WordPress SEO – A Guide to Optimizing Your Blog for Search Engine Traffic
If you’re using WordPress for your website, you made a good decision. WordPress has a lot of built in features that make it so easy to run a blog, my grandmother could do it (if she owned a computer). It also has a lot of features that can help you when it comes to your search engine marketing strategy.
Once you create your WordPress blog, you want to make sure you do everything you can to increase the chances of getting your website ranked as high as possible in the search engines. You can do that by implementing the fundamentals of search engine optimization, also known as SEO.
One of the first things you should do is check your privacy settings. The privacy settings determine whether your blog is visible to search engines. If you want website traffic, make sure that your blog is visible to search engines. Otherwise it kind of defeats the whole purpose.
The general settings is where you will find the site title. Be sure that you use keywords in the title of your website. If you use the generic name of your website, that won’t help you in your SEO efforts. You want to use keyword phrases that people are using to search for topics related to your website.
If you don’t know what keywords are, they’re simply words or phrases that people use to find things on the internet. For example, “china travel tips” is a keyword phrase that someone traveling to China might type in at Google. Use keywords to get website traffic.
It’s a good idea to change your permalink settings. In the permalinks section, you need to change the way the url looks when you make a post. The url is the domain name. When you create a post, the standard setting will use your main domain name followed by some numbers. That won’t help you get website traffic.
Change the permalink settings so that every time you create a new post, it uses the title of the post as the new url. Search engine robots look for keywords in the url, as well as the title of your website. Changing your permalink settings can be very helpful for search engine marketing.
In the permalink settings, you want to use the custom structure. Type in /%title%/ and click save. That tells WordPress to automatically use the title of your post as the url extension.
Just as important as the title of your website is the description of your website. The description of your website is what appears in search results when your website shows up. It’s helpful to have a good description that will inspire people to click on your site instead of the others.
If you don’t have a blog theme that allows you to customize your description, the easiest way to change the description of your website is to download an SEO plugin that allows you to type the description right in. You can do this very easily by going to plugins and “add new.” All in One Seo is a popular plugin that allows you to make this change. You also might want to take a look at Vibe SEO pack.
Once you install the plugin, simply type in an accurate description that uses relevant keywords. Make sure the description is interesting enough to get people to click on it over the other choices available in the search engine results.
Although you’re blog probably already has a feed, you should consider changing it to use Feedburner. Feedburner is owned by Google and there are a lot of features that you can’t get from your normal feed, such as the option to get the feed by email, automatic posting to social media sites, analytics and more.
The first thing you need to do is go to Feedburner and sign up for an account. Don’t worry, it’s free.
Once you sign up at Feedburner, you need to install a plugin on your blog called FD Feedburner Plugin. Enter your new feed address from Feedburner and your feed will automatically be forwarded through Feedburner. Just make sure that you have a link on your website so people can subscribe.
Google ranks webPAGES, not webSITES. That means that every single post on your blog is a new opportunity to rank for any given keyword. For example, this post could potentially rank number #1 in Google search results for “WordPress SEO.” If I spent the time to build backlinks, it could move up the search results until it was the number one search result for that keyword phrase.
My next blog post could rank for “learn SEO,” or “internet marketing basics,” or whatever phrase I wanted to target. If you do a little bit of keyword research before you publish your post, you can make sure the keyword phrase is in the title of your blog post, which is the title of your page.
Along with the title of your page, you can also write a unique meta description for each blog post. The meta description is what shows up in Google search results. For each page, you can have a unique title and description. Putting your keyword phrase in the description of your page, as well as the title, can give you an SEO boost.
Google doesn’t have to use the description that you write for your pages, but if it’s accurate, helpful and well written, they probably will. Avoid keyword stuffing and you should be okay. In cases where they don’t use the description, they simply take a portion of the text and use that as the description. If you don’t know how to do keyword research, check out this post on choosing keywords.
If you use Thesis (affiliate link) WordPress theme, it has a built-in feature that allows you to override any page title or page description. That means that you can create a unique title that will appear on your blog post, and you can also write a keyword title and description for search engines.
If you don’t use Thesis, the All in One SEO Pack plugin now has a feature that allows you to do the same thing. You can customize the pages and posts with your own title and page description.
You don’t have to target keywords on every blog post. It’s best to use specific titles and descriptions for posts that are great resources that people will want to read over a long period of time. Depending on what kind of blog you have, you might just ignore SEO and get long tail traffic from search engines.
Long tail traffic is based on the theory that many searches in Google are longer and more detailed. For example, if someones goes to Google and types in “how can I optimize my blog for search engine traffic,” that’s a long tail keyword phrase. It’s long, specific and not a lot of people search for that phrase. It’s not a phrase that anyone would specifically target to rank for, but the more content you have on your blog, the more long tail phrases you’ll rank for.
Internal linking can help visitors to your website and it can give you an SEO benefit.
Internal linking is just linking to older articles from your new posts. If you look through this article, you’ll see a few backlinks in this article that link to other posts on my blog. The reason you do this is because it helps search engines determine what pages are important to you and what those pages are about, if you use the proper anchor text.
Anchor text is the text used to create a backlink. For example, I can create a link using a keyword phrase that I’m targeting, such as – “internet marketing.” Or, I can create a link using my website url – http://superbadinternetmarketing.com. The link with the keyword anchor text has more value to me because it tells search engines that the linked page is about internet marketing.
You can link to the important pages of your website to get an SEO boost or to help visitors find content. Obviously, if you have an older article related to something you’re discussing in a new post, it’s a good idea to link to it, so if your visitor wants to read it, the link is right there and they don’t have to search for the article.
If you look at Settings > Writing, you’ll see Update Services at the very bottom. If you haven’t changed anything, there is one link to pingomatic in the update services box.
Basically, a ping sends a notification to search engines, directories or any other site that might be interested in knowing that your website has new content. It just speeds up the process to ping the site.
The more services you have on your list, the more pings will go out when your blog is updated. I’ve seen lists that had a hundred different services. If you click on the link that says “update services” it will bring you to WordPress where they have several more services on a list, as well as more information, if you’re interested. Copy and paste the list into your “update services” box and save the changes. If you check out some of the links on WordPress (or anywhere, for that matter), you can probably find an even bigger list, if that’s what turns you on.
If you follow the tips above, your blog should be in pretty good SEO shape. Make sure you include keywords in your headings and in your content when you can. The most important thing is to write outstanding content for people, while keeping the basic SEO principles in mind.
What SEO methods have worked great for you?