Optimize WordPress for Seach Engines

These are some additional tips i picked up for getting better page rankings from sites like google while using wordpress. Basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be found on another post entitled: SEO – 13 Basic Steps.

1. Use Permalinks – to improve URLs
A great article on a site called Tom Raftery’s I.T. views explains exactly how to get the most out of this advanced feature. The basic idea is to get the unique keywords – the words people will later use to find you – as close to the beginning of the URL as possible. This usually means trying to get the title of each post to appear right after the first “/” (root folder) in your domain (ie: www.domain.com/reallygoodtitle/)

2. Use the Rewrite Titles plugin – to improve page titles
This plugin for WordPress allows you to dynamically rearrange the order of your page/post titles. Once again the purpose with regards to SEO is that you can get the unique titles of your posts to appear before the name of your blog. For example, instead of your page title being something like: “BlogName >> Blog Archive >> PageTitle”, you could have: “PageTitle >> Blog Archive >> BlogName”. This layout will likely rank higher for those unique words used in all your different posts.

3. Get the HeadMeta plugin -
This plugin allows you to include different meta data for each post. What this means is that you can add stuff like:<meta name="keywords" content="entertainment,movies" /> and <link rel="seealso" href="http://example.com/movies/" /> to the <head> of your html documents. The unique keywords and link relations would then be updated on the fly.

4. Linearize your content – [taken from socialpatterns.com]
“Move your content higher up in your code. Search engines place greater weight on text found near the beginning of your page. Use css to layout your site”. I have also read that search engines only read 1/3 of any given page before moving on to the next.

5. Optimize Dynamically – [taken from socialpatterns.com, again]
“For example, you could create three templates – one for your homepage, one for individual post pages and one for categories. For the homepage template you can optimize for a general set of keywords. For the individual pages template you would optimize using variables generated from the post title. For the categories template you would optimize around the category variable. This way every post in the future is automatically optimized”. They also say to “change your title tag so that it displays relevant keywords (like your post title) before your site name” – another reason to install the Rewrite Titles plugin.

Other useful resources:

- Check you keyword numbers and density using the Ultimate Seo Tool.
- Install the Google Sitemap Generator for WordPress.
- Use either a robots.txt file for each site, or <meta http-equiv=”robots” content=”" /> for each page you put online. For more info read, Robots.txt File Tutorial.
- To prevent robots from following a particular page, use
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex” />
- To prevent robots from following a particular link on a page, use
<a href=http://www.example.com/ rel=”nofollow”> I can’t vouch for this link</a>

Comments 23

  1. Vlad wrote:

    Nice article. I am not sure how much SEO depends on theme layout. I have tried some themes with several pugins to optimize my site but I still do not like how search engines are indexing my site. Could you recommend a particular theme that is well optimized?
    Thanks.

    Posted 08 Sep 2006 at 2:07 am
  2. admin wrote:

    hi Vlad,

    this article is a pretty good starting point for opitimizing you site even though many of the plugins discussed here are with reference to WordPress 1.5

    still, the general principles remain the same and could be applied to WordPress 2.0 sites as well, or any website for that matter.

    at the moment, i don’t have any themes to recommend that are specifically optimized for search engines but i suspect that any theme can be tweaked to suit your needs.

    a good idea would be to take a look a theme without any styles.

    so on FF go to “View”->”Page Style”->”No Style”
    or, for IE just temporarily comment out any stylesheet declarations in your page < head >. like <style type=”text/css” /> but put but put <!– –> symbols on either side.

    you should see then see:
    1. main content at the top of the page
    2. first sidebar (if any) below main content
    3. second sidebar (if any) below first sidebar

    you also want to make sure navigation is somewhere not too far down the page so that search engine robots can find their way across (and index) as many of your pages as possible.

    what is it specifically that you don’t like about the way seach engines are indexing your site?

    Posted 08 Sep 2006 at 11:43 am
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