In this series of podcasts we’re going to be discussing various ways that you can make your WordPress website visible to search engines and help people find what you are trying to talk about or trying to sell.
So the first thing we need to do is make sure that the search engines can actually find your site. Often times when we set up a site we would set the settings so that you couldn’t find the site. So if you’re doing things like re-skinning a site or setting up a new site you wouldn’t damage the search engine rankings for any of the old sites or any other old site that you had out there.
So what we would do in that case is when we’re setting up the site we’d actually set the search engine visibility should be off and this is not the default setting but what it does is it tells all the sites or all the search engines that your site should be ignored; not to index it not to look at it.
Then you go build a site and do all the things that you needed to do and often times what would happen is once you launch the site you would forget to go back to the setting and turn it off and what would happen is that your site would actually disappear from the internet; not a good thing.
So what we really need to do is a very simple setting, you would go into the reading…you go into the settings menu in the WordPress admin and then you would go into the reading section of the site and it’s the very last check box. It says search engine visibility and when it’s checked it says discourage search engines from indexing this site. All you have to do is uncheck this and then save it and now your sites ready to be indexed by all the search engines.
Essentially what this is doing is if you’re familiar with the robots.txt file is that it’s setting all the user agents to “*” meaning all user agents and disallow “/”. So the forward slash is saying disallow everything on this site. Turning this off of course turns off that robots.txt emulation and allows all the search engines to index your site and go ahead and grab everything every piece of content off the site. So often overlooked setting because you’re not going to ever turn this on unless you’re doing development and often overlooked when you’re going into production because we all forget…the site’s working great for you because you’re looking at a normal browser you’re not trying to do any searching on it.
So that’s what you need to do and what you need to do on the first step to get your site ready for the search engines to crawl it. Stay tuned for more tips.