You know what makes me cringe? Yes, Dance Moms.
You know what else? Wordpress blogs that lack some of the easiest things to make them more search engine-friendly.
WordPress is my favorite blogging platform, and for 2 BIG reasons:
- You don’t need to be web developer/programmer/mathematician/rocket scientist to set up and maintain a blog on WordPress.
- WordPress is flexible, with thousands of plugins available to help you customize and improve your blog.
WordPress makes it super-easy for you to do almost anything with your blog – including optimizing it for search. Here’s a checklist of 5 things you can do right now to make your WordPress blog SEO-friendly:
1. Uncheck the uncategorized category
“Uncategorized” is the default category for WordPress blogs, but your posts should never be left uncategorized, looking completely random within your blog. When writing a blog post, always have an idea of your general topic in mind. Consider that broad idea your category. The categories are a great way to help both Google and readers of your blog understand the broad ideas of your blog and help navigate to related themes.
Another option, if you don’t want to always uncheck “Uncategorized”, is to rename the uncategorized option. Those blog posts that are more general can fall into your new default category. If you write a blog about social media, maybe social media is your “Uncategorized” category. You can change that on the right side column of your post or within the category options on WordPress:
2. Update permalinks to include post titles
Too many times I’ve seen URLs for WordPress blog posts that look like this: http://www.myawesomeblog.com/?p=123 What’s the first thing you notice about this URL, compared to the URL of this very blog post you’re reading right now? Yes, instead of the post title, there’s a simple page number. This doesn’t tell search engines (or people, for that matter) what your post is about. The keywords used in your post title, body of your post, categories and URL are signals to search engines and help them to rank your blog posts. So it behooves you to change your permalinks to include your post titles. Here’s how:
Go to Settings > Permalinks
Choose from several options for changing your permalinks and select one that includes your post title:
3. Add keyword-focused titles and descriptions
WordPress will use your page or post title as the HTML page title tag, but will not include the meta-description or meta-keywords. To edit your post to include your focus keywords, I recommend using the All in One SEO Pack plugin to tackle this task. After you enable the plug-in:
- Create a page title using your targeted keywords and keep it brief – aim for 50 characters or less.
- Create a meta-description for your site, aiming for 50 -150 characters.
- Enter focus keywords (Google says meta-keywords aren’t given much weight due to keyword stuffing, but still fill this section out). These keywords should also be tagged on your post.
Note that the content and title of your post should also incorporate your focus keywords, so the page is optimized around your key phrase.
4. Add social sharing buttons
You write great content, right? And you want increased traffic and inbound links, correct? Well, then make sure you have the option for your readers to easily share the blog post to their social networks! There are so many options for social sharing, but make sure you have the Google +1 button, Twitter tweet, Facebook like/share, and LinkedIn share. Depending on your content and audience, the Pin it button and other niche platforms might be relevant.
The Google +1 button is especially important for SEO, since +1s on your posts send direct social signals to Google that your content is relevant and high-quality.
Optimize your blogs!
I know that is only a brief list of things you can do to have an optimized blog, but I’m interested to hear about plug-ins or tips that you love to use to optimize blogs. Share your thoughts and recommendations below or find me on Google+ +Sarah Lokitis or on Twitter @Lokitis.