WordPress is a platform that can help you manage the content of your website with the help of blogs. Beginners in the field of internet marketing need to know the basics of WordPress SEO if they want search engines to index each and every page of their website. Here is some basic information that you need regarding optimization of your blog. Take a look at the following tips and information to optimize your blog perfectly.
Technically optimize your blog
- Change the permalink structure– this is the first thing to be done when you think of optimizing your blog. This can be done by changing the settings from default permalink to custom permalink like /%postname%/. Redirecting plugin can be installed before the permalinks take the form of SEOed permalinks. The root domain configuration is important and you can add WWW/ Strip WWW one. It’s better if you make a choice and enable it instead of choosing both the options as search engines may not be okay with that. Install SEO plugin so that when you save a post, there are no stop words and long URLs in your slugs.
- Be careful about the titles– the title of your blog has to be different so that the search engines are able to rank your blog well. The keywords need to be near the start of the page title to make ranking easier. The people also follow the same technique while scanning the result pages in search engines, so keep the keywords in the starting of the listing. Check the header and see that it has two quotes so that you come across no problem due to the separators. One way to make the WordPress titles to help in SEO is to write separate and specific titles for each post.
- Give descriptions– a description has to be given to every category and page that you wish to rank higher. This is what attracts most of the people to click and pay attention. When you are done with this, add the description to Meta description using HeadSpace. It is better to choose handwritten descriptions over automated ones as most of the plugins pick up the first sentence of the blog that may or may not have anything related to the blog’s subject. Missing a Meta description will lead to the search engine picking the keywords from the document and bold them while they appear on search engine pages.
- Use meaningful links in place of ‘read more’– HeadSpace can be used to optimize the ‘more’ text. The default ‘more’ and ‘read more’ links should be replaced with some other creative and meaningful links so that SEO process becomes easier.
- Write good alt tags for images– handling the images is one of the most important things for SEO but most of the people tend to overlook it. Make sure you name the files in a manner that gets you extra traffic from the search engines. This will also help the readers who make use of a screen reader to understand the content on your pages. If you are short on time for writing, you can make use of a plugin named SEO friendly images.
Optimize the template of your website
- Add breadcrumbs to your website– these links can be added to pages and single posts above the title post to ease the process of navigation for your visitors and to allow the search engines to be able to determine the structure of the website without any hindrances. It is important for the breadcrumbs to link back to the homepage and the post’s category.
- Take care of the post title and blog’s name on the front page- you will have to make sure that the post title and the name of the blog is “h1 tag” on category pages, posts and on the front page of your website. If not “h1”, then it should not be more than “h3”. Proper headings are important and if you want to edit them, you can do it easily in templates such as post.php and page.php.
- Increase the speed of your WordPress blog– if a blog loads speedily, the number of pages that the search engine will spider in one day will be more. The speed of your blog can be increased. You can do this by limiting the amount of database calls by optimizing the template. A caching plugin can also be installed for making the blog load faster if you have chosen a below average hosting service for your website so that your blog can sustain high loads.
Get rid of the duplicate content pool and use advanced WordPress SEO
- Duplicate content is one of the problems that you may encounter while using WordPress. The taxonomy of WordPress is based on tag, category and date. The single author blogs too have completely duplicate content which is a result of the archives that each author has. A single post is available on a number of other pages that are outside the single page where it is necessary for it to be available. It is possible to get rid of the duplicate content while still letting it be spidered. Pagination issues too will be solved.
- Do not let the archive pages to be indexed– indexing of the archive pages can be done by changing the settings. When you do this, the search engine index will not show the archive pages but will follow the links that appear on these pages.
- Disable the extra archives– if you have a single author blog, it is not necessary that you need the author archives. Disabling them is easy and can be done with the help of robot Meta plugin. Same can be done to the date based archive in order to avoid the chances of breaking the WordPress SEO process.
- Pagination– the bot has to reach the category pages so that reaching the inner pages becomes easier. A large number of posts in a category, the bot will have to search the previous pages so that it can find a link to the earlier posts.
- Stop linking from every page of the blog– one of the best methods to improve WordPress SEO is to stop getting the links from every page of the blog to your login and registration page. You can choose the no follow option for all registration and login links. This has to be done manually by going to RSS and no following the links.
Give importance to the site structure to get high rankings– one of the reasons for blogs to be spidered so easily, is their categories’ structure and neat linking and markup.
- Create pages not posts- If you want your article to be on the right place on the blog, it is important that you make the article a ‘daughter’ page of the WordPress page that you have created. The articles also need to have a particular word density so that it can get a higher rank on the search engines. This is where most of the companies fail. Even if you have constructed the keyword density carefully, some wrong comments can play spoilsport and destroy the density. Change your articles into pages so that updating them becomes easier. You can also then write a post about what changes you have made in it.
- Sell old posts in new package- there are certain posts on your blog that more people like. These posts start ranking for the good keywords that it has. If this happens with you as well you can make a new page that has better updated content. You can also make some changes in the slug of the old page and name it as post-name-original. After you are done with this, you can publish the new page but with the URL as same as the old post. Redirecting can also be done. People who are linked to your earlier posts should be informed about the updating and change in the content of the post. Once this is done, you will have to wait for the links to come your way. Higher rankings will come as you have better and more links. You also have a control over the keyword density and can keep updating the article to improve the content and ranking.
- Redirecting is possible and you can get the same effects but the only thing that you will lose will be the comments that you had for the earlier posts. The people who commented on the post might end up feeling bad due to this. The redirecting technique has to be carried out with care so that its misuse is avoided. One can make the best use of the technique to reap the benefits and to direct the visitors to the right articles and posts.
- Get links to related posts- the search engines will find it easy to find your older posts if you make use of a post plugin. These plugins increase your SEO capabilities and have the ability to search and find the posts that are related to your post’s subject. Once the posts are found, these plugins add links to the found posts. A number of such plugins are available and you can choose the one that you think will be the most useful for you.
Think of conversion optimization– most of the bloggers are of the viewpoint that their blog is just a blog and they do not need to optimize it. This is not true as it is important for you to link your blog to people and make them read it so that they know more about what you are trying to say. It is important for you to increase the conversion rate and get new people to subscribe to your blog. The existing readers will keep on coming but the new readers too are needed and this is why conversion optimization is stressed upon by the bloggers.
Visitors need to see a big RSS subscription button on your blog along with the way to subscribe to the emails. Some of the visitors may not be interested in daily updates but may like to subscribe to monthly and weekly email options. Provide buttons and options for the same in your blog. As a blogger, you need to know the best time to tell the people to subscribe to your blog. It might happen that a reader has just finished reading your article and he likes it. This is the best time you can ask him to subscribe to the blog as he will also be motivated to do so. This is why most of the people add lines like “liked the blog, subscribe to my blog here”. You too can add lines like that so that more people come to your blog and subscribe to it. If not this, you can get people to join as and when they post comments on your blog. For this purpose, the comment redirect plugin will come to your recue.
Choose comment optimization as one of the methods– when you have a blog, its most important aspect is the comments that you get from the readers. The comments give you a chance to know what the readers think about the blog and its content and the mistakes that you have committed. This is not all. The comments also show the engagement of the users with your blog. The bloggers are eager to get comments as this is the best thing to link yourself and your blog to the people. The conversation cannot be complete with just your readers’ response. You have to complete the chain of communication by replying to the comments and let your readers know that you too care. This will also help you in stepping forward to build a relationship. Here is some information about how you can optimize the comments.
- Getting the people to comment– if you are new to blogging, you might think that it is difficult to get comments from users on your blog but this is not the case. If you are looking for an easy way to make the readers comment on your blog, the best way to do this is to ask them to comment. The writing style of the blog has to be engaging enough so that the readers too like to share their opinion with you or tell you the shortcomings of your blog.
- Comment links too are important. If there are no comments on your blog yet, it might show as “no comments”. You can change it to “no comments yet, your thoughts are welcome.” There is a difference in the two links as the latter is motivating. This small change makes a big difference. If you wish to change this, go to your index.php template and find comments_popup_link and make changes in the text within that.
- Build a strong bond with the commenters– people who take out time to read your blog and comment on it, need to be thanked. This doesn’t need to be done every time but only when they comment for the first time. There are comment plugins that send emails to the people who comment on the blog. You can customize the message that is sent through these mails. But the problem associated with these mails is that many people may take it as a spam message and ignore it. Laws in some countries may also be against this. It is better you check with your lawyer for the same.
- Engage the people in conversation– Once the people are a part of the conversation; it is your duty to make sure that they stay in it and be an active part of it. There are plugins that help the readers to subscribe to the comments just like a forum. Whenever a new comment comes on the blog, the readers receive notifications through emails. This is the best way to keep the conversation going between you and the readers. You never know when you get a new angle to your post with the help of your reader.
SEO- try it off site as well– the above mentioned SEO advice is good enough to make you successful on the blogging front and with the search engines. The step that is mentioned last may sound easy but when you actually go out to do it, some challenges may be waiting for you.
Try following your commentators- the ‘you comment-I follow’ movement on the internet wants you to get rid of the ‘no follow’ tag from the comments. This might look fine but once your blog becomes popular on the web, this will get you a lot of spam. The better way to be connected to your readers is to actually follow them and visit their websites. You can pay their website a visit and leave comments on the articles they have put up. This will get you more respect than ever from the readers.
Tweet it out– twitter is one of the most popular micro-blogging sites of today and there are millions of people who are a part of the network. You can find your share of readers there for sure. There are some people who are hooked to twitter for the whole day and these are the people who can be your potential readers. You can make use of the twitter tools so that all your posts get announced on twitter as well. This will help you in getting a few early readers. As people like tweeting, they would also like to comment on your posts as well. This way you can start new conversations.
Find the top related blogs and work on them– Google blog search can help you if you wish to rank for some special keywords. With the help of this tool, you can find blogs that have the highest rank. Go through the blogs and start posting your comments. You can even follow up on the blogs they have posted by putting up a post on your own blog while linking back to them. This is how you can communicate effectively with the other bloggers. Being a part of the community will get you links and make you rank higher.