WordPress is pretty much set up for SEO, Self hosted sites using WordPress.org have the advantage of using SEO plugins, but what about SEO for WordPress.com blogs? If you want to know how to Search Engine Optimise your WordPress blog, read these simple steps.
1) Run Keyword Research. Sounds daunting? It’s not. Follow my Keyword search guide for help. Using Google’s free keyword tool, you can type in relevant keywords (what people might be searching for to find your blog article) and get info on how many estimated searches a month for each phrase. You can then search on Google to give an idea of competing sites using that phrase. Then, simply work out which keywords have the highest search against the lowest competition. All the info you need on Keyword research can be found in the article listed above.
2) Use those Keywords. (duh!) There’s little point having researched strong keywords if you do not use them in your wordpress article. As an example, I want to push the keywords ‘SEO for WordPress.com blogs’ and ‘How to Search Engine Optimise your WordPress blog’.
I am using both these phrases in the title and in the first paragraph of article. Craftily, I even used them again in the paragraph above!
Do not overuse your keywords. There are 2 general rules here –
a) Use keywords to a maximum of 3%. (If you have 200 words, you could use your keyword up to 6 times). The longer the keyphrase, the less you should use it.
b) If it looks too much to you, it will look too much to the reader and also Google. Keep to that max 3% rule, but lower if you feel it looks keyword stuffed.
3) Use Headings. The <h1> tag should be used for the titles of your posts only. After that, use <h2> and <h3> tags for sub -headings in the posts just like above ‘Use Headings’. You are effectively highlighting specific keywords or phrases within the article for Google to see.
4) Change your Permalinks settings. This is a simple one time process that really gives good value to SEO for WordPress.com blogs. Go to Settings – > Permalinks from your WordPress dashboard. Select the Custom Structure option and type in /%postname%/. Your link address (URL) will now have the Keywords from the article title in it. A really strong SEO signal.
5) Use Category descriptions. Go the Posts – > Categories page in the WordPress admin area and edit each category description, ensuring it has keywords within. Do not overstuff with your selected keywords. WordPress takes whatever you enter in these fields and uses them as meta descriptions for the categories.
6) Optimise your images. What I mean is, do not name your image ‘Samsung P1234567’ or ‘image 1’. Here is another opportunity to add a keyword to your article, and it’s a quick process. When you upload your image to WordPress.com, you have the chance to rename it. Do so. It is also very good practise to fill in the Alt. text box during the same process. Effectively, you could have added 2 keywords, where you might have had ‘image 1’ before.
7) Write Amazing content. If you can produce an article that is genuinely useful, interesting and unique, you are doing exactly what Google wants you to do. The chances are that human readers will feel the same. If someone finds your article so useful that they link to it from their site, Google will pick up on this. They will give your article a better standing as it will see your article as a resource for others.
A link is useful, but if you can get a link using a keyword as the text used to link (anchor text) you really will get better value from that link. If you find that someone has linked to you, try to make contact with them and ask them to change the link using your selected keyphrase as anchor text.
(Warning – use anchor texts wisely. Do not have the same anchor text linking back to your blog too many times, mix it up a little. You need to use a selection of different keywords, rather than just focusing on 1 keyword – those days are over, Google has got wise).
Social shares are also worth their weight. Google is using social signals more and more in their ranking factors, so you have a better chance of being found if you have a good social following. Individual shares from your blog article could make a huge difference. If you need help with Social Media, I run a budget Social Media service which may be of interest.
So, now you know how to Search Engine Optimise your WordPress blog! SEO for WordPress.com blogs is straightforward. Follow these steps above and you may be seriously impressed with your site stats soon.
Who needs an SEO Plugin?!