WordPress SEO Basics – Part 8
SEO usually requires the use of many tools. What’s cool is that many of the best tools are provided to us for free by the search engines themselves! It is in their best interest for websites to provide the search engine with quality information to rank websites in search results.
This article will be discussing many of the elements that search engines use.
Search Engine Protocols
Sitemaps are a list of links within your site that are in a particular order. This list helps search engines know how to crawl your site and what to crawl.
There are many great WordPress plugins that can help you build your sitemap. My two favorites are Yoast SEO and Google Sitemap by BestWebSoft.
XML or Extensible Markup Language is the recommended format for sitemaps, so if you are manually building a sitemap (which I don’t recommend) be sure you are using XML. RSS is an old format that is relatively outdated. Txt is a very old format that is easy, but not very powerful.
The robots.txt file, a product of the Robots Exclusion Protocol, is a file stored on a website’s root directory. This file gives instructions to web crawlers about your website. Web developers use the robots.txt file to regulate what portions of the site a crawler can index and what portions they cannot. Some of the commands available are “disallow,” “noindex,” “nofollow,” etc.
I prefer to use the Robots.txt tool in the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.
Search Engine Tools
The most important tool today in the realm of search engine tools is Google Search Console. There are way too many cool features in this tool to even begin to mention. Learn about all the features and continue to adapt to this changing, yet powerful tool.
A lesser important tool simply because not many people use this search engine is Bing Webmaster Tools.
Moz.com’s Open Site Explorer is a great free tool that will help with general “big picture” SEO for your site.
Only recently (in internet history) have search engines been giving away free tools to aid in SEO. This is a great boon to the internet as a whole because it ensures that the internet will have great content and that the right content can be easily found by users.