I’m starting the SEO Training section with some SEO tips for blogs to increase your traffic, specifically self-hosted Wordpress blogs. Whatever the purpose, I’m sure that you’d want others to know about your blog, especially after spending so much time and effort writing - I know I would.


Before we begin, some of you may ask why you should even bother listening to a blogger with barely 2 weeks of experience with Wordpress - good question!


The answer is that I always consider the marketing aspect when embarking on any online projects. Since I’m not technically-trained and can’t create fancy websites, I need to rely on my marketing skills to have an edge over my competition.


For example, I took over a forum in November last year and without a clue about how the IPB forum software works. But I managed to grow my community of less than 2,000 members to almost 9,000 members in 5 months - a 350% growth! The Vista Forums is one of the biggest unofficial Windows Vista forum today, receiving close to 7,000 visitors/day and ranks #1 on Google for “windows vista forum” and “vista forum”.


Now that we have gotten that out of the way, here are my SEO recommendations for Wordpress blogs:


1) Put Your Post In Only 1 Category


SEO Wordpress Tips - Categories

Make it easier for the search engines to find your posts by putting them into only 1 category.


2) Make Use Of The “Read More” Feature


SEO Wordpress Tips - Read More

Make use of the “More” tag - leave the first paragraph on the mainpage and the rest of the content on the post page. This helps prevent duplicated content and keeps you off Google’s Supplemental Index.


3) Related Posts


SEO Wordpress Tips - Related Posts Plugin

There’s a Wordpress plugin called “Contextual Related Posts” that automatically displays 5 of your previous related posts below the comment box. It’s an old (2005) plugin that works by simply activating it in your Wordpress Dashboard. With related posts you get more inner links, exposure for older posts and stickiness on your blog.


4) Create Attractive Titles


SEO Wordpress Tips - Titles

Getting more exposure is not enough but you need to get people to want to click on your link. Think of a creative title that can get potential readers interested, e.g. “How to cheat Ping.sg” (see image above).


5) Customize Your Permalinks


SEO Wordpress Tips - Permalinks

Wordpress creates boring URLs for your posts by default, e.g.

www.larrylim.net/seo-online-marketing/?p=5

You can customize the permalinks to embed your title (with keywords) into the URL, e.g.

www.larrylim.net/seo-online-marketing/chief-marketing-officer-2007/5/

Simply set your preference in your Wordpress Dashboard and add some commands into the .htaccess file.


6) Have Different Meta Titles

There’s a Wordpress plugin called “SEO Title Tag” that lets you set different meta titles for every post, including the static pages and categories. A meta title is the title that appears in your browser header when viewing a page and it’s also the title for your pages in search engine results. Unfortunately, this plugin is still in beta and was showing MySQL errors for my Wordpress version 2.1.2.


Update: I’ve managed to find a solution to the problem here


7) Create Description And Keyword Meta Tags


SEO Wordpress Tips - Meta Tags

You can also set your meta description and keyword tags for all your posts, static pages and category pages using a Wordpress plugin called “Add-Meta-Tags“. These meta tags are used by search engines when ranking your blog pages in search results. By default, the first full sentence is automatically used as your meta description, while the category is used for your meta keywords. There’s an option to set them manually by using custom fields in Wordpress when writing a post.


8) Create Technorati Tags For Each Post


SEO Wordpress Tips - Technorati Tags

There’s a Wordpress plugin called “Bunny’s Technorati Tags” that lets you manually insert tags for your posts. This helps increase your presence and gain more exposure at the Technorati blog search engine. While we’re at that, you should probably add “Action Buttons” to your posts - those cute little buttons you see on other blogs. It provides your readers a convenient way of adding your posts to social networking sites like Digg.com and Del.icio.us. I’d advise using a maximum of 5 buttons because any more than that may confuse your readers and create an ugly clutter.


9) Generate A Sitemap


Wordpress SEO Tips - Sitemaps

Next, make sure to generate an XML sitemap so that the search engines know which pages to crawl - you can use a Wordpress plugin called “Google Sitemaps” to do this automatically. Then inform Google and Yahoo about the location of your sitemap.


10) Use A Pinging Service

Blog pinging services like Pingoat help you ping or notify a number of blog agregators and blog search engines, e.g. Technorati and Syndic8, whenever you update your blog. This helps increase your blog’s presence on the Internet and creates more avenues for visitors to find you.


Note that all the SEO recommendations above are specific to the Wordpress blog and do not include general SEO strategies like keyword analysis and linkbuilding - we’ll keep that for future lessons. ;)


If you appreciate my effort, feel free to:

- add me to your Technorati favourites using the button on the left.

- blog about this article.

- add me to your blogroll if you’re a blogger.

- join my community at MyBlogLog.


Thanks for reading,

5 comment:

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