WordPress is the best blogging platform available on the web. WordPress is robust with it’s premium themes, plugins and widgets. Okay you started a blog what next? You want your blog to be popular on the web. One must implement SEO (search engine optimization) on blog for increasing your blog’s online presence. For many people still SEO is a bitter fruit. In this post we will try to explain the best WordPress SEO practices that improves your blog’s online presence and drives more traffic.
WordPress SEO – Theme
When you start a blog first thing you have to take care of is theme. When you are selecting a theme for your WordPress blog you should keep 3 things in mind. Search engines also consider how fast a website loads as one of the SEO factor. First thing is your WordPress theme should load faster. Secondly your theme should be responsive. As the smartphones and tablets are increasing, your blog should be compatible with all devices. Thus your theme should be responsive that adapts any device. Lastly these days displays are coming with retina display. So your blog should be retina ready. Keep these 3 in mind while choosing a theme.
1. Loading Time
2. Responsive Theme
3. Retina Ready
WordPress SEO – Permalinks
A WordPress permalink is nothing but URL to individual blog posts. As the name suggests permalink means permanent link to particular post. WordPress has Permalinks option, on your wordpress dashboard under Settings click on Permalinks option. the best url structure is website url followed by post name http://www.yourblog.com/sample-post/ in that case choose post name option. Most of the blogggers divide posts into different categories then select Custom Structure then enter /%category%/%postname%/ as shown in below pic and save changes.
WordPress SEO – WWW vs non-WWW
Choose how your website url should look www.example.com or simply example.com. Update the same in WordPress Settings -> General as shown in below pic.
WordPress SEO – Post Title
Before implementing WordPress SEO on post titles and description install WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. When you search for a query search engines also see whether search keywords present in the post title as shown in below pic.
After installing WordPress SEO plugin under Titles & Metas -> Post Types set Title template as shown in below pic.
You can give post title to individual posts in SEO Title field of WordPress SEO dialogue box in post editor as shown in below pic.
WordPress SEO – Meta Description
When you search for a query search engines also see whether search keywords present in the meta description of the post. By default WordPress SEO plugin takes first 156 characters as meta description as shown in below Snippet Preview.
You can manually enter post description in Meta Description field of WordPress SEO plugin dialogue box in post editor as shown in below pic.
WordPress SEO – Image Optimization
Optimizing images is also a search engine optimization technique. Search engines crawl better if you provide alternate attribute to your image. An alternate attribute gives an alternate information to the image. If for some reasons browser can’t load images then this alternate description will be shown.
You can also give alt and title attributes to images by clicking on Edit option on the inserted image as shown in below pic.
WordPress SEO – Headings
Using H2 or H3 tags is always one of the best SEO practices. When you search for a query search engines also looks whether keywords present in any headings. So always try to use proper headings as we used in this post.
WordPress SEO – XML Sitemaps
In order to index your WordPress blog by search engines you need to submit sitemap to search engines. Search engines crawl your blog better if you submit XML sitemap. We recommend to use XML Sitemap generator plugin. This plugin creates XML sitemap of your WordPress blog, automatically updates whenever your publish a new post and pings Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines. The default sitemap url is website.com/sitemap.xml. Submit XML sitemap to Google, Bing Webmaster tools.
WordPress SEO – Google Authorship
These days you might have observed picture in left side of search results. The picture says that particular person is author of the post and author name with his/her circles. This is called google authorship. Benifits of google authorship are
1. Your picture in search results.
2. Increased Page Rank.
3. Increased CTR (Click Through Rate)
Google Authorship for WordPress
1. Go to your google+ profile, click on Profile, click on About and the go to Contributor to Section as shown in below pic.
2. Click on Edit and add the WordPress blog your authoring to that section. Save it.
3. Now go to your WordPress Dashboard, left side you can see users, click on your profile.
4. In profile page under contact info you can find Google+ field paste your google+ profile url as shown in below pic and save it. That’s it you have setup google authorship on your WordPress blog.
After implementing google authorship to test how it works useGoogle Rich Snippets Tool and enter any of your post url. If you get profile picture in your post snippet as shown in below pic then your authorship is working.
WordPress SEO – Site Speed
How fast your website or blog loads is one of the factors that search engines consider. Your blog loads faster if your theme has less scripts. Always it is recommended to serve HTML version of your blog to search engines. There are many caching plugins available in WordPress. W3TC and WP Super Cache are famous WordPress plugins which reduces your blog loading time. If you can spend some bucks on improving your site speed we recommend using maxCDN which is trusted by many webmasters.
WordPress SEO – Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs gives your blog a structure especially if your blog has many categories. Breadcrumbs help visitors to identify where they are in your blog. For example above this post title you can see something like this Home / SEO / WordPress SEO – The Complete Guide. If your theme comes with Breadcrumbs then it’s ok if not try Breadcrumb NavXT plugin which is trusted by Million WordPressors. Checkout our post on Breadcrumbs and SEO.
WordPress SEO – Conversions
Once you are done publishing a post you must convert every visitor to a customer or subscriber so that they stay updated with our new articles. If you observe this blog at the end of each post we are asking visitor to subscribe to our updates. If you are visiting this blog for the first time a popup might have appeared asking for subscription or like. These are few ways to convert visitors to customers. We recommend using WP Lead Magnet plugin which can increase your leads by 300%.
WordPress SEO – Comments
Always write your post in such a way visitors should leave a comment on your post. Make sure you reply back to visitor’s queries and stay connected with them. As your WordPress blog grows you receive more spam comments. Then how to deal with WordPress comment spam? This is a 1 year blog so far we filtered 3500 spam comments. We recommend using Akismet, GASP and Simple Trackback Validation plugins together. These plugins reduce comment spam on your WordPress blog by 90%.