SEO For WordPress

WordPress SEO, Part I

1) Update Your Permalink Structure:

We know that Google does not care about how many levels deep a directory is located on your website, although there is rumors that MSN and Yahoo may use this information in their ranking algorithm.

I prefer to keep all my links under my root directory. To do this:

- Log into wordpress and go to Options->Permalinks
- Set “Custom Structure” to /%postname%.htm

2) Install the WordPress Title Tag Plugin:

SEO Title Tag – The most comprehensive title tag plugin, allowing you to edit your entire list of title tags at once, or create the unique title tag as you write each post.

Google indexes 66 characters and up to the 12th Word in your title tag!

Create meaningful, unique, keyword rich, non-spammy title tags for all of your pages.

3) Install the Meta Tags Plugin:

Another WordPress Meta Plugin – Easily add a meta description and keywords tag to each post. Your meta description is still important to SEO rankings! Make sure all your posts have unique meta description tags.

4) Install the Bread Crumb Trail Generator:

Bread Crumb Trail Generator – Generate a breadcrumb navigation structure for your WordPress blog (Ie. Home->Internet Marketing->Reviews), which will show on the pages you specify. I have not tested this on my blog.

5) Install the Sitemap Plugins:

Google Sitemaps Plugin – Create a standard XML sitemap for Google Webmaster Central, Yahoo Submit, and for other XML sitemap submissions.

Dagon Design Sitemap Generator – Extremely flexible sitemap generator that links to your XML sitemap. To see an example, view the one I created for this blog.

I suggest changing your footer to link to your sitemap. Adding a sitemap and linking to it from each page allows all your pages to be properly indexed, and helps distribute on-site link juice throughout your website. I use the Google Sitemaps Plugin to create my sitemap, the Dagon Design Sitemap Plugin to generate a viewable (non-XML) WordPress sitemap.

6) Submit Your XML Sitemap:

Sign up and submit your XML sitemap to Google Webmaster Central and
Yahoo Site Explorer
. Google Webmaster Central shows you any penalties on your site, the latest crawl dates, external links, and other relevant information.

Submitting a sitemap helps your site get indexed properly, which is a critical part of SEO.

7) Mask Your WordPress Affiliate Links:

Short URL – Mask affiliate links and track the number of clicks on each affiliate link using the WordPress interface.

Search engine penalize ‘thin affiliate’ websites that contain little unique content and many affiliate links. It’s always a good idea to cloak your affiliate links.

WordPress SEO, Part II

First, watch Matt Cutts’s video from Wordcamp which took place a few weeks ago:

View the highlight notes from Matt’s presentation or view his powerpoint presentation. Also check out Matt’s blog post following the conference.

Work keywords into posts and categories.
Use keywords in url paths: domain.com/my-words
– Dashes are best.
– Next best is underscores.
– No space is worst.
Think about the keywords that users will type and include them naturally in your posts.
ALT tags are handy (3-4 relevant words)
Dont forget image search, videos, etc

SEO Tips: Usability

Make sure your site is crawlable.
Make your post creation dates easy to find
Check your blog on a cell phone/Iphone
Use full-text RSS feeds to get loyal users.
Partial feeds get more page views, but not as much love.
Your blog should do standard pings.

Greywolf’s WordPress SEO video:


8) Reduce Duplicate Content Issues:

WordPress has a bad habit of duplicating content all over your blog. When you have duplicate content on your blog, you are trusting the search engines to find the correct post to display.

Here’s an example robots.txt file you would upload to your domain in your root www directory:

User-agent: Googlebot

# Disallow all directories and files within
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /wp-admin/
Disallow: /wp-includes/

# Disallow all files ending with these extensions
Disallow: /*.php$
Disallow: /*.js$
Disallow: /*.inc$
Disallow: /*.css$

# Disallow parsing individual post feeds, categories and trackbacks..
Disallow: */trackback/
Disallow: */feed/
Disallow: /category/*

9) Remove or NoFollow Any Links to “Bad Neighborhoods”

If you are linking to shady websites, your blog may become associated with that neighborhood and get devalued. You should either remove those links, or add “rel=nofollow” to the link. By adding the Nofollow tag to the link, you are telling the search engines that you do not vouch for the site.

To see all the sites you link to, use the “linkfromdomain:yourdomain.com” MSN command.

You can also use the Yahoo Site Explorer to view your website links.

10) Remove any Cross Linking Outside of Your Blog Niche:

Do not “cross-link” – or link to your friends or your own personal websites, if they are unrelated to the niche topic of your blog. If you do, then add the “nofollow” tag to the link. Again, we want to make sure that we are a hub in the correct website community. By linking to unrelated pages, you may lose topical focus.

WordPress SEO, Part III

11) Redirect Non-WWW Version of Your Site:

Use your .htaccess file to 301 redirect the non-www version of your page:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.website\.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.website.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Search engines view the www version and non-www version of your website as a completely different sites! This means you are losing PageRank if someone links to your non-www version (ie. website.com) and you are not redirecting it to the www version (ie. www.mywebsite.com).

12) Redirect Error Pages back to Your Website:

Put this into your .htaccess, above your other RewriteCond’s, but under the RewriteEngine On:

RewriteRule ^u/([0-9]+)$ wp-content/plugins/u.php?$1
ErrorDocument 404 /
ErrorDocument 401 /
ErrorDocument 403 /
ErrorDocument 500 /

View my WordPress .htaccess File

13) Validate Your Website:

W3C Check It’s always a good idea to validate your pages, although we are still unsure if W3C validation is being used as a quality signal.

14) Update Your Ping List:

Pinging blog search engines is an easy way to get your blog indexed and get more traffic. Here’s my WordPress ping list.

15) Submit Your Blog:

Submit to blog search engines.

16) Obtain Relevant Topical Links:

Comment spam is one thing, leaving relavant comments on other blogs is another.

Blogs with NoFollow Disabled
Find Blogs with NoFollow Disabled

Alternatively, use this Google query to find .edu blogs to comment on:

site:.edu inurl:blog “post a comment” -”comments closed” “niche topic”

Remember, search engines do not like spam. Comment spam does not really work. Only leave relevant feedback.

17) Check out other SEO for WordPress Resources:

SEO Book WordPress SEO Post – Customizing Blog Page Titles & Fixing Common Blogger Template SEO Errors

Blog Optimization – Stephan shows you more ways to optimize your blog.

WordPress for Beginners – Step by step tutorial on setting up a new WordPress blog.

SEO Friendly Blog Template Checker – Excellent article that shows you how to use the Web Developer firefox plugin to check if your WordPress blog is SEO friendly.

SEO for WordPress – Straight from the developers of WordPress, this article shows you how to optimize your blog and includes many of the suggestions outlined in this post.

4 Responses to “SEO For WordPress”

  1. John Jackson Says:

    Nice tips I will look in to the site map, and thanks for the help. I will try out a few more plugin, and see if it will help.

  2. geld von zu hause verdienen Says:

    great stuff. well done.

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  4. Wade Tonkin Says:

    Awesome stuff – now I knwo what I’ll be working on for the next couple of weeks in my free time.

    God Bless,

    Wade

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