WordPress is the best CMS but there is lot of misconception about SEO for WordPress. Many people think that Installing WordPress is all they need for SEO. Though it is true to some extent you can still improve a lot in WordPress for SEO and convert your blog into an SEO Powerhouse.
If you have just installed your WordPress blog make sure you have your blog privacy settings correct. Under the Settings > Privacy make sure you have visible to everyone, including search engines option selected.
The choice of your theme can impact SEO to a great extent so choose your theme wisely. I personally prefer Genesis theme for all my blogs because it is one of the best WordPress theme and framework from an SEO viewpoint but you can use any good theme of your choice as far as it is SEO friendly.
Once you are done with your theme installation, we will move on to get right WordPress settings to help in SEO.
Search engines and especially Google prefer better user experience. By default WordPress URLs look like http://imtips.co/?p=123 but as your can see URL of this post is http://imtips.co/wordpress-seo.html. You can get this done by editing the Permalink Settings for your blog.
This not only makes your blog URL's user friendly but also makes URLs search engine friendly.
Anchor text in Backlinks is still one of the key factors in Google ranking and so anybody copying URLs will also have the keywords in the anchor text.
People when linking to your content may not always link like
But more likely will use
And this still has the needed keywords to your liking.
Many people even prefer to add category in the URLs. For using category you need to use the following permalinks structure
Caution: If your blog categories are such that your post can have multiple categories for a single post avoid using category in the URL.
All in one SEO Pack
All in one SEO is one of the most used plugin for WordPress SEO but if you are using Thesis Theme you can avoid this plugin but if you are using any other theme this plugin is a must. This plugin helps you customize your home page title, post page title to add your blog title to your post.
Apart from titles this plugin can also add Meta description and keywords to your posts.
A very important point to note is that by default this plugin has Noindex option checked for category, archive and tag pages. The main reason for this setting is many WordPress themes show full post content on those pages and so having those pages noindex can help you save from duplicate content but if your theme does not display full post content on those pages you can uncheck Noindex option. If you want you can even edit your theme to show only few lines of content from your post on those pages and enable this option.
XML Sitemap Plugin helps search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engine's crawl website much more efficiently. XML Sitemap WordPress plugin helps you create complete XML sitemap for your WordPress including posts, pages, categories, tags and other custom URLs.
Internal Linking Structure
Better internal linking structure can help a lot in SEO and so we will use few plugins to enhance the internal linking structure of our WordPress site.
1. SEO Smart Link - As your blog grows it becomes almost impossible to link to old posts. SEO Smart Links automatically link keywords and phrases in your posts as well as comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories and tags on your blog and helps internal linking for your blog.
2. Related Post - Many people argue how related posts can help in SEO but a better interlinking always help in SEO and related posts is a way to link to other related articles from your blog post. When it comes to related posts plug-in there are quite a few of them for WordPress but my personal favorite is Yet Another Related Posts Plugin because it has very intelligent algorithm for finding related posts.
3. Breadcrumbs - Google is integrating breadcrumbs navigation in SERPs and so having breadcrumb for your posts can help your SERP listing look more trustworthy.
Caution: I personally try to avoid breadcrumbs on blog where I have posts falling into multiple categories. As an example this post is under CMS and SEO category.
4. Pagination - As blog grows it contains tons of posts and if you use the default WordPress navigation, Most of your posts can be buried few clicks from home page. Using page navigation means each of your post is just couple of clicks from the home page.
SEO and Speed
W3 Total Cache - We know site speed is a part of Google's ranking algorithm and W3 Total Cache can help speed up your website considerably. It generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog and then uses html files intelligently to show them to your users, especially guests.
SEO For Images
SEO Images - Whenever you add Images to your post you always miss ALT and TITLE tag for images and SEO Images plugin adds both of them automatically.
Optimize Category Pages
Category pages are the most overlooked pages SEO in your WordPress blog and you should always do SEO for those pages. With the Thesis Theme, you can easily add custom information to the top of your category pages but for your other themes I will recommend to add category description at the top of the page. See what I do for my blog categories like Make Money.
I have quite a few articles on how to generate backlinks but today I am going to discuss ways to generate more links to your Wordpres blog.
- Follow Readers - Follow your blog reader's and visit their blog and comment on it. I always visit the site of person leaving comment on my blog to the extent I can and see if I can share some of my views on some their articles as well.
- Use Ping backs - You can use pingbacks to notify other blogs that you have linked to them and sooner or later they're going to return the favour. Edit Settings > Discussion and have the option Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article checked.
Feel free to ignore anything you think is not right for your blog. I myself don't use all of them on all my blogs but they have worked for me or for my clients.
Don't forget to leave your comments or suggestion for anything you think I have missed and I hope this helps all fellow WordPress bloggers.