SEO – Search Engine Optimization is often considered the most effective as well as an ethical way to generate a steady flow of organic visits to your blog. There are other modes as well such as viral content that can give you a sudden stream of traffic at your blog but then slowly the traffic will start to decline later on. The important task then becomes how to maintain the visitors’ flow that the blog generates through such viral content.
Here’s how SEO becomes important. WordPress is an excellent platform that helps you set up your blog with the right settings which are required for doing ethical and effective SEO for your blog. Most importantly, you must set up all your WordPress options correctly in order to make a search engine-friendly blog.
Today, we are sharing a very helpful guide that will help you understand the list of things you must look after in order to generate more traffic to your blog powered by WordPress through search queries from different search engines.
Importance of Title tag and Meta Description
If you have the slightest knowledge about SEO, then you must be aware of the importance of Title tags and Meta Description tags on a blog.
If not, then let me explain the importance of it. Title, as well as Meta Description, holds the value for each page or post on any blog or website as every search engine bot (crawler) including Google, look for these tags initially to understand the nature of the page as well as the content they will find inside. These Titles as well as Meta Description tags are used by search engines to sort the pages according to certain keyword terms in order to rank them when a user searches for them on the Search Engines.
These Titles as well as Meta Descriptions of each page and post on your WordPress blog are also fetched by Google and other search engine bots in order to display the content for every search engine listing achieved by your WordPress blog.
Hence, it becomes important to create a decent title tag that attracts the eyeballs of the users such that they make sure to click your search engine listings no matter it’s below a few listings on the 1st page of Google or other search engines.
Try to pick something short and catchy, adding a few relevant keyword terms altogether to create a title tag. For sample, a title tag used by the Search Engine Journal on their post, “The Forgotten Art of Creating Good Title Tags” is one of the best we have found.
If you look at this title, there’s nothing special about it but yet it’s very catchy. The term “Forgotten Art” gives it a majestic touch while including the main keywords “Creating Good Title Tags” at the end.
Similarly, the Meta Description must be descriptive, with proper keywords and short to the point, but slightly more detailed. The ideal length of a Meta Description tag must be around 160 characters or so, and it will do wonders for you.
We hope that your idea about Title and Meta Description tags is clear now, so let’s learn how to set them on your blog. Assuming that you own a WordPress site, the best way to implement Title and Meta Description tags effectively on each of your pages and posts is by installing SEO plugins.
Using a famous Plugin developed by Yoast, known as SEO for WordPress, you can very well set up the Titles as well as Meta Description tags not just for your blog homepage but also for each and every post, page, archive, category, and tag pages within the plugin options.
Most often, for the blog posts, the title tag and Meta description tag will be automatically set on the basis of the post title and content from the 1st paragraph which you can later edit manually if needed using the custom Title, Description, and Meta Keywords fields available on the edit post page of your blog.
How to Set Proper Permalink Structure?
After setting up the Title as well as Meta Description for all pages, the next is to decide how you want your links to look like. In WordPress, permalink options describe the format of each of your post/page URLs. Under the permalink settings, you can find various different options to choose from while you can also add some custom ones if you need them.
But we would often recommend the 3 choices below which are the best if you want to rank well for relevant keyword terms on different search engines.
While there are some slight differences in each of the choices, some bloggers recommend using the first format. Here’s why:
- Words in the URL are divided using a hyphen, not an underscore, which is in fact true for all of them.
- It lets you edit the URL adding keyword terms for SEO.
- While eliminating the date as specified in the 2nd choice, the URLs don’t indicate that the posts are old and outdated in anyways. In short, without the date in the URL, even if you have written the post a couple of years ago, it remains fresh for anyone landing on the same today. Also, you can make some edits to such posts whenever you want to keep the content fresh and relevant.
- It crops the lengthy post URLs into simple memorable and sharable shorter links. It’s very user-friendly, search engine friendly as well as important when it comes to social media sharing.
One of the most important reasons for adopting the 1st choice is that many top blogger websites such as Social Trigger and Copyblogger use the same permalink settings.
Yet, it is highly advisable to use the “PostID” or “Date” in the blog URL if you want your blog to be featured on a news listing on Google. Blogs such as SearchEngineLand.com follow the 2nd Permalink option above in order to make sure their posts are indexed and ranked in Google News for the latest high trending keyword terms.
Use the “Custom Structure” on the Permalink settings page if you wish to get the URL of your choice and desired structure.
WordPress architecture will then use 301 redirections to move the old URLs to the new ones.
Warning: If you change the permalink structure of an established blog then it will tamper with the number of visitors coming from search engines.
Remove Duplicate Pages/URLs
Recently Google has smashed many webmasters including top bloggers with a flurry of different algorithm updates such as Caffeine, Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, and the latest Pigeon. Among these, the Google Panda update was to eliminate all the listings with shallow content from ranking on top Google searches.
Hence, it was highly advised and suggested by many Pro bloggers to develop quality and unique content in order to shield your blog from the Google Panda effect. However, it wasn’t the case for many bloggers who wrote high-quality content as they were spanked harshly by the Panda.
The reason for that concluded onto the dropdown menus found basically within navigation links. In fact, Google was actually indexing all those URLs in the dropdown menus with their menu parameters, resulting in duplicate content issues. Hence, if your blog had 300 pages, for Google it could be a total of 600 pages with 50% of them being duplicate pages.
If you faced such a slap from the Google Panda effect then here’s how you can fix it using the two steps below:
- Use the links instead of the dropdown menu option. It’s the best as well as easiest fix.
- Set canonical tags for each URL. Canonical tags indicate the search engine crawlers about those pages you desire to list in the search engine index instead of other unnecessary duplicate pages such as date archives or category pages. Such canonical tags are the best to inform Google on which URLs to list on the search engine rankings. You may also canonical tag for the following reasons:
- For query strings or dynamic URLs to track referrals in order to let Google know which needs to be indexed.
- Someone copies your content.
- If you have product pages that create two similar pages when sorted alphabetically or by price.
No-indexing URLs or Duplicate pages
Although Google’s guidelines indicate that it doesn’t consider duplicate pages on your blog for data-driven, author, tag, category, or archived web pages. Yet, we would highly recommend using the no-indexing tag for these pages anyway.
There’s a famous phrase that, “It’s better to be safe rather than being sorry” and it must be followed when it is about getting the right page to be indexed by search engines.
To no-index duplicate pages very quickly with ease and remove them off index within 3 weeks, we recommend using yet another plugin from Yoast, the Meta Robots plugin on WordPress.
You can also go for an alternate method to get rid of unwanted pages of your blog that are indexed by the search engines and offer the threat of being termed as duplicate pages by using Webmaster Tools. On Webmaster Tools, go to “Optimization > Remove URL” and add URLs to be removed from the index.
Using Nofollow Feature Smartly
Nofollow feature is a very highly discussed term in the SEO industry and is also considered one of the best ways to stop Google bots from indexing unwanted pages or URLs. Originally it blocked the search engine bots from indexing or following links going out from the particular page on your blog by using the following tag:
<meta name=”robots” content=”nofollow” />
To keep it simple, it is a page-level “Nofollow” attribute. This attribute will restrict the bots to crawl any links going away from a particular page where this tag is added.
You can also set a “nofollow” tag over specific or individual links using the "rel" parameter in the URL as below:
<a href=”contact.html” rel=”nofollow”>Contact</a>
Nofollow attributes can come in handy to make sure that bots don’t crawl certain links that you don’t want search engines to crawl or index through your blog, e.g., sponsored links/ads or comments/feedback.
How to Increase the Load Speed of your Blog?
As per the search engine algorithm, the loading speed of your blog can be a deciding factor for your blog to increase or decrease the search engine traffic. In short, the swifter blog URL loads, the higher search engine visitors your blog receives while if it loads slowly, search engine visitors reduce automatically.
In order to increase the load speed of your blog to generate high traffic from search engines, you must follow these 2 steps.
- Find a good reliable web host. A good reliable web host guarantees fast loading of your blog and reduced to no downtime at all.
- Next, you must install a proper caching plugin on your WordPress blog. This plugin will make sure that the blog is finely tuned as per search engine guidelines and help your blog load faster the next time.
Choosing any of the above 2 options won’t be enough to speed up your blog. You must follow both the above steps to get desired results.
WordPress has always been the first and ideal choice as a blogging software for professionals as well as individuals. You will find many replacements for WordPress but WordPress has developed itself as the most popular and reliable blogging platform available out there.
Hence, it becomes highly important to get the settings for SEO right up to the mark for your WordPress blog. Follow our article above in order to maximize your blog’s potential to attract higher search engine traffic and increase your revenue altogether. Because if you don’t, then you will miss out on some decent organic traffic as well as the revenue you can earn from it.
Do you have any SEO tips that you apply to your WordPress site? If yes, then please share such tips with us in the comments below.