Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips for WordPress

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1. Write keyword rich post titles – it almost goes without saying, but the post title is the most important part of the blog post for many reasons. From your reader’s perspective, a descriptive and compelling title helps them decide if your post is worth reading or not. From an SEO perspective, think about the keywords or phrases people might type into a search box to find your post 2 months from now, and use those words or phrases in your post title. For maximum benefit, try to avoid titles that are cute, clever or cryptic.

2. Make your post titles live links – many of the WP themes already do this, but if yours doesn’t, you can add the necessary code pretty easily. In your Main Index Template and Page Template, find the code for the post tiltle. It’ll probably look like this:

<h2><?php the_title(); ?></h2>

To link your post titles, you’ll want to replace that code with the following (be sure to leave out the “#” symbols):

<h2><a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to <?php the_title(); ?>"><?php the_title(); ?></a></h2>

3. Optimize your permalinks – the default WP 2.0 installation displays permalinks this way: http://www.savvysolo.com/?p-123. A more search-engine friendly permalink includes the post title in the link, like this: http://www.savvysolo.com/2006/01/16/keyword-rich-post-title/. This is a simple change to make. In your WP admin panel, click on the “Options” tab, then the “Permalinks” sub-tab, and choose the option just below the “Default” permalink option. See the WordPress Codex for more on permailinks.

4. Optimize your page titles – According to most SEO experts, the page title tag is one of the most important tags on your page. In most WP themes, you’ll find the page title tag in the Header Template, and the default version ususally looks like this:

<title><?php bloginfo('name'); ?><?php wp_title(); ?></title>

The best tweak I’ve seen to optimize this tag comes from Stephen Spencer, who suggests using the following code for page title tag (omit the “#”):

<title><?php if (is_home()) { print "whatever title I want to have on my blog home page."; } else { wp_title(' '); print " : "; bloginfo('name'); } ?></title>

This tweak does a couple different things. First, it allows you to use a more descriptive, keyword-rich title for your blog’s main page. And second, for the individual post pages, it will use the title of your post as the page title, which is another reason to follow the advice I mentioned in #1 above.

5. Use the related posts plugin – Alex Malov’s Related Entries plugin is a neat little addition to any WP blog. Not only does it enhance your blog’s usability, but it also helps create a dense link structure throughout your site, which makes it easier for the search engine spiders to find and index older blog posts.

6. Use the Google sitemap plugin – According to Google:

“Google Sitemaps is an easy way for you to submit all your URLs to the Google index and get detailed reports about the visibility of your pages on Google.”

WordPress user Arne Brachold has made the sitemap creation and submission process fairly simple with his Google Sitemap plugin, which was recently updated for WP 2.0. This plugin will create a sitemap for you and submit it to Google.

Additionally, Elliot Kosmicki offers a script that will convert your Google sitemap into a Yahoo compliant sitemap that you can submit to Yahoo.

7. Add meta keyword tags and Technorati tags to your posts automatically – although it’s questionable whether or not meta keywords are still valuable when it comes to SEO, ultimately, they can’t hurt. As far as Technorati tags, they have little impact on SEO, but they can help increase your traffic directly from Technorati, so it’s a good idea to use them.Rick Boakes created the Autometa plugin that will add both tags to your posts automatically.

Another simple and effective Technorati tag generator I’ve used is Broobles’ Simple Tags plugin.

8. Validate your code – Use the W3C Markup Validation Service to ensure the code behind your pages is clean and valid. If you find your pages have errors in the code, hire or make friends with a savvy web developer to help you clean it up. See Google’s Information for Webmasters for more info on creating a technically valid site.

If you have further SEO tips for WordPress blogs, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

About the Author (Author Profile)

Solostream provides Premium WordPress themes that are professional and easy to use. Templates suitable for personal or business blogs, websites and online magazines.

Comments (29)

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  1. Tania says:

    i have a blog on wordpress… but until recently i was not aware of seo. now i am reading up on it… but honestly most of the articles go beyond my understanding. i liked ur post. an easy read… u explained a lot. nice thanks.

  2. Mohan says:

    I haven’t implemented some of the above tips.Definitely I will do for better seo.Thanks for most useful and informative post.

  3. Awesome post regarding Optimized WP blog for Search Engines..I will try to use these tips on my blog..thnxx for share :)

  4. anuj says:

    This is perhaps the most thoughtful, useful article of this type I’ve seen. It goes beyond a lot of the surface-level ideas I’ve seen repeated over and over in other places. Nicely said :)

  5. Param says:

    Really very nice information about Seo. Thanks for sharing and try keep updating

  6. dnnic says:

    nice post!

    For wordpress, nofollow your archives and tags is another tip you can use, it will avoid duplicate content on the blog.

  7. nasir says:

    it almost goes without saying, but the post title is the most important part of the blog post for many reasons. From your reader’s perspective, a descriptive and compelling title helps them decide if your post is worth reading or not.

  8. Spunky Jones says:

    On my SEO Blog, I use the h1 tag on my page titles and the h2 tag on my sub titles. Seems to be working just fine for me.

    What is your opinion of using the h tags like this?

  9. Mark says:

    Good read, hopefully wordpress continues to get a little more SEO friendly out-of-the-box

  10. very nice article but i want to know how much it is important to have get our code validated as some of my website so errors.

    Thanks!

  11. Marty Rogers says:

    Great tips.

    I do believe that the title modification is the most important tip for any WordPress blogger, though. The platform just doesn’t do titles too well without a plugin.

  12. This is very good for those who want to learn SEO for wordpress and i really appreciate you to share this fantastic post

  13. Mike says:

    Nice post, the google sitemap xml plugin is huge for wordpress i think if it wasnt invented bloggers would have a hard time getting the pages from their blog indexed.

  14. Nadim says:

    you got resources man… these are some great information which are quite necessary for seo… pls keep up the good work

  15. Just a quick comment on “validate your code”

    Unfortunatly this has know effects on rankings, the worst built websites in the world can still rank well, I would advise on this avoid using things like Javascript etc, as this can affect the search engines from crawling a website

  16. Nice post. Hope ill se more of theese

  17. Search engine optimization is indeed an important strategy to increase traffic into your website. If you have an online business, more visitors mean higher possibility of buyers. And if you have a monetized blog, more visitors mean higher possibility of more people clicking on the ads. I do SEO for my websites and blogs. And this has helped me a lot in my success.

  18. Jessica says:

    Yes. I’m thinking of adding wordpress to my website. I’m also going to edit the source code to optimize it to work better for search engines

  19. Dee Serrano says:

    Nice stuff here Michael. Quality content, competitive & realistic KW or key phrases, optimize your links and avoid spamming – simply the key to get good rankings.

    Dee
    small business marketing

  20. Very informative. The one that interest me is the #4 tip.

  21. syed hassan says:

    This is very good for those who want to learn SEO for wordpress

  22. shiv says:

    Great tips! Thanks to the author!

  23. Excellent post.Thanks for sharing!

  24. squeaky says:

    SEO plays a very important role with the search engines. If you do it correctly, you can pickup on lots of free traffic from the search engines.
    The foundation is to have good content and then add SEO to your articles, so it is written more for human readers than search engines.
    I have search a very big jump in web traffic, since I have started using ethical SEO methods on my blog. Now, the next step is to get more people to comment.

  25. fan says:

    thx for your useful information
    really a good acticle!

  26. Artur says:

    Great tips! Thanks to the author!

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