WordPress is known as the best blogging platform for a reason, which enables you to build Blogs, Web sites and powerful online applications. Many aspects, including its ease-of-use and extensibility, have made WordPress the most popular blog software available. Best of all, WordPress is an open source solution that is freely available to everyone.
There are so many ways that you can use WordPress to gain an advantage in terms of traffic, keyword rankings, and links, but you have to know how to optimize your website. The options to customize your WordPress site are limitless and there are multiple ways to do to everything, so it can be very confusing at times. Here are some simple SEO hacks for WordPress that really work without you having to be an SEO mastermind.
1. Use a WordPress update service
A WordPress update service is basically something that notifies other website when you have new content in order to drive traffic. WordPress automatically pings certain sites anyway because Ping-O-Matic is one of the default listings, but you can actually add more sites manually. Go to settings, select the writing tab, and then add websites where it says update services.
2. Keep it natural and organic
Optimizing your website in terms of SEO is definitely a good thing in and of itself, but doing too much can actually be detrimental. Although Google does appreciate your effort to optimize the your website, they do not like it when it comes across as too perfect or artificial. It seems that Google is starting to look more favorably upon organic SEO strategies that come from having strong content and a real following.
3. Focus on evergreen topics
Evergreen topics are like gifts that keep on giving because they will always have the ability to draw people to your website. News stories can attract people temporarily, but they will have little draw after that event has passed. However, evergreen topics will continue to reach people months or even years after you have posted the article.
4. Use meta descriptions and keywords
A meta description is a like brief summary that appears in search engines when people look for a certain post or website. It is optional to create add a meta tag description, but it is recommended that you add one to every post. Ideally, a meta description should be an accurate description of the post, include relevant keywords, and be no more than 150 words in length.
5. Be generous linking to other sites
Being generous linking out to other websites is beneficial in many ways. Linking to another site makes them more likely to reciprocate and link back to you or at the very least mention your site in some way. It is a good SEO practice to link to other sites in general when it is convenient to do so anyway.
6. Use an analytics program (Google, Piwik, etc)
Everyone needs to have at least one analytics program installed on their website. Google Analytics is one of the most popular ones, but definitely not the only one. There are free and open source programs like Piwik and Open Web Analytics that work fine, but require some technical knowhow. The programs you have to pay for like Woopra, W3Counter, and Clicky are slightly easier to use. The bottom line is that you need to have some way to figure out how many people are coming to your site, how they got there, and what they do once they have arrived. Knowing the answers to those questions will help you create a more effective strategy to promote your website.
7. Optimize your images with ALT Attributes
An ALT attribute tag is just a basic description of the what the image is for search engines. All you have to do is add ald=”write the description”. It is also helpful if you name the file of the image with keywords too.
8. Create an internal linking structure
An internal linking structure is a like a web of links that ties your site together. It is always good to link to other pages and posts on your own website. Your homepage should have a lot of internal links and your blog posts should link to other blog posts. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use plugins like SEO Smartlinks or Best Related Posts.
9. Use an SEO plugin (SEO Moz, All in One SEO, WordPress SEO by Yoast)
Having an SEO plugin can streamline a lot of SEO functions and there are a few plugins that are particularly good for this like SEO Moz, All in One SEO, and WordPress SEO by Yoast. They all have similar functions, but some people prefer certain ones depending on what they trying to do.
10. Focus on only 4-5 keywords per post
Although it would seem like using a lot of keywords in a post is a good idea, it is really not. Only focus on 4 or 5 different keywords at a maximum and use them without sacrificing the quality or readability of the post. Using too many keywords in a post is not just a way to turn off readers, but it can actually be a red flag to search engines too.
11. Post on weekdays during business hours
The majority of traffic for most blogs comes on weekdays during business hours because that is when people are most active. Try to time your posts to be released during peak hours to attract the most traffic by using a calendar plugin to time your posts like WordPress Editorial Calendar.
12. Use an SEO friendly WordPress theme
An SEO friendly WordPress theme can come from a number of sources, but they all tend to have some of the same qualities. A good theme will load quickly, have built in SEO be easy to use and navigate, with a clear and clean design. Themes that are too busy or have lot of frames are usually clunky for search engines as well as users. There are both free and paid themes that work equally well, but some the more popular ones are paid like Thesis, Genesis, and WooThemes.
13. Empty your cache and trash often
Adding or deleting plugins, comments, or posts can cause some buildup in your cache, so you definitely want to empty your cache every so often. Although it may not seem like it does much, it will actually help keep your website running smoothly and quickly.
14. Use shorter urls through changing your permalink settings
Shorter urls are easier for people to remember and faster for search engines to process. You can create shorter urls by changing your permalink settings in WordPress admin panel. Go to settings on the side panel and then select permalinks. There will be a number of options, but you only need to select post name. You will want to make sure that your old articles will still be in the same places, so you should also redirect the old links to the new ones using a tool like this.
15. Use an XML sitemaps plugin
An XML sitemap is like an index that will help search engines map out your site and find your urls. You can have these generated automatically by using plugins like Google XML Sitemaps.
16. Let search engines index your site
Allow search engines to index your site because it increases your visibility and makes you easier to find. Go to your settings menu,select the privacy tab, and then hit the button that says “Allow search engines to index this site”.
17. Own your keyword optimized domain name and hosting
If you do not already own a domain name, then try to find one that has your keywords in it and then get web hosting. Websites on WordPress.com or Blogger.com are okay in the beginning, but they do not give you complete control over your site, so it is always preferable to own your domain name and web hosting.
18. Set goals to rank for certain keywords
Ranking for certain keywords requires you to set goals and track your usage. A spreadsheet can help you keep track of how many times you have used the keywords and how much progress you have made toward your goal. The first thing you should do is create a target list of a few keywords, write a few posts using those keywords in the title, and then try to incorporate those keywords in other posts when appropriate. Try to alternate the anchor text that you use with the keywords for the best results. Google yourself for those keywords and see how you rank for them and continue the process until you have achieved your goal.
19. Focus on quality or quantity when it comes to links
It is better to have fewer high quality links than it is to have a lot of low quality links. A quality link is from a site that is relevant to your area with a high PR rank and a good reputation. Low quality links that people can buy from spammy sites may help a little bit, but it could detract from the credibility of your site. Try to form relationships with other websites and network your way into getting quality links and skip the rest.
20. Write quality content on a consistent basis
There is no real substitute for creating quality content on a consistent basis. Google is actually looking for quality and stability as opposed to simple blog posts that have been optimized with certain keywords. Readers tend to know the difference between SEO articles and real content, so being more authentic and putting more effort into your site will attract more people. Writing on a consistent basis will let people know that they should come back to your site regularly and it helps build up an audience faster.
There are dozens of other SEO hacks for WordPress, but the ones listed above can actually take you very far if you use them properly. Overall, SEO is leaning toward more organic strategies that are not as easy to replicate without being an authoritative site with good content and a significant following. Incorporate these hacks into your site, but keep the focus on creating the best site in your niche.