Search engine optimization (SEO) is a priority for many site owners. It’s a concept that covers all the tricks and strategies that website owners use to get Google’s attention. Figuring out what SEO means for you (especially when you get inundated with terms you’re unfamiliar with) can be a little overwhelming. What are you supposed to do with things like HTML titles and meta descriptions, anyway?
WordPress.com optimizes your site for search engines, through its behind-the-scenes tools. New pages and posts are automatically indexed with search engines so that your content becomes easily searchable. A sitemap (an organized breakdown of every page on your website) is included with each blog as well. However, there are a few things that you can do to improve how your site displays in search-engine results.
In this article, we’ll define the basic SEO elements and review how to optimize them on WordPress.com.
Optimizing WordPress.com SEO elements
The three SEO elements covered below are the HTML title, the meta description, and the image alt text.
1. HTML title
The HTML title tells search engines what a particular page or post is about. This is the first thing that site visitors see when they search for a particular term. Ideally, your title should be about 70 characters or less, and include keywords relevant to the specific post or page.
You can edit the title of each post and page in the post editor:
You can also edit the title of your homepage straight from your site settings by navigating to Settings > General > Site Title. Keep in mind that the site title will automatically be appended to the end of the individual post or page title on a search engine results page.
2. Meta description
To create a meta description for your pages or posts on WordPress.com, populate the excerpt field below the post editor:
If you don’t populate the excerpt field, WordPress.com will automatically pull the first few sentences of your written content to use as the meta description. If you’re already on WordPress.com’s Premium or Business plans, you can specify a meta description and a separate HTML title for each page on your site using Advanced SEO tools.
3. Alt text
Another way to boost your site’s search rankings is to fill out the descriptive alt text for each image. The alt text is used by search engines and visitors who use screen-reader software to understand what the image depicts. It should describe exactly what’s in the image.
You can add alt text during the upload process in the media library:
Improve your site’s SEO with these tips
While WordPress.com does a lot of work on its end to improve the search engine rankings for your site, you can probably be doing more on your end as well. Use the tips in this article to add a custom title and meta description, boost your SEO, and help your site rank better.