Important SEO Checklist for your WordPress Blog30th Sep 2010 | Posted by Eko S. | 31 Comments
When setting up a WordPress blog for your business, there are some very important steps you can take to ensure that your blog will be search engine optimized from the beginning. Follow these SEO steps in configuring WordPress, in adding plugins to your blog, and in adding content to your blog, and you will see a good return on the time you invest!
One very important consideration prior to setting up a blog is in choosing blog hosts. Google is now taking into consideration the speed at which your website loads now that many people are using cellphones to access the web. This means that when choosing business web hosting, you need to pick a blog hosting service that has highly optimized servers so your blog loads quickly after you’ve set it up.
Initial Configuration of WordPress
When setting up your brand new WordPress Blog on your business web hosting, you’ll want to pay attention to the following settings in the WordPress administration interface.
In Settings/Permalinks you’ll want to create a custom structure for your permalinks so that your URL structure contains the SEO optimized keyphrases you include in your blog titles. I use the category/postname permalink structure, which seems to give me the most SEO benefit within my URL structure.
Under Settings/Privacy, make sure you’ve chosen to have your blog visible to everyone, including the search engines.
Under Settings/Writing make sure you fill in a list of Update Services. There’s a list of update services available from the WordPress Documentation, and also a few other and possibly more complete lists out on the web. This is very important since it will allow your blog to ping all the update services and create backlinks into your blog every time you publish content.
Under Settings/Discussion you can leave the settings at the defaults unless you really get inundated with comment spam. It’s best to encourage commenting, since this encourages people to visit regularly.
SEO Plugins for WordPress
The following plugins are the ones that are essential for ensuring that your blog will be optimized and will help you get good placement in the Search Engine Results. There are also others that are helpful, but these few are the ones that do the most to optimize your blog for the search engines. Do be aware that since Google is now judging sites on the load speed, it isn’t a good idea to use too many plugins. Only use the plugins that will supply the features you need for your blog.
This plugin, when installed and configured correctly, will ensure that your blog will not suffer from any duplicate content penalties by fixing the canonical URL issues caused by the stock WordPress installation showing identical content on different URLs. It also allows you to add meta description and keyphrase tags to each post and redefine how you want your page titles and secondary titles to show, among other SEO issues and tweaks. This plugin allows you to tweak over 100 separate on-page SEO characteristics.
Generating an XML sitemap for Google and the other search engines is easy with the installation of this plugin. Once installed, make sure it’s configured to update the sitemap and submit the revised sitemap to the search engines every time you update your blog.
When installed and configured properly, the WP-to-Twitter plugin will automatically tweet every new blogpost you publish to your twitter account.
This plugin allows your visitors to add your site to their social profiles on sites like facebook, myspace, Digg, del.icio.us, twitter and others, which creates high quality backlinks into your site.
This plugin adds the Google Analytics code throughout your site quickly and easily, and shows your Google stats within your dashboard, so you can see what’s going on with your blog.
The Related Content plugin will show links from any blogpost to other blogposts within your blog that are about similar subjects, creating better internal linking and boosting your search engine results positions.
Other SEO Considerations
Adding content on a regular schedule, linking to other high quality wordpress sites within your content, and regularly participating on other related blogs and forums and on all the social sites such as facebook, twitter and Digg with links back to your specific blogposts will help you to boost your blog’s search engine ranking after you’ve set up, configured and launched using this checklist.
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