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The ultimate WordPress SEO guide

The ultimate WordPress SEO guide

The title of this post is appealing and the first thing you learn is that the title makes difference but this post is not about the title and your are not interested in talking about the title here. This post is all about WordPress Search Engine Optimization. In this post we will try to cover all the aspects related to search engine optimization of a WordPress blog.

We are going to know about the SEO aspects related to WordPress but topics like social media optimization and performance optimization which are equally important will not be covered in this post. Social media optimization and performance optimization are very crucial aspects related to every website and blog in current time but we would like to publish about these topics separately.

Various aspects related to WordPress SEO

Basic WordPress SEO is with the Title and Description

When WordPress is being installed, at a point we have to input the site name. At that point we do not realize the important of this but it is important from SEO point of view. The title of site and tagline or small description that can be added from setting and then general tab in the WordPress dashboard.

 

 WordPress site title and description

The SEO of your theme

If you plan to maintain a blog professionally you have to make sure that your theme is SEO optimized. Frameworks like Thesis or Genesis are SEO optimized. Many professional themes are also SEO optimized. The SEO optimization of a WordPress theme is primarily about use of Title, H1 to H6 tags, clean code etc. In the recent time responsive themes are considered to be better for SEO because using a responsive theme you can have the same site for all devices and screen types and the site is indexed at once only. Use of Meta ViewPort tags also make search crawlers aware of the site being responsive.

Do not ignore the taxonomy SEO

The Taxonomy meaning the tags and categories are crucial in WordPress seo. Use of proper tags and categories create better scope for post ranking better in search results. It is explicitly advised that the categories should be minimum and most relevant while tags can be more in numbers but they also must be very relevant.

Avoid Indexing of archives, Categories and Tags

It is a better idea to avoid indexing of categories, tags and archive pages so that scope for detection of duplicate content is reduced. Categories, posts and archives have repeated posts and their content. . However in recent time this factor is no more important because search crawlers do identify categories, tags and archive pages.

Currently till WordPress 3.5.2, this option is not available in WordPress but can be added using a plugin. We are going to talk about WordPress SEO plugins later in this post.

Use fancy permalinks

Permalink structure is also an important point from the SEO perspective. Permalink is the URL of posts and pages in WordPress. The basic and original form of the URL is “www.yoursite.com/?p=is” but WordPress offers various types of fancy URL structure and even a custom URL structure.

It is advised that you use a custom structure as shown below. This will make sure that proper keywords are added in you URL.

 

 WordPress Fancy permalink

While creating a post or a page you can use the edit URL option above the editors to make sure that your URL is not too big and includes most relevant keywords. Any effort to make URL SEO friendly is about having a smaller and better URL with keywords.

You will need mod_rewrite installed on your server and the following code added to your .htaccess file for fancy URL to work.

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>

Mind the Title of the post

Apart from the URL and not only in case of WordPress but any site the title of the page or post must include most relevant keywords and must be having not more that 70 to 75 characters.

Use of a SEO plugin

WordPress by default lacks some SEO options that are really important and using an SEO plugin become really essential. Below are few quality SEO plugins for WordPress.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

All In One SEO pack

Use Nofollow at required links

The "rel=nofollow" attribute tells the search crawlers to not follow a hyperlink and also not to pass the PageRank. It is important that the pages on your own blog get more PageRank juice you have and not any other external links. Unless required the external URLs on a page must have the nofollow attribute.

Build quality Internal link structure

The internal links structure is very important. You must use widgets like latest posts, popular posts, related posts, archives, tags, categories so that search crawlers reach every post of your blog regularly. Keep in mind that the more search crawlers find a page, the more scope of ranking higher is there. You should carefully build a link structure that makes sure of every page and post getting indexed. It is advised to have maximum 200 links on a single webpage.

Be mindful about dead links

There is a lot of possibility that you old posts have links to webpages that are no more available. This is really not a good sign. If search crawlers find that the links from your webpages direct to unavailable resources, it will harm your performance.

WordPress image optimization

Optimization of images before using them can make them lighter without loosing visible quality. This will help webpages to load faster and be an added benefit for SEO. There are plugins like WP smush It available for this but I recommend using the Smush It service directly without a plugin.

Be careful while uploading images

The image up-loader in WordPress is always improving. You have to see to it that it is used properly and all the fields like the Title, Caption, ALT text and Description are properly filled.

WordPress media uploader

 

Use an image ALT tag plugin

There is a possibility that many images on your webpages are not having ALT tag, this tag is crucial from SEO perspective. Using a plugin that adds ALT tag can help. However this is only recommended if the site has too many images without ALT tags  or it is manipulating images to create thumbnails etc.

Have social media metadata

Social media metadata like Facebook open graph and Twitter cards is essential these days and SEO plugins have these options too.

Use Schema microdata and microformats

Using scema.or microdata and other relevant micro-formats can help search engines understand your content properly. Make sure you achieve this using a plugin or even manually. The markup can prove really working for review sites and sites offering some specific information. This can also improve click through ratio in search results.

Have Dublin core metadata markup

Dublin core is also a markup that is considered important from SEO angle. You can also makes sure that your webpages have Dublin core markup using a plugin.

Have Geo meta tags

The meta Geo tags are the markups that tell the search engines about geographical relevancy of a webpage. You must take benefit of meta Geo tags is required.

The meta Geo tags look like the example below.

<meta name="geo.region" content="IN-MH" />
<meta name="geo.placename" content="Mumbai" />
<meta name="geo.position" content="19.083452;72.883987" />
<meta name="ICBM" content="19.083452, 72.883987" />

Use Ping

WordPress has inbuilt facility to inform various services about the content updating on your blog. It is advised that you update various services when the content is updated at your blog.

WordPress internal ping

Below is a list of few service that you can consider updating.

 

http://www.a2b.cc/setloc/bp.a2b

http://1470.net/api/ping


http://a2b.cc/setloc/bp.a2b


http://api.feedster.com/ping


http://api.moreover.com/ping


http://api.moreover.com/RPC2


http://api.my.yahoo.co.jp/RPC2


http://api.my.yahoo.com/ping


http://api.my.yahoo.com/RPC2


http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping


http://audiorpc.weblogs.com/RPC2


http://bblog.com/ping.php


http://bitacoles.net/notificacio.php


http://bitacoles.net/ping.php


http://bitacoras.net/ping


http://blo.gs/ping.php


http://blog.goo.ne.jp


http://blog.goo.ne.jp/XMLRPC


http://blogbot.dk/io/xml-rpc.php


http://blogdb.jp


http://blogdb.jp/xmlrpc


http://blogdigger.com/RPC2


http://blogmatcher.com/u.php


http://blogoole.com/ping/


http://blogoon.net/ping/


http://blogpeople.net/ping


http://blogroots.com/tb_populi.blog?id=1


http://blogsearch.google.ae/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.at/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.be/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.bg/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.ca/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.ch/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.cl/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.cr/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.hu/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.id/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.il/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.in/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.it/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.jp/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.ma/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.nz/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.th/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.uk/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.ve/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.co.za/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.ar/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.au/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.br/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.co/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.do/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.mx/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.my/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.pe/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.sa/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.sg/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.tr/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.tw/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.ua/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.uy/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com.vn/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.de/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.es/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.fi/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.fr/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.gr/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.hr/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.ie/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.in/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.it/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.jp/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.lt/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.nl/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.pl/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.pt/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.ro/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.ru/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.se/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.sk/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.tw/ping/RPC2


http://blogsearch.google.us/ping/RPC2


http://blogshares.com/rpc.php


http://blogsnow.com/ping


http://blogstreet.com/xrbin/xmlrpc.cgi


http://blogupdate.org/ping/


http://bulkfeeds.net


http://bulkfeeds.net/rpc


http://catapings.com/ping.php


http://coreblog.org/ping


http://effbot.org/rpc/ping.cgi


http://feedsky.com/api/RPC2


http://fgiasson.com/pings/ping.php


http://hamo-search.com/ping.php


http://holycowdude.com/rpc/ping/


http://imblogs.net/ping/


http://lasermemory.com/lsrpc/


http://mod-pubsub.org


http://mod-pubsub.org/kn_apps/blogchatt


http://mod-pubsub.org/knapps/blogchatt


http://mod-pubsub.org/ping.php


http://newsblog.jungleboots.org/ping.php


http://newsisfree.com/RPCCloud


http://packetmonster.net/xmlrpc.php


http://ping.amagle.com


http://ping.amagle.com/


http://ping.bitacoras.com


http://ping.bitacoras.com


http://ping.blo.gs


http://ping.blogg.de/


http://ping.bloggers.jp/rpc


http://ping.blogoon.net/


http://ping.blogs.yandex.ru/RPC2


http://ping.cocolog-nifty.com/xmlrpc


http://ping.exblog.jp/xmlrpc


http://ping.fakapster.com/rpc


http://ping.fc2.com/


http://ping.feedburner.com


http://ping.feeds.yahoo.com/RPC2/


http://ping.kutsulog.net/


http://ping.myblog.jp


http://ping.namaan.net/rpc


http://ping.rootblog.com/rpc.php


http://ping.snap.com/ping/RPC2


http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php


http://ping.weblogalot.com/rpc.php


http://ping.weblogs.se


http://ping.wordblog.de/


http://pinger.blogflux.com/rpc


http://pingoat.com/


http://pingoat.com/goat/RPC2


http://pingqueue.com/rpc/


http://popdex.com/addsite.php


http://r.hatena.ne.jp/rpc


http://rcs.datashed.net


http://rcs.datashed.net/RPC2


http://rpc.blogbuzzmachine.com/RPC2


http://rpc.bloggerei.de/ping/


http://rpc.blogrolling.com/pinger


http://rpc.britblog.com/


http://rpc.icerocket.com:10080


http://rpc.newsgator.com/


http://rpc.pingomatic.com


http://rpc.reader.livedoor.com/ping


http://rpc.tailrank.com/feedburner/RPC2


http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping


http://rpc.twingly.com


http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2


http://rpc.wpkeys.com


http://services.newsgator.com/ngws/xmlrpcping.aspx


http://signup.alerts.msn.com/alerts-PREP/submitPingExtended.doz


http://snipsnap.org/RPC2


http://syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php


http://thingamablog.sourceforge.net/ping.php


http://topicexchange.com


http://topicexchange.com/RPC2


http://trackback.bakeinu.jp/bakeping.php


http://wasalive.com/ping/


http://weblogues.com/ping/


http://weblogues.com/RPC/


http://www.a2b.cc


http://www.a2b.cc/setloc/bp.a2b


http://www.bitacoles.net/ping.php


http://www.blogdigger.com/RPC2


http://www.bloglines.com/ping


http://www.blogoole.com/ping/


http://www.blogoon.net/ping


http://www.blogpeople.net


http://www.blogpeople.net/servlet/weblogUpdates


http://www.blogroots.com


http://www.blogroots.com/tb_populi.blog?id=1


http://www.blogroots.com/tbpopuli.blog?id=1


http://www.blogsdominicanos.com/ping/


http://www.blogshares.com/rpc.php


http://www.blogsnow.com/ping


http://www.blogstreet.com/xrbin/xmlrpc.cgi


http://www.catapings.com/ping.php


http://www.feedsky.com/api/RPC2


http://www.holycowdude.com/rpc/ping/


http://www.imblogs.net/ping/


http://www.lasermemory.com


http://www.lasermemory.com/lsrpc


http://www.mod-pubsub.org/kn_apps/blogchatter/ping.php


http://www.mod-pubsub.org/knapps/blogchatter/ping.php


http://www.mod-pubsub.org/ping.php


http://www.newsisfree.com/RPCCloud


http://www.newsisfree.com/xmlrpctest.php


http://www.octora.com/add_rss.php


http://www.popdex.com


http://www.popdex.com/addsite.php


http://www.snipsnap.org


http://www.snipsnap.org/RPC2


http://www.wasalive.com/ping/


http://www.weblogues.com


http://www.weblogues.com/RPC


http://www.xianguo.com/xmlrpc/ping.php


http://www.zhuaxia.com/rpc/server.php


http://xmlrpc.blogg.de


http://xping.pubsub.com/ping


http://zhuaxia.com/rpc/server.php


http://zing.zingfast.com


http://api.nrelate.com/rpcpinghost/

 

PubSubHubbub can be pretty useful

PubSubHunbub is a service that offers a PubSubHunbub WordPress plugin which can also update various services on a new post or content publishing.

Have Google Plus authorship working

Google plus authorship is essential these days and this is not possible by default in WordPress. A theme can have the related Google Plus author attribute or it can be achieved using a plugin. Authorsure WordPress plugin can be pretty handy for doing this.

Read more about Google Plus authorship.

Have Google Plus publisher-ship working

Google plus publisher markup links your Google plus page to your website. You should have that working for you.

Learn more about Google plus publisher-ship.

Have a robot.txt file

Having Robot.txt file helps you in giving proper instructions to search crawlers. WordPress generates a virtual Robots.txt file but it is advised that you have a Robot.txt file of your own and have proper directions for search crawlers.

Read more abour Robots.txt file.

Have a XML sitemap

Having a XML sitemap is essential for a website. Nearly all SEO plugins have this option of creation of XML sitemap. This sitemap can be submitted to search engines like Google and MSN/Yahoo/Bing using their webmaster accounts. The sitemap can also be linked in footer of your website/blog. The sitemap should also be specified in Robots.txt file.

 

WordPress is the largest content management and blogging platform in the world. Proper usage makes it further better and also produces desired results. We hope that this guide helps you and we will also be publishing about WordPress SEO regularly.

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net