WordPress is a PHP framework that is commonly used not just as a blogging platform, but also as a Content Management System. Out of the box, WordPress is search engine friendly and has built-in functionality that automatically “pings” or calls search engines and directories to visit your site and crawl new content. However, there are a few basic steps you can take to further improve your search engine rankings.
1. Customizing URLs: Permalink Structure
A permalink is the link to your page or post. Including the keywords in your URL can help you in Google rankings. The default permalink structure when WordPress is first installed looks like this:
“http://yourdomainname.com/?p=123.” By changing the settings to “Post name,” it looks like this: “http://yourdomainname.com/post-title-which-includes-keyword.”
2. Optimize Your Titles
The titleof your page is one of the single most important factors for ranking in search results. The title shows up in both the top of a browser’s window and search engine results. Creating a descriptive, keyword-laden title is important for increasing search engine rankings. To optimize the title for search engines, keep it to a maximum of 70 characters in length and place important keywords close to the beginning of the title.
3. Optimize Your Descriptions
The meta description is the text that displays in search engine results, so it is important to capture keywords and look relevant. Descriptions should not go over 160 characters to avoid truncation which reduces your click-through rate. Use active words that entice your visitors and make them want to choose and click on your listing, such as including a call to action and making sure it contains the focus keyword of your post or page at least once.
4. Optimize Your Images
By including alt tags that contain keywords in your images and using keywords in the name of your image files, you can increase search engine traffic.
5. XML Sitemaps
An XML sitemap is a list of the pages of a website that is accessible to search engine crawlers. This is important for informing Google and other search engines that your site has been updated.
6. Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is a must-use service to see how Google crawls and indexes your site and to find out if your website has been hacked or has any broken links.
7. Link Building
Generally, the site that ranks first in a search query in Google is going to have a lot more links than the site that ranks fifth. The most important factor in getting traffic from search engines, besides relevant content, is backlinking. Backlinking is simply other sites that link back to yours. One way to start backlinking your site is to get free backlinks from well-trafficked, authority websites that will get you indexed in search engines quickly. For example, you could submit a YouTube video and a few articles to Ezinearticles. WordPress comes with a built-in RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication) which means that when you publish a post, your content goes to a feed directory with a link coming back to your site.
WordPress plugins are one of the best reasons to use WordPress. Installing a WordPress SEO plugin can help optimize your site for SEO easily, such as WordPress SEO by Yoast or All In One SEO Pack. There are loads of things available online for working with WordPress, so do a little searching and chances are good you’ll find just what you need.