Welcome to SEO Boy, the authority on search engine optimization -- how to articles, industry news, insider tips, and more! If you like what you see, you can receive free and daily updates via email or RSS.
Print This Post Print This Post

Blog Optimization Tips for WordPress

February 9th, 2011 | | Basic SEO Tips, Blogging for SEO

You probably know that having a blog on your website is a great way to increase your rank. Blogs make sure your content is updated regularly and can generate a lot of links back to your site, but is your blog itself optimized for search engines? This post will go through some of the basic blog optimization tips for WordPress that everyone should be doing.

Before I get into the different ways to optimize your blog, I first want to suggest you download the All in One SEO Pack plug-in if you don’t have it installed already. It makes optimizing your blog a much simpler process. You can download the plug-in here and view download instructions here.

Once you have installed and activated the plug-in go to Settings >> All in One SEO. Here is where you can begin changing the SEO settings for blog-wide optimization.

Blog-Wide Optimization

Title Tags

Title tags are one of the most important elements of search engine optimization and effect both user experience and search engine optimization. The title tag of each page should be a clear and concise description of the pages content. In the All in One SEO Pack you can easily create title tags for your home page, posts, and other content pages on your site.

Home Title: When creating a title for your home page, best practice is to include your brand name and a keyword you want to rank for.

Blog Home Title Tag

For www.seoboy.com we want to rank for the term “search engine optimization.” We also want people to know and remember our blog so we include The Adventures of SEO Boy at the top of every page.

Post and Page Titles: AIO SEO Pack also lets you format the titles for each content page. If you scroll down a little further you will see a list of other page titles you can edit. The two most important from this list are the Post Title and Page Title:

Blog Post Title and Page Title

By default, AIO includes the home title on all other titles, using the vertical bar to separate the two. There is wide debate on whether to include your home title but the choice is up to you. At Hanapin, we include The Adventures of SEO Boy  for branding purposes. Keep in mind though that most search engines show about 70 characters of the meta title. If you have a long post or page title you are likely to exceed your title length. Below is an example of one of SEOBoy’s posts with a long title:

Long Blog Title on SERP

If you want to remove the home title from your post and page titles all you have to do is delete “| %blog_title%” from the boxes. You can leave all other title options as is, since the category and archive pages tend to have short titles.

Meta Tags

The meta description tag is a short description of your pages content that appears underneath your link on search engine result pages. Enter your meta description into the Home Description box:

Blog Home Meta Description

Think of your meta description as functioning like an advertisement for your blog. Use those 160 characters to entice your audience to click your link. You should also include keywords in your description, but don’t go overboard. Make sure the description still sounds natural.

Permalinks

Permalinks are the URL’s assigned to each post. By default, post URLs in WordPress look like this: http://www.seoboy.com/?p=123.  This is not very pretty nor descriptive. To change the permalink settings go to Settings >> Permalinks.

Permalink Settings in WordPress

Select Custom Structure and enter /%postname%/ into the box. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page and your permalinks will now display the post title after your main URL.

Individual Post Optimization

Now that you’ve optimized SEO for your blog as a whole, it’s time to focus on optimizing each post. When you create a new post, or if you edit an old one, the AIO SEO Pack will appear at the bottom of the page:

SEO Pack Blog Optimization

Post Title

The first thing you’ll want to do is give your post a title including the main keyword you are targeting in your post. It is important to note that the title of your blog post is NOT the same as the title you assign in the SEO Pack.  The post title in the SEO Pack is what displays on the search engines. To better understand the difference, take a look at the examples below.

This is the blog post the way it appears on the main site www.seoboy.com:

Blog Title On Site

To shorten the title for search engine display, this is what we entered into the SEO Pack…

… and this is how it appears on search engines:

Blog Post Title On SERP

You should use this method for blog posts with long titles. You may want to be more descriptive in titling your actual post so the reader knows what it covers, but shorten it for search engines to ensure the whole title tag is displayed.

Post Description

Follow the same guidelines for writing this description as you did for the home page description. Write something that will grab reader’s attention. If you don’t enter in a post description, the first 160 characters of your blog post will be displayed on the SERP. Since the first paragraph of a post isn’t always the most comprehensive, it is best to write a post description telling users what they can get from reading your blog post and be sure to include a few keywords you’re targeting.

Images

The final method we will cover to optimize blog posts is often one of the most overlooked: image alt tags. Every blog post should include images as it adds excitement to your posts and can often convey ideas better than you can write about them. WordPress generates alt attributes automatically based on the file name.  Because of this, I recommend including a keyword in your file name. I used to title my images based on the order I inserted them into my posts (pic 1, pic 2, …etc). Though it may help you stay organized, this method doesn’t provide any information as to what the image is actually about.

You can add a title and alt text to your image once it is uploaded into WordPress. To access your images go to Media >> Library and click on the image you want to edit. You image page will open up along with this box:

Image Title and Alt Tag

Here you can enter in a title and alt text for your image, along with a caption and description of your image. The title is what will show when a reader mouses over your image and the alt text is what describes the image to the search engine.  Incorporating keywords into your images will help them, and your blog, rank on the SERPs.

These are some basic blog optimization tips for WordPress. Do you have any other ways you optimize your blog or use any SEO plug-ins you can’t live without? Post and share them with us below!

Bethany is an Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.

Facebook   IN   Stumble Upon   Twitter   Sphinndo some of that social network stuff.
  • http://www.marcoport.com Durg

    Love your posts Bethany, very informative.

    I’m trying to get my head wrapped around this. I was just wondering, why you didn’t mention anything about the keywords input field in the AIO SEO pack.

    Do you not recommend using this, or is there an alternative way of doing this.

    Thanks,

    Confused fan

    • Bethany

      That is an excellent question and as I was writing I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to cover keyword meta-tags in the post. The value of meta keyword-tags is still being debated by SEO experts (http://www.jackleblond.com/should-i-use-keywords-meta-tag/). I chose just to focus on how to include meta titles and descriptions because each post needs to have these elements, but including the keywords is up to you. My personal preference is to include keywords because even though some people might think they don’t help they can’t hurt either!

      Thanks for reading!

  • http://www.hostingnewsandreviews.com Shaun

    This is just what I have been looking for to help me with blog optimization for my own blog. Very nice post. Thankyou

    • Bethany

      Thank you for reading Shaun. We are still trying to master everything that WordPress has to offer. If you uncover any other WordPress tips please share!

  • http://blog.silverdropsdesigns.com/ Michael

    How important are tags for SEO in wordpress blogs?

    • Bethany

      Hi Michael

      From my experience, I have seen the ranking of my posts increase by using meta tags. I always place keywords I want to rank for in title tags and descriptions of every blog post. If you use WordPress I would definitely download the AIO SEO Pack.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Prince

    Hi Bethany,

    Really Nice Post. Well Written. I have a question regarding WordPress. It would be great if you can address me on that.

    “If i write a blog post and if that blog post is copied by various people, then how do i get pingbacks.

    And after publishing the blogs written by us in some article directories, if the particular blog post is copied from those article directories, how do we get pingbacks?

  • http://www.eyewebmaster.com Rosendo A. Cuyasen

    Thanks for sharing this tips! I’ve actually done this to my website and it really works well.

  • http://www.seoflicks.com seo services

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful information. I really like your post. I would like to know how many factors are consider by Google algorithm?

  • http://www.seomark.com/ seo company

    Never thought of the possibility of image’s having SEO value. Thanks.

  • Ericwilliam William

    In most cases,
    small business SEO packages are less expensive than that yellow pages
    advertisement. They also provide many different forms of search
    engine marketing and SEO Services.

    business seo

  • http://1seocompany.com.au/search-engine-optimisation-services-seo SEO Services

    i am totally agreed with the tips are provided in these blog.It is really nice blog.

  • http://www.seocatalysts.com/ Internet marketing

    As a SEO user point of view, Your post is most useful to optimize blog in wordpress and Literally  i got best information from your post to make informative and unique content on my blog.Thanks for sharing.

  • http://1seocompany.com.au/search-engine-optimisation-services-seo SEO Services

     Wordpress blog is really nice and optimize the website and provide new way for getting the good ranking of your website.

  • http://www.seotipss.com Julie James

    I completely agree to this article. I think WordPress blog is one of the top most choices any blogger would make if he or she wants to get high rankings.

  • http://www.mgtdesign.co.uk/ Yena

    This is a well informative content. It is the process of making graphic arts ready for a website.I am very impress to this one.This provide a great information.Thanks to share this blog with us.