How to Optimize Your WordPress Blog for Search Engines

How to Optimize Your WordPress Blog for Search Engines

This post is designed to help you optimize your WordPress blog for search engines so that your content gets noticed.

On page optimization
Change your Permalink structure. The default option in WordPress is to use the post id (a numeric value) as the URLs to your individual weblog posts.  One of the ranking factors Google looks for is the presence of keywords in the URL.  Therefore, you should change the Permalink settings to use the post title instead of the post id for the URL.  This can be done in the Settings – Permalinks tab.  If you include keywords into your post titles, you will get a double benefit from having them in URL.
Install the SEO Slugs plugin. This will automatically delete stop words like “a,” “the,” “an,” etc. from your post slugs, which is beneficial for search engine optimization.
Install the All In One SEO Pack plugin. This tool has a lot of great features to help optimize your blog, even if you are only a beginner.
Install the XML sitemaps plugin.  While the benefit of submitting XML sitemaps to the search engines is debatable, it’s generally regarded as a best practice to submit it just in case.
Install the SEO title tags plugin. This tool optimizes the title tags across blogs or websites hosted on a WordPress platform by automatically matching the title tags to the post titles.
Make sure you include keywords in both the titles and the content of your posts.
Check that your theme places the important content at the top of the page.  This is good practice for both users, but just as importantly for search engines.  Your theme should put the content at the top, keeping sidebars and footers at the bottom – allowing crawlers to get to your content as quick as possible.
Off page optimization
Make sure your site is clean and has quality content so that others feel good about linking to you.
Send trackbacks to the sites and users you write about – WordPress automatically sends a trackback to other WordPress sites you link to, but if they are hosted on another platform, you need to send them by hand.
Submit your site to web directories, submit articles to article directories, and search for niche forums where you can comment and post your link.
Create a good relationship with other business owners by commenting on their blogs – but always on topic. Don’t spam – nobody likes that.

These recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg. There are more advanced techniques to optimize your WordPress blog, but applying the advice above is the first step to ranking in the search engines.

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