SEO Guide for All WordPress Bloggers
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is part and parcel of setting up a new blog. Due to the social nature of blogging technology, there are different types of SEO to be used. SEO for WordPress blogs and for static websites are not the same; WordPress blogs are even more focused on the technical infrastructure for proper SEO.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for getting traffic to your site. Done right, it can bring hundreds of times more visitors than you’re currently receiving. The tips mentioned below will help you create a SEO friendly site and raise your WordPress blog to the next level at no cost to you.
On Page SEO
On page SEO is a term that refers to the technical features designed to give your WordPress blog additional weight over others when ranking for specific keyword. These features can vary from permalink structure, to page title, to web semantics and so on. To achieve the maximum potential benefit from the search engine ranking positions (SERPs), you need to have all of these aspects taken care of.
1.Optimize your Titles
The blog name should not be used in the post title or the page title. You will rank for your main blog title for the most part. A user will typically search the topic, not the blog name, as it is usually not known to him or her. So, by using different titles you can enrich your keywords for search engines.
Search engines put higher weight on keywords that are near the start when ranking a post. WordPress is not a static site, so it can be difficult to create the necessary titles. But plugins like All in One SEO Pack will let you do this with few clicks. To get help from this plugin, you need to install it and then follow our instruction.
By using this plugin, you can also write and modify titles for specific posts or pages. You can override the default post title and write a custom title for your meta tags.
2. Optimize your description
For search engine ranking, post descriptions play a significant role. So, you should not use automated descriptions, but instead you should describe your content with accurate and useful keywords and you should write custom post descriptions for all posts and pages.
To make your task easier, you need to download All in One SEO Pack plugin. There you will get an option box that makes it easier to do this while writing a new post or page, like this:
To increase your chance of ranking higher in search engines, SEO-friendly structured permalinks are strongly suggested. Google gives extra weight to the URL structure. Follow the instructions mentioned below to get the best result.
The default WordPress URL structure looks robotic and it is not user friendly, nor is it SEO friendly.
To get a more friendly URL structure you need to go to Settings > Permalinks and edit the settings as shown in this image below:
We are using the following URL structure:
Alternately you can use the post name in the title, for which you would change the settings to:
You can get more suggestions for other parameters and options from another article on SEO Friendly URL Structure.
To get rid of incoming links from other sites, you can install the plugin Redirection. After installation, you need to go Manage -> Redirection -> Options, to make sure that both URL Monitoring boxes are set to “Modified posts”. This will set a 301 redirect which will send all users and search engine bots to the new post when they access the old URL. This way your page rank will remain in place.
4. Semantic Web Markups
Google recommends XHTML Semantics. Good sites are well-organized and easy to surf. If you can use the semantic markups such as heading tags, you are specifically highlighting these segments to the search engine bots. They can then appropriately rank your page for the most relevant keyword. Most templates and free themes do not use the heading tags wisely. Therefore, you need to refine and learn how to use these tags appropriately. Often you will see sidebar headings using the <h2> tag which is NOT an appropriate use of that tag. You should lower all your heading tags in the sidebar to <h4>, or even <h5>. Designers often seem to give the blog title the<h1> tag on the homepage, which is fine, but on single post pages the blog title is not the most relevant subject. You should change your page.php and single.php and make the post title have the <h1> tag. Remember to never use the <h1> tag more than once on a page. It is wise that you organize your posts with heading tags. You can even use it for styling purposes in the post, so it is one solution to two problems.
5. Interlinking within your Site
By interlinking within your site, you can make your site more available for the search engine bots. Breadcrumb navigation is one of the ways to do that, and the plugin for this is called Breadcrumb NavXT.
You can interlink by displaying related posts at the end of each post. This not only benefits your SEO, but also reduces your bounce rate because your users may also find something interesting. Lower bounce rate means more revenue for you from advertisers, especially AdSense.
The article at this link will show you the two ways of displaying related posts in WordPress. One is with a plugin and other method is with a php snippet.
6. Optimizing External Links
It’s a good decision to optimize the external links from your sidebar. Add the tag rel=”nofollow” to all useless links like registration, login, and the links that do not need to have a follow link. External links will share your PR juice & page strength.
The XFN relationship feature in WordPress is the another way of organizing external links. Search engines like organized structure, which tells the search engine bots how much you value each link. So, you can add rel=”me” to your social media profiles instead of adding a complete nofollow to that link and that will assure search engines that you are not selling links, but you are linking to your own profile. In your admin panel, by clicking the “add a new link” option, you will find the WordPress XFN.
7. Avoid Duplicate Content
When a single post can earn a higher ranking then there is no reason to post the same content multiple times. However, sometimes it can happen anyway by accident. To avoid such an incident you can create a robots.txt file for your blog.
The following code is suggested:
In the image you will find the code Disallow: /*? which is used to block all search queries indexed from your site. When users search permalinks in your site, they will not be indexed in Google.
To manage index options for pages and categories, you can use Meta Robots plugin.
8. Site’s Blueprint Plan
The blueprint plan is essential to building your site. You should know about search engine bots and how they locate information. If search engines find the content/keywords in the appropriate places, you will get a better result in terms of indexing. The plugin Google XML Sitemaps will help you to create a sitemap where you may plan your blueprint.
9. SEO Friendly Design Structure
Besides refining the semantic web markups, another important thing is designing structure of your site. If your site has a sidebar on the left hand side, then the sidebar links will appear above the site’s content in crawler results. Therefore, whenever bots visit the page, they will see the links before the post content. This sometimes happens when unprofessional theme designers do not code the theme correctly. You should ensure that your site content shows above all the sidebar links in the codes so that you get the best results possible.
10. Site Load Time
A fast load time will increase the daily indexing rate, because the faster your site loads, the more pages will be indexed every day. To speed up your WordPress, there are two important techniques.
The plugin WP-Super Cache will speed up and boost your performance as well as decrease the server load. As a result your site will be much less likely to crash, even with high amounts of traffic. For details check out the article speed up your WordPress and boost performance.
Choosing a good web host is another way to speed up and boost performance. You will risk security breaches and slow speeds if you select a cheap and unknown company for hosting. You should try reliable and speedy servers such as Host Gator.
11. Image Optimization
Images provide a great deal of value to your posts, so it is important to optimize your images as well. A good deal of traffic can result from searches through Google Images, so take pains to optimize them with accuracy. Add an alt tag while tagging an image to make your site XHTML friendly and for improved Search Engine Optimization. The alt tag with a relevant keyword will help the search engine bots to understand what this image is about.
SEO Friendly Images is a plugin which will assist to do the task. It automatically adds either the post title or the image name into the alt tag.
12. User Optimization
You have the opportunity to use the power of your audience to benefit your search engine ranking. From organic links from your readers you will get backlinks to your site. A good reader will mention you on their blogs or even tweets which can potentially get you many other links. A blog post may be read by one reader just once at random, so you need to offer options to stay updated with your blog. Our users have the option to stay updated with their RSS Feed Reader, via email, and with live stream updates through twitter and facebook.
If you can ensure that a user reads your blog regularly, the chance of getting a backlink increases substantially.
Building community and engaging your audience in groups is another form of optimization. This increases the odds of a new user joining the conversation and that, in turn, generates greater opportunity for backlinks and re-tweets of your posts.
Your involvement in the community and replying to these comments will increase user activity on your site. One simple thing you can do is to thank new commentators and invite them to come back. You can check our recommended WordPress plugin list, where you will have the opportunity to customize your message and personalize what gets sent out to make this process simple and easy.
If you think this way can be annoying for your users, then you can follow Comment redirecting, which will redirect the new commentators to a specific page on your site, such as our Thank You Page. For an experiment, you can post your comment here and get the result instantly to see what it looks like.
You can inspire users to comment with your writing style or by changing the text in your index.php where it says “0 comments” to something more interactive sounding. Some blogs, for example, replace it with the phrase “No comments yet, you can be the first one!” You can even ignore the comment count by saying “Speak Your Mind”. You can also change the text in your comments.php and encourage your users to comment using the same technique.
Off Page SEO
There is a misconception that off page SEO can increase backlinks, but in reality it’s all about branding and increasing the chances of getting backlinks organically. There is a positive correlation between your site’s popularity and the chances of getting backlinks. To gain popularity for your website, you have to spread the word out about your blog and you can do this by following the techniques mentioned below.
1. Social Media Interaction
Social media interaction is an important technique for bloggers. You need to be active in social media communities like Twitter, Facebook, and the rest. People expect you to have interactions via private messages, tweets and re-tweets, and so on. You can use the plugin Twitter Widget to auto-post a tweet when a new post publishes, which is a great way to get the word out that there’s more activity on your blog, but it’s also wise if you tweet it out manually and add something creative. If you’re always sending out the same tweet, like “Check out this cool link!”, people will soon lose interest. You should also use hashtags on Twitter to let people know the subject matter; for example, this post could be hashtagged #WordPress.
One of the great things about social media use is that it is easy for others to share your content. Whenever a user shares your article, it will spread over everyone on their network, and in this way you can get a lot of new users. By interacting with your audience, acknowledging their questions and hosting discussions on social media, you can increase backlink counts substantially.
2. Networking within your niche
For reaching out to your targeted audience and getting backlinks, it is a good idea to network within your own blogging niche. You can find blogs that cover similar topics using Blog Search Engine, and comment on their blogs to contribute to their conversation and stimulate your own. You can contact those blog owners if there is an opportunity to work together. You might wish to work together on contests, friendly competitions, group discussions, or cross posts for the mutual benefit of you both.
3. Link baiting
For getting organic backlinks to your site, link baiting is another option. Creating controversy can link a lot of users to your site – you’ve probably clicked a few links due to controversy before. Having contests or giveaways is another form of link baiting. Free stuff is always popular, so users will most likely write about it and these contests can get you a lot of backlinks and exposure.
4. Paid Links
Do not buy paid links at any site; that would be gaming the system and can get your site penalized in Google. If you still want to buy them (and many webmasters and bloggers do so), do it at your own risk.
This is a general summary of SEO and should set you in good stead. If you have further questions, try reading our related articles or asking here in the comments!