5 Crucial SEO Tips for WordPress Users

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Site Sketch 101 is powered by WordPress. That should be no surprise to many of you. It is a very flexible blogging platform with the option to customize themes, add plugins, and adjust tons of options.

As soon as I launched this site, I began changing a lot of settings in the administrative control panel in order to optimize my content for Google. I wanted to make sure that as soon as Google, Yahoo and other major search engines began scanning my site that it would be able to provide content that Google can actually list.

In this article, I am going to walk you through each modification that I made to my WordPress setup as I began optimizing my content for search engines. Each of these tips are incredibly easy to follow through with and I’ll be right here if you have any questions so don’t hesitate to leave me some comments if you have any questions, suggestions, or input.

1. Upgrade to the latest version of WordPress.

The WordPress team is constantly working to make this platform better. They’re adding new features, streamlining existing features, and working out bugs and glitches in the system. By updating your WordPress installation to the latest version you ensure that you have the best system available.

2. Install and configure ‘Headspace SEO.’

In your plugin manager click on “Add New.” Do a search for “Headspace SEO” and install that plugin.

Activate the plugin and then go back to your article manager. If you create or edit an article you will now see several fields at the very bottom of the page that include title, keywords, and description. On each article, you will want to fill out the last two at least.

There is code written on each webpage that browsers do not display to human viewers like you and me. This code, known as meta data, is reserved for bots like Google and Yahoo. This meta data includes the keywords, description, title, and can include a few other items.

When Google examines your site, it is looking for a site that has some level of consistency. Although some of these items are more important than others, Google wants to find a site where the title, description, and keywords are all related. If they are unrelated or non-existent then Google will simply assume that your page is spam and not index it.

Spend a few moments on each article and make sure that your title, description, and keywords all use some of the same words and concepts as the article itself.

Check out the following three articles for more information about setting up your Headspace SEO installation:

3. Create search engine friendly urls.

You should change your website urls so that they do not display like this: http://www.sitesketch101.com/?page_id=1 but instead let’s make them look like this: http://www.sitesketch101.com/about.

Here’s how we do that. Under the setting panel click on permalinks. Select custom structure and input the following code (just put in what comes after the equals sign into the fields):

Custom Structure = /%category%/%postname%/
Category Base = category
Tag Base = tag

When you are writing your article, the ‘slug’ field that is located just below the title of the article will determine the website address of the article. So if I enter ‘5-crucial-tips-for-wordpress-users‘ for the slug then the website address of this article will be http://www.sitesketh101.com/seo/5-crucial-tips-for-wordpress-users. Search engines that see that your website urls have the same keywords as your meta description, title, keywords and your content will be seen as being even more consistent.

4. Use valuable keywords in your headlines.

As you are considering what to name an article spend time thinking about where you would like to see it appear on Google. If you want it to appear under a search for ‘Website Traffic‘ then include the word traffic in your title. Posts that have the same title day after day like ‘Daily Thoughts #1‘ and ‘Daily Thoughts #2′ and ‘Daily Thoughts #3′ etc. rank very poorly in search engines.

Remember that the number one priority should always be to write for real people, but it’s still important to take the necessary time to be creative and come up with some exciting headlines that take advantage of important keywords.

5. Write articles that are search engine friendly.

As you are putting your article together be sure to make use of the words that you are using in your title, description, keywords, and url. Although we learned in English class that it is important to mix up your word choice in order to avoid being trite or reduntant, it is also important to repeatedly make use of your keywords throughout your article.

This is a balancing act. You need to make sure that you mention the keywords as often as possible so that Google picks up on them while at the same time working to avoid sounding goofy to your readers.

This final bit of icing on our cake will further cement the concept of consistency in our blog as Google searches it. When Google sees that every last piece of our web page is consistently about the same topic then the chances of our page being listed increase exponentially.

Put these five crucial tips into practice on your WordPress blog and you will be amazed at the results. You may not see a dramatic increase overnight, but you will be creating the building blocks necessary to continue growing and improving your blog!


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  1. December 16, 2009

    Eric B. said:

    Thanks for the tips. I admit, I don’t pay as much attention to SEO as I probably should.

    SEO is one of the things I’ll be working on during the winter break, and I’ll be sure to remember these tips.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: 6 Tips for Basic Web Accessibility =-.

    • December 16, 2009

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Eric B. –> It’s definitely a lot more important to pay attention to your readers and to building online relationships, but that doesn’t mean that we should completely forget about our Search engine optimization. We should still try to get Google to send a little bit of traffic our way. That would be a great thing to give a little bit of attention to over your Christmas break.

  2. December 16, 2009

    Glen said:

    Great article.
    I’ve never heard of headspace until now.
    And, I never really understood keywords until your explanation either.
    Also the importance of using the title, description, keywords, and url to optimize my posts was something I didn’t really understand until today.

    So, I learned a lot.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Struck Me As Funny =-.

    • December 16, 2009

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Glen –> I probably should have mentioned that keywords are probably the least important of the other elements. In fact, Google has actually come right out and said to the public that keywords now carry very little and possibly even no weight in determining the listing. However, other search engines may still consider them so it’s still important to use them. If you didn’t already know, it’s the meta description that shows up as text in the listings on Google. So it’s kind of the sentence where you can try to draw potential readers into the site.

  3. December 16, 2009

    Ron Leyba said:

    Great tips Nick. Also, I recently discovered that sometimes (I don’t know if this is because of the hosting or what), the Privacy settings option a.k.a. blog visibility option is set to “I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors” as the default choice.

    We really need to check it first and foremost. I’ve been through on that situation. =)
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Sikat Ang Pinoy =-.

    • December 16, 2009

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Ron Leyba –> Interesting point. It’s definitely important to allow search engines to view our sites. Thanks for bringing that up.

  4. December 16, 2009

    Tony said:

    All in One SEO Pack is the must use plugin for SEO success. It manages meta data, blog description, blog titles, etc. I’m glad I installed it.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: LonePlacebo: The New Beginning =-.

    • December 16, 2009

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Tony –> I used to use All in One SEO pack and it does work quite well, but I can say that Headspace 2 is an incredibly powerful plugin that manages a lot more data and has helped me to reduce duplicate tags all across my site.

  5. December 16, 2009

    ecommerce software said:

    Great post, thanks for sheding more light on headspace seo however, can i have both the Headspace 2 and All in one SEO plugins installed and running on my site? Or should i have to choose one option rather than trying to do both.

  6. December 16, 2009

    Helmi Asyraf @ Huzzer Magazine said:

    What is the difference with All in SEO and Headspace SEO?

    It is because at the moment, I’m using All in SEO and if Headspace SEO is better, I will definitely move to better without hesitation 🙂

    • December 16, 2009

      Lee Ka Hoong said:

      lol I just left a comment asking about the same question and now I read the comment and see that you’ve asked this question too. I didn’t know what is the difference between All-in-one seo pack and headspace seo too, am going to check out and see what is the difference.

  7. December 16, 2009

    Lee Ka Hoong said:

    Nice post Nicholas. Between, can I know what is the difference between Headspace SEO and All-in-one-SEO-pack since both of them able to write meta tag and description which is only showing to search engine?

    Anyway, I’m using Thesis theme and it has the feature like all-in-one-seo-pack, so I don’t need it right now. 🙂

    No doubt, using search engine friendly URL would really work as I’ve seen many people still using the default permalinks. If you want to rank well for the article, make sure you have the keyword in your title, description as well as your URL, if the competition is low then you might be able to rank well. 🙂


  8. December 16, 2009

    scheng1 said:

    Actually the last 2 points are important to all Internet writers and bloggers.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How to improve psychic abilities =-.

  9. December 16, 2009

    chandan said:

    Hi Nich I always like to read article on SEO, link building. Now a days I am much busy with my blog SEO work and analyzing search engine rank factors.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Update from google work at home affiliate network-December 11, 2009 =-.

  10. December 16, 2009

    David | ilcantone.com said:

    Good tips Nicholas.

    I use all of them. Another good tip is to structure your posts with headlines and subheadlines .

    Is there any difference between All in One SEO pack and Headspace SEO? I use the first one.

    See you Nick.

  11. December 16, 2009

    Gabe | freebloghelp.com said:

    Using keywords and phrases is indeed a balancing act.

    Although it’s necessary in some cases, I choose to totally pretend that they don’t matter when I’m writing. That way I can be completely focused on the reader. That said, I’m sure I’m losing some traffic as a result but I’m ok with that.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Meet the FTC disclosure requirement in under a minute =-.

  12. December 16, 2009

    King Sidharth in Meditation said:

    Awesome post Nick. I am really following all the tips except No. 2.

    I’ve replaced that with thesis. And after seeing how wonderful it is I decided to become a Freelancer Thesis Designer.

    It’s just awesome, does SEO and everything you can imagine. My CPU usage on server went down and ranking boosted in all search engines.

    I am hardly updating my site and still receiving loads of search engine traffic.

    I’ll recommend it to you. Lemme know if you want me to do a guest post for you on thesis.

    .-= My Latest Blog Post: World Aids Day – I Will Be Human =-.

  13. December 16, 2009

    Deepika said:

    Headspace seo is new to me. I have not heard about it. I am using all in one seo pack. Kingsidharth mentioned your old article about headspace seo http://www.sitesketch101.com/headspace

    it is really useful for me…
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How To Comment On Other Blogs =-.

  14. December 16, 2009

    Kok Siong Chen said:

    Good tips for me as a new blogger! I never heard about the SEO Headspace before. Thanks for sharing! I would like to give it a try!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: MCF-7 – Human Breast Cancer Cell Line =-.

  15. December 17, 2009

    Blake @ Props Blog Reviews said:

    These are without a doubt the most basic foundational steps to good SEO. With all the social media hype, it is easy to forget that search engines will send you more traffic longer (and that traffic is more likely to buy or take action) than any social media or bookmarking network.

    I love long sentences 😉

    I noticed that you chose Headspace over All-in-one SEO. As far as I can tell they do the same thing. It seems like Headspace is more customizable, but AI1S is a little easier for less advanced users.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Could Your Site Benefit More From Social Bookmarks? =-.

  16. December 17, 2009

    Dana @ Online Knowledge said:

    Yeah — wordpress really great platform for blogging. And we seems do the same strategy in our wordpress blog nick. Yeah — i use all of thing that you mention in this article.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Web Hosting Type =-.

  17. December 17, 2009

    Antti Kokkonen said:

    Great tips Nick, but I’d like to add a little more to the tip 3, for the permalinks.

    First, the tag and category base you mentioned are the defaults, and there’s not reason to add those in. In fact, it might even affect performance with the tag- and category archives. So those should be left blank unless you want the category be something like (topic or topics).

    Second, the permalink structure. For SEO, most important thing is to have the %postname% there, that’s for sure., but before WordPress design is upgraded, using /%category%/ at the beginning of a permalink has huge performance effect (for the worse), especially when the blog grows.

    This happens because WP has to store additional data to it’s database in order to recognize pages from posts when the first field in the permalink is text (unless it’s the %postname%).

    This means it’ll take longer time for WP to find the post. And as loading speed might become more and more important, even for SEO, I wouldn’t recommend using the /%category%/, but to start the permalink with /%post_id%/ or /%year%/ (from numeric field, WP knows it’s a post).

    This is unfortunate because using %category% does factor in the SEO. Using it on a blog that you know won’t grow huge is OK (e.g. focused niche/product blog) or hope that WP gets the update done fast 🙂
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Definite Guide to WordPress Permalinks =-.

  18. December 17, 2009

    proiecte case said:

    thx for sharing,
    Reciprocal Link Checker Link building is very crucial to effective SEO. An easy way of building back links is through reciprocal linking, which is the exchange of links with other webmasters. Not all webmasters you exchange links with will keep your link in their site however, as some of them remove it soon after you exchange links. The more the exchanges you make, the harder it becomes to keep track of the number of reciprocal links you have. This tool enables you to check how many reciprocal links you have and their status with one click.

  19. December 18, 2009

    kevin said:

    Great post – Just curious, what’s a good forum to ask seo questions in?


  20. December 22, 2009

    creative_blondes said:

    I’d like to add another tip for people that wanna start out with SEO on their blog: Don’t think too much about SEO while writing a post. A good quality post will often get noticed in the blogosphere / twittersphere. Overdoing the SEO part tends to look a bit spammy sometimes. Getting visitors is 98% good content, and maybe 2% SEO :). My 2 cents 😉

    • December 22, 2009

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      creative_blondes –> That’s actually a good tip and if you follow my articles on Writing for Real People (Part 1) or Writing for Real People (Part 2) you see that I agree with you 100%. People often focus on the technical and try to build stats when usually it’s much more important to focus on the readers and to try to build relationships and connections.

  21. December 24, 2009

    Konstantin Kovshenin said:

    Good article, though Google doesn’t look at the meta keywords tag at all and that’s been for over two years now 😉

    ~ K.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: WordPress 2.9: From a Developer’s Point of View =-.

    • December 24, 2009

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Konstantin Kovshenin –> That’s an invalid point. Google may not but there has never been confirmation that Bing, Yahoo or others don’t, so it’s still incredibly valid to bring up keywords when we talk about SEO. I didn’t say Google Optimization. I said Search Engine Optimization.

  22. December 30, 2009

    Make Online Money said:

    Nice article. Thanks for sharing. As currently I am using blogger platform so do you have any tips regarding how to overcome the shortcoming of not able to give “meta keywords” and “meta description” in blogger? I think a blogger’s blog looses a lot not able to address these two attributes. I would appreciate any tip regarding this.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Basic HTML That Beginners Should Know To Make Online Money =-.

    • December 30, 2009

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      My only advice for blogspot users is to get away from that system as quickly as possible. I used to use blogspot and the best thing that I ever did was to get away from it.

  23. January 3, 2010

    Rafa said:

    Nice article. Simple an usefull tips. I´ve already done them!

  24. January 4, 2010

    Arcnerva said:

    In my experience the Keywording/phrasing should come naturally if you are doing what you should be. If you are a widget seller than you should be talking about widgets and anything (theme) related. Make it interesting. Ease into your articles at first but keep in mind, safe is risky.

    Use the SEO Plug-in to switch up your pages. Google dislikes duplicate description tags. Just switch it up a little on each page. Target what you should be. Eventually everything will just flow naturally.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Beautiful Light Trails Using Christmas Lights =-.

  25. January 6, 2010

    San Fran Webdesign said:

    As a fellow webdesigner , I’m very glad to see that another individual thought to post this topic.

    All too many people don’t understand what all is involved in our industry, and I think also we are many times underrated
    or taken for granted. Never the less I’m very glad to see that you feel the same way I do , thanks so much for your blog!

  26. January 11, 2010

    Don Gilbert said:

    I actually began utilizing the custom permalink structure that you suggest probably 4 months ago. (I guess great minds think alike.)

    However, I opted to add a .html at the end of the permalink.

    Do you know what Google prefers? Have you had any experience with it? I know that our blog has jumped to a PR 3 in no time flat, but I wonder if there isn’t something more that we can do?
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Top 10 Tips to Dominate Your Niche for SEO =-.

    • January 11, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Don Gilbert » I think that the .html looks old school. That’s how things used to be and now people and Google are comfortable with nothing on the end of the permalink.

  27. January 16, 2010

    Johanna Nighton said:

    To check out some SEO stats for your website, have a look at http://buildstats.com too.

  28. January 23, 2010

    Fire said:

    Great article Nicholas. That really sum up everything. I will go through all of your posting to make sure I dont miss up anyhing.

    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Italian Beauty Model Giorgia Palmas =-.

  29. January 24, 2010

    Shamim said:

    What is the difference between “Headspace SEO & All in SEO” as the functions you have mentioned above are same in both plugin?

    Would you plz make a post on “How to write a good meta description?” I am very week on that and still searching how to do better on it.


    • January 25, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Shamim » That’s actually a really good idea. Thanks for that. I will write something on that.

  30. January 25, 2010

    Self Improvement said:

    First of all, let me say I am amazed at how quickly you managed to put up this helpful blog with so many articles already. Your alexa ranking is very good and you’re already number 12 for the keyword “how to blog”! Good job and please keep sharing your thoughts. It is wonderful what you’re doing here. Thanks for these helpful SEO tips and again, keep up the good work. I look forward to your future articles.

    • January 25, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Self Improvement » I’m just going to work to keep growing and to help as many others do the same as possible.

  31. January 27, 2010

    The Musicquarium said:

    Thanks for the tips. I have recently started looking carefully at SEO techniques and have started a blog. These tips will definitely help me utilise my time better and hopefully create more user friendly and searchable articles. The permalink idea is something that I have been wondering about and will definitely spend my next free batch of time looking into.

    • January 28, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      The Musicquarium » That permalink strategy will really help you out. That’s the style that I use here.

  32. February 5, 2010

    gautam hans said:

    The Headspace Plugin, I am using All in one SEO. Though I must say, I didn’t have an increase in web traffic due to this plugin
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Why i Like StumbleUpon =-.

  33. February 6, 2010

    Tony M said:

    Simple but effective SEO strategies. So many blogs use those ugly permalinks and its so disheartening.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: WordPress Plugins Are Easy To Install =-.

  34. March 1, 2011

    deecoup said:

    Our site URL should be Seo Friendly.
    We should not make dynamic URL.Try to make key world reach URL.
    Thanks for sharing and keep updating

  35. April 20, 2011

    Joey said:

    I find that the all-in-one plugin sometimes omits the H1 heading when using a custome header/banner image. Is there a way to hard code the H1 tags?

  36. July 10, 2011

    شات تعب قلبي said:

    Thank you for clarifying that

  37. September 26, 2011

    Cadvices said:

    Great info! Keep-up the good work!

  38. March 5, 2013

    David said:

    I agree, everyone who uses WordPress should read this article and listen to your advice, especially the third advice if he wants to advance his page, who does not want that? 🙂