The Ultimate Guide to SEO for a WordPress Blog

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) used even by popular blogs like TechCrunch or Perez Hilton that produce thousands of dollars monthly because of great SEO practices.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) contains various organic methods with which a blog raises its page rank and position on the search engines results, being more visible and popular. In principle, a SEO Master must do so so the website will appear multiple times in the first ten pages of a search engine, that usually is Google, and if he brings the website in the first page or even at the first position after one or more relevant keywords, you can say that he made his job perfectly.

Lower you will find all the tips and tricks that represent the Ultimate Guide to SEO for a WordPress Blog.

Choosing a SEO Domain

For the beginning, you need to choose a proper domain name, either by inventing a brand that you know you can promote or by giving a significant name , sometimes you can even use your own name or nickname for originality so if you make a blog about cars you can try http://andys-garage.com, a domain that you can buy from any domain register company, but first you need to check its availability at registrar or web hosting companies such as BlueHost, eHost or NameCheap, that offers domains with the extension .com beginning at a very affordable and competitive price. For instance, if you buy web hosting at BlueHost or eHost, your will get a domain for free.

Equally important as the name is also the extension of the domain, I mean what is next to the dot such as .com, .org for example http://example.com, in this case if you want visitors from all the world you can choose .com, else you can choose depending of the country like .co.uk for United Kingdom, .de for Germany, .us for USA and so on; or other preferences like new extension domains such as .academy, .actor, .guru, .tech and other. You can see the entire list of domain extensions here.

Setting Title and Description

After you just installed WordPress you should write the title and the description of the blog, but pay attention because titles longer than 3-5 words aren’t too well seen and both of them need to be suggestive and related, but not repetitive.

Enabling SE friendly Permalinks

Now it’s the time to adjust the first setting at your WordPress blog namely the friendly url, so you will have nice and suggestive links for your pages and articles and therefore you go at WordPress Dashboard, Settings and Permalinks where you check Post name, so your pages will have similar links with http://example.com/about-me and not like the default one ‘http://example.com/?p=123’. You can also choose Day and name where the date will appear at the link http://example.com/2015/09/09/about-me or Custom Structure where you write /%category%/%postname%/ to appear the category in the links like http://example.com/personal/about-me.

All in One SEO Pack

It’s time to install the All in One SEO Pack plugin which offers you a lot of options so you go at Dashboard and at All in One SEO Pack at General Settings check Canonical URLs for protection against Google penalization regarding duplicate content.

The next step is to write the proper title (maxim 60 characters and 3-5 words), description (maxim 160 characters) and ten general keywords at Home Page Settings.

At the Keyword Settings section, you need to be sure that you have checked the following options Use Keywords, Use Tags for META Keywords and Dynamically Generate Keywords for Posts Page and at Title Settings you need to check Rewrite titles, Capitalize Tittles, Capitalize Category Titles.

Lower you have Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Center and Pinterest that requires verification codes for each one of them to authorize access for all three of them and to check the ownership of the blog. I wrote lower more about Google Webmaster Tools and other Google tools that I recommend you to use.

The last step is to optimize each page and article by writing the titles, descriptions and keywords even if they are product sales, testimonials, projects or other custom type posts. You can do this by going at Dashboard at Pages and All Pages and at Posts and All Posts where you can see the current title, author, categories, tags, number of comments for each article you already wrote and also check the All in One SEO Pack options where you can edit the title, description and keywords by pushing the pencil. You can write the title, description and keywords also when you edit or write an article, in this case lower than the content area you have these options together with a preview on Google of the article.

Optimizing Images for SEO

Every image can be SEO optimized to appear at Google Images, so you can do this either by going at Media Library and selecting an image or when you make an article and upload an image. You need to edit the title, legend, alternative text in case of missing image this will be displayed and the description.

You need to upload the image on your blog with a suggestive name and not a random one so the link for it to be friendly.

Add Videos to Your Posts

If you want to put videos on your blog, I recommend you to upload them to YouTube where you need to write annotations, titles, descriptions, keywords, translations if it’s the case and to choose the proper category.

Enable XML Sitemaps

If you just created a new page, deleted an old one or modified the link of another, then you just modified the blogs sitemap and you need to notify Google so Google Bot can come back and index the new stuff from your blog. For this you can use the Google XML Sitemaps plugin that automatically creates a XML sitemap, but you can create manually too.

The plugin’s options are available at Settings and XML-Sitemap having some basic options that you need to check such as Notify Google about Updates of your Blog, Notify Bing, Add sitemap URL to the virtual robots.txt file and advanced options: Try to automatically compress the sitemap if requesting client supports it and include sitemap in HTML format.

Lower on the same page, you have Sitemap Content where you can check what you want to be part of the sitemap such as homepage, posts, static pages and categories.

Depending of the frequency you write new articles, you can go at Change frequencies and choose Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly, Never for every part of the blog: Homepage, posts, static pages, categories and so on, together with the priority at Priorities from 0,0 to 1,0.

Enable Breadcrumbs for Easy Navigation

With the help of Breadcrumb NavXT plugin you can set Breadcrumbs to appear in the blog so search engines can determine the structure of your site more easily.

At Settings, Breadcrumb NavXT, you can find all the options already optimized in the proper way, but you can change them if you need.

Pay Attention to Headings

For all websites the headings are very important, but WordPress themes are usually properly built, so you won’t have any problems here and your titles will be <h1>, subtitles <h2> and so on highlighting the page structure.

HTML and Text Ratio

Most of the blogs have too much HTML, CSS and JavaScript code and too little text, this is damaging your blog, because nobody can search it on Google after its source code. Try to write more text than source code and try to move any CSS and JavaScript code to external files.

Show Related Posts

To increase traffic on your older articles, you should install Yet Another Related Posts Plugin which sends visitors to similar articles with the one they read.

Unique Content is Crucial

You need to write a lot of original content for your blog, you can write about everything from your own personal life experiences to personal opinions regarding a product, a service or a person. Try to use as many as possible suggestive keywords but in a natural form.

Comments, Testimonials, Guest Posts

For original content, you can also use visitors’ commentaries so you need to make them to interact and comment at each article. Another way to have original content and feedback from visitors are Guest Posts and Testimonials.

Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and Google+

You need to subscribe your website in Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, and after that, verify your blog through writing the codes at All in One SEO Pack. In Webmaster Tools you can introduce the sitemap and other special options for SEO, in Analytics you can see SEO reports regarding visits and visitors, but also you can make research for specific keywords.

You can also put the Google+ profile link at All in One SEO Pack so you will be fully confirmed as owner of the blog and its authority will increase.

Use of Social Media

If you install the Jetpack plugin, you can have both the Related Posts option and the Publicize one that you can find at Settings and you can use it to link your G+, Twitter and Facebook accounts to your blog so anytime you write an article it will be automatically sent at your social media profiles. This will boost your website’s traffic as well will increase the chance of getting a higher ranking in Google.

Wrapping up

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when doing SEO for a WordPress blog. Applying the above mentioned tricks to your blog, you can be sure that you or on the right track to have the perfect on-site SEO.

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