Would you believe me if I said that high search engine ranking optimization is easy to achieve?
Well, it's not rocket science, I'll tell you that much.
I've got 10 very practical tips on how to get high search engine ranking optimization for your blog in no time.
Search Engine Ranking Optimization Tips for the Rest of Us
#1 — Don’t Block the Search Engines!
As silly as it sounds, I've seen this happen many a time.
Make sure you are not telling the search engines to stay away from your blog; not good for your high search engine ranking optimization at all, as you can imagine.
Believe it or not, some WordPress installations block the search engine spiders by default.
How do you make sure you are not one of those blogs?
Simple: go to your admin panel and under your “Privacy” tab choose “I would like my blog to be visible to everyone” option.
#2 — Do You Know What Your Blog Is About?
“Of course, I do, Ana – silly question!”
Not so fast.
Some of us prefer to talk about this, that, and the other: cars, movies, photosynthesis, dust mites – you name it.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with this style of blogging; it just might not be the best IF you are hoping for high search engine ranking optimization.
Lack of any specific direction for your blog will leave search engines clueless as to what keywords they should rank you for. The result – your blog might appear in some random long tail searches, but will never rank for the keywords you are targeting.
By the way, your readers might get annoyed with you as well.
So, pick a topic and stick with it!
#3 — URL Canonicalization
There are several variations of each URL.
For instance, for my blog the variations might be http://www.TrafficGenerationCafe.com, www.TrafficGenerationCafe.com, TrafficGenerationCafe.com.
To you and me, all of them are absolutely fine; they all will get us where we want to go: to my blog.
Search engines though have a mind of their own, and to them these variations of my blog URL look like 3 different URLs altogether.
Here are some of the problems this confusion can cause:
- Search engines confused as to which URL to display in the SERPs = your high search engine ranking optimization efforts down the drain.
- PageRank split between multiple pages.
- Duplicate content penalties.
Picking one URL that your blog can be accessed from is called URL Canonicalization.
Starting with version 2.3, WordPress makes it easy to ensure that your content is accessible from one URL only.
All you do is go to your blog Admin panel and under “General Settings” look for “Blog Address” setting. Whatever address you type in there (with or without WWW – either one is fine, it's just personal preference) will become your canonical URL.
REMINDER: when building links to your blog, make sure you use your canonical URL and stick with it.
One more tip on that: you can (and should) set the same preference in Google Webmaster Tools.
#4 — Make Sure Your Code Is Valid
Code errors can potentially create quite a havoc with search engines, resulting in less blog traffic and barring high search engine ranking optimization.
WordPress itself produces valid code, but errors can crop up from two other common sources:
- Poorly written plugins or themes
- User-created coding errors (in the blog posts or through theme customizations)
There are several ways to check for code mistakes.
- Through http://validator.w3.org/
- By installing W3C validation plugin called “Validated” (look it up in your plugin directory)
#5 – Keep Your Link Juice to Yourself!
Most blog owners display their sidebars on every page.
Sometimes it's because their theme does not give them a choice; sometimes, it's because they don't know they have a choice or don't know why they need one.
Do you really need to pass your link juice to every single one of those links on every single one of your pages?
You guessed it: not good for your search engine ranking optimization at all.
- Get rid of the sidebars on some of your pages (like I did on my “About Ana” page).
- At the very least, make sure you add rel=”nofollow” tag to all of your sidebar links.
- Consider getting rid of some of your sidebar clutter altogether. I bet you can find a few things (like a Blogroll) that can go – your blog will look much cleaner and reader-friendly and your link juice will stay right where it needs to be.
#6 — Make Sure Your Header Tags Are Set Correctly
- The blog title, which should also contain your main keyword to ensure high search engine ranking optimization, should be in an
- If your subtitle is keyword-rich, you can put it in an; otherwise I recommend putting it in a non-header tag like.
- The post titles should go in tags.
- Sidebar section titles should be tag or non-header.
If you are confused about all of this, I've got a great solution for you: you should get hold of my free 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination report by filling out the simple form at the end of the post.
Most of these tags are preset with your WordPress theme, so make sure you choose the theme that is SEO-friendly (like Thesis, which is what I use) and uses correct header tags.
What's the big deal?
Search engines pay specific attention to and tags. That's where you want to put your main keywords and secondary keywords.
So what happens when your theme, like WP Default Theme, puts your sidebar titles in tags?
They become your keywords; and unless you are hoping to get some serious blog traffic from the keyword “Categories”, you'd better think twice about it.
To sum up: to ensure high search engine ranking optimization for your keywords, either use a theme with proper header tag structure or try to fix the one you have.
#7 — Pinging: DOs And DON'Ts
Simply put, a ping is a “this site has new content” notification that invites search engine bots to visit your blog.
By default, WordPress pings one pinging service called Ping-o-matic; that service will in turn ping others.
You can always add additional pinging services to be notified when new content is published. Simply go to Options > Writing in the admin panel.
HOW TO AVOID BEING “PINGED” AS A SPAMMER: By default WordPress pings whenever you post a new topic in your blog.
That's fine and that's what we want.
But do you know WordPress also pings whenever you edit and update any existing post?
If you edit a post 10 times, then WordPress will send 10 pings. It doesn't matter how small or big a change you make, WordPress always pings whenever you edit.
IT'S VERY DANGEROUS and if you edit your blog a lot, then your blog will be banned from ping services because of excessive pinging.
Here's an easy fix to your problem: make sure you install MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer plugin (http://www.maxblogpress.com/plugins/mpo/); it will correct the pinging problem without any work on your part.
#8 — Install the Google XML Sitemaps Generator Plugin
Just in case you didn't somehow know this before: Google is very much into organization of information.
XML Sitemaps organize your blog in a way that makes it more search engine friendly (read: higher search engine ranking optimization) – exactly the kind of “organization” your want to increase your blog traffic.
The Google XML Sitemaps Generator for WordPress plugin will do all the work for you; just install it and let it run.
Suggestion: add your blog XML Sitemap to Google Webmasters Tools (I hope you use them to keep tabs on your blog/website); your new posts will be indexed even faster – blog traffic “dream come true”.
#9 — Don't Use Sponsored Themes
Sponsored themes include paid links (usually in the footer) that can damage your PageRank and possibly result in a Google paid links penalty. A lot of times, these links are hidden in a way that it's very difficult to tell they are even there.
How do you avoid sponsored themes?
By sticking with what you know is legit. For instance, choose a theme from WordPress Free Themes Directory (http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/) or use a reputable theme like Thesis.
#10 — Pay Attention to Permalinks
After you write and save your post, the Permalink below the title shows the potential URL for the post, as long as you have permalinks enabled. (To enable permalinks, go to Settings > Permalinks.)
The post URL is generated from your title. In previous versions of WordPress, this was referred to as the “page-slug.” The commas, quotes, apostrophes, and other non-HTML favorable characters are changed and a dash is put between each word.
If your post title is “My Site – Here's Lookin' at You, Kid”, it will be cleaned up to be “my-site-heres-lookin-at-you-kid” as the title. You can manually change this, maybe shortening it to “mysite.com/lookin-you-kid”.
Bottom Line: Your permalink should be as short as you can make it while still using your keywords for the post. Avoid any “unessential” words, like YOU, ARE, TO, etc.
Search Engine Ranking Optimization Marketing Takeaway
You may or may not have known some of these tips, but the medal doesn't go to the one who runs the race, rather to the one who wins it, right?
DOING it is what does the trick.