I’ve been blogging for almost two years and didn’t know much about search engine optimization techniques when I got started, so I’ve got battle tested wisdom that I’ve used to climb the Google rankings for a number of terms. So I understand the stresses and frustrations of bloggers on WordPress with respect to SEO.
To that end I’ve created this search engine optimization tutorial to help out bloggers of all shapes and sizes to make their jobs easier. If it helps you please help meout with a link from your blog. I would really appreciate it. Doing SEO without guidance can very much be like a trail by fire as you try to find the magic answers to what Google and users want from the content your website.
I was reading Yoast today, who is a WordPress designer, and he pointed out some great tips for WordPress SEO that I though SEO enthusiasts like yourself might be interested in. Yoasts tips on the SEO for WordPress issue are incredibly helpful.
Search Engine Optimization Tips and Techniques for WordPress Blogs and Bloggers
1) Keywords, Market Research, and SEO for WordPress.
Take a tip from keyword data. However its just tells you about 50-65% of what you need to know. Keyword data tells you exactly what customers are searching for.
• This will allow you to target long tail key words as well as fat belly ones.
• Google can’t however tell you extremely long tail or time sensitive searches, because about 1/3 of google searches are entirely original. Keep this in mind when developing content and keywords for seo.
• Google’s keyword tool is sufficient for most
• Google has a new feature will also allow you to plug-in your website and it will suggest keywords for you, called the Search based key word tool
• Create a Microsoft doc or spread sheet for the top 5 to 25 terms you are targeting
• One other way to use keyword data is to look at what keywords people are searching for a year ago that are seasonal.
• Aim for BOTH the fat belly and the long tail of search.
• Consider getting a URL with your keywords in it or naming your blog with your keywords.
• Helpful hint: If your blog name is a mouthful, people will likely just link to your name.
• Divide your keywords into three groups: green, yellow, and red or whatever groups you happen to like. This can help you prioritize your most important words throughout your seo campaign.
• Added hint: Switch the permalink structure in WordPress so your URLs have more of your keywords and Google can understand what your posts are about.
2) Target Keyword Subjects and Theme for SEO
• Arrange your wordpress blog in a silo or themed format, with the main subjects covered representing each silo.
• Focus your keyword targeting on a limited number of terms for more targeted seo.
• Focusing on siloed or themed content makes it easy for Google to index and focuses your content more on the words you really want to be ranking for. I don’t practice hyper-strict siloing, but its helpful for understanding how Google views your site via its spiders.
3) Usability and User Experience and SEO for your WordPress Blog.
• Write for humans, not search engines. Cory Doctow’s advice to write like a newswire can be very helpful in some fields, but does take humans somewhat out of the equation.
• Consider writing interesting and very clickable headlines for humans. Web copywriting tips.
• Use related key terms for better latent semantic indexing and SEO.
• Add e-mail subscription options to your blog to increase return visits, community, and conversation. Feedblitz is a great service from blog email subscription.
• Create high color contrast between your subscription button area and the rest of your blog.
• Include a call to action on your subsciption. Tim Ferris does this well, as does Chris Brogan.
• The high degree of usability of the Future Now e-mail subcription list and the resources section for list bait is quite compelling. (list bait is simply using a resource or link bait to get people to join your email list. For instance these website conversion resources list bait is fantastic from Future Now)
• Learn about blog branding 101
• Highlight your best posts. One great plug-in by Alex King is Popularity Contest.
• One other way to highlight your best posts is creating an articles widget. Alex King the ever helpful plug in developer has an articles widget as well.
• Landing page related posts called landing sites. This may or may not be redundant with other related posts widgets. At the very least it increases your options in a strategic way. The aim is to decrease bounce rate and increase retention.
• Look into adding visuals with free stock photos.
4) Tips and Techniques for Linking for SEO
• Just a hint: there are two types of linking onsite and offsite. Building both types of links are important for increasing search engine optimization.
• Link to the correct anchor text. In other words link to what the content is about not the words “link here” If you read the original document which gave rise to Google at Stanford University, anchor text is absolutely critical to the Google algorithm. This is one of the most important factors in SEO.
• Focus on deep linking to individual posts, instead of just the front page. Deep linking just means linking to the exact post or content that a particular link talks about. This helps deliver your users to your best pages and it helps direct your Google juice to where you want it to go.
• Link out to trusted and authority sites for seo. (This just means sites Google trusts and show up high in the search results)
• Link to similar posts on your site. Link more to the most important articles. This provides focus and accessibility for your users and for Google.
matt-mullenwag-wordpress1 (image credit: niall kennedy)
5) White Hat Linkbuilding for WordPress SEO:
• Create user centric content. This is one way to practice User centered design
• Make great original content. Sugar Rae helps you understand unique content.
• Listen intently to your audience
• Focus your blog content on your passion, experience, and your best knowledge base. This will allow you to put out consistent content and consistently quality content.
• Ask your audience questions
• Create pillar and authority content for search engine optimization.
• Network with other people in your field
• Consider getting links from non-profits and educational institutions by speaking for free or collaborating.
• Give away free service reviews to increase search rankings and build relationships.
• Talk with your vendors. Perhaps interview your vendors.
• Consider using widgets to build links with your customers or fans.
• Think about other places you could create links from where you can add value.
• Consider guest posts or interviews
• Pay attention to visual presentation and design for increased trust and credibility.
• I need to work on this myself. Try conversation, not presentation. (Thanks Liz Strauss)
• Make your users laugh
• Inspire your users and connect with them.
6) Tracking Your SEO User Data and Results:
• Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools at Google Webmaster should be sufficient for most people as they get started.
• Pay attention to the keywords that people are using to find you and what posts get the most traffic.
• Also pay attention to where people are leaving your site.
• After you have 6-12 months under your belt, check out user heat mapping and eye tracking software like Crazy Egg. This can help you deliver a better web experience for your visitors.
• Pay keen attention to stats, but don’t become a statsoholic. Even the stats guru, Avinash Kaushik admits that stats don’t tell you everything. (Here is Web Analytics on an Hour A Day and here is Avinash at Google)
8) SEO for WordPress Plug-Ins
• Stephan Spencer has a title tag plug in for WordPress that looks helpful.
• Gabriel Goldenberg of SEO ROI has a related posts plug in for WordPress, but it probably overlaps with Yoast’s Bread crumbs. I would test both out and see which one you or your users likes the best. He recently release version 2.0
• Yoast has a great list of wordpress plug-ins. I wouldn’t use them all, but its a great starting point for deciding which plug-ins to choose.
• Yoast also has several helpful several WordPress plug-ins he created himself, but I would probably opt for antisocialable over his socialable plug in, because it avoids passing link juice to the social media sites.
• As discussed before, consider a top posts and/or articles plug-in to help your users navigate your site.
9) White Hat SEO: Awesome Social Media and User Features:
• Add a feature like User Voice or Skribit to get more 2 way conversation, community, and crowd sourcing.
• Add intense debate for better commenting structure.
• Consider running a poll
• Consider a Ning or forum for your blog community.
• Very helpful Internet marketing checklist from Search Engine Guide.
•_____________(insert your awesome SEO Tip here)_____________
• Experiment with content, visitors, design, promotion, SEO and real world connections.
• Design can help your SEO
10) Black Hat SEO : What to Avoid on Your WordPress Blog
• Avoid unethical gray and black hat search engine optimization tactics.
• Check out Yahoo’s quality content guidelines that lays out how it determines user relevance and rank. The principles apply to Google and most other search engines as well.
Other SEO for Blogger Resources:
If you want more information about White Hat SEO and Ethical Search Engine optimization check out my earlier post on the issue, which is also targeted to help increase the search positioning of passionate bloggers like yourself. For a more extensive post, check out my ethical search engine optimization presentation for white hat seo tips and techniques. Hopefully I’ve provided some beginning SEO, intermediate SEO, and advanted SEO tactics you can implement to increase your search rankings.
As a bonus I’ve included Bruce Clay’s Toolset, which should help your SEO adventures. Please link to this post liberally if you have enjoyed it and its help you become a better WordPress blogger and taught you a little bit about search engine optimization principles.!! (and remember please use great anchor text)
Feel free to add your own tips in the comments… Also, if you have any questions, feel free to leave those in the comments as well.