optimized. With this in mind, don’t
concentrate too much on the page load times reported, and instead, look for large

files that the theme uses, as these may cause speed problems on any server.

Hopefully you have seen that choosing a theme is not just as simple as finding
one that looks good and using it. You need to make sure it will load fast too, and
not contribute to longer loading times, especially if you go with cheaper, shared


WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site 

For the rest of this book, I am going to be using the Genesis theme framework
for most examples. If you haven’t chosen a theme yet, or want my
recommendation, go with the Genesis framework, and choose one of the child

themes that you like.

If you are already using a different theme, don’t worry, you can still follow along

with all of the SEO advice given in this book.

Installing a Genesis Child Theme

This is a three step process:

1. Install the Genesis Framework.
2. Install the child theme.

3. Activate the child theme.

That’s all there is to it.

The Genesis framework is needed by the child theme, so needs to remain
installed on your server.

Once you have your child theme installed and activated, I recommend you
uninstall all other themes that may be in your WordPress Dashboard. The
reason for this is that old themes can often be routes taken by hackers to gain
access to your site. We really don’t want to give them that chance! So delete all
themes (and plugins), that you are not using.

Google Tools

Google offer some great tools to webmaster, for free. I use them, and I
recommend you do too. The three I am specifically referring to are Google
Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and Google authorship.

Google Webmaster Tools
WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site 

Why should you use Google Webmaster Tools (GWT)?

Here are some good reasons:

• Get notified by Google if there is a problem with your site. Google will send
you messages if, for example, your backlink profile looks spammy, or if your
site is using an old version of WordPress, etc. They will also notify you if they
detect malware on your website.
• Discover any HTML problems with your site. You can then follow the
suggestions that GWT gives you to resolve the issue(s).
• Submit and check your sitemap (which can speed up indexing of your website).
• Select a geographic target audience. For example, if your website targets UK
customers, but your site uses a .com extension, you can use GWT to tell Google
that you want your site to be given more consideration in the UK.
• Check how well your site is being indexed by Google.
• Identify crawl errors. Google will tell you the URLs that it had trouble
crawling, and the page which linked to that URL, thus allowing you to quickly
identify and fix broken links on your site.
• Request Google removes specific URLs from their search results.
• Get a complete list of all links that point to your website (at least the ones that
Google knows about). This can be very useful, especially in identifying links
from spammy sites, which you can then disavow with the Google Disavow tool.
• Identify keywords that people are using to find your site. Google shows you
the number of impressions in the search engines, how many clicks you got, the
click through rate (CTR), and average position in the SERPs (Search Engine
Results Pages). The CTR can be very useful for finding pages that may need
their title/description tweaked so as to try and improve the CTR.

WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free visitor tracking tool, which is far more powerful than
many commercial tools that are available.

Reasons to use Google Analytics (GA) include:
• See details of your visitors, like the search term theyused to find your site, how

long they spent on your site, which browser they use, what country they come
from, and so on.
• Get real time statistics, showing how many people are on your site right now,
and which pages they are viewing, etc.
• Connect your Google Analytics account to your GWT account, and Google
AdSense account, for even more tracking features.
• Split-test different versions of, for example, a sales page.
• Set up custom alerts, to notify you about the things that are important to your
• Monitor mobile traffic.
• Lots of other features…

Sign up here: http://www.google.com/analytics/
Once you have signed up for Google Analytics and registered your site with
them, you’ll be given some tracking code to insert into your website. Whichever

theme you use, you should have an easy way to insert your analytics code.


is a screenshot for the Genesis theme (Genesis -> Theme Settings menu):

If possible, insert the analytics code into the wp_head() section of your website.
There are some known issues with Google Analytics and the way it reports ‘time
on site’ and ‘bounce rate’. For that reason, I have also inserted another script into
the wp_footer() area of my theme (see screenshot above). You can read more
about these issues, and grab the code yourself here:


WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site 

Google Authorship

Google authorship is not so much a tool, as something you setup between your
website and your Google plus profile. By linking your website content to your

Google Plus profile, you get these three benefits:

1. Tell Google that you are the author of the content. If someone then
steals your work and reposts it on another site, Google knows that you
were the true, original author.
2. You can have your Gravatar image (globally recognized avatar),
show up next to your content in the search results, which in turn can
add social proof to your listing, and increase click through rates
3. Build Author Rank. This is thought to be an increasingly important
ranking factor. The more Google trust an author, the higher they will
rank that author’s work.
We will revisit Google authorship later in the book, and I’ll show you how to set

it up so that the posts on your site (and on guest blogs), are assigned to you.

Screen Options

WordPress SEO – ON-site SEO For your Wrodpress site 

The WordPress Dashboard has some settings hidden away in the top right corner
of its screen. You should see the link to Screen Options, and they control what
you see on the screen when you are moving around the dashboard. The screen
options are a series of checkboxes which you can check or uncheck depending

on what you want displayed.

These screen options change depending on where you are in the dashboard. For

example, if you are editing a post, the screen options will be specific to that task:

If there is something you do not use, you can uncheck it and it disappears from
your dashboard, helping to reduce any unnecessary clutter.
As another example, here are the screen options when editing the settings of the

YARPP WordPress plugin (which we will look at later):

If you are ever looking for something mentioned in this book, or any other, but
don’t see it in your dashboard, then check the screen options. There’s a good

chance you have that particular box unchecked.

Hope You like 

WordPress SEO – ON-site SEo For your Wrodpress site 


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