One of the best content management systems as far as SEO is concerned is WordPress. Search engine optimizing your WordPress powered website or blog will allow you to enjoy high ranking in search results and gain more followers.
If your goal is to become an authority in a specific niche, having your blog’s content linked to other sites is a start. Visitors won’t do this if your content isn’t optimized. This is why good SEO should be engrained in all your online efforts especially in marketing and PR. Whatever your goal is, establishing a solid online presence can be done through SEO.
If you have a WordPress blog or site and you want to optimize it for search engines, keyword stuffing and link building isn’t enough. Nowadays, SEO has transformed itself into something more complex and focused on quality. Quite frankly, it is easier to set up a WordPress blog than optimizing it for SEO.
If you want your WordPress blog to be more visible in search results, you might want to consider doing the following:
- It is highly recommended to choose discourage search engines from indexing your blog while you are still in the getting-ready to launch stages. This is why some prefer creating a local development environment. Once you are ready to launch the site or blog with keywor-rich quality content, you can then allow search engines (bots) to crawl your pages (handled from robots.txt). Thankfully, WordPress has this feature you can turn on in the Settings + Reading.
- It is recommended that you change your permalink structure. Why? Because the default usually contains dates and if your content isn’t current events, using this default will not make sense. Most blogs contain topics that are timeless. In this case, the permalink will just get in the way because visitors will choose the latest posts instead of the most insightful blog posts. Changing the settings, which can be found in the Settings → Permalinks. Simply choose postname and add /%postname%/ in the custom structure. If you are not that familiar with advanced settings, you can use Yoast to generate redirects for old posts with the default permalink.
- During your preparation, make sure to install an .xml sitemap plugin. Like the name suggests, it is a map that allows search engines to link to your blog and all its pages. This is especially applicable to Google’s algorithm and makes indexing your blog faster for higher rankings in searches. The great thing about WordPress is that there are plugins that can do the work for you. Usually, the paid plugins are the most useful but you can always research which will work best for your needs.
- Be sure to check out other plugins as well, even the paid ones. There are plugins that will take care of the SEO aspect of your blog and take a lot of work off your plate. Yoast and All in One SEO are plugins that provide bloggers a wide range of useful options especially with link canonicalization, meta descriptions, tags, keywords and more. It also has Google Plus authorship, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools verification.
- Your blog should load fast because visitors are usually impatient. You can also install a caching plugin to speed up your WordPress blog. Not only does it speed up your site, it also lessens the load on your web server and decrease loading time. So, be sure to check out which one works best for you. You can also choose to change to a faster host that will help speed up your site’s loading time.
- Images you insert on your post should be optimized as well. Reducing the size of the images decrease the page size as well. It will help in reducing your loading time and improve the overall performance of your blog. There are many online image resizing tools you can use for free. Or you can also download and install offline image compressing tools on your device. or their offline counterparts. There are also paid WordPress plugins that will resize images automatically to it’s most optimal settings.
- Another image optimization trick is to add tags, proper tags at that, on the images. The alt tags and additional keywords you add on the images you insert in your posts will help your blog rank higher in image searches.
- Write relevant, fresh and useful content. Unless you create quality content, you are going to find it hard to build a following or subscribers. People won’t link your content to other sites as well. In short, all your efforts will be ignored and you won’t engage your target audience if you don’t have anything substantial to offer.
- Get your readers and subscribers to comment on your post. You can do this by choosing a fresh topic that’s creating a buzz. Write in an engaging friendly-expert tone and ask your audience if they agree/disagree or if they have something to add to what you have already mentioned. Blogs become interactive when readers comment on a post. Encouraging your audience to comment is also encouraging them to be engaged which is the whole point of having a blog. When your audience is engaged, they are more likely to share your post on social media or link them to other websites.
- Thank commenters and follow their blogs. You can also choose to comment their post or website. There’s a campaign where a blogger encourages comments by rewarding them – ‘You comment, I’ll follow.’ It is important to create friendly relationships with influencers and your subscribers. This keeps them loyal and constantly engaged with your blog, not with just one post.
- Thing is, if you’ve just started a blog, it’s a good idea to post insightful comments on influential bloggers’ posts. It’s a way of introducing yourself to the other blogger and his/her audience. Google also ranks your blog higher if you’re part of a community or niche.
- While in the subject of comments, make sure to block spam comments on your blog. Spam comments don’t help and can even lead to penalties if you don’t remove them. Not only are they annoying and completely unrelated to your content – sometimes they are about the most embarrassing ads for Viagra – but Google and other engines just hate them. It can affect your WP blog’s ranking because the page where the comment appears can be flagged as spam or your site can get penalties for such spam content.
- Use social media especially Twitter. Make sure to add social media buttons for your readers to share your blog post. Link your blog to Twitter and Facebook so that each time you publish new content, it will be announced on social media. People tend to read their timeline or other people’s tweet more often than they check their email. So make sure you have this aspect covered.
- And finally, measure your SEO campaign and its impact on your blog’s search engine ranking. It is not just about implementing changes, but measuring the effect of the changes you’ve applied. You have to find out what works and what doesn’t. Google Analytics and getClicky are two plugins to avail of. You can also check the traffic rankings on an incognito browser or browser window or try Google Search Console that is a great source of data.
To sum it up…
You will notice that SEO is not as simple as 123. There is a lot of stuff to pay attention to when you blog using WordPress and man plugins to choose from.
Doing your own research always helps. Things can get downright technical or focus on content creation which isn’t an easy task for non-writer. As a blogger however, you are supposed to be great at both.
Creating compelling content while keeping an eye on the numbers come in the territory especially if your goal is to rank high in search results for your specific niche.