While this post is about WordPress SEO, I have to say it’s hard for me to believe that it has been nearly 4 years since I started blogging. And I also have to say, I knew very little about what I was doing back then. Like many others, I felt like I had something to say and so I pitched my virtual blogging tent and got started right away. I jumped in with both feet and with my eyes shut tight. In fact, I wrote a little bit about my thoughts surrounding those events in a guest post I did over at Fuel Your Blogging.
One thing I felt I did right, however, was I researched blogging platforms that were available. Since I was just starting out and I had no real budget yet, I knew I would need to begin my blogging journey using a free blogging platform. Ultimately, I narrowed it down to blogspot.com and wordpress.com. While both are very good for hosting a free blog, the WordPress platform just seemed better and more intuitive to me, so that’s where I started. Luckily my name was available and thus, tomjamieson.wordpress.com was born!
Fast forward a couple of years and I started realizing that operating my own self-hosted WordPress blog would give me greater freedom and more flexibility in my blogging efforts, so I began the quest toward hosting my own WordPress website. Now, there are a few other Tom Jamieson’s in the world, and for a time tomjamieson.com wasn’t available. Luckily for me, though, the previous owner let it expire while I was researching domain names and I was able to snatch it up! Now, having said all of that, if I had it to do all over again, I would not have started this blog using that domain name. I would have still purchased it to protect my brand, but I would have tried to choose a domain name more closely related to my niche. You can read my thoughts on this issue in a guest post I wrote recently on how Making Money Blogging Starts with a Great Domain Name.
And while you have probably already chosen a great domain name for your site, it brings me to my first WordPress SEO tip:
1. WordPress SEO Starts with Choosing the Right URL Structure
There are two important aspects to your URL structure in terms of your WordPress SEO strategy — permalinks and slugs.
- Permalinks: One of the definite benefits of operating a self-hosted WordPress site is the ability to set and control your permalink structure. In case you don’t know what a permalink is, it is basically how your URL appears in your browser’s address bar. As an example, on this blog, the permalink structure is set up as tomjamieson.com/year/month/day/posttitle/. While this is not ideal, I have to use that structure on this blog so that all the redirects from my wordpress.com blog will be able to find their new location. On other sites I manage, I use a better structure that looks more like this: wpbig.com/posttitle/. This is a shorter pathway to the actual post and allows the search engine crawlers to find it more easily. Don’t know where to setup your permalinks? Just go to setting -> permalinks in your WordPress admin area. I’ll show you all about it in the video below.
UPDATE: Thanks to Lisa’s question in the comments below, I did a little research and found a way to change your permalinks and redirect existing posts to the new permalink structure. I will share the details in an upcoming post. Thanks for the great question, Lisa!
- Slugs: Here is another great benefit to running your own self-hosted WordPress blog. The slug is the part of the URL that indicates the actual post location. In the permalink example above, the slug is the portion of the URL at the end labeled “posttitle.” Now WordPress is going to automatically set the slug to be the same as your post title, but changing it to make it more WordPress SEO friendly is as easy as clicking the “Edit” button to the right of the Permalink and making the changes you want. When changing your slug to match your WordPress SEO strategy, you want to consider two elements. First, the length is important. You want your slug to be full of rich keywords, so eliminate any unnecessary words like “the,” “and,” or “or.” Second, you want your slug to be relevant as well, so only leave in the words that matter to the topic of the post. For example, in the URL for this post, I have shortened the slug to 3 key words — “wordpress-seo-tips.”
2. WordPress SEO Continues with the Right SEO Plugin
There are a ton of WordPress SEO plugins available out there — both premium (meaning you pay for it) and free (meaning you don’t). However, whether you pay for it or not really has nothing to do with the quality and overall functionality of the plugin. SEOPressor is a paid plugin that I see a lot of blog owners using. Going the free route, there will always be the great debate of Yoast SEO versus All In One SEO. I did my own amount of research and decided to use the Yoast plugin on this blog, which has served me well. However, you really can’t go wrong with either one.
3. WordPress SEO also Includes Installing a Related Links Plugin
Again, as with the SEO plugins, there are many of these types of plugins to choose from as well. The one I use on this site is called LinkWithin. It is free, customizable, and can be downloaded from the LinkWithin website. Having some sort of related links plugin gives you some automatic internal linking as well as helps to reduce the bounce rate on your site. That means visitors are staying longer and not leaving after seeing only one page or post on your blog. So, the idea is fairly simple. Since these plugins aim to provide relevant content to the article they are displayed under, the links are valuable in terms of WordPress SEO.
Well, that’s about it for these 3 Amazingly Simple WordPress SEO Tips. I have to say, I have accomplished more in this post than I had really thought possible. Besides sharing some awesome WordPress SEO tips, I have written my first post of over 1000 words as well as recorded my first video. That’s quite the trifecta for me.
I love reading and responding to your comments, so let me know what WordPress SEO strategies you employ and then share the love with a RT, Like, +1, and Pin!