WordPress SEO

Posted on January 29th, 2011

Technical Optimization

1.      Permalinks

Change permalink structure. This option is found under Settings >> Permalinks. The default permalink structure is?p=<postid> . But the good structure for SEO purpose is either /post-name/ or /category/post-name/.For the first option, you change the “custom” setting into /%postname%/.To include the category, you change it to /%category%/%postname%/.

2.      WWW vs. non-WWW

Another good thing to configure is the Root domain: Add WWW.

3. URL stop words

The last thing you’ll want to do about your permalinks to increase your WordPress SEO, is install the SEO Slugs plug in, this will automatically remove stop words from your slugs once you save a post, so you won’t get those ugly long URL’s when you do a sentence style post title.

Optimize Titles for SEO

By default, the title of blog posts is “Blog title » Blog Archive » Keyword rich post title”.

Search engines put more weight on the early words, so if your keywords are near the start of the page title you are more likely to rank well.

People scanning result pages see the early words first. If your keywords are at the start of your listing your page is more likely to get clicked on.

Ref: Google & SEO Friendly Page Titles

We should check your header.php though, and make sure that the code for wp_title(); contains two quotes, so it looks like this: wp_title('');. This makes sure you have absolute control over the title and don’t have any annoying separator in there.

For the other pages

  • Posts / Pages: %%title%% – Blog Title
  • Categories: %%category%% Archives %%page%% – Blog Title
  • Tags: %%tag%% Archives %%page%% – Blog Title
  • Archives: Blog Archives %%page%% – Blog Title

Optimize Descriptions

Give each category a decent description, and use HeadSpace to add that description to the meta description, by adding %%category_description%% in the Description field. After that, write a description for each post or page that you actually want to rank with.

Optimize the More text

Another neat featuer of HeadSpace is that you can use it to optimize the more text, so if you use a more tag on the frontpage, you can replace the default “Read more” link with something meaningful for every post. It’s small things like that that make your WordPress SEO the best.

Image Optimization

It is important to use optimized images.  It is important to write good titles and alt tags for each and every image. There is a plug in that can help you. The plug in is called SEO Friendly Images, and it can automatically add the title of the post and or the image name to the image’s alt and title tag.

Template Optimization

Breadcrumbs

Add breadcrumbs to single posts and pages. Breadcrumbs are the links, usually above the title post, that look like “Home > Articles > WordPress SEO”. They are good for two things:

  • They allow your users to easily navigate your site.
  • They allow search engines to determine the structure of your site more easily.

These breadcrumbs should link back to the homepage, and the category the post is in. If the post is in multiple categories it should pick one. Plug ins are available for adding bread crumb navigation to theme. Eg: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/breadcrumb-navigation-xt/

Headings

Make sure to use <h1> tag for post titles. Your blog’s name should only be an <h1> on your front page, and on single, post, and category pages, it should be no more than an <h3>.

Clean up your code

All that JavaScript and CSS you might have in your template files move that to external java scripts and css files, and keep your templates clean, as they’re not doing your WordPress SEO any good. This makes sure your users can cache those files on first load, and search engines don’t have to download them most of the time.

2.4. Aim for speed

Two things to increase the speed of WordPress.

  1. Optimize the template to do as small an amount of database calls as necessary.
  2. Install a caching plugin. WP-Super-Cache, is a good one.

Pagination

Pagination is an important thing. Otherwise, if you have a lot of posts in a category, a user might have to go back 10 pages before being able to find the link to one of earlier posts. WordPress have pagination codes in most files. Plug ins are available to change the look and feel of pagination links.

Pages instead of posts

It’s good to use pages instead of posts. Comments destroy the carefully constructed keyword density.

Include related post links

Using related posts links in site is the way of getting search engines to get older contents, thus increasing your WordPress SEO capabilities a lot. Plug in is available to display related posts links in site. These Plugins search through posts database to find posts with the same subject, and add links to these posts.

Use of subscription options

It is important to use subscription links like RSS or subscribe via email link in site. Feed burner, aweber and constant contact are the accounts used to email subscription.

Another thing to be very aware of is when people might want to subscribe to your blog more people are adding lines like this to the end of their posts: “Liked this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!”