Search engine optimization is something you should learn if you are a blogger.
You can get traffic from social media, or your mailing list, or even other marketing methods.
But organic traffic is probably the best in terms of bounce rates, average time the visitor spends reading and conversion rates.
So without further ado, here are five WordPress SEO tips that will help you get a little more attention from those fussy spiders and crawlers that search engines use in the ranking process.
1. Modify Your Permalinks
The permalink structure is one of the elements that WordPress users have full control over.
And if you aren’t quite sure what a permalink is, that is basically how your URL appear in the browser’s bar. For instance a blog might be set up to show blog posts the following way:
The above example shows a URL structure that is not quite ideal. The problem is that the main component i.e. the blog post is buried in the archive in such a way that the search engines need to first go through the year, then the month category and then the specific day until they reach the article.
The deeper the crawlers have to go, the better the chance for them to decide not to waste time indexing a page. The latter is obviously NOT what you want.
So how do you modify your permalinks?
You simply open up your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings –> Permalinks. There you choose “Post name” and save the changes.
This will result in a flat blog post architecture, which is best in terms of SEO and ease of navigation.
2. Install A WordPress SEO Plugin
There are a few SEO plugins available for WordPress that do pretty much the same tasks.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is a great one, but I always used All in One SEO Pack Plugin (and pretty satisfied with it).
One of the things I found (and am still finding) most useful about it is the tab that you get under the post editor. There you have the option to choose the so called “focus keyword” for the post you are just writing.
You can also write your own meta description tag. Additionally you can also include a search engine title. That allows you to choose one title to be displayed on your actual blog and second, search engine optimized one for the SERPs.
Aside from that, there’s lots to do in the plugin’s settings page. For example:
- You can add noindex to archives to avoid duplicate content
- You can modify your XML sitemaps
- A lot of different title settings (blog, page or category title)
3. Get A Premium WordPress Theme
I’ve been a fan of Genesis Framework since the beginning of my blogging career:
Having a professional theme ensures that your content will be indexed by the search engines, since the developers have taken special time to optimize every aspect in terms of both security and SEO.
The unlimited support you get after purchasing a premium theme on the other hand shouldn’t be underestimated as well. Whereas with a free theme there are all kinds of glitches that can occur, the same can hardly happen with premium themes. If it does happen however, you get full support on dealing with the problem. And sometimes reacting timely can save you from losing search engine positions and traffic.
4. Set The “Slug”
Wondering what a slug is? Well that’s the part of the URL of your blog that you will point exactly to the post you are currently writing. WordPress allows you to directly modify the slug without much hassle, so that’s a practice well-worth following.
The slug is generated upon the title you’ve added in the title field in the WordPress post editor. However in 99% of the cases the end result is far from ideal. Modifying the slug is fortunately as easy as clicking on it and writing your own version.
There are three factors you should pay attention to when doing so:
- Length – the shorter and to the point, the better. Best for both the reader (yes, some people do pay attention to the URL) and for the search engines would be to keep it under 3-4 words.
- Relevancy – Obviously the slug has to be relevant and it has to point exactly to what you are going to cover in the article. Best would be if it consists of the main keyword (preferably long-tail one) that you will be using.
5. Add a Related Posts Widget
The are several plugins you can use to add related articles to your blog posts, but with my theme, this come already as an option.
The idea is simple. Since those kinds of tools aim to provide relevant content to the article that they are displayed under, the links there are valuable in terms of SEO.
If your theme does not support related posts, simply grab a plugin (this is one of the most popular ones, with 4,7 out of 5 stars reviews).
Those are some of the most useful tips I have currently applied to my WordPress installations and that I believe are helping improve search engine results.
Now let me hear what you think guys!
What other WordPress SEO tips can you add to my list?
Which SEO plugin are you using?
What do you think about premium themes?
Let me know in the comments and please consider sharing the post if you liked it!