In this post, I’ll be taking you through the top 7 SEO areas you need to optimize in WordPress in order for your site to rank well in the search engines. Even if you don’t use WordPress, this post may be useful to you.

In Part 2 of this post I’ll be showing you the 1 plugin for SEO that I use on all WordPress sites I build for clients which makes it easy for them (as novices) to take control of their site (without really needing to know the technical aspects of what’s happening!).

If you’re relatively new to search engine optimization you might already know the Top 3 areas that you need to optimize (and if you don’t, then you need to start learning quickly!): 1) Page Title, 2) Meta Keywords and Descriptions and 3) Permalinks.

So… what are the other 4 you need to learn? Well, here’s a quick summary of what we’ll be covering:

  1. Page Title
  2. Meta Keywords & Description
  3. Permalinks
  4. First Paragraph
  5. More links
  6. H1 Site Name
  7. H2 Site Description

This post will show you *WHERE* to optimize but won’t go into specific details on *HOW*. While the sites I create rank well, I would not pretend to be an SEO expert. Useful SEO links are provided at the end of this post.

  1. Page Title

    What is the Page Title?
    This is the title that appears at the top of your browser window. It is also the text that Google uses to display in search results.

    How Do You Optimize The Page Title?
    Add your keywords near beginning of the sentance. Remove unnecessary words where possible. Remember, while also being a good way of getting search engines to find keywords in your titles, it should also be descriptive enough for your *readers* to understand what the page is about.

    What Does The Code Look Like?
    <title>Keword Title Goes In Here</title>

  2. Meta Keywords & Description

    What Are Meta Keywords & Meta Descriptions
    Keywords are the words and phrases that users enter into a search engine to bring back results. Web pages that have matching keywords are pulled back by the search engines and displayed to the user.

    The Meta Description is the text that appears underneath the title link when results are displayed. This provides the user with an idea of what the page is about.

    How Do You Optimize Keywords & Descriptions?
    Only add keywords that relate to the page you are creating. Stay focused on conveying the meaning of the post. There’s no point trying to rank on keywords that aren’t in your content and you may get penalised instead.

    Add keywords to your descriptions – these will come out in bold if there is an exact match in the results displayed.

    Make the description *meaningful* to your users – they want to know what the page is about.

    Tip: One overlooked tip is to add very useful information. For example, if you have a page on “book {keyword} training”, then adding a telephone number right next to it may actually get you calls. Your prospect doesn’t even have to go into the site to find the number. They may well call you because you’re the first number to be displayed and that’s what they were after in the first place!

    What Does The Code Look Like?
    <meta name="keywords" content="add, your, comma, separated, keywords, here" />
    <meta name="description" content="add your meaningful keyword description here." />

  3. Permalinks

    What Is A Permalink?
    A permalink is the “permanent link” (or URL) that is used for other sites to link to your WordPress Page or Post.

    In WordPress, this is also referred to as the “Page Slug”.

    How Do You Create A Useful SEO Permalink In WordPress?
    Unfortunately, by default, WordPress provides permalinks that use query strings – a question mark followed by letters, an equals sign and numbers (e.g. /?p=123 at the end of the URL). This is no good for search engines as there are no useful keywords to use in your URL to match against the users search.

    To change your permalink structure in WordPress, simply go to your Admin screen, click on Options / Permalinks and click the Custom radio button. There are a variety of tags you can use to build a new permalink structure and you can find this on the WordPress Codex.

    How Do You Optimize The Permalink?
    When writing a Post or a Page, remember to add keywords to your Post Slug. This can be found on the right hand side of the main edit screen. If you see just a blue bar with a + sign, simply click on the plus sign to open up the Post Slug field.

  4. First Paragraph

    When writing content for your blog post, add the keyword or phase you would like to rank well for to the first couple of paragraphs. Where possible, use variations for your keywords as using too many can be considered a form of keyword spamming. The trick here is to write naturally – don’t even worry about the search engines. Always write for your readers and make sure they understand what your post is about.

    Tip: A very useful tip I was given by Andy Beard was to add a link to another page in your site in the first few paragraphs. Why? There are 2 reasons: firstly, it helps to build up your internal site structure and push Page Rank to other pages that need it. If your blog index/home page has a good PR value (because people link to it), then you can help the PR of other pages on your site just by linking to them with good keywords.

    The second reason is very cunning: leveraging Splogs (i.e. sites which scrape your content and reformatting it to make it appear like their own content). If you create high quality content the chances are your Posts will get scraped and output on someone else’s site. Having a full path link back to your own site helps to give you an extra link back to your site (not sure you’d want it although it would be contextually relevant) but also helps readers to find the original content as it gives them a means of getting back to your site.

    Thanks Andy!

  5. More links

    What Is A More Link?
    If you create a Post and split it up using the “More” link that WordPress uses on it’s Visual editor, then only the content that you specified *before* the More link will be displayed on your blog home page. A link underneath takes the user to the full post.

    This is an area that is often overlooked by most Bloggers but can be leveraged effectively because it is another internal link which can help push valuable PR to your internal site pages. If you add keywords to your More link, then it becomes even more powerful.

    How Do You Optimize The More Link In WordPress?
    Unfortunately, unless you know how to tweak your templates and are willing to go into your code and learn some PHP as well as understanding how WordPress works, it’s difficult to fully optimize your More links.

    If you notice, on this site, all of my More links are optimized and have different keywords appearing in them. It is possible to use a plugin like “More Unique” that will help you do the job.

    In my next Post (Part 2), I’ll be showing you the 1 plugin that I use which can also help optimize your More links.

    Duplicate Content issue?
    One thing that a lot of marketers worry about is being penalised for “Duplicate Content”. In my experience, using the More link technique hasn’t posed any problems (touch wood). Keeping the initial introduction before the More Link relatively short seems to work just fine. If you are very worried about duplicate content issues, then an alternative is to use the Optional Excerpt field in the WordPress edit screen. However, this will mean alterations to your templates unless you have a good plugin that does the job (any suggestions?).

    Okay, these next 2 areas will require manipulation of your templates (unless you’ve downloaded a template where the designer has built this feature in specifically for SEO). (Note: the new KC-SEOv5 theme you are looking at already has these modifications built in. You can download our new Christmas SEO theme from this site).

  6. H1 Site Name

    What Is The H1 Tag?
    By default, in WordPress the H1 is used for displaying your Site Name. As explained above, a good WordPress SEO theme designer would amend this and use the H1 tag in a place that counts – your content Title (not to be confused with the Page Title). Your site name usually does not contain any useful keywords that can be picked up by the search engines, so why use an H1 tag for it?

    Regardless of whether this area has been changed to an H1 or H2 tag, the fact remains that it is another area that could be useful if you could add keywords to it in a dynamic way.

    So How Do You Optimize Your H1 Tag Dynamically For WordPress?
    As with the More links, in my next post I will tell you about the 1 plugin that I use that helps to optimize your H1 tag as well as change the text within this area on a per page basis.

  7. H2 Site Description

    What Is The H2 Site Description?
    Another overlooked area that could be optimized is the H2 Site Description area. Usually this displays your blog tagline or site description. Again, this is a waste of an H2 tag.

    But what if it could be changed dynamically on a *per page* basis? The more observant among you may have noticed that on every post and page of my site(s), I add keywords to the Site Description fields. This type of WordPress mastery is simple – I’m just wondering why more people aren’t doing it? (Although I bet they will be now ;) ).

    So How Do You Optimize Your H2 Site Description area in WordPress?
    As with the More link and H1 Site name area, in my next post I’m going to show you the 1 plugin that I use to optimize at least 5 of the 7 areas I’ve listed for search engine optimizing your blog.

I hope this post was useful to you. Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will show you the 1 plugin I use for optimization and why I think it’s better than any other SEO plugin currently available.