How To Optimize Your WordPress Blog For Search Engines (Part One)

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Out of the box WordPress is very search engine friendly. However, there are a few adjustments that can make WordPress a search engine magnet. ¬†Over the next few weeks I am going to be publishing a series of posts that will teach you how to optimize your WordPress blog for search engines. No advanced skills are needed to make these adjustments. This first post covers permalink structures and the All in One SEO plugin. If you have any questions, or need assistance, you’re invited to share them in the comment section below.

Step One: Permalink Structures

WordPress default permalink structure creates URLs that look like this:

?p=123

By default WordPress uses web URLs which have question marks and lots of numbers in them, however WordPress offers you the ability to create a custom URL structure for your permalinks and archives. This can improve the aesthetics, usability, and forward-compatibility of your links. But the real bonus is SEO.

Google and other search engines look for keywords in web page URLs. It’s not known exactly how much the keywords in the URL influence ranking, but in my experience it appears to hold a lot of weight.

Here is a video of Matt Cutts talking about keywords in URLs.

Adding keywords into WordPress URLs is a quick and easy SEO enhancement. In your WordPress Dashboard scroll down to the bottom of the page and look in the left column for the Settings section. From there you will see the Permalinks section.

Here’s a screen shot:

You can adjust your permalinks to display the day and name, month and name, numeric, or custom structure. Using the day and name setting adds the full year, month, day, and post title into the post URL. Using the month and name setting adds the full year, month, and post title into the post URL. The numeric option doesn’t add the post title into the post URL.

Custom structure is the option I choose. The reason I choose the custom option is because I don’t like to display the year, month, or date in the URL. I only want the keywords. In the past I have used this code:

/%postname%/

Lately, I have started using this code:

/%category%/%postname%/

You can learn more about using WordPress Permalinks here.

Here are some additional references that may help you:

Step Two: Install All in One SEO Plugin

Michael Torbert’s All in One SEO Plugin has really stood the test of time. I have personally used this WordPress plugin for many years. The plugin gives you the ability to customize the structure of your article titles, optimize the titles of your category, tag, search, and archive section, and auto generate meta descriptions and keywords. There are many additional features that you should learn about as well. I recommend paying a visit to Michael Torbert’s home page and learning more about the All in One SEO Plugin. Michael also has a PRO version which might be worth checking out. Personally, I have never used it.

Here is a helpful video tutorial I found on YouTube that will teach you more about the All in One SEO plugin and how to configure it:

By the way, the All in One SEO plugin is one of my personal favorites. Stay tuned for the next post that will offer you more information on optimizing your WordPress blog for search engines. All of your comments, questions, and even suggestions are welcome. You’re invited to share your feedback using the comment form below.

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How To Optimize Your WordPress Blog For Search Engines (Part One), 3.6 out of 5 based on 8 ratings
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