[As I mentioned a few days I'm starting a series on WordPress SEO. This is the first in the seriess. I encourage you to signup for our free updates so that you do not miss this series. I bet you don't want to. So let's begin…]
I truly love the analogy of a building when it comes to building a blog. Your blog as your online storefront must be built on the right foundation else every thing you will be in vain. For this reason I want to start this WordPress SEO series by discussing how you can lay a solid foundation for your blog’s Search Engine Optimization strategy.
But what has a foundation got to do with blogging, anyway?
As a blogger it's certain that you passionately believe that the search engines love blogs for various reasons. But unfortunately, WordPress blogs suck SEO-wise when used with the default settings! That is why I want to start this series discussing a few ways you can ensure that your optimization efforts produce the right results.
The Essence of Blog Search Engine Optimization
First, I think it is proper to take note of why you should optimize your wordpress blogs for the search engines.
For one, optimizing your blog for the search engines is one of the most important strategies you can employ to drive organic (free) traffic to your blog. As I've mentioned before, organic traffic is the crème de la crème of traffic because it's natural and targeted. But before the search engines can send you organic traffic they will need to identify specific keyword phrases that are relevant to your blog. And it's SEO that will help you strategically put the relevant keywords phrases on your blog.
But as I’ve said wordpress seo sucks since they are not built to rank high on the search engines by default! They need a little “assistance” from you to do that! And so a little tweaking is needed to put your target keyword phrases in your blog’s home title and in every page.
I know you were expecting a lesson on keyword research and content creation snce we are talking about seo. Never worry, that will definitely come. But the truth is, that’s just part of the game. To ensure that the effort you put into your keyword research and content creation is not in vain you must first ensure that your wordpress blog is laid on the right SEO foundation. And that's what we want to do in this article.
2 Simple But Powerful Steps To Fortifying Your WordPress Blog against SEO Leaks!
At the home-front there are some very simply tweaks you can apply as to ensure that your wordpress blog is maximized for the search engines. There are actually three basic things you’ll need to do here. These are:
1. Use A SEO WordPress Theme
Presently WordPress has over 1,400 free themes in its theme directory. Besides these, there are thousands of other paid themes. Unfortunately not all of these themes are optimized for the search engines. In fact many of them have too many codes that may not only slow down your blog but hamper the search engines crawling your blog correctly. This is not good for search engine optimization. So if you do not know much about optimizing your blog or you simply don't want too much work optimizing your blog, the first thing you should do is to get a SEO wordpress theme for your blog. PrimePress is a free wordpress theme that you may want to consider if you are short on the cash and wants a free optimized wordpress theme.
However, if you want something more professional and that comes with more optimized features, then you may want to go for the Genesis WordPress theme [affiliate link ]. Genesis is a Framework theme which means it comes with child themes that empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you're a novice or advanced developer, Genesis will give you the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation for building any WordPress blog.
You may have heard many bloggers speak good of the Thesis theme but that's if you love designer-filled tweaks. But if you're not a designer but want something that can give you not only the right design but also the right search engine optimized features then Genesis is the right choice.
2. Optimize Your WordPress Default Settings
As mentioned earlier by default WordPress blogs are deficient when it comes to search engine optimization. For example the search engines do not like long url strings and in ranking websites/blogs they give more regard to websites/blogs that use their relevant keyword phrases in the url. Unfortunately wordpress default settings violate these rules! To give your wordpress blog some goodwill in the sight of the search engines therefore you simply need to give it a little “touch up.”
Here are two things you should do:
a. Change The Default Permalinks:
WordPress actually have a simply way of overcoming the deficiency of not including, in each blog page, the relevant keyword phrase. To fix this:
Go to Settings >> Permalinks
Then *Select Custom Structure, and put
Simply doing this is enough though some bloggers will advocate adding the categories like:
b. Include A Robot.Txt File
Another simple but very important seo tactic that wordpress, by default, has overlooked is the inclusion of a robot.txt file. The robot.txt file simply tells the search engines how to treat your blog, what parts to spider and what parts to index. Though it seems to be a simple thing, but it does help your blog’s rankings. So before you do anything about keyword research and creating your blog content, create a robot.txt file and upload it to your blog’s root directory. Even if your blog is already up and running but you have not uploaded a robot.txt file, you should do it right away.
To create a robot.txt file, right click anywhere on your desk top and create a new text document. Name this document robots.txt and enter the following inside it:
Now upload it to the root directory of your blog so that it can be located at:
For more details about robot.txt files go to http://www.robotstxt.org
That’s about it for now. Of course, there are other things you need in order to structure your wordpress blog very well for the search engines but we will discuss those when we talk about how you can give your wordpress blog some unfair advantage with the search engines in our next article. Right now make sure you put these few tips into use.
Not laying this foundation for your wordpress blog will only make your seo efforts appear like someone attempting to chop down a tree with a blunt cutlass! 🙂
So over to you: Have you done anything to correct your wordpress blog's default settings? Do you know any reason why the wordpress team have continued to use these default settings even when they know that they are not good for the search engines?