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10 Search Engine Optimisation Tips For WordPress Blogs

Aug 23, 2007
Search engine optimisation for WordPress is essential if you are to gain maximum traction from your efforts. Many corporate or business blogs are started with the intention of using them to;
- broaden the companies information distribution
- provide an easy way to grow the site
- provide an easy way to create fresh content
- increase the "stickiness" of the site
- generate additional qualified traffic
- increase incoming link count

However, what many people fail to understand is that the default installation of WordPress simply does not include even the most basic SEO functionality. The default WordPress installation generates unintelligible URLs, generic Page Titles and neither Description nor Keyword meta-tags. Thus, the chances of achieving the desired goals is severely compromised! That search engines hate duplicate content is a given - and 3 of the key indicators are page URL, Title and Description!

Fortunately, SEO for WordPress is facilitated by the concept of "plugins" or easily installed mini-applications which provide specific functionality. They do so dynamically - in other words, once installed the applications automate the process of generating accurate outputs, with no manual efforts required by you. Here are ten essential enhancements to WordPress that will make a huge difference in the qualified traffic your blog delivers to you!

1. Page Names or URLs
This is controlled by the Permalinks setting - the default produces garbage URL's which give no indication of the actual page or post content. However, its not particularly difficult to have every page URL show as a keyword-rich plain-English file name with an HTML extension! This can be based on the post title or Slug, so you have precise control over the page name / URL. Achieving this simply requires the use of the Custom Permalink option.

2. Titles
The Optimal Title plugin provides a quick solution - once installed it dynamically inserts the post title into the pages Title tag, in front of the Weblog title you have set. This facilitates keyword-rich titles specific/unique to the page / post. Accurate titles are the single most important on-site SEO element.

3. Description Meta-tag
There are several plugins that dynamically provides good Description meta-tags. The one I like is Head-Meta-Desc as its a no-brainer to install, and by default uses either the optional excerpt if present, or the first 20 words from the first paragraph of the posting. The only thing I change is to edit the number of words it takes - from 20 to 30, which usually
produces a Description tag containing 180 - 200 characters.

4. Keyword Meta-Tag
To produce an accurate page-specific keyword meta-tag, I use Ultimate Tag Warrior - a keyword meta-tag is an on/off option within this plugin, and it dynamically produces keywords based on post category + tags used in the post. That's not all it does!

5. Tag Management
When you see the word "tag" in the blog context, simply think "keyword." Tags are the blogger's version of keywords, which are "pinned" to blog post to help categorise them, and find them, or similar / related posts again. The Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin previously mentioned will manage your tags for you... the ultimate convenience being the drop-down list of tags available on new posts! This speeds up the tagging process, and assists in tag name consistency. UTW provides various options for displaying tags on each post - as a list, as a tag cloud...

6. Google Sitemap Generator for WordPress
A sitemap is a key SEO tool to ensure pages have the best possible chance of being found and indexed by search engine spiders. This plugin creates a Google-compliant XML-Sitemap of your WordPress blog, including homepage, posts, static pages, categories and archives. This plugin also notifies Google whenever the sitemap gets regenerated - which happens
automatically every time a new post is made!

7. Categories
Use them wisely! take care to use keyword-rich, accurate Category names, these will be used in URLs, and in keyword meta-tags.

8. Post Titles
Use them wisely also! Keyword-rich, accurate post titles can make the world of difference to your SE rankings. Coupled with Optimal Title, the post title is going to be the first section of the Page Title. Each post title should include a relevant keyword / keyword phrase...

9. Maximise Blog & Ping Potential
There are services that scan blogs regularly for updates, and publish the recent updates. To derive the benefit of that, you need to add an expanded ping list to the Options / Writing / Update List. By default, WordPress only pings the Pingomatic service with new posts. There are a growing number of other distribution services that you need to be notifying, to get the best results.

10 Blog Search Engines & Directories
You must manually submit your blog to 100+ top blog search engines and directories to gain maximum traction. Registration on those offering ping services ensures that your blog's update pings will be accepted and processed by them.

If you implement these 10 simple WordPress search engine optimisation modifications to your blog, I can guarantee you will achieve a huge boost in traffic flows!
About the Author
Ben Kemp is a free-lance search engine optimisation consultant and web designer. He offers free SEO articles & web design tips, see The SEO Guys Blog

Web: http://www.comauth.co.nz
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