Search engine optimization, or SEO, doesn’t have to be scary. It can be fun and exciting to put these WordPress SEO tips to use and to watch your blog begin receiving targeted visitors from people who are actively searching for exactly what you have to offer.
What are the keys to building a successful presence on the search engine results pages? What are the most important SEO factors for getting your site discovered by Google’s search bot and how can we get in on the action?
So you’re looking for the best SEO tips for WordPress necessary to get your website noticed by Google? Look no further. Take your time. Exam the ideas below and then transform the effectiveness of your WordPress website.
The 15 Best SEO Tips for WordPress in 2011
So without further ado, I’m very pleased to share with you 15 of the best SEO tips for WordPress in 2011. Let’s make this year our best year ever.
- Create Amazing Content: You’ll probably want to viciously punch my hansom face for leading this list with such a clichéd topic, but it’s undeniably true and far too many of you are still failing to produce material that truly appeals to your viewers. If you were producing something amazing, the world would be beating down your door trying to get to it.
- Link to Amazing Content: It’s always a good idea to point your users toward resources on other websites that will be helpful for them. It shows security as a thought leader in your niche when you’re willing to suggest to your readers that they leave your site, and search engines favor sites that link to other websites that it views as both generally authoritative and relevant to your articles.
Special Note: Don’t link to other sites with the hope of getting something in return. Find resources that are genuinely helpful and share them with your readers. People will respect you for it.
- Sprinkle Your Keywords Throughout Your Articles: The term keyword refers to the word or phrase that you hope to be listed for on Google search. Once you’ve identified a term that you’d like to be listed for, be sure to use that term a few times throughout your article. Do this is small portions, because if you do this too much you’re a spammer using a tactic that we refer to as keyword stuffing.
- Use Your Keyword in the Title: This is one of the strongest ways to get listed for a search term. However, it is again incredibly important to remember that you must not practice keyword stuffing. Only put your keyword in the title if you’re able to make it sound fun, exciting and engaging to your readers. You don’t have to sacrifice your quality to implement this or any of these 15 SEO tips for WordPress.
- Enable Trackbacks: Trackbacks are a neat system that allow links to be created in your comments section to anyone who links to your articles. With them enabled, it’s a great way to encourage people to link to you which in turn will help to build your site’s authority.
- Optimize Your URL Structure (Pretty Permalinks): We call these pretty permalinks and they provide much more information about your page to search engines. You should change your website URL’s so that they do not display like this: http://www.sitesketch101.com/?page_id=1 but instead let’s make them look like this: http://www.sitesketch101.com/about. Here’s how we do that. Under the settings panel click on permalinks. Select custom structure and input the following code (just put in what comes after the equals sign into the fields):
Custom Structure = /%postname%/
Category Base = category
Tag Base = tag
- Optimize Images In Your Posts: When you can illustrate your topics and articles with attention grabbing artwork or photography people are more likely to view your content. I personally use Flickr’s Creative Commons Search to find excellent photography. As you work to do that, be sure to use image titles and alt text that adequately describe both the image and the content of the article.
- Provide a Google Sitemap: Google likes it when you provide them with an easy-to-read overview of all the pages on your site. The easiest and most effective way to deliver this much needed SEO tool is to simply install the WordPress plugin called Google XML Sitemaps. This plugin will do all the hard work for you and automatically update every time you add new posts to your site.
- Customize Each Post’s Slug: When you are writing your article, the ’slug’ field that is located just below the title of the article will determine the website address of the article. So if I enter ‘5-crucial-tips-for-wordpress-users‘ for the slug then the website address of this article will behttp://www.sitesketch101.com/5-crucial-tips-for-wordpress-users. Search engines that see that your website URL’s have the same keywords as your meta description, title, keywords and your content will be seen as being even more consistent.
- Interlink Keywords Between Articles: Internal links are a powerful way to let Google know what your articles are about, and they’re a terrific way to increase page views across your site as they invite your readers to click through to read other articles. Do you interlink your articles? You should.
- Provide Valid XHTML Code: There are, in fact, several reasons that you should take the time to validate your website to the standards of the World Wide Web Consortium. If you know anything about the basics of html then getting started won’t be difficult. Simply click through to the W3C Validator, type in the name of your website, and then follow the instructions that it provides you for resolving each issue.
Advanced: Although Google clearly states that they will not dock a website for invalid code, you won’t ever have to worry about them missing anything if your site is semantically accurate.
- Cache Your Blog’s Content: WordPress is a php based system that generates pages on the fly. In other words, your home page doesn’t actually exist. It is created fresh every time someone tries to load it. WordPress looks at a database full of variables which include the articles, the post titles, the sidebar widgets and everything else and compiles them into a page and then delivers it based on the settings and options that you’ve chosen in the control panel. WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache are WordPress plugins that allow that generated page to be stored as a real static page so that the next person to view it doesn’t have to wait for it to be created. This drastically reduces the time it takes a viewer to see your pages and increases the possibility of keeping more readers. This means that your content will always be lightning fast.
- Install a WordPress SEO Plugin: In your plugin manager click on “Add New.” Do a search for “Headspace SEO” and install that plugin. Activate the plugin and then go back to your article manager. If you create or edit an article you will now see several fields at the very bottom of the page that include title, keywords, and description. On each article, you will want to fill out the last two at least. Check out the following three articles for more information about setting up your Headspace SEO installation:
SEO Tips & Tricks for Your WordPress Blog
Supercharged SEO: A Guide to Headspace 2
WordPress SEO Made Simple With Headspace
- Recycle Old Posts and Revive Old Permalinks: The art of recycling an old post simply means that you take an article that was previously published, let’s say five or six months ago, and add new life and excitement to it and republishing it. If you want to keep growing the ranking authority of your most powerful articles from last year then be sure to leave the permalink alone. This allows you to bring in a fresh wave of links to a page that already ranks in Google.
Note: For more information on implementing this principle successfully, check out How to Effectively Recycle Old Blog Posts.
- Link to Related Posts: My final piece of advice is to install WordPress Related Posts Plugin and begin linking to 4 or 5 similar articles at the bottom of each article. This is both a terrific way to guide your readers to more of your articles on similar topics and it’s a terrific way to guide search engines around your site.
Scribe – SEO Made Simple: If you’re looking for an easy way to optimize your posts and pages on WordPress, Scribe is your answer.
Bloggers and webmasters are constantly wondering why Google is such a bully to some websites and why they are so positive toward others. Begin putting these SEO tips for WordPress into practice and you’ll be able to stop wondering.
Special Note: Within 12 hours of publishing this article, it ranked on the first page for the phrase SEO Tips for WordPress. I won’t pretend to be an expert at search engine optimization, but it’s always a great feeling to see my work validated that quickly.