So you’ve got a WordPress blog, have made some posts but are hungry for more traffic. I’ll assume you are putting out unique, quality content.
There are many things you can do to get more traffic, but one of the first things you need to do is optimize your blog for the search engines. If the search engines don’t notice your blog, you’re not going to get a lot of traffic, at least not the free kind. Here are 8 tips to optimize your WordPress blog for SEO.
Your Main Keyword
As you will see in the rest of this article it is important to have a primary keyword that you are going after. This is the keyword that you want the homepage of your blog to rank for.
It should be related to your niche, have decent traffic but not be overly competitive so that you can rank for it realistically in the long term. For example, I’ve recently decided to go after “Network Marketing Online” which has decent traffic but over time can realistically be ranked towards the top.
Once you have decided on your keyword, put it in your title tag, heading and the anchor text of backlinks. As a general rule of thumb, the sooner the keyword appears in a title, permalink or body copy the better.
You should also do keyword research for each new blog post and page that you create, though you will generally want to go after less competitive keywords than your blog’s main keyword.
Make sure the keyword appears in each blog title, permalink and 2 or 3 times in the body of the post particularly in the first and last paragraph or even sentence if possible. Again the sooner you can have the keyword in the title, permalink and body the better.
The title tag is probably the most important onsite factor and if you don’t get this right, you are leaving a lot of traffic on the table. Best practice for title tags is to include your brand name + 1 or 2 of your sites MAIN keywords.
Hopefully you know what keywords you want your blog to rank for. If not go and find some good keywords for your niche now! (I actually did a video on Free SEO Keyword research in an earlier blog post that you can check out).
You can choose to leave the brand or blog name out of the title tag. Leaving it out can boost your rankings slightly (as you’ve probably got the brand/blog name in the domain name) but leaving it in can help build your brand, so this one’s up to you.
Search engines have a character limit on title tags for what shows up in the search engines result page. Each search engine has a different limit but keeping your title tag to less than 65 characters including spaces will be under the character limit of the main search engines.
Meta Tags & Keywords
Once upon a time, Meta Description and Keyword Tags were very important to your search engine rankings. Today however they don’t impact your ranking very much and Google has openly said that they don’t take the Meta Keywords into account at all.
However, the Meta Description is still important for another reason. When your blog shows up in the search engines, a snippet will be displayed which is your Meta Description. A well written Meta Description may not affect search engine rankings but it can definitely improve click through.
As for the Meta Keyword Tag, it doesn’t hurt to use it (unless you stuff it with keywords) and smaller search engines may still place some sort of importance to it.
A Permalink is the URL for a post. The default Wordpress permalinks don’t help you at all as they are usually EXAMPLEURL/?p=10 or something similar which isn’t at all sexy and won’t help you in the rankings or in the searcher’s eyes.
Instead change your permalink structure so that they display what the post is actually about.
To do this go to Settings >> Permalinks and then change the format to /%postname%/
Now whenever you do a new post, the title of your blog post will be used in the permalink. As you should have a keyword that you’re tring to rank for in the title, it will also appear in the permalink, thus increasing search engine ranking.
If the title is long, then make sure to shorten the permalink. For example EXAMPLEURL/what-should-i-have-for-dinner-tonight-i-feel-like-pasta-but-its-a-lot-of-carbs-maybe-i-should-just-have-a-salad which I concede is a very extreme example, wouldn’t make a very good permalink nor would http:// …well, you get the idea.
ALT A tributes are used to display alternative text, usually for an image. This could be because an image isn’t showing, for a text browser or for visually impaired readers. But alt attributes can also help you in the search engine rankings, not just for the image section, but for the overall rankings as well.
WordPress applies alt attributes to images automatically based on the file name. E.g. if your image is named “the-stig.jpg” (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like the stig?) the alternate text will become “the-stig”.
So whenever you upload an image to your blog, make sure name it something relative to the post or page (a keyword for example).
This is something admittedly that I haven’t been doing up until now. Basically interlinking is linking to another page or post within your blog. Only do this if what you’re linking to is relevant. I’ve given an instance of this above where I linked to a video I did on keyword research because it was relevant to what I was talking about.
Building a blog should be viewed as a long term process. There are many more SEO techniques that you can apply to your blog, but these 7 are some of the main ways to optimize your WordPress blog for SEO and will start you on your way to big search engine traffic.