The Ultimate Worpress SEO Checklist

Step 1: Use Pretty Permalinks

By Default, WordPress uses very ugly permalinks like www.yoursite.com/?p80 which are not seo friendly. But you can easily change your permalink structure. Simply go to Settings->Permalinks, Select Custom Structure and type in /%postname% in the text field. This will make the default url of a post www.yoursite.con/your-post-name which is search engine friendly.

Note:

  • You can also use /%category%/%postname% to include categories in the url. But I recommend only using postname, especially if you are going to include a post in more than one category.
  • After changing permalinks, install the Redirection Plugin and under the Plugins Options, make sure both the ‘Url Monitoring’ checkboxes are set to ‘Modified Posts’

Step 2: Optimize the Meta Tags

  • The code I use in my title tag is this:
  • <title><?php wp_title(''); ?><?php if(wp_title('', false)) { echo ' | '; } ?><?php bloginfo('name'); if(is_home()) { echo ' - '; bloginfo('description'); } ?></title>

    What this does is that on the home page, it shows Your Blog Name – Your Blog Tagline, and on post pages it shows Post Title | Blog Name. To use this piece of code, simply go to Theme Editor -> Header.php and replace the default title tag code with this one.

  • For your meta description tag, I suggest you use a piece of code something like this:
  • <?php if (is_single() || is_page() ) : if ( have_posts() ) : while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>
    <meta name="description" content="<?php the_excerpt_rss(); ?>" />
    <?php endwhile; endif; elseif(is_home()) : ?>
    <meta name="description" content="<?php bloginfo('description'); ?>" />
    <?php endif; ?>

    What this does, is that on singe post pages, it uses an excerpt of your post and on your home page, it uses your blog tag line as the description.

  • Also, For more control, you should use the All in One Seo Pack Plugin so that you can set custom post titles for certain posts, and also add meta keyword tags for posts.

Step 3: Avoid Duplicate Content

Duplicate Content could affect your search engine rankings, and in a wordpress blog, there are often 4 to 5 places where a post appears. This could harm your blog alot. To avoid duplicate content, here are some steps you should take

  • Use only excerpts of your post on the home page, category page and tag pages.
  • Noindex all the unessential pages of your blog. Also, Disable unnecessary archives such as the author based archive on a single author blog or a date based archive if you think it’s not required using the Robots Meta Plugin.These can be accomplished by using the Robots Meta plugin. Below is a screen shot of the settings I use in Robots Meta:
  • wordpress seo

Step 4: Use a Sitemap

Use the Xml Sitemaps plugin to generate a sitemap. The plugins default settings are fine. Simply upload and activate the plugin and you’re fine. But one other thing I do is to submit the sitemap to Google in Google Webmaster Central.

Step 5: Nofollow Links you don’t want to Pass Juice to

Okay, we have heard of Google’s latest statement on Nofollow Sculpting, but even then, I think you should nofollow certain links, such as links to register and login pages, links in comments ( unless you are generous and are ready to combat spam ) and links to your categories and tag pages if you’ve decided to keep them from being indexed. You can use Robot’s Meta for this too, here are the settings I used:
wordpress SEO

Step 6: Use Proper Internal Linking Structure

It is very important to maintain a good linking structure within your blog. It helps keep visitors on your blog and helps in improving search engine rankings. Here are some steps you can take to improve your internal linking structure:

  • Use a Related Posts Plugin.
  • Use Breadcrumbs
  • If possible, use simple text-based navigation
  • Optimize the anchor text of links
  • Link to your most popular blog posts from the sidebar
  • Use a sitemap as outlined above

Step 7: Optimize your Images

  • Use keywords in the alt attribute
  • Include keywords in the image names
  • Enter a description in the title tag
  • Use the Seo Friendly Images Plugin

Step 8: Other Quick Tips

  • Choose between www and non www and redirect one to the other. You can use the Redirection Plugin for this.
  • Ping Sites after publishing new posts. Go to the Writing Tab and scroll down to the update services box. Add a list of sites you want to ping when you publish new posts in the box. Here’s a short list
    http://api.moreover.com/RPC2
    
    http://bblog.com/ping.php
    
    http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2
    
    http://ping.weblogalot.com/rpc.php
    
    http://ping.feedburner.com
    
    http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php
    
    http://ping.bloggers.jp/rpc/
    
    http://rpc.pingomatic.com/
    
    http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2
    
    http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping
    
    http://topicexchange.com/RPC2
    
    http://www.blogpeople.net/servlet/weblogUpdates
    
    http://xping.pubsub.com/ping
  • make sure your code is valid.
  • make sure that your blog title is an h1 on the home page and that your post titles are an h1 on the post pages.

That’s about it. I hope you found this post useful. Please help share this post by bookmarking it on your favorite social bookmarking sites.

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About author

Jarrett Gucci
Jarrett Gucci 289 posts

Jarrett Gucci is the owner of Dynasty Web Solutions. A full service Internet presence provider specializing in WordPress development for business owners. Jarrett Gucci along with his team of professionals have designed over 400 WordPress websites. Jarrett Gucci believes strongly in creating websites that are unique, functional and generate referrals.

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