Stephan Spencer from Netconcepts led this well-attended session on how to maximise search visibility using WordPress. Generally, blogs work well for search engine optimization (SEO) due to their emphasis on generating lots of regularly updated content. However, there are steps you can take to optimize the standard WordPress installation.
Try and ensure your internal links (from one page on the blog to another) are as relevant as possible. Using a tag cloud in the navigation can be a great way to achieve this. Taking this a step further, building conjunction pages can really help. What are these? If your blog has a category on ‘gardening’ and some of these post are also tagged ‘urban’, then create a page that pulls all relevant ‘urban gardening’ content. The ‘UTW Theme Compatibility Thing’ plug-in can help with this.
Let your most valuable content sell itself: there are numerous plug-ins that can take your top blog posts and add this list to the navigation. Adding links to this content will help it rank.
Put the blog name at the end of the title – not at the beginning, given that terms later in the text have less weight.
Use the SEO Title Tag plug-in to override the title tag and create more keyword-rich titles. If you have many posts on your blog, concentrate on the top ones: homepage and category pages are particularly important. Make sure this is an iterative process: test frequently.
According to data from MarketingSherpa, short URLs are more than twice as likely to be clicked on. You can use the settings within WordPress to change your permalink structure.
When it comes to naming your blog, it can help to have your blog registered on your main domain. As your blog builds up authority, ensure that this value is held on your core domain.
For internal anchor text, try and get away from using ‘permalink’ or ‘read more’. Include the name of the title in the anchor text. Don’t let the archive pages get indexed – these are not well structured for search. To hide these links, use the ‘rel=”nofollow”‘ within the link tag to direct search engines away from these pages.
When writing new posts, remember to link back to older relevant posts, using meaningful anchor link text.
Minimize duplicate content
Make full use of WordPress’s ‘Optional Excerpts’ field to write independant synopses for posts. Don’t just let the system pick the first x characters and display these as this constitutes duplicate content.
Improve keyword focus
Make sure you are fully using HTML heading tags – particularly for titles and tags. Put the category name in a heading tag on category pages.
Use ‘sticky posts’ to keep precious posts on the top of the list. The plugin WP-Sticky can help with this.
The default tagline on WordPress reads ‘Just another WordPress blog’. For SEO purposes, make sure this is renamed.
Some top tips for optimizing your RSS feeds from your blog:
- Use full text, not just summaries
- Display 20 or MORE items (not just 10)
- Setup multiple feeds (by category, latest comments, comments by post)
- Ensure your most important keyword in the site <title> container
- An RSS feed that contains enclosures (i.e. podcasts) can get into additional RSS directories & engines