WordPress is a fantastic blogging platform, I love using it! But if you are using a fresh WordPress install you’ll probably not get much in the way of traffic. Luckily WordPress is super easy to optimize. Here’s a short tutorial on how you can take a standard WordPress blog and optimize it to get more traffic from search engines.
1. Page Titles
One of the most important things you can do, if not the most important, is optimizing your page titles. Search engines need to know what your post is about, so if you are writing about the “New Cool Gadget From CompanyX” then you should give your post a title such as ” Reviewing The New CompanyX Cool Gadget”. Try and avoid time specific page title’s as people will not click throgh as frequently from a search engine result page if they feel that your post is out of date.
To change your title you need to go to your Admin panel, then Presentation > Theme Editor and pick your current theme.
2. Keywords In Content
Using keywords in your post title is important, but you also need to use keywords throughout your post. Concentrate on the first paragraph then use variations of your main keyword throughout the rest of your post. For eaxamle, while you may be posting about ‘blue widgets’ why not talk about ‘red widgets’ and ‘green widgets’?
3. Permalink Structure
Firstly, my advice is that you setup your blog in the root directory because search spiders can be slow to spider content located several directories deep. A lot of bloggers will arrange their permalink structure by date to look something link http://www.myblog.com/11/07/2006/postname.php. I would strongly advise that you change your permalink structure to something much more simple like http://www.myblog.com/category/post-title.php or just http://www.myblog.com/postname.php.
To change your permalink structure you need to quickly login to your WordPress admin panel, then go to Options > Permalinks. Choose custom. To create a permalink structure like http://www.myblog.com/category/postname.php you need to enter the following code:
4. Header Tags
The header tags are used when assigning a title, typically within a post. These title tags are have a numerical value associated with them that also indicates their importance, ie. < h1 > is used for your most important header, < h2 > would be used for a sub title etc. Place the same keywords as used in your post title in the < h1 > tag then use variations of your keywords in < h2 > / < h3 tags for optimum effect.
5. Related Posts
When a person visits your blog you want then to stay for as long as you can. One of the best ways to keep visitors interested is to show them other content on your blog that may be related to the post they are currently reading. The easiest way to do this is with the ‘Related Posts‘ plugin. Upload using your FTP client into the wp-content > plug-in folder, then login to your WordPress admin panel and activate the plug-in from the ‘Plug-in’ page.
6. Use Sitemaps
To get the most traffic from search engines like Google it is best to get as many of your pages indexed as possible. Make it easier by installing the Google Sitemaps plug-in. Upload into wp-content > plug-in via FTP and then activate from the Plug-in page. This will then create an XML file that Googlebot can spider and then find all your content. You’ll need a Sitemaps account though where you can register your new Sitemap.
7. Keep It Fresh
Search engines love fresh content. So when you are posting regularly you will find that Googlebot / Slurp / MSNbot will come round more often to spider your fresh content. One tip I would suggest is to use the timed post feature to release posts that you have prepared for the future. This comes in particularly handy when you are off on holiday somewhere without any internet access. To set a date and time for a release date, click on ‘Post Timestamp’ and select your date and time.
8. Make It Unique
Keep your content unique, otherwise you are running the risk of penalization for duplicate content. Although it can be tempting to just copy and paste someone elses content or use a syndicated article, you will not benefit from it.
9. Build Backlinks
To get more traffic you need back links. Ideally other blogs will like what you write and link to you, but if you are just starting out and need a little exposure then submit your blog to one of the many blog directories. Other ways to get back links is via commenting on other blogs and using trackbacks.
10. Go Social!
Take advantage of social sites like Digg, Del.icio.us, Bebo and Myspace. One of the best ways to get your content out there and exposed is to install the ‘Sociable‘plugin. All you need to do is uploading into wp-content > plug-in then activate from the Plug-in page. Each post will now have a link to submit it to one of many social websites. I find that if a story gets picked up on one of these sites it can go viral … so install Sociable ASAP!
Optimizing WordPress is quite simple, which is part of the reason why I enjoy using it so much. If you stick at it and keep going you will eventually build up traffic and reputation.
If you are editing pages using the WordPress admin you will need to change permissions for the file. To do this, navigate to the file (probably in wp-content > themes). In Transmit for OS X, select the file and hit Command-I. For windows, right click the file and select Properties. Then change permissions to 666.
If you are trying to install a plug-in that you have downloaded, please follow the instructions for them. Most require nothing more than uploading a file or folder into wp-content > plug-in, then activation from the Plug-in page.
Article Courtsey: Boyd Creative.Net