There are a lot of articles on how to optimize WordPress blogs for the search engines. However, I still haven’t seen any articles outlining actual steps you need to take immediately after you install a fresh copy of WordPress theme. The information below will attempt to do just that.
Step 1: Change the permalink structure
How to do it: Go to Settings>Permalinks and then select “Custom Structure.” Use /%postname%/ and write it in the box.
Why do it: For more information about using %postname%, click here. The reason why you want to use this permalink structure is because you increase the probability searchers will click your link in the search results and you gain a slight advantage in the rankings also.
Step 2: Install the necessary SEO plugins
Install the following SEO plugins for maximum leverage:
- All in one SEO pack – necessary for optimizing title tags, meta tags
- Redirection – Many SEO features here, but the most important one is that it manages 301 redirects. It will also change all 302 to 301 redirects, for example if your site is http://example.com and the visitor goes to http://www.example.com, this plugin will 301 redirect the visitor to the non-www version (by the way, WordPress, without this plugin installed will do the same just with 302 redirect instead.)
- Google XML Sitemaps – makes the job easier for search engines to find the pages on your site.
Many people recommend many other ‘essential’ SEO plugins but these are the ones I use on Mix The Net and I really don’t plan to add more in the near future.
Step 3: Learn more about SEO from QUALITY resources
Honestly, most SEO advice is very, very bad. It is based on untested theories. Fortunately, there are some websites that use research when doing SEO and base their advice on real life observations.
SEOMoz (http://www.seomoz.org/articles) is one of these rare sites . When you visit them, look right under “Most popular guides” where you’ll see free guides on keyword research and on and off-page optimization.
The principles they outline there apply to every website, including your WordPress blog. Learn it and use it.
Okay so that’s pretty much all. One more thing…if you’re grateful for this post then please go and implement everything I wrote above. You won’t know the results till you go and implement…and believe me, you’ll be surprised what happens when you do just that.
Darko is a person interested in web design & finding web tools for getting everyday tasks done. His blog is at Mix The Net.com