Search Engine Optimization For Your WordPress Blog

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What is Search Engine Optimization or SEO?

It sounds complicated, doesn’t it?  It’s not.  SEO is complex, but it is not that complicated.  You can learn some tips and tricks to help you with search engine optimization (“SEO”) and save hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars because you won’t be paying an SEO expert.

There is an abundance of information online about how to do SEO, what works and what doesn’t.  Many people have an opinion about how to do SEO, and opinions vary.  That’s okay because no one except Google knows the formula used to get websites ranked.  There are some simple SEO techniques I do to get blogs ranked.  They work for me and they’ll work for you too.

What does ranked mean?  It refers to where your website or blog is on the search engines.  You have a blog.  It’s lost in the deep, dark internet world.  Maybe it’s back there somewhere on page 30, 40 or even 50.  How do you get your blog to the first or second page on Google?  Google is the most popular search engine and WordPress is the most popular blogging platform.  I’ll show you how to use SEO to get your blog ranked on Google and how to use SEO with your WordPress Blog.

Why Do You Need To Know SEO?

A guy is sitting on his couch with his laptop. He wants to find healthy dog food. He goes to Google and types in “healthy dog food” (without the quotes). How does Google determine what websites this guy is going to see? That’s one of Google’s most guarded secrets.  But I’ve figured out some of the things that Google does when it returns results. Are you ready to learn SEO?  Roll up your sleeves, grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started.

SEO Tip #1: Name Your Blog

You have to change some of the settings in WordPress before you post your very first blog post. Using WordPress, you have the option to call your blog http://thisismyblog.com OR you can have it named http://www.thisismyblog.com

Why use a “www” prefix in the name of your blog?  Google generally returns results that have the “www” in the domain name over blogs with names that don’t have the “www”.

So before you get started on your first brilliant blog post, let’s get into your WordPress dashboard and change the name of your domain to include the “www”.

  1. Log in to your WordPress account and get to the dashboard.
  2. Click on Settings on the left hand side. You’ll see your General Settings.
  • The first is your site title.  Type in the title of your site.
  • Second, you’ll see a tagline.  Type in something clever here.
  1. Here’s what we’re looking for – WordPress Address (URL). Type in: “http://www.thisismyblog.com” don’t use quotes.
  2. Next, you’ll see Site Address (URL) – type the same thing you did in step 3 above.

Scroll on down to the bottom of this screen and click the blue “Save Changes” button.

You’re done.

SEO Tip #2:  Permalink

What is a permalink?  Sounds like a hairstyle in the 1970s that used a terrible smelling chemical and left your hair really curly.  But it’s not.  It’s just something that names the pages or posts on your site. Let’s make sure your permalinks are set so that search engines will like them. Here’s How to Set Your WordPress Permalinks?

  1. Get into your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Click Settings on the left.
  3. Click Permalinks (it’s the sixth one down on the left).

You’ll see Common Settings. The default setting ends with a ?p=123 – we don’t want this. The day and name ends with the date and name. Sounds nice, looks pretty good, but we don’t want this one either. Month and name, we don’t want our blog post to be named with a month and name, we want a post name. Numeric, nope.

4. Click the radio button next to “Post name”. See how the ending will be /sample-post/

That’s what we want. Here’s why. You wrote an award winning blog post headline called How to Make Healthy Dog food. When you’re done writing your riveting blog post, you want it to be named like this: http://www.thisismyawesomeblog.com/how-to-make-healthy-dog-food Click the blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom and you’re done. Let’s imagine you didn’t do this step and your blog post was named with the default setting. This is what it would look like: http://www.thismyawesomeblog.com/p=352 That’s not good. Why?

One, the guy sitting on the couch with his laptop looking for healthy dog food probably won’t find your blog post because Google will skip right over it and find someone else’s blog that is named “how to make healthy dog food” instead of “p=352.”  Two, the guy sitting on his couch reading your blog wants to see those words (http://www.thisismyawesomeblog.com/how-to-make-healthy-dog-food) in the address bar in his browser and not only does the guy want to see those words, every time he looks at the address bar in his browser, he sees the name of  your blog.  That’s a good thing.

Great, you decided to spend the time to do the SEO tips to name your blog using a “www” and to name your posts with the real name of your posts.

SEO Tip #3: To Ping or Not to Ping

We’re going to ping. Don’t let this intimidate you.  It’s super easy. What the heck is a ping anyway? You’re cruising the internet.  You find a blog http://www.healthypetfoodfacts.com – it has posts about statistical information about healthy dog food.  This site is not your competition but it is in the same niche as your blog. Perfect.  Now you’re going to add a link to this site in one of your blog posts. Why?

  1. Having outgoing links is a good thing.
  2. The sites you link too might return the favor and link to your site.

The person who owns http://www.healthypetfoodfacts.com just got a ping that you linked to his site.  Yes, that’s right you pinged him.  Now let’s hope he does the right thing, links to your site and let’s you know about it (with a nice ping back).

How will you know you’ve been pinged?  You will automatically know when someone links to your site because you are going to set up an automatic ping alert.

Get to your WordPress Dashboard.

  1. Click on Settings.
  2. Click on Discussion.
  3. Under Discussion Settings, you will see Default article settings.

Click the box, “Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article.” Click the box under it, “Allow link notifications from other blogs . . .” Scroll to the bottom, click the blue “Save Changes” button.

You’re awesome.  You just completed two steps of important SEO strategy.  You know how to name your blog and why it’s important.  You’ve also learned what a ping is and how to set up automatic ping alerts.  Please know, this is not a complete list of all the areas of SEO, it’s simply a beginning.  The best thing about doing this is that search engines can index your blog post within hours after you write it.  Pretty cool, right?  Your post about healthy dog food can be online in hours!