How to optimize your WordPress blog for the Search Engines?

SEO for WordPress blogs

Fact 1: WordPress in the best and easiest blogging system in the world.

Fact 2: search engines like Google, Live and Yahoo! really like blogs.

The reason behind the success of blogs in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) is that they really fit in the way search engines and their algorithms work today.

I’m going to show you how you can get your WordPress blog loved even more by Google and other search engines.

All of you involved in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) know that Google likes 2 things:

  • fresh content
  • links

I know this is a generalisation, but you get the picture.

Now generally a blog scores high on both important factors:

  • you add new content to your blog on a regular basis, so lots of fresh content
  • your blogroll or references in your content link to other sites and blogs, so lots of links

Bottomline: a blog gives you a chance of getting noticed by the search engines and a reasonable chance of getting ranked in the SERP’s.

But that’s not enough… You can influence the ranking of your blog by using some of the features WordPress has to offer.

1. Choose or create a WordPress theme that produces really easy code.

The larger the ammount of content compared to the ammount of code, the better your blog will rank. You can choose from litterally thousands of (free) WordPress themes (take a look here or just try Google). Before installing a theme, take a look at the code it produces (Ctrl + U in Firefox, right mouse-click and view source in Internet Explorer). If it’s really easy to find the content of the posts, it’s a good theme. If you need some time to locate the real content in the code, it’s probably not the theme you want. Once your theme is installed, it’t time to go through the options WordPress offers (login to the admin panel and choose Options).

2. Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article.

Under Discussion options, there’s the possibility to notify the blogs you link to in your posts. Activate it and other blogs will get noticed you linked to them. Most blogs even mention (a part of) your post in their comments. Although these links often carry a “nofollow” (the link doesn’t count towards your incoming links, especially used by Google), your blog will get noticed by the search engines (and readers of the blog you link to).

Wordpress options > notify blogs linked to from article

3. Make your blog visible to the search engines.

Under the Privacy tab, you can make your blog visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers

Wordpress options > make blog visible

4. Use a nice URL-structure.

Under the Permalinks tab, you can choose the way your url’s will look. It’s only natural that an url like www.yourdomain.com/get-your-blog-noticed.html says more about your page than an url like www.yourdomain.com/?p=6 (the standard url for WordPress). So change your permalink. Several options are possible, and all of them are better than the standard one. You can choose the “Date and time based”-option, the “Numeric”-option or you can create your own Custom structure. I always use the custom structure using the postname (with or without .html added) sometimes combined with the post id or the date. Some good possibilities:

  • /%postname%/ (www.yourdomain.com/get-your-blog-noticed/)
  • /%postname%.html (www.yourdomain.com/get-your-blog-noticed.html)
  • /%category%/%postname%.html (www.yourdomain.com/seo/get-your-blog-noticed.html)
  • /%post_id%/%postname%/ (www.yourdomain.com/6/get-your-blog-noticed/)
  • /%year%/%monthnum/%day%/%postname%.html (www.yourdomain.com/2007/11/18/get-your-blog-noticed.html)

A lot of other combinations are possible, but these are the ones I prefer and that always seem to work. Be sure you have a writable .htaccess file in the root of you blog before saving the permalink structure.

Wordpress options > customize the permalink structure

5. Use keywords in your title.

Using keywords you would like to rank for in Google in your posttitle will help you rank for those keywords. Since you use a good permalink structure, those keywords will also be mentioned in the url of the page.

6. Use titles for your links and your images.

When you upload a picture in WordPress or add a link to your post, you have the option to add an image title or link title. Do it! Might help you score for certain keywords.

7. Install the SEO title tag plugin.

The SEO title tag plugin gives you the freedom to choose the titles of every page on your blog (so your posttitle and pagetitle can be different). Use different variations of important keywords in your pagetitle and posttitle. Under the tab Manage > Title Tags you can change all pagetitles.

Download the SEO title tag plugin here.

Wordpress SEO title tag plugin

I hope this post helps you to optimize your WordPress blog so the search engines feel welcome. In a next post I’m going to show you how to get your blog indexed by the search engines and how to get your new blogposts noticed.

Feel free to add extra tips and feel free to comment.

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    43 thoughts on “How to optimize your WordPress blog for the Search Engines?”

    1. very well article and definetly useful for wordpress blogger, anyway now i still using blogger as my blog platform, any tips how to optimize thei SERP, i would like to hear..please let me know.

    2. Great article. There are so many facets of SEO and you have covered many of them in this post. Is a great thing to give back to the community and that is exactly what you have done. Thanks.

    3. WordPress has been a pretty good CMS to work with. I’m not that technically savvy, and I have been able to make some decent sites…but Im no guru as Ive seen some really well done templates.

      All your SEO tips are great, and they are really important that anyone starting with wordpress really use.

      One tool that helps too is the all in one SEO pack. It’s a plug in. If you google it, you should find it easily, but it really makes the SEO part of each post much simpler!

      Mike

    4. From someone who has paid $$$ to so-called ‘real estate website designers/profiders’ all I can say is that WordPress is NIRVANA for me and for the first time in over 5 years…once I switched to WP…I noticed my site getting onto page one of google!!! Yippee :) Do you have any updates on this topic – great tips! Thank you, Tammy

    5. I personally love wordpress, its excellent for SEO. I recently changed all my blogs over too it. I’ve heard some solid things about Drupal though. I’ve never used it, so I’m considering checking it because I think almost everyone uses WordPress these days.

    6. This is really good SEO information for WP blogs. One plug in I really like is the all in one seo pack. In fact, it is so good, that I think WP has addeded into their own WP plug in offerings.

      You can find it at WP or even search on Google, and the plug in is supported for version updates.

    7. @racing schools.

      Drupal is very popular, but the challenges as I understand them are that it can be hard to work with. Word press is much simpler, and very hackable.

    8. Hello! This is a great writeup! I also like to do SEO and if you use wordpress, a great addition to it is a plugin called All in One SEO, it optimizes your tags, prevents duplicate content inside the blog and much more!

    9. Great tips on SEO. Looking forward to reading the rest of the blog. And thanks for the link to related post plug in. I was also thinking about where I could get that!

    10. Anyone familiar with what you need to do to optimize the title tags in the header? I hear there is a simple coding you can do to hack it to be very SEO friendly.

    11. hello!

      I am in the process of changing my websites to WordPress website. It will not look like a blog look like a full-blown website.
      This article about search engine optimization was very enlightening, I am still new at all to search engine optimization and this post helped me a lot to understand some basic things.

      Thank you for this article, best regards.

    12. One thing you might add to your conversation about getting blogs good rankings is to make sure that you localize each entry.

      By localization I mean that every entry should have a geographical descriptor of some sort. This way the SEs will be able to give added weight.

      Think of it this way…

      Say you write a great blog article on, say, sex appeal.

      With millions upon millions of pages with this keyphrase your chance of getting ranked is zero.

      But…

      How about “Joe Smith had more sex appeal than anyone in Tampa, Florida could tolerate.

      Bingo… search for sex appeal in Tampa and you have a hit.

    13. Thanks for the post. This was exactly what I was looking for. I needed to know whether it was useful for me to have the “attempt to notify other blogs…” box checked. Apparently it is! Thanks a lot.

    14. Hello, JayAre, your well-written article has successfully provoked me to start blogging with wordpress. I have once used wp, but I wasn’t comfortable with it, so I left it. And now I wonder if it’s really as easy as you say.

    15. One really good way, which is not really touched based on is popularity. The more popular your website is, the more money you are going to get from people looking at it. Just having a popular website would be good.

    16. I’ve been looking at starting my own blog so as to promote my site. Your post is very helpful in the thinking porocess. I think I’ll go with WordPress. Thanks you!

    17. I’ve been using wordpress for a while now, but i haven’t explored some of the settings (like that permalinks for example)… Thanks plenty for the info!

    18. Very nice read. It was very detailed and provided enough information for both an avid SEOer and beginners alike!

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