5 Basic WordPress SEO Tips: Everyone Should Follow

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This is a guest post by Harsh Agrawal, who is a young entrepreneur. He writes at Shoutmeloud and offers a Blogger to WordPress migration service.

If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

WordPress is one of the best platforms for blogging. People have options to choose between Blogspot, WordPress, Drupal and many more blogging platforms. My favorite is WordPress for many reasons like it’s support, flexibility, SEO and scaling it to maximum limit.

The biggest advantage of WordPress over any other blogging platform is it’s search engine optimization capabilities. By default WordPress is 70% search engine optimized but to make the most out of it, we need to optimize more.

Wordpress-SEO-Tips-large

Photo credit: FLICKR

Here I will be sharing 5 basic tips to optimize your WordPress blog for search engines.

WordPress Permalink Structure:

WordPress permalinks are not even close to search engine friendliness.  By default wordpress permalink is domain.com/?p=123 . To make your permalink search engine friendly, you need to change your permalink to pretty permalinks.

Permalinks which I prefer are:

  • /%postname%.html
  • /%postname.

One simple reason why I avoid category/postname or yyyy/mm/dd/post-name permalink structure is, both have their down side.

The first one (category/postname) will create a post duplication issue if you use 2 or more categories per post.

The second one (yyyy/mm/dd/post-name) will not let you recycle your content in future.

Once you have written a few articles, changing your permalink structure is never suggested. This will break your post completely. Use plugins like Deans’ permalink migration plugin to change your permalinks. Follow expert guidelines on how to change your WordPress permalink structure without breaking your blog.

Sitemap Submission :

Sitemaps are recognized by search engine robots and it will help search engine bots to quickly crawl your web-pages.

In static websites we use many online tools to create sitemap, but in WordPress we can achieve it with a plugin call Google XML sitemap Generators. This is a one step process and once you have activated and created your sitemap, you can find the sitemap at yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml.

Once you have created your sitemap, the next step is to submit your sitemap to major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Robots.txt:

Robots.txt files are very effective at blocking search engine crawlers to parts of your blog which are not important for search engine. For example your admin pages, your affiliate links  and so on.

A smart robots.txt will give you a great boost in search engine ranking, as you will let only useful links to be indexed and blocking search engine access to useless pages.

Meta Title, description and meta keywords:

Though Google have made this official that they don’t care about meta keywords and meta description I still believe they do hold importance in search engine ranking.

Meta title, description and keyword works in two fold in WordPress: Site wide and on single post/pages.

Despite any domain name, if you have a good knowledge about SEO and keyword research, you can optimize your blog quickly and effectively.

In WordPress you can take advantage of plugin like All in one SEO to optimize your blog for search engine and for your visitors. You can add meta description, meta title and meta keywords for site and for single posts. If you are not using it, you are missing a great chance to rank your blog well in search engines.

WordPress SEO plugins:

I already mentioned SEO plugins above but there are many other essential SEO plugins which you should install on your blog.

Here are some which I recommend (apart from 4 SEO WordPress plugins):

  • Robots meta wordpress plugin
  • Google XML sitemap plugin
  • Robots meta plugin
  • Ping optimizer WordPress plugin
  • SEO smart link WordPress plugin
  • RSS footer
  • No Self ping WordPress plugin

Along with it, I also suggest you read my other guest post on 4 WordPress plugins you should try today.

The above mentioned points are not complete, many other factors also helps you to SEO optimize your blog. One of them is backlinks. Which you can easily achieve by commenting and writing guest posts on other blogs.

Do let us know what steps do you take to optimize your blog for search engines?

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58 Responses to 5 Basic WordPress SEO Tips: Everyone Should Follow

  1. Vivek Krishnan May 6, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    Very informative post as usual Harsh!

  2. Luqman May 6, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this tips on how t make our wordspress blog more search engine friendly. WordPress is one of the best CMS on the web with all the tool and plugin you need to make a better blog…

    • Harsh Agrawal May 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

      Thanks for your comment Luqman. Yes, you are so right about the SEO optimization of WordPress. Indeed it’s one of the best platform in terms of SEO.
      .-= Harsh Agrawal´s last blog ..Hostgator May 2010 Discount Coupon =-.

  3. Gautam Hans May 7, 2010 at 3:26 am #

    I think i’ve never no self ping, but it would be good because may not appeal to readers and so it would be good to get rid of them.

    Great article, Harsh 🙂
    .-= Gautam Hans @ Blog Godown´s last blog ..Why Bloggers Should Use Videos On Their Sites =-.

  4. Josiah May 6, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    Neat post. I really like the .html rewrite, i’ve started using it on one of my sites and it gives the blog a static feel, heh. Not sure if it matters to google though.

    • Harsh Agrawal May 6, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

      Thanks for your comment Josiah. You are right, it does not make any difference from search engine perspective….
      .-= Harsh Agrawal´s last blog ..5 Exciting Plugins for WordPress Theme Designers =-.

  5. Sarvanshu May 7, 2010 at 5:02 am #

    Hey Do SEO Optimized themes Play A roll in SEO Optimization……..
    I have Just Switched to Swift Themes …..
    .-= Sarvanshu | TechPaparazzi´s last blog ..Kill Your Boring Office Life !!! Instant Tricks =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      May 10, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

      Sarvanshu,

      A number of the themes that say they are already seo optimized tend to have the equivalent of the all-in-one-Seo-pack plugin already embedded in the theme code.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Make A Blog Income Without Working Hard =-.

  6. Colleen May 7, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    Of course, it goes without saying, Akismet is probably the most important plugin. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve set up a blog only to forget about activating Akismet. I return to find scores of spam comments.
    .-= Colleen@Kennewick Real Estate´s last blog ..Tri Cities Has Lowest Cost of Living in the State =-.

  7. Thomas May 7, 2010 at 4:47 am #

    I am surprised by how many bloggers still haven’t properly structured their permalinks. This is a ‘no-brainer’ for me. Some nice tips Harsh!
    .-= Thomas@SEO Services´s last blog ..Cheap SEO: Yes It Is Possible! =-.

  8. Alex May 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Just what I was looking for. A friend of mine is just getting into Internet Marketing and really needs good summaries of the basic stuff.

    As far as I have seen you didn’t recommend my favourite plugin: SEO Ultimate. It’s the All in One SEO Plugin + tons of extras. For example it’s now possible to also write your own meta description for categories.
    .-= Alex@Zahnaufheller´s last blog ..Braun Oral-B Sonic Complete DLX – Testbericht =-.

    • Dennis Edell May 7, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

      Alex – I was just reading up on this plugin; very cool.

      I left a comment to see if it has the same type of auto-redirect permalink feature that the Platinum SEO plugin has; if so I’m switching.

      Thanks for mentioning it.
      .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..I Need MORE Aweber USER Affiliates! =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      May 10, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

      Alex,

      Thanks for the share, re: SEO Ultimate.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Make A Blog Income Without Working Hard =-.

  9. Edward May 7, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    I have paid pretty much attention to the SEO aspects of blogging and came to the conclusion that though there are no trifles that you may neglect when it comes to SEO, there are things that are 5% of importance and there are things that are 90% of importance. All the things that WordPress can allow you are 5%, while links leading to your website and their quality are crucial.

    Keep it in mind, but NEVER neglect trifles that you can do ON your pages!
    .-= Edward´s last blog ..Are you Qualified to Speak about Success? =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      May 10, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

      Edward,

      Where do you get the 90% and 5% figures from?

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Make A Blog Income Without Working Hard =-.

      • Edward Nigma May 10, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

        Most of my data comes from SEO-moz. That is a great source to build your SEO proficiensy once you grasp the basic idea.

        One of their editors showed as part of his research (which they post pretty often) what is most important and what is less. And they pretty often repeat that links rule the day at the moment. At least for SEO.

        Regarding the SEO plugins – they mostly allow you to mod meta data of your website, which is of minor importance as it has not been used by Google for ranking since 2007 (at least in 2007 it became official).
        .-= Edward Nigma´s last blog ..Jennifer Aniston – Unforgettable flavor of “Friends” =-.

        • Andrew
          Twitter:
          May 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

          Edward,

          You have subscribed to SEO-Moz?

          Worth it?

          Andrew
          .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..The Funny Side of Customer Service =-.

          • Edward Nigma May 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

            As of my experience if you want to know what a real SEO is (not just to be able to change tags in a blog and define meta content of a website) – it is a must. IMHO
            .-= Edward Nigma´s last blog ..Is it Hard to Blog? =-.

  10. Dennis Edell May 7, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    I’d really ;like someone to give me the full ins&outs of the Robots.txt.
    .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..I Need MORE Aweber USER Affiliates! =-.

  11. Mike Roosa May 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Excellent post. Glad I came across your site this morning as I’m trying to get my site indexed right now. The home page is indexed but nothing else. I need to read up on the robots.txt file a little more as I’d like to put something in place with that.
    .-= Mike Roosa´s last blog ..Motivated As Hell – The Review =-.

  12. chandan May 8, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    Hi Harsh very nice guest post on wordpress. This type of article is always helpful for me as I am new on wordpress. Well I have made my parmalink structure like /%postname%.html , I have also installed all in one SEO pack. But I have to work more for making my blog fully SEO friendly.
    .-= chandan´s last blog ..Search freelancing work at home jobs =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      May 10, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

      Chandan,

      What are you going to work on next?

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Make A Blog Income Without Working Hard =-.

      • chandan May 10, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

        I have also installed auto pinger, xml site map generator plug in. Also installed other social media plug in.
        .-= chandan´s last blog ..Say good bye to blogspot blog =-.

        • Harsh Agrawal May 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

          Great Chandan…Do let me know what changes do you observe..and have you updated your ping list??
          .-= Harsh Agrawal @blogging Tips´s last blog ..9 Important SEO Factors As Google’s Algorithm Index your Blog =-.

          • chandan May 13, 2010 at 8:09 am #

            xml site map generator create sitemap for my blog and I have submitted the sitemap.xml to google webmaster tool. Well I have just installed the pinging plug in.

  13. Tom May 8, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    Great suggestions. I especially like the proper use of robots.txt. Way back when I didn’t have a clue about it, I had lots of leaks in it. As my site started expanding, my PR all of a sudden went back to 0, and I had lot’s of duplicate content. Once I fixed the robots.txt file, the PR jumped back to normal.

  14. Julius May 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    I especially like your point about robots.txt. I’m relatively new to this so it gives me quite a good headstart
    .-= Julius´s last blog ..Rosa Parks Is Not Done Teaching Us =-.

    • Harsh Agrawal May 12, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

      Julius Glad you enjoyed the post and do let me know if you have any question regarding robots.txt and I would love to answer them. 🙂
      .-= Harsh Agrawal @blogging Tips´s last blog ..9 Important SEO Factors As Google’s Algorithm Index your Blog =-.

  15. Benjamin May 10, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    I’ve seen quite a few articles, e-books, whole courses, etc. on SEO.

    But this has given me a few new things to look at. (I’ll be testing some new plugins)

    It’s interesting that description and keywords used to be such a huge thing to move up the rankings… and now it only seems to matter if you mess it up.

    Oh well.

    The ever changing face of internet marketing.

    keep smiling 🙂
    .-= Benjamin@Guaranteed Hypnosis´s last undefined ..Response cached until Tue 11 @ 5:18 GMT (Refreshes in 22.75 Hours) =-.

  16. Jason Acidre May 10, 2010 at 6:50 am #

    Great tips. But I’m just wondering, what’s the difference with the wp’s robots meta plugin and the manual robots.txt? i know that it’s easy to make your own robots.txt, you’ll just have to key in the following:

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: (the folder/location of the pages you don’t want googlebots to index)

    but anyway, great seo tips harsh 🙂 do you have any knowledge in joomla?

    • Harsh Agrawal May 12, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

      Jason not much difference.. Many users are not very familiar with robots.txt.
      Also Robots meta plugin provide many more things like nofollow outbound link on homepage, nofollow comment link… These few features I like about this plugin…
      .-= Harsh Agrawal @blogging Tips´s last blog ..Download Free SEO Copywriting Report from Scribe SEO: Blogging Resource =-.

  17. Johnpeach May 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Very nice post. Really informative and useful. Thanks for sharing these information with us.
    .-= Johnpeach´s last blog ..FaceBook emerging as true Google Competitor =-.

    • Harsh Agrawal May 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

      Thanks John for your comment and glad you enjoyed this post.
      .-= Harsh Agrawal´s last blog ..9 Important SEO Factors As Google’s Algorithm Index your Blog =-.

  18. Biodun May 11, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    Nice post, WordPress is the best blogging platform , there are endless features in it! I use many of the WordPress plugins and SEO tips you discussed , but there are a few I have not tried
    .-= Biodun @ Web hosting blog´s last blog ..Countryside Dating =-.

    • Harsh Agrawal May 12, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

      Biodun do try these SEO tips and do let me know your feedback after seeing the difference..
      .-= Harsh Agrawal @blogging Tips´s last blog ..Why Roundup of your blog posts is necessary and important? =-.

  19. Ariel Liluz May 13, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    I am really impressed with the information. But before trying these useful tips, you’re going to want to do proper keyword research. Chances are, you already know which keywords you want to optimize for in your WordPress SEO but make sure to double and triple check your competition to ensure that you can take that number one spot in Google!

  20. Udegbunam Chukwudi May 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    I’ve finally come to settle with the permalink structure that has a post id attached to it. That way I won’t be dating my content neither will I create conflicts in the future. /%postname%/%post_id%/ works just fine for me 😉

    Hopefully if my blog expands in the future with more authors, I could sign up to be included in Google News.

    P.S: I noticed you’re using two different sets of permalinks (/%post_id%/%postname%/) and (?p=%post_id%). Is there any SEO benefits to that?
    .-= Udegbunam Chukwudi | StrictlyOnlineBiz´s last blog ..Start Your Make Money Online Biz With Just $10 NOW! =-.

  21. Jason Capshaw August 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    I have found the SEO smart link plugin to be very useful. I found linking to the same page over and over again internally really can boost its rankings.

  22. Geoey Cook September 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    interesting info, especially about the recommended plugins. I have only recently started using wordpress with our SEO clients, but love all of the tools that are available for the platform.

    I am going to check out that seo smart link one now.

    Thanks

  23. @DJ ARIF@Islam Blog April 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    Everybody knows that robots.txt file plasy an important role in seo, I have a question regarding this, should I use any plugins for advanced usage of robots.txt ir should I keep it simple as most people do?

  24. Kevin Young August 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    There are a lot of people who fall into the trap of becoming a little too focused on SEO and forget the human reader. Everything has to be done with a balanced approach in order to obtain the benefits of traffic from both the search engines and your loyal readership.

  25. anuj
    Twitter:
    October 23, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    This is perhaps the most thoughtful, useful article of this type I’ve seen. It goes beyond a lot of the surface-level ideas I’ve seen repeated over and over in other places. Nicely said 🙂

  26. Ben Jamir April 5, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    Nice post and very informative too. One thing that’s been confusing me is the SEO plugin. Some swear by SEO plugin by yoast , some by All in one SEO and blah blah etc. For bloggers like me who doesn’t have much knowledge about SEO thing, and PHP or coding etc. makes it really difficult to choose. I am now using the SEO plugin by yoast. What would you suggest ?
    Thanks.

  27. Bartosz June 6, 2014 at 1:17 am #

    What I have found about content and ranks is very interesting tip, that works for me since I work with SEO. THe tip is – when my content is more similar to WIKIPEDIA content, then my subpages get faster and higher in search engines ranks. Anybody have the same observation?

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