10 SEO Tips for WordPress – the Basics

More and more people run their own blog and many of them use WordPress. That is the reason I decided to put together a small articles with some basic tweaks that you can make to any WordPress theme in order to have an SEO friendly WordPress blog.

You can also use plugins to enhance the functionality of your blog and make it SEO friendly but I prefer to do it myself. This way I keep the modifications to a minimum number – just what I need – and I also maintain control over what I’m doing. You don’t need programming knowledge: I’ll give the code and tell you where to place it. It’s easy and you only need 5 minutes (top) to make it work.

The basics of SEO apply also here

Just like any other website a WordPress website has to have proper titles for its pages, proper metatags, proper anchors and so on. So the basics of SEO also apply to a WordPress theme.

  1. Watch the titles of your articles. Most WordPress themes will display the title of your article after the title of the blog. This is not good for SEO. So, what you need to do is make a small adjustment. Open your WordPress admin page and go to Theme Editor. Access the file header.php and where you have the tags
    <title> … </title>
    replace it with
    <title><?php if (is_home () ) { bloginfo(�name�); }
    elseif ( is_category() ) { single_cat_title(); echo ‘ – ‘ ; bloginfo(�name�); }
    elseif (is_single() )
    { if(get_post_meta($post->ID, “title”, true)) {echo(get_post_meta($post->ID, “title”, true));}
    else {single_post_title();}}
    elseif (is_page() ) { if(get_post_meta($post->ID, “title”, true)) {echo(get_post_meta($post->ID, “title”, true));}
    else {single_post_title();}}
    else { wp_title(��,true); } ?></title>

    This piece of code will help your SEO on your blog with two things

    1. When someone access an article, the browser displays only the title of the article
    2. You also have the possibility to set another title for a page then the name of that page. Why is this useful: let’s say you have a page “Work With Me”, you don’t want a title like that because in terms of SEO will not get you any benefit. So, you can create a custom field called title and create an interesting title that also targets some real keywords
  2. Description Metatag and Keywords Metatag. Every article should have unique description metatag and keywords. It doesn’t matter for your rankings but it will matter for readers who will see the description metatag in a search result right under the title. This tweak is done via custom fields that you can add to each of your posts. To take advantage of this, go to the admin page, theme editor and open the file header.php. Use this piece of code so that the information you pass in the custom fields “description” and “keywords” to be taken into account:
    <meta content=”<?php echo(get_post_meta($post->ID, “description”, true)); ?>”>
    <meta content=”<?php echo(get_post_meta($post->ID, “keywords”, true)); ?>”>

    Remember to use this code as a replacement of the existing one. You don’t want to end up with to definitions for a description metatag, for example.
  3. You need SEO friendly URLs. The standard URL structure from WordPress is not that good for SEO or readers. So, you need a small adjustment. Go to the admin page, Settings > Permalinks and check Month and Name. This way your link structure will look in a descriptive way not only for search engines but for readers too
  4. Build a tag list based on your keyword list. It is important to use any opportunity you have to target keywords. By building a list of tags based on a keyword list you’ll make sure that:
      1. All your tagging stays consistent
      2. Articles are grouped under a descriptive tag
      3. The anchor text for a tag is a keyword that people are really searching for on the web
  5. Build a category list based on your keyword list. Just like in the case of tags, categories are another place where you can use your keywords for better SEO results
  6. Build a Sitemap. Use a plugin like Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator for WordPress (http://www.arnebrachhold.de/projects/wordpress-plugins/google-xml-sitemaps-generator/) to generate an xml sitemap. It will help your indexing process.
  7. Add similar posts to the end of each article. Use the similar posts plugin. This way you’ll not only generate a better functionality, but you also determine the search engine bot to crawl other pages of your WordPress blog. It will add relevancy to the source page.
  8. Use your top landing pages as “engines” for the rest of the blog. An SEO tip for top landing pages is to use them to pass link juice to other pages: link to other related pages from your top landing ones
  9. DO NOT LINK to another website, from your blog, with the keywords you are trying to rank well for
  10. Use keywords when setting your WordPress title and tagline. This title will be the title of your main page so, as an SEO tip, you may include your most competitive keywords in it.

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