Apr 022012
 

Quick SEO Facts

Before we start a few quick facts on WordPress:

  • There are over 146 000 000 (that’s 146 Million!) blogs in the world according to Technocrati
  • Fewer than 0.5% of blogs have any SEO applied at all
  • Even basic SEO, the kind that takes 10 minutes to apply to a blog, can increase SERPs by a factor of 10 or more, and traffic by a factor of 100.
  • To get high quality, repeat traffic you need to be recommended by real visitors.  WordPress SEO helps visitors find you, and then its up to you to impress them.

SEO for WordPress: Five essential tips

1.  Optimise the Page Title

Generally your page title will be your post title, which is fine.  Think carefully about the placement of words, ensuring your title is descriptive for the reader, and contains the main keyword you want to target.  Place keywords near the start of the title.  For example “Why you should start early when training your dog” has the keywords late in the title.  Instead try “Dog Training: Why starting early gives the best results”.  There is no conflict between writing for search engine visibility and writing for your customer.  They both want to find information quickly and easily.  Please them both and you will have stellar results.

2.  Permalinks

Make sure you have changed the default WordPress setting so that you URLs show the full post title in the title bar.  For example, you want your article on Blue Widgets to have a URL like this:

www.yoursite.com/blue-widgets

not the default setting, which would give something like:

www.yoursite.com/postid12346

To change WordPress so it always uses the post URL, great for SEO, go to your WordPress site’s Admin console, then select Settings, Permalinks.  You will see 5 or so options.  Select the last one (Custom Structure) and enter the following into the box, before pressing save.

/%postname%/

3.  Set a homepage Description

OK, not strictly SEO as the search engines generally ignore it.  But your visitors don’t!  This description is usually (though not always) the small piece of text that appears underneath your site in the Search Engine results.  Make it short, snappy and focused on the customer (use the word you, not we).  Get this right and you will be the result they click on, ignoring the results above and below you.

4.  Submit a sitemap

You can do this manually via Google Webmaster tools.  Its doesn’t take long and it ensures Google is aware of your deep pages that may not be linked to.  There are also some great plugins that will submit your site map automatically every time that you update your site (see the Top 10 Essential plugins for WordPress).

5.  Avoid duplicate content

If you have an article in multiple categories is it showing up in every category.  If so, you will fall prey to the duplicate content penalty.  Don’t panic.  The “penalty” is not actually that.  Google’s TOSs are very clear.  You will not be penalised, but the duplicate pages will be ignored, meaning you lose essential places in the SERPs.  You can use plugins to avoid this, but the simplest way is not to regularly assign posts to multiple categories.  Use tags instead and keep the majority of posts in a single category.

Follow the 5 steps above and you have covered the 80%.  And it took you barely 5 minutes!  Form now on, all you need to do is thing about SEO when you write your posts.  A great title, and embed the keyword once or twice in the article.  Above all make it look natural.  SEO for WordPress is important, and if done right it helps, not hinders, your readers.  Try some killer article marketing to build backlinks quickly.

Did it work?

Having completed these steps, and got your site indexed,  you will already have created a significant increase in visibility of your blog.  To monitor your visitor numbers install a good analytics tracker.

I use Google Analytics as it is free and offers a comprehensive breakdown of visitors, where they cam from and the “bounce rate” for each page.  The bounce rate tells you how long each visitor stays on each page. If visitor s arrive and leave quickly then it’s a good sign that you are not delivering what is promised.  “Britney nude” in your title might help attract attention, but if the article is on SQL programming then you are unlikely to interest your new visitor!

Look out for the keywords that people used to find your page.  If you notice some unexpected keywords landing people on your site, consider writing a new post on that subject, so they keep growing and they find what they are looking for.

Any thoughts?

I hope you found the above tips useful.  If you have any additional tips please leave them below.  Don’t forget to sign up for the tips newsletter.

  One Response to “SEO for WordPress – Five Things You MUST Do”

  1. Good advice and great for a beginner.My best recommendation for sitemaps is the “Yoast WordPress SEO” plugin – the sitemap function is superb and you can overwrite titles – very useful.

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