Like most non-techie bloggers, I wasn’t so concerned about SEO when I was just starting out a couple of years ago. I didn’t think much about optimizing my blog for search, yet I wanted traffic to come in. Sure enough, I kept on wondering why I’m seeing paltry traffic to my sites. So I got into the program and learned SEO with WordPress. As I have learned, and as many bloggers did before me, optimizing a WordPress blog is simple and easy.
1. Use WordPress as Your Blogging Platform
WordPress is arguably the most powerful blogging platform. This isn’t to say that you should use WordPress exclusively, but there are great benefits that can be had with WordPress. With its thousands of extensions, WordPress is by far the most flexible and most extensible blogging platform. Search engine optimization, the process of making website content relevant for it to be considered and ranked well in the search engines, is also a breeze with WordPress. In fact, I personally think that WordPress is the easiest blogging platform to optimize for search. A well-optimized WordPress post or page should be able to appear in the top pages of the search engines and in turn get more traffic very easily. However, there are tips and guidelines that one must carefully follow to make a WordPress blog rank well in search. So, let’s get right down to the tips on optimizing a WordPress blog.
2. Optimize the Content for SEO
Content is still king, and it’s the very reason the blog exists. For these reasons, content quality deserves the highest level of attention. However, many newbie
bloggers fall into the common mistake of overly-optimizing their content with keywords that make their posts unnatural and difficult to read. It’s very important to properly optimize a post for search if you are to gain profitable visibility, but it’s also crucial that your posts adhere to Google’s quality guidelines. As Google and other search engines move forward to put more emphasis on quality, the focus now is more on creating high quality, useful and relevant posts that appeal to readers more than search engines. So, when writing posts, it’s important to keep the web crawlers (search engine spiders) in mind, but your focus should be more on the users’ benefit.
3. Optimize the Title
How should a post title be written? Should it be written in such a way as to attract the readers’ attention? Or should we only consider the SEO aspects? Write titles for the readers without compromising the SEO aspect of it. Gone are the days when titles are optimized with exact-match keywords so that they are difficult to read and unnatural. Take this example: “Roofing Sacramento Tips for Homeowners” This example title is keyword-optimized for the term “Roofing Sacramento.” It’s clear that the writer intended for the post to rank highly for that keyword, but this makes the title look totally unnatural. As Google moves towards Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), you can now use related keywords instead of exact-match keywords and Google will still recognize what your post is all about. Remember, post-Penguin, Google penalizes sites that are over-optimized with exact-match keywords. In the post-Penguin world, the example title should be written as “Roofing Tips for Sacramento Homeowners.”
4. Optimize the Keywords
Keywords still play central role in our quest to win the first page race. Without keywords, the search engines won’t be able to figure out exactly what your post is all about. It’s keywords that should be talked about in the title, in the meta tags, in the body and link profiles. So, before composing your next blog post, figure out what keywords you want it to rank well for in the search engines. One of the best tools I can recommend which I have had great success with is Google AdWords Keyword Tool. When targeting certain keywords with your post, here are several best practices to observe:
- Use your keyword in the title (but not unnaturally)
- Keywords should be used within the first paragraph, in the middle, and in the last paragraph
- LSI Keywords should be identified and used throughout the article body
A note on using exact-match keywords: Remember that Google Penguin frowns upon over-optimization. It’s fine to use exact-match keywords, but don’t overdo it. Vary the keywords you are using to avoid getting penalized by Penguin. Some bloggers fall into the trap of over-optimizing their content by doing the following: • Keyword stuffing: Using the keywords in an unnatural way over and over again within the post. This is spam and is heavily penalized by the search engines. • Buying backlinks: Others are tempted to buy backlinks from link farms, hoping to get that much needed boost in ranking. However, even before Penguin, the search engines discouraged webmasters and SEOs from buying links.
5. Optimize the Tags
Meta tags such as description tags are no longer considered to be major search engine rankings, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to optimize them. The search engines display your meta descriptions on search results as a preview for users for them to determine what your page is about. Properly placing your keywords within the first sentence of the meta descriptions helps users identify the relevance of your content.
6. Optimize Images
The only way for the search engine spiders to determine what your image is about is by including an Alt tag. Alt tag is a string of codes where you place texts to allow the search engine spiders to properly index your post’s images.
7. Use the Right WordPress SEO plugins
As mentioned previously, WordPress is one of the most flexible blogging platforms available. With its many SEO plugins, you can simplify your SEO efforts. Some of the most common SEO plugins include: • All-In-One SEO Pack • WP SEO By Yoast • SEO Friendly Images • SEO Smart Links