WordPress SEO: The Ultimate Guide


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Discover how you can increase search engine traffic to your website by doing simple on-page search engine optimization.

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WordPress SEO: The Ultimate Guide

  1. 1. gainpro f it inco m e .co m http://www.gainpro fitinco me.co m/wo rdpress-seo -ultimate-guide/WordPress SEO: The Ultimate GuidePhilip A.Ever since May 27 2003 when Matt Mullenweg and MikeLittle released WordPress, it has grown to be thelargest self -hosted blogging tool in the world, withmillions of users world wide.A lot of great things can be said about WordPress, butone of the huge benef its it provides users with, andwhich I’m going to get into more detail in this post, isWordPress’s out of the box SEO f unctionality.So here is how I’m going to do this. To make this posteasier f or everyone to digest, I’ve decided to split thecontent into 2 main paragraphs: WordPress SEO basicand advanced tips.1.WordPress SEO Basic Opt imizat ion TipsT hese suggestions may be kinda obvious but that doesnot make them any less important when it comes tooptimizing your blog for search engine traffic.The Tit le TagT he title tag is def initely the most important element of your website f or SEO. It inf orms search engineswhat your site is about.Your main keyword should be at the beginning of your home page title f ollowed by your brand name: Residual Income: T he Gain Prof it Income Blog (my main keyword that I’m trying to rank f or is “residual income”)By def ault WordPress will add your site’s title af ter each post and page title. A lot of people make themistake of leaving this as it is.You are already targeting your main keyword on your home page, so it makes no sense to have it in all ofthe titles on your blog. T his will only reduce the keyword density in your blog posts title. Each title should beunique and target a dif f erent keyword. You can easily rewrite your titles using the All In One SEO plugin.I recommend you leave your blog title only f or your “about”, “contact” and “privacy-policy” pages, becausethey are not targeting any keywords, so having your blog title in there too is better.The Met a TagsT he meta tags are the description tag and keywords tag. T he text that appears under your links in the
  2. 2. search engine results is the description tag.Although the description tag and the keywords tag are not taken into consideration by the search engineswhen ranking your website, having a compelling description will raise your click-through in the search results.Your target keyword should also be included in the description tag to make your post or page more relevantf or that keyword.HTML Heading St ruct ureAnother important aspect of on-page SEO is your heading structure. T he headings tell the search engineswhich parts of your content are important.Each page on your site should only have one H1 tag. Having more than one H1 tag is considered by thesearch engines as being a spam tactic.Home Page Heading St ruct ure: H1: Your blog’s name H2: T he title of your posts H3: Popular posts or Recent posts widgets H4: Other related content widgets in your sidebarSingle Page/Post Heading St ruct ure: H1: T he title of your post H2 and H3: Subheadings in your post’s content H4: Related posts below the content of your post H5: Sidebar widgetsIt’s important that the theme you are using on your website f ollows these guidelines, unf ortunately not allWordPress themes have this heading structure.An easy way to check if your website is properly structured is to go into your Google Webmaster account inthe “Optimization” tab and click “HT ML Improvements”. Or you can use the SEO Quake Firef ox plugin andclick the “Diagnosis” button in your toolbar.Here is how the heading structure looks on the home page of my blog:T hat’s why I do not recommend usingf ree WordPress themes, a mistake Imade when I started my blog. A lot ofthem contain hidden code that can break
  3. 3. your website, and they are poorlystructured.Not having a proper heading structurecan also af f ect your rankings, becausesearch engines take into considerationhow your website is built when ranking itin the serps. T his is something I noticedimmediately af ter switching f rom thef ree theme I was using to the GenesisFramework(af f iliate link), when I saw anoticeable increase in search traf f ic anda rise in the search engine results f ormost of my posts and pages.The Permalink St ruct ureT he permalink is the URL of your posts and pages. Your permalinks should look similar to the title of yourposts.For example: http://www.gainprof itincome.com/keyword-research-f ind-longtail-keywords/T his way people will know what a link is about bef ore clicking on it and your keywords will also be highlightedin the search engine results if that link is relevant to the search query.You can set WordPress to automatically create the permalinks this way by going to Settings>Permalinks.Additionally you should manually edit the permalinks and remove words like “the”, “is”, bef ore you publish apost. T his is to make sure you have the highest keyword density possible in the URL of your post, and alsoto make the permalink short and sweet.Using t he Alt Tag f or ImagesT he alt attribute is the only way of telling the search engineswhat an image is about.Search engines consider this element very important whenranking your posts in the global search results as well as rankingyour image in the images search results.
  4. 4. To make your post more relevant f or a particular keyword, thef ile name, the title and the alt tag of your image should containthe targeted keyword.Int ernal LinkingInter-linking your posts makes it easier f or search engine spidersto crawl your website. It also allows you to pass link juice toother posts and pages on your site.What you’re basically doing is linking f rom one post to another. For example I sometimes happen to mentionthat the key to growing a successf ul blog is by building trust with your readers and I’ll immediately link to mypost on building trust online.T his is also a great way to keep people on your site f or a longer period of time and reduce bounce rates,which are two additional f actors that af f ect your search engine rankings.Creat ing a Sit emapA sitemap is basically an outline of the content you have on your website. It includes your posts, pages,archives, categories and media attachments.You can use the Google XML Sitemap plugin to create a sitemap f or your WordPress blog. T his plugin willautomatically update the sitemap every time you make changes to your website.Af ter creating a sitemap using this plugin, it should look like this: http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xmlNow all you have to do is submit your sitemap to Google Webmasters Tools and Bing Webmasters Tools.2. WordPress SEO Advanced TipsSo f ar I’ve mentioned some of the basic WordPress optimization tips that can make your site more SEOf riendly. But there are some additional improvements you can make to your website that are more advancedand which I’m going to share with you next.WWW or Non WWWHaving the “www” in f ront of your domain or not having it doesn’t make any dif f erence in getting yourwebsite ranked. However, the search engines consider www.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com as 2totally dif f erent websites, thus splitting the link juice f rom your backlinks to each of them.T hat’s why it’s very important to redirect one to the other using a 301 permanent redirect.T his may sound a bit techy but it’s actually very easy to do. By def ault WordPress already handles thisredirect f or you, but problem is that it does this using a 302 temporary redirect.To be able to create this redirect you will need to edit your .htaccess f ile which is f ound on your hostingserver.T he easiest way to do this, is with the Robots Meta plugin, which allows you to easily edit your .htaccessf ile.All you have to do is copy this code in your .htaccess f ile:
  5. 5. # Begin 301RewriteEngine OnRewriteCond %{HT T P_HOST } !^www.gainprof itincome.com [NC]RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.gainprof itincome.com/$1 [L,R=301]# BEGIN WordPressRewriteEngine OnRewriteBase /RewriteRule ^index.php$ – [L]RewriteCond %{REQUEST _FILENAME} !-fRewriteCond %{REQUEST _FILENAME} !-dRewriteRule . /index.php [L]T his will redirect the non-WWW version of your website to the WWW oneIf you want to redirect the WWW version to the non-WWW all you have to do is remove the “www” part f romlines 3 and 4.Also make sure you replace gainprofitincome.com with your domain name.No Index, No Follow Archives, Tag Pages, Cat egory PagesYour archive pages, category pages and tag pages are all similar pages which link to your posts. T hat’s whythere’s no point in having them all indexed by the search engines.For example if you’re using categories on your blog you should add the “noindex” tag to your tag and archivepages.T he same thing goes f or the “nof ollow” tag.I remember one time, when I was searching f or my posts in Google and most of the times I had tag pagesand category pages that outranked the actual posts. Applying the “noindex,nof ollow” tag to archive,category and tag pages can be easily done with the All In One SEO plugin I mentioned earlier in this post.T his way you will direct most of the link juice to the actual post pages, which normally are the ones that aresuppose to rank f or their target keyword.No Follow Cert ain Page LinksAdding the “nof ollow” tag to certain links is a simple way you can use to divert link juice only to the pagesyou want to rank high in search engines, like your posts.For example, if your displaying excerpts of your posts on your blog page, you have that “Continue Reading”link which takes you to the f ull post page. But the title of your post is also a link to the same page.Adding the “nof ollow” tag to the “Continue Reading” link will divert all the link juice to the post title link whichis a keyword rich anchor text and is more relevant to the content of your post.Also the post meta data which contains a link to the date archives, the category of the post, the authorpage. T hese are all links that don’t need to rank.Or you could do what I did and completely remove those links f rom the post byline or meta data. As you cansee I only have my name above the post title, and it’s not even a link.
  6. 6. One other thing I want to mention is, if you have a Tag Cloud widget in your sidebar make sure the links tothe tag pages are nof ollow, I made this mistake and what happened is that the tag pages where higher in thesearch results than the actual posts, trust me you don’t want that.In regards on how to f ind those links in the code of your theme, there are way to many examples, and on alot of themes this is done dif f erently. But if you’re blog is running on the Genesis Framework(af f iliate link)like mine just send me an email and I’ll be happy to give you all the instructions you need to make thesechanges.But basically to make a link “nof ollow” here is what you need to do: Normal link: <a href =”http://www.gainprof itincome.com”>T he Gain Prof it Income Blog</a> Nof ollow link: rel=”nofollow”>T he Gain Prof it Income BlogUse Google Webmast er ToolsT his is a service you must def initely sign-up f or. As you know it’s f ree and it provides you with a lot ofusef ul inf ormation about the keywords people use to f ind your site, the number of backlinks Google hasindexed, etc.Another thing that I like about Google Webmaster Tools is that it notif ies you of any 404 errors or “page notf ound”. I remember one time when I modif ied the permalink to one of my posts af ter it was published, andlost a lot of traf f ic because of this.I immediately received a notif ication f rom GWT and redirected the old link to the new one.Google Aut horshipT here’s been a lot of talk that Google will add the Author Rank to their ranking algorithm so it’s veryimportant that you claim your Google Authorship.T he process of claiming your Google Authorship is very is to do.First you will need to add this line of code in the <head> section of your website.
  7. 7. author” href =”https://plus.google.com/100211679160877871318/posts“/>Make sure you replace the link with your Google+ prof ile link.Next step is to head over to your G+ prof ile and in the “About” tab look f or the box that says “Contributorto”. Add your website URL there and you’re all done.T hat’s all you need to do. You must know that it will take a bit of time bef ore your picture will show-up nextto your posts and pages in the search results. To test this just go to your Google Webmaster Toolsaccount.Building BacklinksT his WordPress SEO guide would not be complete without mentioning another important aspect of searchengine traf f ic which is link building.Although the best link building technique is to write high value content that others will naturally link to f romtheir own websites, getting this type of links is kind of hard when you’re just starting and the visitors comingto your blog are just a handf ul.T here are a lot of ways to manually build backlinks to your website but f or now I’m going to mention just acouple of them. Guest Posting: T hrough guest posting instead of writing posts and publishing them on your own blog, you will publish them on other blogs in your niche. T hose posts will have 1 or 2 links that will point back to your website. Linking out: Every time you link out to other websites, the owner of those websites will be notif ied automatically by WordPress. So when they see that you’ve linked to one of their posts, they might link back to one of your posts in the f uture.T hese are just 2 of the many link building options you have. I wanted this post to be mainly about on-siteSEO, but if you want more backlinking tips Jon Cooper f rom PointBlankSEO.com has a huge list of linkbuilding strategies.Final Word on WordPress SEOGoogle always says that they want to deliver people the most relevant results f or what they’re searching.T his guide is all about making your website, your posts, as relevant as possible f or your target keyword. Ifyou would only apply 80% percent of the things I mentioned in this post you would still notice an increase inrankings and search engine traf f ic.Feel f ree to play around with these instructions as you see f it, if you have any other suggestions I wouldlove it if you would share them in your comments.Relat ed Post s 1. 16 Top WordPress Plugins For Your New Blog 2. Mastering the Art of Keyword Optimization and On-Page SEO
  8. 8. 3. WordPress White Screen of Death and My Blog’s Redesign4. How to drive traf f ic to your blog without Google?