SEO and WordPress: How to optimize your WordPress blog

seo-wordpress

Previously I discussed “understanding how blogging works” and “Market your bog”. We all know that the WordPress blogs are by default search engine friendly, but there are certain things that we need to take care of, if we aspire to rank higher in the search engine. In this article, I will be discussing the activities you need to perform in order to optimize your WordPress blog.

Step 1: Fix errors in code

Remove all the unnecessary lines of codes, and fix all the errors. Errors in code will obstruct complete indexing of your blog. Validate your code using W3C Validator.

Step 2: Blog-post is the king

A search engine spider cannot see your site, it can only read it. Make your site keeping this fact in mind. Do not use too much flash, JavaScript, or any other form of opaque content, it will prevent search engine crawlers from indexing your blog.

Having said that, I must add, do not write blog-posts with a sole purpose to impress search engine spiders. It may backfire, but if you have written your blog-posts with a sole objective to impress the visitors then search engines will also get impressed and will give you good ranking.

Step 3: Anchor Text and Alt tag

All the links in the post should have either the main keyword in the anchor text. Alt tags should be optimized with main keywords. Follow this rule religiously.

Step 4: Optimize Permalink

Permalink stands for a permanent link for your blog post, which by default looks like:

http://yourwebsite.com/?p=123

This kind of permalink is unreadable for the search engine, and doesn’t make any sense to the readers as well. You need to change this permalink to make it more readable. You have two options here: you can either choose to have category name followed by post name slug in the permalink, or you can have post name slug directly after the blog URL.

I will suggest going for the latter option because this will make the permalink free from category bondage, which will help you change the category at will without having to change each permalink manually. The new permalink should look like

http://yourwebsite.com/category/blog-post-1
Or
http://yourwebsite.com/blog-post-1/

To make the changes in the permalink you will have to click on Settings and then on Permalinks.

In the window that appear click on the custom, and enter the following if you want your permalink look like option 2

/%postname%/

But, if you want to include category in the permalink then enter the following code in custom field of permalink:

 /%category%/%postname%/

Step 5: Optimize your page title

The default page title in your WordPress will look something like:

Blog Title » Archive » Keyword Rich Title of Your Post

This title is not perfectly optimized for search engines. You will need to bring the keyword rich title ahead of archive because:

  • The major search engines assign more value to the titles that appear nearer to the blog URL then the one that appears after many slashes (/).
  • When a user scan through the search results, the words that appears early in the URL are more visible than the words that appears towards the end.

The simplest way to optimize the heading is to use SEO Title Tag or Headspace plug-in. You can also use All in One SEO pack plug-in to achieve the same result. But, if you want to do it manually then go to themes » edit » header.php, and find the following code:

title-code

Which should be replaced by the following code:
title-code2

Step 6: Optimize description

Post description works like a teaser for your blog post, and a well-written description will increase the click-through rate from search results. Use All in One SEO pack plug-in to add description to each page. All in One SEO pack plug-in will looks like the following image. You can see the designated place in it for title tag, description and keywords.

allinone-seo

Step 7: Site map

Generating and submitting XML site map of your blog is very critical for the success of your blog. There is a complicated way to do this, which involves lots of coding and stuff, and there is an easy way to do this. I am going to tell you the easy way. Install Google (XML) Sitemap Generator for WordPress, and give this plug-in a write-access to the blog directory and you are done.

Step 8: Structured navigation link

Maintain a proper link structure in categories and archive. A structured navigation helps search engine index all your pages, sequentially. Do not allow any broken link to remain in your blog, and also have a trackback and pingback in place.

Step 9: Tagging

Of late, tagging has gained a lot of respect from the SEO community. Tags play an important role in SEO process. You can either add tags manually to the posts based on the topic you have written about, or you can add technorati tags to your blog post. I will suggest going with technorati tags, for they are search engine friendly, and get indexed by technorati and Google quickly.

There are number of free WordPress tag plug-ins that you can use to add tags in your blog post, or alternatively, you can visit technorati tag help page and follow the steps given there.

Stage10: Loading time

The speed with which your blog loads itself is very critical for the success of your blog, as no one likes to visit a slow-loading blog. You can speed up the loading time of your blog by using WP-Super Cache plug-in.

Once this plug-in is installed in your blog, it will generate static HTML pages for your blog, and when someone access your blog, your web server will serve him these static HTML pages, instead of going and fetching information from the dynamic PHP page. By doing this, the plug-in speed up the loading time and increases the performance of your blog significantly. It also reduces the load from your server as well.

Do not think that this is the end of the SEO process for your blog; rather it is just the beginning. You have many miles to travel before your blog rank number one for the chosen keywords.

If you looking to find your niche, must read this post as well read my 30 minute guide on blog setup and installations.

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