5 Ways to Create a Secure and SEO-Friendly WordPress Website
By Kelly Meeneghan Peters, 1&1
When it comes to running a successful business online, security and searchability often rank high on the priority list.
All businesses - whether they transact or not - need to ensure that they are operating a secure website. This is not only in the best interest of the business, but also their customers. Furthermore, professionals often say that if a website cannot be found on search engines, it is almost as if it doesn’t exist. Taking the steps necessary to ensure popular platforms like Google and Bing can find a website is critical to driving visibility and sales.
For both new and experienced WordPress users, these guidelines will help in maintaining a safe and SEO-friendly website:
Keep up with Updates: The open-source environment of WordPress provides users with constant updates. Often delivering functionality enhancements, these updates also help to fix bugs. When vulnerability is identified, the WordPress Community works to release security patches and new versions as soon as possible. Therefore, it is incredibly important not to ignore these notifications. A quality Web hosting provider will notify users when important updates are available, and might even apply the updates automatically on behalf of the user.
Perform backups: A compromised website is every webmaster’s worst nightmare. This can happen to anyone and holds the potential to completely destroy countless hours of work unless a recent backup is available. Depending on the project and how often updates and changes are made, professionals will want to create a schedule that reflects their modification timetable. Daily, weekly, or monthly backups should be considered so data can easily be restored in the case of a user error or data rescue scenario. This process can be completed with a plugin like BackUpWordPress, manually, or with the help of a Web host.
Prevent duplicate content: Perhaps one of the most common SEO mistakes, duplicate content will negatively impact search engine rankings. Not only limited to written text within blogs or websites, search engine crawlers use various strategies for identifying such unoriginal content. For example, the same Web page used with and without a “WWW” can be indexed differently, thus competing against itself for top rankings. Be sure online information is consistent but not duplicated.
Use SEO plugins: Understanding the incredible value of good SEO, the members of the WordPress community have worked to deliver many different options for users to leverage. In particular, special plugins have been created to help drive search visibility and handle some of the most common issues such as poor meta tags and duplicate content. Furthermore, most of these plugins are available for free within the WordPress Plugin Directory.
Set permalinks correctly: In WordPress, a permalink is what determines how a page or blog post URL will visually look (and read) when it is live. While these can be generated automatically, users can also easily customize each URL manually. It is important to consider incorporating keywords to boost the chances of the page being displayed prominently in search results. The most important keywords should be used at the beginning of the URL and the least important at the end - without exceeding four keywords. Search engines will de-value pages that overuse keywords or use excessively long URLs.
Kelly Meeneghan Peters is a manager for 1&1 Internet, Inc. (www.1and1.com), a global leader among Web hosts. The company provides businesses with the tools necessary to be successful online while staying safe. For more information on how to thrive online, visit blog.1and1.com.