WordPress is one of the most powerful blogging platforms for getting ranked in search engines – if configured correctly. Unfortunately, out of the box WordPress is actually quite poorly configured.
Here are some of the SEO best practices to implement for your WordPress blog.
Change the Title Structure
By default, WordPress places your blog title first, then the blog post.
For example, if your blog’s name is “Rick’s Blog” and your blog title is “How to Learn Spanish,” WordPress would display:
Rick’s Blog | How to Learn Spanish
In reality, you want it the other way around:
How to Learn Spanish | Rick’s Blog
That will give you the most powerful rankings for your individual blog posts.
By default, WordPress uses a numeric system for creating permalinks. Your posts will be labeled example.com/?=24 for example.
Instead, it’s better for both your rankings and the human eye to actually have something that’s readable and has your keywords in it. For example, example.com/best-prices-on-widgets/.
Internal Linking and Categories
It’s best to link related articles to one another within posts on similar topics. This will pass relevant link juice between your own blog pages, as well as show real people other pages they might be interested in.
Categories can help a lot with internal linking. Make sure you have well-named categories and place each blog post into the specific category they belong in.
That will make it easy for search engines to tell what each category is about and see that you have a lot of relevant content in that category.
Add Caching to Increase Speed
One often overlooked SEO factor is page load times. Search engines place quite a high importance on load times. If your site loads fast, your site gets quite a few points for that.
To decrease your load times, install a caching plug-in like W3 Total Cache.
Tag Your Images
Tag the alt tags in all your non-navigational images. In other words, images that are actually part of your blog posts should always be tagged.
Use a Sitemap Plug-In
A sitemap makes it easy for search engines to find all the pages on your site.
Yes, search engines can find it without a sitemap, but by decreasing the computing power it takes for a spider to spider your site, you’ll win a few extra points in the search engine’s eyes.
The easiest way to set up and maintain a sitemap for WordPress is to simply install a plug-in that will automatically set up and update the sitemap for you.
A Few Last Words
The All In One SEO plug-in is a free plug-in used by many in the WordPress community. It makes it easy to change your title structures, permalink structures and a lot more.
Preventing blog comment spam is also an important part of ranking. The best way to do that is to use the Akismet plug-in, also free, written by the founder of WordPress.
These are some of the most important practices for optimizing a WordPress blog for SEO.