Don’t Block the Search Engines!
From your admin panel, go to Options > Privacy and make sure it’s set to “I would like my blog to be visible to everyone.”
Are Comments Enabled?
Some WordPress users restrict comments to registered users, or disable them entirely. While this may be appropriate in some situations, in most cases comments are a very beneficial factor, and a defining mark, of a blog.
Here’s how to fully enable comments:
- Login to the WordPress administration center
- Click “Options” on the menu bar
- Is “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” checked? If so, consider unchecking it.
- Click “Discussion” on the submenu bar
- Make sure the following are checked: “Allow people to post comments on the article” and “Allow link notifications from other Weblogs (pingbacks and trackbacks.)”
Ensure URL Canonicalization
If your blog posts are accessible from more than one URL, you could end up with:
- Search engines confused as to which URL to display in the SERPs.
- PageRank split between multiple pages.
- Duplicate content penalties.
Starting with version 2.3, WordPress takes care of this and makes sure your content is accessible from only one place. So if you use an older version, either upgrade to the latest version of WordPress, or install the Permalink Redirect plugin.
Use Images in Your Posts
Not only do they increase visitor attention and retention, they give you an opportunity to use keyword-rich “alt” attributes, “title” attributes, and filenames. Plus it’ll give your blog visibility in image search engines.
Does Your Theme Use Header Tags Correctly?
- The blog title, or your main keyword should be in an <h1> tag.
- If your subtitle is keyword-rich, you can put it in an <h2>; otherwise I recommend putting it in a non-header tag like <div>.
- The post titles should go in <h2> tags.
- Sidebar section titles should be <h3> tag or non-header.
Conclusion : Use a theme that utilizes header-tags properly, or try fixing the theme you have.
A ping is a “this site has new content” notification that invites bots to visit your blog.
WordPress pings one website called Ping-o-matic by default, which in turn pings others. You can also add additional services by going to Options > Writing in the admin panel.
Use the Power of the Slug
Ever wondered what the “Post Slug” on the “Write” page was? It’s the text that goes in the URL when you have “Pretty Permalinks” enabled.
By default the slug is a “sanitized” version of the post title. However, if your title is overly long or keyword-sparse, you can change the slug through the Post Slug box. You can also add additional services by going to Options > Writing in the admin panel.
Use Timestamping to Stagger Fresh Content
Search engines and visitors love fresh blog content on a steady, regular basis. But for a lot of us, creativity comes irregularly: 10 post ideas one week, none the next.
Enter timestamping. When writing a post, click the plus sign next to “Post Timestamp.” Set a date and time, and the post will publish by itself whenever you specify.
Search engines will keep coming back, and visitors won’t be inundated with a ton of new posts all at once.
Use Tags for Free Keyword Boosts
WordPress include a tags feature that lets you assign keywords to your blog posts. Once you start using them, then since each tag gets its own webpage, you’ll be generating a ton of your own themed, keyword-oriented internal backlink pages.
Integrate Social Media
Adding social media links/buttons like the ones above makes it easy for visitors to promote your quality content (hint, hint). Social media is a great way to build links naturally as well as drive targeted site traffic.
- Share This is a very popular “social media all-in-one” plugin.
- If you’re a FeedBurner user, you can use FeedFlare to add action links, including social media ones, to the bottom of your posts.
Lots of social media sites provide code you can use to generate buttons like those above. Grab your own code from:
Here are several great ways to implement deep-linking on your WordPress blog:
- Within your posts, link to other posts on your blog and use important keywords in the anchor text.
- Install the Similar Posts plugin, which inserts a list of related posts you’ve written to the bottom of each of your blog posts. This process will create aged deep links and increase visitor retention.
- Display your most popular posts in your sidebar using the Popularity Contest plugin. Gives your most popular posts tons of internal links, and helps your visitors find your best content.
Use “Pretty Permalinks”
Sure, you may already use Pretty Permalinks, but are you using the best possible permalink structure?
For those of who don’t use Pretty Permalinks, it’s a must-do for WordPress SEO. Permalinks, in essence, are the URLs of your WordPress blog posts. “Pretty Permalinks” put slugs (which should contain keywords ) in your URLs instead of the default numbers.
To enable or change them, first login, then go to Options > Permalinks.
The two options you do not want are “Default” and “Numeric.” Here are my suggestions for picking a “pretty” permalink structure:
- Date and Name Based: The problem with this is that your posts are several extra directories deep, which can decrease relevence in some search engines. However, such a permalink structure can nevertheless be desireable if your blog is news-oriented or date-sensitive.
- Post Name Only: If your blog covers one topic that has no subtopics (which, though possible, is unlikely), select “Custom” and type /%postname%/
- Category Based: If your blog covers multiple topics, implement category-based URLs. (You have to look into the Codex to find information on category-based URLs, so many WordPress users probably don’t realize that this option exists!) To implement it, select “Custom” and type /%category%/%postname%/
Check for Valid XHTML
Most code errors are minor, but the more serious ones can cause content misinterpretation by search engines, lower rankings, and rendering errors.
WordPress itself produces valid code, but errors can crop up from two other common sources:
- Poorly written plugins or themes
- User-created coding errors (in the blog posts themselves, or through theme customizations)
First check your site for errors. If an error is found, look at the surrounding content to determine the source of the error.
Install the Google XML Sitemaps Generator Plugin
XML Sitemaps are search-engine-friendly directories of your blog’s posts and other pages intended to help search engines spider your site. Though pioneered by Google, they’re supported by Yahoo, MSN, and Ask.com as well.
The Google XML Sitemaps Generator for WordPress makes creation of these sitemaps easy and automatic. It also lets the engines know when you post new content.
Avoid Sponsored Themes
There was a debate in the WordPress community not too long ago on the topic of sponsered themes. These themes include paid links (usually in the footer) than can suck PageRank and possibly result in a Google paid links penalty.
Stick with WordPress theme directories that don’t include sponsored themes, like the WordPress Theme Viewer
Use Traditional SEO Techniques
A WordPress blog is a website too, so the traditional SEO techniques still apply:
- Use important keywords in the title and throughout the post, but don’t overdo it.
- Bold your keywords when it makes sense.
- Develop links to your blog.
Install the All-in-One SEO Plugin
Like the name implies, this plugin covers a lot of the bases.
- Puts the blog name after the post title, giving your keyword-rich titles more prominence.
- Allows you to override title and meta tags on your homepage as well as your individual posts.
- Lets you add “noindex” to your category and/or tag pages to avoid duplicate content.