We like WordPress for a lot of reasons: It’s easy to use, it manages our content in a way we never could on our own, and it also presents a pretty nice front, what with all those loose themes running around. We’re also tremendous fans of its ability to optimize our sites for search engines with little to no effort on our end. However, just because a few plugins can handle most of the load, does not mean we’re taking the most steps possible to fully maximize our Google-spotting potential. In fact, WordPress’ functionality in terms of SEO has only been scratched, if you’re still simply relying on the All In One SEO pack. There are plenty more steps (all of which are extremely simple) you can take to ensure your WordPress-powered website is noticed by such heavyweight search engines as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and DogPile.
Our best suggestion is that you review our methods below, and then work your hardest to integrate them into your daily workflow. It’s much harder to SEO an entire mountain of content once it has been created. It’s much easier, however, to create SEO-content from the get-go. With that fair warning in mind, may we now present our top ways to optimize your WordPress site for search engine notoriety.
1. Tell WordPress to Rearrange Itself
As much as we like WordPress, we have noticed it has one or two nasty habits. The most notable we’ve come across is its tendency to put the name of the website itself in front of the title of the blog post. This is problematic for a number of reasons, but we would simply like to mention right off the bat that there is a quick fix: So, in other words, don’t panic and bring your towel. But why is this such a big deal? Well, for starters – search engines use your titles to determine what the blog post is actually about. Typically, a search engine will only crawl (that means search and record) the first 50 to 64 characters of your title, too. With that in mind, having your blog name in front of your blog post title can cause some problems. You’ll want to reverse this, that way sites like Google get an accurate picture of your newly minted content, rather than a repeat of the blog’s name. A quick way to do this is to swap the title and name sequence within the All In One SEO pack. On another note, if you don’t have this plugin yet, you should go ahead and snag it, as we’ll be referencing it often.
2. Create Unique and Accurate Meta Tags
A case in point, we will again be using All In One SEO with this point, as well. The idea here is that the automatically created meta tags published by WordPress are typically not specific enough to warrant any interest from the larger search engines. Usually, these self-created tags are somewhat generic, and lack any kind of specificity sites like Google desire. With that in mind, the easiest way to correct the problem is to add meta tags yourself. How does one go about this? Well, the easiest method is through that handy plugin we mentioned earlier. Using the keywords slot, you’re free to add as many meta tags as your heart desires. Just try to be specific, avoiding generic terms like “iPhone,” “Android,” or “Mac.”
3. Stick Around with Permalinks
When WordPress creates a new post, it typically does so with a URL that’s less-than desirable for search engine optimization. This is because, more often than not, WordPress attaches an incomprehensible string of numbers to each and every new piece of content, allowing URL crawlers no added access to what in the heck your post is about. However, this isn’t hard to change, and typically only requires a quick jaunt over to the WordPress admin panel.
Within this panel, look for the settings tab, and then “Permalinks.”
You’ll see a list of various URL methods, but the only one you want is called “Custom Structure.” Yes, you’re going to have to enter something here, but lucky for you, we’ve already written the appropriate string. Click this box, and then type: /%category%/%postname%
Now, every time you create a new post, it will be listed in the URL as http://sample.com/your-category/the-proper-post-name. This makes your post infinitely more readable to search engines, and can go a long way toward fully search engine optimizing your content.
4. Make Meaningful Connections
Another fantastic way to optimize your site for search engine use is to link related sites and content pieces within your article.
This means that words like “phone” should be linked to other articles about similar models, operating systems, etc. Your goal is to create a map within the blog post that directs the user—and search engines—to other content that’s closely related to your own. With that in mind, blindly adding links with no regard for what they mean will not help you at all. If you’ve written an article about how to cook a turkey, and you link it to an animal rights page, Google won’t get much out of it, and may even scrap your site in its ratings. There’s also a limit on how many links Google is willing to stand. If you attach a URL to every word in the post, most search engines will treat it like spam.
A great way to avoid this is to use a “Related Posts” plugin. There are about a thousand plugin for that in the WordPress library, so we won’t offer any specific suggestions. Just know that these create a separate box for these helpful links, alleviating the need to bugger up your viewers’ reading experience with bothersome links. Likewise, there are plenty of plugins out there that will automatically generate in-text links, should you decide you’d rather have plenty of those. Typically, they work quite well, but the only way to guarantee your optimization is to add these links yourself.