WordPress Search Engine Optimization also known as SEO, term used in this article from now, on is an important part of each website strategy as a website can have different purposes, be it for e-commerce, branding or whatever else, but it’s not worth anything without visitors. WordPress search engine optimization is no different than any other SEO so the same rules apply. Visitors come directly and by that we mean they click on a link in an email sent from a friend or enter your website address directly in the browser (they heard or seen your website URL somewhere) but a large number of visitors will hopefully get to your website through search engines by looking for keywords that are relevant for the topic of your website. Search engines crawl the web for new content constantly and based on highly complex algorithms try to provide most relevant results for the searched keyword.
Any website should try to be as SEO optimized as possible because visitors coming from search engines are highly interested in the provided results so you get highly targeted visits and SEO is free so if you have quality content you’ll do well but (there is always a but…) you need to be focused and pick your topics. Most of the topics are extremely competitive as there are so many websites competing for search engine rankings. There are some things to take into account here when doing your SEO strategy planning. Don’t try to compete on “broad” keywords, by that I mean it’s going to be extremely hard to compete for keyword “digital camera”, instead try to narrow it down to for example “underwater digital camera” and focus on the relevant, more narrow keywords that aren’t as competitive and hard to obtain.
There are several reasons why websites have high search engine rankings – quality content, up to date content, history (they have been around for a long time) and the most important thing they have working for them are links from other sources. Links from popular and relevant sites covering digital photography have more weight than links coming from a website covering gardening. Also the popular websites have staff writing relevant content and it can be very hard to compete for a small website although if you provide extremely original and unique content you’ll find your audience.
WordPress as a content management system provides great SEO capabilities so WordPress search engine optimization can be done right without too much hassle and I’ll outline some of the things you should setup to get the most out of WP.
Structure is not really a WordPress topic as it applies to any website but WordPress makes it easy to do it right. Post categories and tags make it easy to organize topics based on topics that are relevant for SEO purposes as well. Custom post types and custom taxonomies make it extremely easy to create content for other things except for blog posts and should be used extensively.
Out of the box WordPress provides us the option to use pretty permalinks and should be used as it enables us to create URLs relevant to the topic we’re covering. Look into the URL of this tutorial and you’ll see it’s http//www.emke.net/wordpress-sarch-engine-optimization/ because I selected the option of using “Post name” for my permalink structure (Post name option is a new feature since WP v3.3).
www or not
Always stick to either http://www.emke.net or http://emke.net for your base URL. Choose one and stick with it so your page rank doesn’t get diluted across the two options as for search engines these are two different sites. I use a plugin called Redirection for this purpose and always use www.
WordPress SEO plugin
Install WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast as it’s a great addon to WordPress and has great features to help you while you’re writing your post so you can target on your focus keywords, edit meta descriptions and help you make your content more optimized for search engines.
SEO friendly images plugin
I also use a plugin, called SEO Friendly Images, which basically adds alt and title attributes to all your images to make more relevant to the keywords you’re targeting.
Sitemaps are like maps for search engines and enabling them is just one click when you’re using WordPress SEO plugin mentioned above. Make it easy for search engines to find you quality content.
Always try to use breadcrumbs when you have a complex structure to make it easy to get back to home and to the topics you want to highlight and make SEO friendly.
The faster your site loads the better it is and that’s why optimizing your WordPress website is extremely important if you want to rank well.
All of the aspects I’ve written about here have been addressing onsite WordPress search engine optimization techniques – things you do to optimize your website to make it easy for search engines to crawl your website. The other aspect is Offsite SEO and that’s the other part of SEO where you need to get links from other websites. Links are by far the most important thing when it comes to SEO and go outside of scope of WordPress but I do plan on covering this at some later point.
While SEO seems like a lot of work it’s definitely worth it if you get it right and search engine traffic is obviously, as we earlier mentioned extremely targeted and visitors coming from search engines are usually genuinely interested in the topics they were searching for. As long as you provide quality and unique content to your visitors and keep at it (it’ll not come over night) SEO is in my opinion the best strategy to get visitors over time. WordPress, as a tool, can be configured to make your content well optimized for search engines but if you don’t have quality content there is no use so focus on quality content.
Do you think this article was helpful? Any tips of your own? Let me know in the comments.