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I Dove Head First into WordPress SEO (You’ll Never Believe What I Found)

Updated November 22, 2023
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I Dove Head First into WordPress SEO (You’ll Never Believe What I Found)

Overview and Goal

This Article will display the importance of SEO. You will also be able to see if you have the most optimized SEO settings for your WordPress website and will be able to understand what will be best suited for your WordPress website so that it is optimized fully.
– Learn about SEO and its importance
– How to take advantage of SEO for your WordPress website
– Understanding Rank Math and its tools and settings
– An advanced walkthrough of Rank Math’s SEO setup


In this article, I will be using the plugin “Rank Math”.
Rank Math is a WordPress plugin that is specifically used to capitalize on optimizing your visibility on google and search engines.

SEO? What is it?

Search engine optimization, also known as “SEO”. It’s a very common and important method of being able to target traffic by optimizing your WordPress website’s content to better match search engine results. The better the match, the higher your ranking becomes. This is the most optimal way of bringing traffic to your website that is not affected by monetization or any third-party factors.

Search engine optimization is highly efficient in bringing traffic to your page. You may notice some of the links at the top of your google search results are usually “sponsored” or paid for. With proper content and code, your WordPress website may never need to pay for its visibility. As long as you have the most optimal content on your WordPress website, you can very much be right at the top of these search engine results with not a single penny leaving your pocket.

The better you are at setting up your WordPress website’s content. The better chance you have at your WordPress website’s optimized content being shown higher up on the search results.

SEO Basics

SEO doesn’t need to be difficult or complex. It can be as easy as pie. Just learning a few basic tips or tricks is usually all you need.
Don’t believe it?
Just try a couple of these suggested tips and notice the difference in your flow of traffic once you have applied these changes to your WordPress website.

What is Rank Math?

Rank Math is a Search Engine Optimization plugin for WordPress that makes it ridiculously easy for any one to be able to optimize their WordPress website with suggestions based off of their website’s content.
You can find more information here:

WordPress | Visibility Settings

WordPress is very reliable, it even comes with a built-in feature that hides your WordPress website from public traffic flow so that you may not be disrupted as the development of your website is ongoing.
More info about WordPress:
Although this feature is very useful, there have been numerous times where even the most astute developer could forget to turn off this feature before going live.
If you are having issues with your WordPress website not showing up at all within search results, try these steps:

First, navigate to the admin dashboard of your designated WordPress site.
then scroll down to “Settings”, and navigate to “Reading”

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What you will then look at will be “Search Engine Visibility”. This is usually turned on when your WordPress website is going through its early development stages and is normal to have on during that time.

Now make sure this check arrow is not checked when you are going live. This is what will stop search engines from being able to view any of your content since it will not be indexed.
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Using SEO Friendly URLs

An SEO friendly URL is usually a URL that contains key points of your WordPress website and can be easy to read by both search engines and humans.
The better organized your WordPress website, the better these URLs can be.
You don’t want your URL to have numbers that don’t make sense or random characters that seem like mumbo-jumbo. There’s no need for that, it hurts your SEO scores.
An example of a BAD URL:
An example of an OK URL:
See how much cleaner that looks?
To check your URLs and how you’d want to present them. In your WordPress dashboard,
Navigate over to Settings -> Permalinks
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Your screen should look something like this..
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There are a number of ways you can choose to display your WordPress website’s URL, but the most optimal and SEO friendly way would be to select “Post name”.
This will give your URL a very sleek and easy to read look. This is the most important quality when focusing on Search Engine Optimization.

Using Www or not?

If you are in the process of building up a new site you will need to determine whether or not you will be using the standard “” or “” for your URL.
Let’s take a look at this by navigating to settings -> general
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Search engines consider these two URLS different from each other. So, if you are going to be going with the standard route or not having WWW’s included. Please make sure that you have the same URL in both of these fields. There isn’t really a statistical difference between the two. You can select whichever version looks cleaner to you.

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Rank Math, an SEO Plugin

Rank Math is a Search Engine Optimization plugin that makes it easy for anyone to optimize their content.
To get Rank Math, you will need to navigate to your WordPress Dashboard -> Plugins -> Add New -> Search Rank Math -> Install Now.
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Once you have installed the plugin, make sure it’s then activated.
Now Navigate over to Rank Math
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Rank Math SEO Setup Wizard

Select “Setup Wizard”
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You will then be brought to the beginning of the setup wizard.
You will have 3 options to choose from where:
The easy option,
“For websites where you only want to change the basics and let Rank Math do most of the heavy lifting. Most settings are set to default as per industry best practices. One just has to set it and forget it.”
The advanced option,
“For the advanced users who want to control every SEO aspect of the website. You are offered options to change everything and have full control over the website’s SEO.”
The custom mode option, (PRO)
“Select this if you have a custom Rank Math Settings file you want to use.”
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(You can switch modes at any time, so even if you’re unsure of your changes within the custom or advanced mode, you can reset to default by selecting easy again)

Let’s go ahead and select the start wizard button underneath the 3 options.
Be sure to also check to see if your WordPress website is compatible with Rank Math SEO, this will be right above the start button as seen in the picture above.

“Your WebSite: ”

This will have different subsections of your site that you will need to specify within the wizard.
This tab is going to tell Rank Math the core building blocks that the rest of your content is built around. Depending on what you fill in, Rank Math will respond accordingly by adding the most accurate code so that Google may also understand your website better.

“Your site” is a..?

If business is selected you will then need to find the genre that fits your business.
Fill in your company’s name in the “Company Name”. OR you can have Rank Math automatically populate this field with the current name of your WordPress website. If it changes or if you want it to be as specific as possible, you can have this changed to what it is you prefer.

Logo for Google

Rank Math will recommend you to upload a logo for your business or personal WordPress website. This is highly recommended as it will help your WordPress website standout. After being uploaded, Rank Math then adds code to your WordPress website so that search engines such as Google will be able to identify and know your logo.
This will now cause your logo image to appear in the knowledge graph alongside other important information about your website.
The minimum supported resolution is 160×90 px while the maximum supported resolution will be 1920×1080 px.
It’s preferred for it to be as square as possible.
I’ll just leave this here, in case you needed a logo. We just really care.

Default Social Share Image

Default Social Share image is the replacement when a featured image is not set, this image will then be used as a thumbnail when your post is shared on Facebook.
This thumbnail is unique in the way that it will not just be a thumbnail image, but also have meta-description and other custom content that best represents your WordPress website.
Follow the same processes, click and add / upload your image from the WordPress Media Manager. 1200x630px is recommended.
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After you have finished filling in all the fields and have decided on your images, you can continue by clicking on the button “Save and Continue”.
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Next, we will go ahead and connect over Google services.

The benefits of connecting Google Services:

Verify the site ownership on google search consoles
Track page and keyword rankings with the Advanced Analytics module
Easily allows you to set up Google Analytics without the use of another plugin
Automatically submit sitemaps to the Google Search Console
This is highly recommended because once you do connect, Rank Math will then be able to bring in data from Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and AdSense.
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After you have finished enabling Google services, you will then be brought back to the wizard steps.
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Now you are able to configure Google Search Console, Analytics, AdSense, and even your SEO Email Reports.

Search Console

In this section you will need to select your WordPress website from the drop down list and your target country within the country drop down list.
Note: You will need to upgrade to the PRO version to be able to select the Country option.
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In this section you will be able to select your Account, Property, and View. This may seem familiar if you’ve previously dabbled with Google Analytics.
Rank Math PRO users can choose the country drop down option in this portion as well.
If this is confusing or if you haven’t installed Google Analytics, you can then just toggle the option to just let Rank Math do the heavy work for you.
More info can be found here:
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Adsense is only available for PRO users, if this does not apply to you. You may skip this portion.
If it does apply to you, you’ll be able to select your AdSense account from the drop down menu and Rank Math will then be able to display that data inside your Analytics dashboard.
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Once you have finished with this tab, Save and Continue to move onto the next section which will be:

Sitemap Section

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This section will give you the option to enable or disable the sitemap feature.
This is an optional section because there will be plugins that can do this for you, if you have a plugin that does this for you already, feel free to disable it.
It is highly recommended to use the sitemap feature and have one less plugin, having Rank Math do this feature for you will allow you to have less clutter.
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Include Images

This feature will allow you to include references to images from the post content in sitemaps. This helps search engines index your images better.
This feature is recommended to stay on with the only exception being that it may be turned off if your WordPress website has thousands of images that may affect the index of your website with search engines.
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Public Post Types

This feature will allow you to select post types to enable SEO options for them and include them in the sitemap.
It will also let you select which post types should be included in the sitemap. Posts and pages should be displayed and selected by default.
If you are using custom post types such as WooCommerce, Elementor, they will also be shown here as well.
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Public Taxonomies

With this option you can select which taxonomies will be included in the sitemap. You will then be able to see all taxonomies that your WordPress website utilizes in this area.
You will need to select the ones that you’d like to include in the sitemap.
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Continue to the next step by clicking on the Save and Continue button.


In SEO Tweaks you will be able to automate some of your SEO Tasks.
You will have the advantage of making external links nofollow, redirect attachment pages, etc.

Noindex empty Category and Tag Archives

Setting empty archives to noindex is useful for avoiding indexation of thin content pages. That way you wont dilute your overall page rank.
As soon as a post is added, the page is updated to index
Archive pages are usually indexed, so having the noindex option helps out a lot when certain archives don’t have any posts or content. So being indexed is a waste.
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Nofollow External Links

This feature allows you to add a rel=”nofollow” attribute for external links appearing in your posts, pages, and other post types.
The attribute is dynamically applied when the content is displayed, and the stored content is not changed.
Having this enabled is recommended, you will still be able to be in full control of your links. Rank Math has multiple management features for links. This can work in conjunction with Blacklist and Whitelist which can give you even more control over link management!
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Open External Links in New Tab/Window

This should be self explanatory, have this ON! (unless it is more beneficial for you to have users leave your site)
When adding external links you can have the choice of how you’d want consumers to interact with these links.
Automatically adds a target=”_blank” attribute to external links appearing in your posts, pages, and other post types.
The attributes are applied when the content is displayed, which does not change the already stored content.
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After you have finished selecting your choices on this screen, click the Save and Continue button to move on.
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Congratulations, you have successfully made it through the basic setup of Rank Math’s SEO setup wizard. If everything went well you should now see ‘Your site is ready!’.
If you don’t and its just too complicated for you, just go ahead and give us a ring and we can get that done for you!
(Yes, this is a shameless plug)

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But, if you want to utilize the full power of SEO and Rank Math.. Let’s go ahead and take it to the next level and click on “Setup Advanced Options” on the bottom right of the page.
The advanced settings give you more customization options and give you better control of what you’d like for search engines to be able to index.

SEO Rank Math Advanced Settings

Role Manager

This role manager feature allows you to take advantage of WordPress roles to control which site users can have the power to edit or view access to Rank Math’s settings.
This is beneficial to teams who are able to communicate and work with each other. Being able to assign roles and responsibilities to other people.
This is going to be situational and should be adjusted based on how you are operating.
Role permissions include: Admin, editor, Author, Contributor, Shop Vendor, Shop Worker, Shop Accountant, Shop Manager, Customer and Subscriber.
This will depend on the roles you have created, as well as the plugins you’re utilizing.
Speaking of teams, this is ours!
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404 Monitor

This feature will allow you to set default values for the 404 error monitor here.
It will also allow you to see if visitors or search engines bump into any 404 NOT FOUND errors while browsing your WordPress website
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This feature allows you to set default values for the redirection module.
Redirections may be set up temporarily or permanent depending on how situational whatever you’re working on is.
Combined with the 404 monitor, you can easily redirect faulty URLs on your site, or even add custom redirections.

There will be a lot of other plugins that will try to do the job of Rank Math’s 404 monitor and Redirections. It is highly recommended to disable those additional plugins so you could clear the clutter and not have your site running slower than it has to.
Save your settings and continue to the next step..
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Schema Markup

This next feature will deal with Schema. Schema is metadata about your website and its content, posts etc. This will then give context for search engines.
A good example is, if you have a post about a particular variable, whether you are talking about it for business or personal. Google and other search engines won’t be able to differentiate that.
By applying Schema to your content type, you can then have search engines understand your page better and be able to understand how you are approaching your content and how you’re displaying /talking about it.
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There are going to be multiple different Schema types, this includes Schema Type for:
Pages, Forums, Topics, Replies, Landing Pages, Projects , Products.
Schema should be already enabled by default since it’s very important that this be taken advantage of. You will be able to configure the default Schema for all types.
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Finish this page off by clicking on the Save and Continue button.
Now, you’re all finished! You set up Rank Math’s advanced SEO settings! Monitor your WordPress website and traffic flow and take advantage of everything that Rank Math has to offer.
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SEO Rank Math Resources and Links

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and learning more about SEO and how it works. You should now be able to utilize SEO for your WordPress website and experience a night and day difference.
If you need any more assistance and or information, some useful links to check out:

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