I spoke last weekend at the Boulder WordCamp for WordPress, about Search Engine Optimization. For the tech-savvy part of the crowd, here’s more information about it all:
WordPress Search Engine Optimization Process
To start with we need to make sure that the theme or template itself is coded correctly. I.E…only one < H1 >
tag per page (this should be page or post titles) with the logo no greater than an
< h3 >
except on home page. CSS > Tables ;-) Basically code correctly if this is from scratch or if a pre-built theme is used then double check their code.
Following this is a list of plugins and steps for making sure that on-site seo is completely optimal. Most of this is just plugin installation and set up. So all of this should take no more than an hour or two tops. There is a lot more “off-site” automation we can do as well but this will just be all of the on-site stuff.
1) Permalink Structure:Adjustment of Permalink structure to include keywords. Example:
Old non-seo-friendly URL
New seo-friendly URL:
Go to permalinks and use %postname% for a custom structure
2) Title & Description optimization:The use of the plugin HeadSpace http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/headspace2/ to optimize titles and all meta information. This also allows us to specify the “read more” anchor text to something more seo friendly. The “read more” links appear all over WordPress sites.
Old read more example:
“To properly use widgets on your site your going to want to start with..read more >>”
Improved read more example:
“To properly use widgets on your site your going to want to start with..learn more about widgets >>“
3) Image Optimization:
Set up plugin to automatically add post/page titles to the alt text for images if non are present.
4) Breadcrumb navigation:
If there is no breadcrumb navigation present then use this plugin:
5) Duplicate Content:
Because of the structure of WordPress taxonomy and category structure you can have 3 or 4 different URL’s with the exact same content which puts sites at risk of duplicate content penalties.
This allows you to set “no-follow” attributes so that these views are available to users but will not be indexed by search engines.
The default pagination for WordPress uses a “next/previous” methodology. This is fine for users but not for SEO. Here is a fix for this that will increase access to all of the pages:
7) Related Posts:
Here is a plug in that will display related posts:
It allows you to give “weight” to different variables to display “X” number of related posts at the bottom of a page/post. This is good for readers as well as for search engines.
8) SEO Slugs:
Install this plugin
What this does is remove common words like ‘a’,’the’ etc from the URL
9) 301 redirects:
Install this plug:
This will automatically create 301 entries anytime a permalink is changed. This will ensure zero 404 errors.
10) XML sitemaps:
Install this plugin:
This will auto generate an XML sitemap anytime a page/post is created or modified and ping ALL of the major search engines.
11) Front end sitemap
Install a sitemap plugin that will automatically stay updated and make sure that there is a link to it somewhere in the template (probably footer link is best).
There are a bunch of these. Not sure yet which one is best. Here is one though:
While there is much more that can be done, this covers the basics to optimize our WordPress sites. When you have an hour watch this video as well. Its REALLY good: