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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:
- SEO Tips & Tricks for Your WordPress Blog
- Supercharged SEO: A Guide to Headspace 2
- WordPress SEO Made Simple With Headspace
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!