WordPress SEO Guide – Probably One Of The Best WordPress SEO Tips Out There

by Syamsul Alam on January 5, 2012 · 2 comments

in Search Engine Optimization,WordPress

WordPress SEO – I believe that basically, SEO is the same for all platform, either if it’s WordPress, Joomla, Blogger, or even just plain HTML file. However, how to apply the SEO for each platform is what differentiate between them. In this post, we’re going to talk specificly about WordPress SEO.

In this post, mainly we will cover about common WordPress SEO Tips, and how to implement them better in your WordPress Blog using WordPress SEO Plugins, or WordPress SEO Theme. At the end of the article, I will also include few specific WordPress SEO Plugins which I believe is the best WordPress SEO plugins.

With that said, let’s rock n’ roll!


Basic WordPress SEO Tips You Must Implement

Plain WordPress by itself is very well optimized for search engine. However, we can make it a lot better. Below is basic WordPress SEO tips that you should implement for your blog for instant better ranking in SERP for your desired keyword or keyphrase.

WordPress SEO Permalink

  1. Optimizing Your WordPress Permalink: This is the first thing that you want to change. By default, the permalink of each of your post is yourdomain.com/?p=[postid]. You don’t want that. That’s not SEO friendly and it’s ugly. Your visitor also have to remember number instead of name. It will be a lot better if we can change it into something like yourdomain.com/about-me, right?

    Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to change this. Just go to Settings » Permalink. You’ll see this options below at that page. Simply click on Custom Structure then fill it with /%postname%.

    wordpress seo permalink setting

    After you’ve done that, you should install the Redirection Plugins by UrbanGiraffe to perfectly SEO’d all your permalinks without losing your precious SEO juice from your old permalink. On Redirection settings (Tools » Redirection), simply go to Options then select boxes on URL Monitoring » Post & Page URLs: and set it to “Modified Post”.

    wordpress seo redirection options
  2. Choose Between WWW or non-WWW: Choose one of them and stick to only one. Some search engine still can’t do canonical URL, and they’ll think that www.yourdomain.com is different with yourdomain.com and divide your link juice.

    If you decide on using WWW, then permanent redirect all of your non-WWW link to WWW, that way you won’t losing your link juice and perform better in Search Engine Result Page.

    The way to do this is simply add code below in your .htaccess file:

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www.
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

    If you want to do the opposite, you can go to this page to find out how.

Optimizing Your Page or Post (On-Page Optimization)

  1. Optimizing Title for Your Blog Posts: Search engine put more weight on the early words, heck your title MUST contains keyword or keyphrase that you target in its first 70 characters or it won’t appear in search engine result.

    By default, WordPress will using this format for title in your blog posts “Blog Title » Blog Archive » Post Title“. This type of title formatting not only will hurt your search engine ranking in your targeted keyword or keyphrase, but also make your post overlooked by people who do the searching.

    Easy way to fix this is installing one of the best (if not the best) WordPress SEO Plugin: WordPress SEO by Yoast. If you ask, why WordPress SEO by Yoast is the best WordPress SEO plugin, then the answer is because it literally allow you to change almost anything regarding on-page optimization.

    To change your title format simply go to WordPress SEO by Yoast » Title and change it with whatever template you want. I recommend using %%focuskw%% on your post title and enter ‘Focus Keyword‘ with your targeted keyword whenever you’re creating new post or editing post in Add New Post or Edit Post page.

    wordpress seo optimize your title

    wordpress seo adding focus keyword in each post

    You can override your title using your target keyword by putting your targeted keyword in your focus keyword.

    wordpress seo more title to optimize

    More Title options to optimize

    wordpress seo help on title setting with template tag

    help on title setting with template tag
  2. Optimizing Your Meta Description: Using WordPress SEO by Yoast, you’re able to over ride meta descriptions for each post. It is a good idea to include your focus keyword twice in your meta description while keeping it enticing to reader to click.

    It kinda hard to explain, creating a meta description which search engine optimized and enticing to click is an art. My best advice is learn some copywriting. Implement it. My meta description also aren’t that good and I believe that it doesn’t really entice people to click it, so I can’t say anything much regarding this.

  3. Optimize Your Article Using Text Formatting: If you notice on this post, I make certain keyword (keyphrase) bold, italic, underline. I also use different heading formatting in almost all my post, I use heading one for title, which also contain my focus keyword, heading two, heading three, and heading four (which again, all contain my focus keyword).

    I think that it is a false belief that said that we can’t make outbound link if we want to rank high in search engine. I believe that linking to relevant content outside our site is a good SEO practice, moreover linking to authoritive relevant site.

    That’s why I link a lot at the end of my post. I also do it to gain trackback (linkback from linking to other blog), which I believe will strengthen my position in search engine.

  4. Optimize Your Post with Optimized Image: I try to use lots of image for my post. Because, not only that it will make my post less plain and boring, it also help me gain additional traffic from image search engine.

    Putting nicely optimized image in my post also help me make my post having more value in the eye of search engine. And what I mean by nicely optimized image is images which contain your focus keyword (keyphrase) on its file name, its alt tag, and its title tag.

    I do admit that it’s very time consuming, especially since I host my image externally to ensure that it doesn’t affect my site’s server stability, but I think it’s worth to do. To make it a little easier, you can use WordPress SEO image plugins such as SEO Friendly Images which will automatically add title tag and alt tag with your post title or your image’s file name.

I think this should cover up all basic WordPress SEO. I believe that by just implementing those WordPress SEO Tips above will help you rank better in search engine, especially for low competition keyword (or keyphrase).

“WordPress SEO is Really Tiring! But If That’s Only The Basic, Then Is There Another WordPress SEO Tactics?”

Well, yes there is. WordPress SEO Consultant or SEO Professional optimize their site more by optimizing the template and pay lots of money to make sure that they have enough link to put their site on top of SERP (search engine result position) on certain keyword.

You can follow what they do, which is spending money buying and nurturing link, but if that’s impossible for because you have limited budget, then you can follow some of their tricks which requires little or no money.

Let’s start with Advanced WordPress SEO which requires no money, then we’ll talk more about another paid option. So… let’s rock n’ roll! (again)

Advanced WordPress SEO – For Keywords with Tougher Competition

WordPress SEO – Theme Optimization

  1. Adding Breadcrumb to Your Template: The idea is that every post should link to its parent post, link to category, and link to the actual site. The benefits of this (besides having more inbound link) is that your users will be able to navigate your site easier and search engine will be able to determine the structure of your site.

    If you use WordPress SEO by Yoast, then you’ll be able to add this to your template (single.php and page.php) by copy and paste one line of code. Still, I think that the idea of opening your WordPress template file and adding code -even if it’s only one line code- is scaring lots of people, especially WordPress beginner. That’s why this tip belongs to ‘Advanced’ WordPress SEO.

  2. Proper Posts Title Heading for Each Theme Section: In well optimized WordPress SEO Theme, post title should be heading one on single.php (if you don’t really know what I mean, just follow along…), and it should be no more than heading 2 in front page and category page.

    Your blog’s title should be heading one in front page. While on single, post, and category pages, it should be no more than an heading 3 (at least that what world class SEO expert -Joost de Valk- said in his ‘Definitive WordPress SEO Guide’.)

    Most of the time this problem solved by installing the right kind of theme. That’s why I always recommend Thesis, Genesis, or WooThemes because they’re some of WordPress SEO Theme which known to be very well search engine optimized.

  3. Speed Up Your Site: Lately big search engines like Google are known to put more weight on site that speedy to load. Not only that search engine will value your post a lot more if you make it easy to load, search engine crawler also index more frequently and will index more page if they think that your site is well optimized for speed.

    One way to do this is to move almost all javascript and CSS you might have in your template files to external files. By keeping your template clean, your users can cache those files when they first come to your site, and search engines don’t have to download them most of the time.

    You can also do quick optimization by uninstalling non-essential plugins as it will usually greatly reduce the amount of html request which means more fast loading site.

    Installing caching plugins such as WP Super Cache will also help to make your site a lot more faster.

    If you know what you’re doing, it is also recommended to clean up your theme by making the header.php do a lot less queries. You can read more about optimizing your theme in this post.

    Simple fix to make your site load easily is to just put it on good server. Some server are ust plain slow and bad. Transferring your site from old server to new server usually fix 80% of your speed (and technical) problem. I recommend HostGator or BlueHost. For small blog like mine, they’re simply the best.

  4. Optimizing Your Sidebar: Delete your site wide blogroll and only link to your buddies in front page. Goole and other search engines nowadays might penalize you for this and they heavily discount your site wide links.

    Make your widget dynamic, some of your widget will make sense if they’re only in front page while the others are more useful if it placed in specific post page. You can easily make fix all of this using Dynamic Widgets Plugin

Prevent Your Site from Making Duplicate Content

WordPress comes with few different types of taxonomy: date based, category based, and tag based. And author page also comes with their own archive, resulting lots of duplicate contents in your site.

What we’re going to do with them is to make them not indexed by search engine. They will still spidered (or crawled), but by disallowing search engine to index those page in their search result, we won’t getting any duplicate content penalty from them.

  1. Noindex, Follow All Archive Pages: Easy way to make your archive pages ‘noindex, follow’ is to once again install WordPress SEO by Yoast. Then go to WordPress SEO » Indexation » Indexation Rules, then simply check all.

    wordpress seo indexation rules checked all
  2. Disable Unnecessary Archives: If you think you don’t need author erchives page (because it’s a one author blog), and if you think you don’t need date-based archive, then disable it. The way to do this is in the same page (WordPress SEO » Indexation) scroll and find Archive Settings, then simply check all.

    picture
  3. Pagination On Category Page: If you have lots of post, you’ll want to make sure that the search engine can reach all underlying pages without any trouble. The way to fix this is simply install WP-PageNavi (you don’t have to do this if your theme already support numeric navigation on content acrhives, such as Genesis Theme).
  4. Nofollow Unnecessary Link: Simply add rel nofollow tag in any link that go to your login and registration page. Also add nofollow tag to links that go to your RSS feeds, subscribe by email, and that kinds of pages. Again, WordPress SEO by Yoast can help you on some part of this.

    wordpress seo nofollow login and registration link
  5. Link to Your Related Posts: Pretty self explanatory and very easy to do. To automate this, just use related post plugins that available out there.

And I believe that’s all about advanced WordPress SEO. The rest is just gain more backlink, either it’s via social media, press release, high traffic site, article syndication, and guest blogging.

WordPress SEO Tools List – List of Tools that Make Your WordPress Site Well SEO’d

WordPress SEO Plugins List

To make it easier for you to optimize your WordPress blog using WordPress SEO plugins, I think I should make a list of all WordPress SEO Plugins that I use myself. And hey, if you know more cool WordPress SEO Plugins, please let me know by commenting using comment form below.

  • WordPress SEO by Yoast – It’s obvious. You can’t do half of SEO Tips that I laid out here if you don’t have this plugin installed.
  • Easy WP SEO – Premium plugins (that means that you have to pay to get it). It’s also kinda buggy (at least in my blog, it is buggy…), but it’s far more superior than Scribe or SEOPressor, and it definitely help you a lot if you don’t know really much about on-page SEO. It also saves you lots of time doing keyword research, gives your pages an SEO score, and remind you on what to do to further optimize your page.
  • WP Super Cache – Cache your site, minify your code, and make it super fast (if you configure it properly).
  • Related Post Plugins – There are lots of options for related post plugins, and I personally don’t really know which is the best related post plugins out there, so sorry… I can’t recommend you any.
  • WP PageNavi – Add pagination in your category page, very useful if you have lots of post in one category and want to make sure that search engine index all of your post.
  • Dynamic Widget – Allow you to display different widget on different page type. Very useful if you want to insert relevant links inside posts in certain category, and more…

WordPress SEO Themes List

  • Thesis Framework: It’s more than just WordPress SEO Themes. It’s WordPress Framework (whatever the meaning is…) It’s allow you to optimize your WordPress blog without any SEO Plugins, it loads really fast, the code is professionally written to ensure maximum loading speed, and much more.

    The only drawback, it’s plain and boring if you use it without any CSS modification. You must have some kind of site design skill to make your Thesis Theme different that anybody else.

  • Genesis Framework: Pretty much the same like Thesis, WordPress Framework, allows you to make your WordPress a lot more flexible than ever. I believe from SEO stand point, it isn’t as good as Thesis, but search engine optimization expert like the owner of CopyBlogger use it, and the design is more appealing in the eyes than Thesis (at least for me). So it must be really good theme framework.
  • WooThemes Framework: I just love WooThemes because it looks really great. I mainly using WooThemes for the look, but it also has well written code and a super flexible theme. Definitely worth checking out.

And yeah, all of those theme that I recommend you is a premium theme (you gotta pay to get it). But if you want your site to rank in order to make money, you have to invest some money too, right?

Conclusions on WordPress SEO & Further Reading

That’s pretty much everything that I can give you regarding WordPress SEO. Also, Joost de Valk talk more about conversion which I don’t cover in his own WordPress SEO page.

Hey, I knew that there must be more about WordPress SEO that I haven’t cover, so if you know more thing than I do, then please share it with me via comment form. Thanks!

Related Posts:

This is PDF/printer version of a blog post here: http://www.syamsulalam.com/blog/wordpress-seo.html . If you want to find more awesome tricks and tutorials like this, you can find it more in http://www.syamsulalam.com/blog . My name is Syamsul Alam, and thanks for reading!

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