If WordPress is a new arena you play at, you can go crazy over the entire thing. Something’s broken because of some crazy themes or the whole site just crashed down because of a plugin. To add it up, what’s worse than getting 971 duplicate pages back from your crawl report! It cracks your head just like that.
On these troubles you’re having with WordPress, not all the blame is on you. Neither is it WordPress’ fault. The thing is you’re just learning! But you have an opportunity to move on from that.
There’s a lot of information out there that despite the good intention are still misguided. WordPress can get tricky and frustrating sometimes. This is where your need for a guide comes in. We absolutely want to clear some things up, don’t we?
So what would you expect after reading this article? You might learn some new WorPress terminologies and be cleared up on the terms you already know. You will understand that WorPress is built on relationships (not the love kind but the relational database) because it’s a dynamic CMS. You will also be given practical tips for setting up you SEO-focused WordPress site. Lastly, let’s erase that blank and questioning look on your face.
Let this lesson begin!
Part I. Terminologies
WordPress Page vs. Web Page
Let’s start with the basic, but don’t misunderstand it as an insult to your knowledge. However, some people may still be confused on what is a WordPress page and a Web Page. Think it this way: a Web page is a single man, while WorPress page is a man married to some girl named WordPress. The former is a single HTML document with a unique URL. It stands on its own. The latter, on the other hand, is tied with WordPress functionality. It is a “static page”, to make it more sensible to say.
Post vs. Page
If you’ve ever thought that a post is the same with a page, you can stop thinking about that now. They are in no way similar at all! They differ entirely in terms of functionality. To make it clearer, here are the bullets (no, there’s no gun so relax):
- A post has a date and is time sensitive; a page is not.
- A post belongs to certain categories, dates, tags and authors; a page does not belong to anything.
- A post can never be a homepage; a page can be one.
- A page is only accessible through its link.
Categories vs. Tags
You might have thought once or a dozen times that category and tag are twins. Sorry, but they were born on separate days. The point is they are different from each other. Category is the main content “buckets” for posts, while tag is the fine tuning to category and is much more specific. You can use limitless tags, but not with categories. Here are their other differences:
- Categories are in the main menu or sidebar; tags should never be put in the main menu but can be put in the sidebar.
- You should never have a category that is the same as a tag and vice versa. Categories, as we said, should be unique.
- Categories have hierarchy; tags don’t have.
Author Archive is a list of all the posts by any given author, a WordPress user. If it’s a single-author blog, it probably looks exactly like the blog homepage, so it is best to noindex or even 301 redirect the archive.
As the name implies, this is a list of posts by date. Well, that’s just how to define this. Just like, “As simple as that.”
Pagination exists when there are enough posts to fill categories, tags, dated archives, author archives and the blog homepage. You must noindex it past page one. You should also make use of Yoast to rel=pre/next the pagination to show that the subpages are part of a sequence. What are you talking about? Pages don’t paginate!
Part II. WordPress Relationships
Let’s start with pages, though there’s not much of explanation needed by now. They are static and can have hierarchy. They will not be in the RSS Feed no matter what you do. They are used for an “About Us” section, for a service description, for a Menu Page, for a Directions Page, Fees Page, etc.
A post can belong to many categories; a category can have many posts. This polygamous relationship is everywhere! The same thing’s true with tags: a post can have many tags, and a tag can have many posts.
Posts can be accessible from anywhere they belong. Categories, tags, dates and authors can all lead to one post. Isn’t that amazing? Some posts can also be accessible from the blog home or the sidebar.
Part III. Best Practice Configuration
Here is a list of the things you wish you knew back then:
- Pages are named as you make them. The hierarchy can be decided as you go.
- Decide what categories your posts belong to before you publish.
- Before you blog, come up with categories. Just choose 5-7 keywords that will main the buckets of all your posts.
- Choose your username wisely when you create an account. This is going to be the URL and you cannot change it afterwards easily (As a matter of fact you can, but it’s a hell load of work).
In connection with links and menus, the general rule of the thumb is put the pages and categories in main menus, and put categories, recent/popular posts, dated archives, and tags in the sidebar/widget.
Another thing that we are concerned about is URL control. Some can be set in odd places called “slugs”. Remember these three bullets so you won’t be confused:
- Page and posts URLs are set within the page/post editor
- Category and tag URLs are in their respective menus
- The username is the author URL
If everything is set up correctly, checking your titles and descriptions should be easy.
When we get to themes, this is where things get tricky. A lot of themes tend to break or try to handle stuff they shouldn’t be handling. Everything can turn into a real mess! There’s a simple way to solve this once and for all: Use themes for design elements, but do not use them for SEO stuff. Let the Yoast SEO handle this!
Part IV. Duplicate Pages
It’s pretty frustrating when you receive duplicate errors. Well, there are resources and tools you can use to solve this problem. You can check Google webmaster tools once a week. Then you can cross check with the free version of Screaming frog and crawl up to 500 pages. And the last step to take is to use Google Queries to see what’s indexed.
No one argues that WordPress can really be challenging. This guide hopefully helps you to beat the challenge.