Joost de Valk of Yoast – Tweaking Websites, gave a lecture on WordPress SEO and Optimization at the 2008 a4uexpo Affiliate Marketing Conference and Exhibition in London.
Here’s the video and below are my notes if you don’t want to watch the video. The video is approximately 50 minutes long and my notes don’t include everything, so it’s definitely worth watching.
One WordPress plugin Joost first mentioned was the Headspace2 plugin. I have not tried this plugin but will be investigating for sure. In their own words:
HeadSpace is a powerful all-in-one plugin to manage meta-data and handle a wide range of SEO tasks. With it you can tag your posts, create custom titles and descriptions that improve your page ranking, change the theme or run disabled plugins on specific pages, and a whole lot more.
Another plugin, the Redirction plugin allows you to:
Redirection is a WordPress plugin to manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation.
I talked about it in the Related Posts Plugin article, run a Related Posts Plugin on your blog to keep readers around by providing a list of interesting articles for them to check out at the end of your blog post.
Run the SEO Freindly Images plugin. Here’s the goods:
SEO Friendly Images is a WordPress optimization plugin which automatically updates all images with proper ALT and TITLE attributes. If your images do not have ALT and TITLE already set, SEO Friendly Images will add them according the options you set. Additionally this makes the post W3C/xHTML valid as well.
Clean Slugs is a plugin that optimized your slugs from your blog post title. The slug is the part of your post URL that is the title of your blog post. You have to sign up for Joost’s mailing list to get it.
The bigger you get (more popular), the more chances your blog will get scraped. When it gets scraped, use the RSS Footer plugin that will create a link back to your blog from the site that scraped your content. This will give you a bunch of backlinks when your site gets scraped.
“There’s only one reason to have one H1 on your blog and that is your blog title in the header.”
Add interesting descriptions to your categories. Most bloggers don’t use the descriptions. You have to ask yourself, “What should people be looking at in a category?” Supply a description like this for a WordPress category – “If you’re just starting out in WordPress, start here”, is a good example of a category description.
More plugins from Yoast are Breadcrumbs. This will help search engines know how your site is organized.
Robots Meta – This will help you exclude pages from search index pages. How useful is it to index an archive page? Not very. Don’t index the archive page so users will end up on an article that is on your archives page.
Use page numbers instead of previous and next. WP Page Numbers plugin will make this work. There are other plugins that do this as well.
“Guest posts help broaden the horizon of your blog.”
Tip #1: Find out where your visitors are coming from. For instance, if they’re coming from social media sites, go to those sites and hang out and be part of the community.
Tip #2: When you start getting visitors, turn them into fans, enthusiastic fans. This will help by your fans telling others about you.
Tip #3: The plugin Comments Redirect will thank your first-time commenters and display more articles on your blog for folks to read and stick around.
10 Steps to Increase The Conversation On Your Blog:
1. Change the add comments text to entice commenting – “24 people have left a comment, what’s you’re opinion?”
2. Thank them. Show they are appreciated.
3. Know your readers and know why they like you.
4. Try to respond to your readers. Have a contact page where folks can get in touch with you.
5. Reward good comments. If someone adds a great remark, make sure they get some recognition.
6. Install the Subscribe to Comments plugin. Your visitors will be emailed when there are more comments on that blog post. This can keeps them discussion going.
7. Dont distract them – Remove the trackbacks from the comments area and put it somewhere else.
8. Don’t keep spam comments on your blog that people can see. Besides Akismet, there are other spam blocking plugins.
9. Keep it simple to comment. Don’t make your commenters fill out a bunch of stuff that slows them down or stops them from commenting.
10. Try new things, keep track of what you’ve done. Joost has a plugin called Blog Metrics.
Keep up with what others are saying about you. Setup a Google Alerts on your name or name of your blog. Same thing with a Twitter search. Subscribe to the Twitter search so you can check it daily in your RSS Reader.
- Don’t load up tons of widgets in your sidebar that distract your readers.
- Hosting is important. When you get bigger, you’ll need a better hosting site.
- Don’t use WordPress search. It’s not good. Use Google Custom Search Engine.
- There are a lot of repetitive database queries on variable information. For instance, your blog title in the header of your blog is a database query, and queries the database with every page load. Same with the language your using on your blog and style sheet. These are static and you can change it in the header to reflect that.
- Make sure you install safe plugins. Plugins act like an administrator of your blog. Someone could create a plugin that puts something in your blog you don’t know about, that in turn could look like spam to the search engines. Be careful what you’re installing.
Last Tip: Remind people to subscribe to your blog – Subscribe to my blog.
There’s a question/answer session at the end so try and take the time to watch the video.