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The SEO Must Go On

SEO For WordPress

By • Apr 14th, 2008 • Category: 2 - Help Fans Find You with SEO

Although continually improving, WordPress is not particularly search-engine-friendly in its default configuration – there are a couple of SEO tweaks you really need to apply before you start using it.

First of all, you should decide what your permalink structure will be. Permalinks are ‘permanent links’ to pages and posts that you write, and they will be automatically generated according to your blog’s permalink settings (although you can edit permalinks individually before posting, either by using the permalink edit feature in WordPress 2.5 or by creating a ‘post-slug’ in earlier versions).

However, regardless of what exact structure you choose, you should at least try to get some keywords into your permalinks. To view and modify your permalink settings, go to ‘Settings’, then ‘Permalinks’.

Why Are Keyword-Based Permalinks Important?

Having a keyword-rich URL is important for two main reasons: firstly, it helps users to decide whether the page is relevant to them or not. Consider these two pages with the same content but different URLs:


If these two URLs were presented as search results, someone looking for information on blog optimisation will probably choose to visit the first URL, as it seems to be focused on the exact topic they wanted. By contrast, the second URL gives no clue as to the actual content of the page.

The second main reason for using keyword-rich URLs is this – when someone links to your page and uses the URL itself as the anchor text, then you get a link to your page containing your targeted phrase in the anchor text. This is quite important, as it is common for links to be posted simply as URLs, and anchor text is a vital part of how search engines figure out what content may be found on your page.

Select Your Categories Carefully

Before you begin blogging, you should have a good idea of what your blog is about. If you have a band, then the blog will be about your band, but if you can incorporate some original content ideas into your site, you’ll have a much better chance of standing out.

Your category titles should be terms with a fairly high search volume (preferably with not too much competition, but decent traffic is essential). They should also be relevant, descriptive and reasonably short. Each post you write within a particular category will serve to enhance the authority of that category.

The default permalink setting for a WordPress blog is the numbered scheme.


You should change this to one that at least includes the post title. Linkdisco uses only the post title, because I want to keep the URLs as short as possible, but a good alternative is to use the category base followed by the post title. To do this, choose custom permalink structure and enter “%category%/%postname%” in the box (without quotes).

SEO Plugins For WordPress

Fortunately, there are many good SEO plugins available that take a lot of the work out of optimising a WordPress site. It’s vital that each post you write has a succinct and search-engine-friendly title and description. SEO plugins can do this for you automatically, and also give you the option of customising various attributes of each post, if you want.

Here are a couple of popular and effective options:

If you already have a blog with lots of posts in a numbered permalink structure, then you can use the Advanced Permalinks plugin to migrate to a more SEO-friendly format (without having to mess around with 301 redirects). If you just change your permalink structure in WordPress, all your old posts will disappear – well, they’ll still be in the same place, but WordPress will point to them using the updated link structure, which will return a 404 for old posts. Using the advanced permalinks plugin should solve this problem.

Another plugin you should consider is Related Posts. As its name suggests, this displays a selection of links at the bottom of each post, leading to similar posts within your blog. This isn’t so much an SEO tip as a usability and audience retention technique; the more you engage your audience, the more likely they are to return.

Social Bookmarking WordPress

Social bookmarking is the process of adding a page to the index of a social media or Web 2.0 site such as Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon or Facebook. This is a great way of getting links to your blog, and is an essential element of many linkbuilding campaigns.

There are quite a few plugins that allow you to add social bookmarking functionality to your site; you may find that the traffic from smaller niche sites is more targeted (and its easier to reach the home page) than the generic giants such as Digg. You can select which sites you want to display buttons for in the settings menu of your bookmarking plugin.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Facebook
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
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