WordPress SEO Hosting Guide
The title tag has long been thought of as the most important on-site factor in telling search engines what your site (or a page) is about. By default on older versions of WordPress, post titles would display as “Blog Name >> Post Title”. As your homepage is probably already ranking for your site name, you’re not helping yourself by putting your site name at the start of your title. You don’t need to rank for it more than once.
Instead of leaving things this way, I personally like to remove the blog name altogether. This isn’t just because I think it looks better, but because it works. A client I worked with last year received a massive boost in search traffic when we removed their brand name from title tags on their blog posts.
To change your title tags, I recommend you install this awesome SEO plugin. Once installed, log into your WordPress admin and go to Settings >> All in One SEO Pack. From there, I have entered the following:
Those are the main ones, and I recommend you tweak the rest to your preferred preferences. The post and homepage titles are the most important.
When you search for a site in Google, you’ll see a snippet of content under the page link. To control this, you can customise your meta description tag for the page. Similarly, you can also add keywords to your tag to tell search engines what your site is about. I should mention that Google announced a few months ago they do not crawl the keywords tag anymore.
A good few years ago the keywords used to be important as search engines had less ways to determine what a site is about. Now that technology is so advanced, search engines have better ways of determining rankings and relevance. I still like to put the keywords in there (for other search engines) and do this by enabling ‘dynamic’ keywords with the All in One SEO pack.
As far as descriptions go, there is no ideal way to automate the process. The best descriptions are hand written, and the plugin Headspace will allow you to configure them for each individual post. Headspace also allows you to auto-fill a posts meta-description based on the description of your category so if you post a lot, that may be useful for you.
Permalinks are simply the URL’s for your posts. By default, post titles tend to look like viperchill.com/?p=38 but if you look at the URL for this post you will see http://www.viperchill.com/wordpress-seo/. I’ll let you decide which one you think looks better. Not only does this new format tell someone what your page is about before clicking on it, the words in the URL will also be highlighted in search engine results if your post is relevant to the search query.
To change your permalinks, simply go to Settings >> Permalinks. I currently use the following format:
Some people like to have categories in there but I like to keep URL’s as short as possible. A friend pointed out that the quickest solution (in terms of querying your database) is to use /%post_id%/%postname%/. I would only really recommend this if you have a massive site built on WordPress, but it’s interesting to note.
It’s best to do this on a fresh blog, but if you’re making this change on a new blog then make sure you install this redirection plugin. It will move your old URL’s properly and in a search engine friendly manner. Also remember to shorten the post slug when you are writing an article, as by default the URL will use all of the words in your title.
Unless you’re very into branding, it’s a good idea to try to optimise your site around a keyphrase that can send you search traffic. Most blogs end up getting the majority of links to their homepage, so it’s a good idea to try and leverage those links by getting search engine rankings for a relevant phrase.
For ViperChill, I’m aiming to rank for the phrase ‘viral marketing’. Although it is fairly competitive, it has a decent search volume and it’s relevant to what this site is about: helping you build remarkable sites that others naturally want to share. The Google external keyword tool is a good place to start to see which phrases are popular in your audience. Make sure you select ‘All Countries and Territories’ on the left and then ‘Exact match’ on the right hand side to get accurate results.
Once you have this keyphrase, you can use it in:
The first and last items on this list are going to be the most crucial to helping you achieve higher search engine rankings.
One way to get more links to your site (which increase search engine rankings) is actually to link to other people. If you are regularly supporting a site, it’s very likely that they’re going to return the favour. Especially if they’re in the same industry. I recommend turning on the option in WordPress (if it’s not already enabled) which notifies other blogs when you have linked to them.
To do so, head on over to Settings >> Discussion, and choose the following options:
I’ve noticed fairly recently how much emphasis Google seem to be putting the alt attribute when it comes to not only ranking images highly, but also ranking your posts highly as well. Consider a search for the term ‘minimalist marketing’ and here is my site result.
The text minimalist-marketing, which I have highlighted, is actually not written anywhere on the page like that. Instead, it is the alt attribute for one of my images. WordPress applies alt attributes to images automatically, but they are generated based on the file name. Therefore, if you save your images as “minimalist-marketing.jpg” or whatever your content is about, then WordPress will automatically generate that text.
The alt tag is a way to tell search engines what your images are actually about. Not only will it help you get more search traffic to your images, but I think it helps the overall rankings of a page, as well.
Interlinking simply means that you link from your blog posts to other blog posts. For example, I sometimes recommend guest blogging as a great way to build your authority in your niche and will then link to my guide on guest blogging. I also use the anchor text of the search query I’m trying to rank for if it doesn’t making my writing look robotic.
Not only is this useful in terms of SEO, but it also gives your readers more posts to read and thus increases your pageviews.
On a lot of sites (and probably yours if this section title makes no sense), there are two ways to access them. For example, if you head on over to test.com, you will see it is both accessible at http://test.com and http://www.test.com. Try this on your own site and see if it is the same.
By default, WordPress handles this redirect for you, but it uses a 302 redirect. A 302 tells search engines the redirection is only temporary, but you really want to tell them it is permanent so that all of your link weight goes to one place. To do this, you need to implement a 301 redirect.
You can choose which one you want Google to list in Google Webmaster Tools, but it’s still necessary to do this. Whether you want to choose the www version or the non-www version of your site is completely up to you.
in my .htaccess for specific redirects, but that is all you need to redirect your site from the non-www version to the www version. Also, remember to change viperchill.com to whatever your domain name is. Read more…
Berrie Pelser, Ber|Art Visual Design:
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Originally posted 2010-12-16 10:33:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
By: Berrie Pelser
Posted: May 7, 2013, 9:20 am
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