Configuring Wordpress for SEO Alex Iastrebenetsky OINK-PUG January 2010
SEO 101 Search engine optimization cannot be looked at as a separate activity. Start with SEO in mind and make sure that your application developers work together with the marketing team to build a website fully aware that certain features or technologies may interfere with a search engine marketing campaign. A sound search engine optimization SEO strategy takes planning and attention to detail.
1.Use Ping Services Inform tracking services that you have updated your content Settings>Writing Settings>Privacy Settings>Writing
Use Ping Services Copied from http://codex.wordpress.org/Update_Services
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. NOTE: If you’ve timestamped a post, don’t click the Publish button, since that’ll publish your post immediately regardless of your timestamp. Instead, select “Published” under “Post Status” and click the Save button.
2.Links and Permalinks Enable permalinks in Settings>Permalinks MUST include post title (%postname%) in the link Include keywords in your URL Dates in permalinks are useless for SEO /%year%/%month%/%postname% - useless Common structure is %postname%.html or /%category%/%postname%
Post slugs Even if you are using %postname% permalink, you can still overwrite each post’s slug Don’t let WP decide Consider keywords Anticipate Google searches Shorten length Don’t change them once published
Image names and attributes Images in your posts need to be embeded with keyword-rich “alt” and “title” attributes Use meaningful filenames. Properly described images will also give your blog visibility in image search engines. Plugin: SEO Friendly Images (automatically updates images with proper Alt and Title)
Links Use keyword rich anchor text No ‘click to read’
3.Sitemap Two types of sitemaps traditional (created as any other HTML web page) search engine sitemaps(formatted specifically according to a search engine’s specifications) A number of plugins will auto-generate search engine sitemap. (Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator for WordPress) Submit your sitemap using Google Webmaster Toolkit
Sitemap This is more usability than SEO but… Customize 404 (page not found) pages to display a combination of Search results for the wrong URL HTML sitemap
4.Duplicate Content Two or more web pages that have the same, or almost the same content Pages can be located on the same site via different URL
Duplicate Content Google penalizes duplicate content Sources category and calendar archives produce no unique content, just a collection of previous posts Home page, if it prints the whole posts or large excerpt Feeds Trackback URLs Non-canonical URLs(site.com vs. www.site.com)
Duplicate Content Check your categories and archive pages to see whether full posts are being displayed there or not Your goal is to make sure that your posts or articles can be accessed in full from only one location inside your site
Duplicate content - solutions Tell robots which pages to index <meta name="robots" content="index,follow“/> Index/noindex – robots should include this page Follow – follow links from this page to other pages
5.Themes Free/sponsored themes often include links (usually in the footer) than can suck PageRank and possibly result in a Google paid link penalty Stick with WordPress themes that don’t include attribution links or build your own
6.Header Tags H1 - The blog title, or your main keyword H2 – subtitle or post titles. H3 - Sidebar section titles Note: Many themes (including the WordPress Default Theme) put the sidebar section titles in <h2> tags. As a result you end up with irrelevant sidebar headers (”Categories,” “Archives,” “Meta,” etc.) that have equal weight with your SEO-important post titles.
7.Deep linking Within your posts, link to other posts on your blog and use important keywords in the anchor text. Install plugin like Similar Posts, which inserts a list of related posts 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 (Popularity Contest plugin)
Enhance pagination Implement a plugin that fixes the default pagination links, that is, “< prev” and “next >” to link to the individual pages as well. Wordpress SEO Pager plugin
Categories Ideally one category/multiple tags per post Use keyword research tools
8.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/pages. Lets you add “noindex” to your category and/or tag pages to avoid duplicate content.
9.Valid xHTML Most code errors are minor, but the more serious ones can cause content misinterpretation by search engines, lower rankings, and rendering errors. Check your site for errors using free Markup Validation Service (http://validator.w3.org/)
10.Redirects Use .htaccess for canonical URLs Redirect when you change post URL. Use HTTP 301 redirection Redirection plugin (urbangiraffe.com/plugins/redirection)
The obvious stuff Create quality content Build quality inbound links Create link bait Add social bookmarking functionality
Put it in perspective SEO is 25% on-site 75% off-site Spend time accordingly