How to Optimize Your WordPress Blog

For those of you who are new to blogging and the mystical arts of SEO there are a few simple steps you can follow to help your WordPress blog both look and feel right and simultaneously achieve respectable rankings in the search engine listings without having to spend a great deal of money.

Make a few simple tweaks to your WordPress blog, listed below, and you will quickly maximize the SEO potential of your blog.

Firstly, if you’re just starting out, set up your website for SEO from the start. Do your keyword research to get the best search engine rankings and choose keywords that have good search volume but aren’t overly competitive. If your optimum keywords are too competitive you will be wasting your time. Instead, concentrate on keywords that are more achievable. Next, you need to set up the blog itself so that it has a search engine friendly URL layout. This is the quickest way to achieve SEO optimization and there are four areas that you can work on: Permalinks, Meta descriptions, Optimizing Images and using Headings.

(1) Permalinks

One of the joys of WordPress is how easy it is to use. This is illustrated by the simplicity of WordPress Permalinks. Within WordPress you have the ability to set your links to appear exactly how you want them to appear. To get them exactly how you want them to look you need to go to the administrative area within WordPress and go to Settings – > Permalinks. Once on this page you can select from a number of predefined options or you can opt to set up a custom structure with your links. If you select the Custom Structure option and type in /%postname%/ then your links will appear as

http://yourdomain.com/the-name-of-your-post/

which is by far the smartest and best optimized way to organize your permalinks.

(2) Meta Descriptions

Many SEO people will tell you that the Meta descriptions are unimportant as they are not used by Google. But although Google might use its own Tags these days or take a snippet from your page that summarizes the content, the description you enter in the Meta description is still important. Not only should it be an accurate representation of your page and not promise anything that is not on the page, but it will also still be used by many search engines other than Google. Also, if Google cannot find a good snippet of information from the page, they may well use this description. As such it is important to have a brief, succinct and compelling description of your page.  Similarly, you should also categorize your posts in articles. Go the Posts – > Categories page in the WordPress admin area and note the descriptions available in every category. WordPress takes whatever you enter in these fields and uses them as meta descriptions for the categories.

(3) Images

In WordPress it is easy to optimize the images for search engines. It is crucial that you have ‘title’ and ‘alt’ tags specified for every image to be used in a post. Search engines will then understand what the image is meant to represent. It can, however, be time consuming, to type in alt and title tags for every image you use, so it is best to use an SEO Images plugin to do it for you. Then you simply go to Settings -> SEO Friendly Images in the admin area where you can specify the Title and Alt tags quickly and easily.

(4) Headings

When it comes to headings, best practice is to ensure that you only use the <h1> tag for the titles of your posts. After that, use <h2> and <h3> tags for other headings in the posts. If you do this, you will make sure the search engines get a better index of the crucial information from your page and website. Any good web document will have heading and subheadings to make it easier to quickly establish the subject of the page. Any WordPress template worth its salt will do exactly that.

If you think we are missing any important point here, please feel free to leave it via comment.

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