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Search Engines and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Search Engines and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

WordPress.com is very search engine-friendly by default. This guide covers tips for SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization.

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Appearing in Search Engines

SEO refers to techniques you can use to help ensure that your site ranks high in the results of search engines such as Google and Bing.

While you can control the basic privacy settings and the content for your site, you cannot control when your site will get picked up by search engines or how they will rank your site. Those details are up to each search engine, and they are always changing. If you are concerned, you should try to find information from the search engine directly in their help pages to see their current recommendations.

Ranking higher in Google and other search engines can take time. Here are some tips you can use to help speed up the process.

  • Figure out what keywords you want to come up in searches. For example, if your site is about boating, you might want to show up for “boats” “sailing” or “crew.” Work these specific keywords into your post titles, headings, content, and URL slugs.
  • Post! The more you post, the higher your search ranking. Google likes blogs that update frequently.
  • Use our Publicize feature to share your posts to social media when you publish, and reach a larger audience.
  • Verify your site with Google Search Console. This step isn’t necessary for it to be indexed, but might speed up the process.

There is no setting, plugin, or service that can make your site show up first in Google search rankings. If someone is trying to sell you SEO services that promises fast results, they may be trying to drive fake traffic to your site. This can penalize your site’s SEO and lock you out of of participating in ad programs.

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More SEO Tips and Best Practices

Here is a collection of SEO tips and best practices for WordPress.com sites:

You can also explore our webinar on SEO, finding an audience, and increasing traffic:

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SEO and the WordPress.com Business plan and eCommerce Plans

Do you have a WordPress.com Business or eCommerce plan? In addition to the above techniques, these plans include additional SEO tools. The guides below will help you explore additional ways to improve your SEO:

Please note that these plans include a .wpcomstaging.com domain that will not be indexed by search engines. You must add a custom domain name for your site to be indexed by Google.

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Frequently Asked Questions

For the sake of brevity, the following questions all refer to Google. However the same answers apply to all search engines.

How can I verify my site with Google Search Console? Why isn’t my site showing up in Google?

  • Make sure your site’s privacy settings are set to Public, with the option “Do not allow search engines to index my site” not selected.
  • Search engines can take 4-6 weeks or more to show any newly created sites.
  • While not necessary to be included in Google’s index, connecting your site to Google’s Search Console can help Google include your site more quickly.

I changed my site’s privacy settings and I still don’t see my site in Google. Why?

It may take 4-6 weeks or more for search engines to revisit your site and discover new content. Verifying your site with Google and requesting an update may help speed up discovery.

I changed my privacy settings, but I’m still showing up in Google. How can I remove my site from search?

You need to wait until your results drop in the search engine. There is no further action you can take on WordPress.com’s end. You may request that Google remove a website from their index through the website removal request tool.

The information in the Google search results is incorrect, how can I fix it?

  • If you make changes to your site, the site previews provided by Google may take some time to update.
  • To try and speed this process up, you can ask Google to recrawl your site.
  • It’s up to Google to decide what information to display as a search preview. You can try adding an excerpt to your post or page, and updating your site title and tag line, but what is displayed is ultimately decided by Google.

Do I need a plugin to improve SEO?

  • Nope! Plugins can help organize your site’s metadata, but this is largely optional.
  • WordPress.com already handles all of the technical aspects of SEO. You just have to worry about creating the content!
  • Sites on our Business Plan already include additional SEO tools.
  • You can utilize additional SEO plugins, but this will disable our internal SEO tools. Having multiple SEO plugins activated at the same time can also cause issues that will penalize your SEO ranking.

Can I upload meta tags/sitemap to search engines?

WordPress.com automatically generates an XML sitemap for your website and supports webmaster tools validation through meta tags. Themes on WordPress.com generate the necessary markup on each page.

Can you tell me how to use tags best for Google?

We recommend using only a few descriptive, relevant tags per post.

Why does Google return a certain result for my site/post?

Google decides how to rank and list blogs and websites. We don’t have any control over the search results or any special knowledge about how they are selected. Each search engine has their own algorithm that only they control.

Why the description of my site in Google shows up as ‘A description for this result is not available because of this site’s robots.txt – learn more’ if I search for it?

If you had your site visibility set to Private for a long time and just changed it to Public it is possible that you will not see the description of your site in Google right away. Instead you will see ‘A description for this result is not available because of this site’s robots.txt – learn more’ under your site URL. Allow some time for Google to crawl and index your site and the description of it will eventually update on its own. Microsoft’s Bing search engine shows ‘We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us.’ under your site’s URL if you had your site visibility changed to Public from Private recently.