SEO tips for your WordPress Blog

I took some notes from Google’s Matt Cutts conference at WordCamp 2009 San Francisco. Matt Cutts is one of the heads of Google. He talked about how Google search works and how can you improve your Wordpress Blog for Google.

He says that WordPress is a great choice if you want to do better in Google. WordPress automatically solves a lot of SEO issues. According to Matt, WordPress takes care of 80-90% of the mechanics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). So, by using WordPress you are already taking the first big step. However, there are many things you can do to optimize your site. To rank well in google your site needs to be relevant and reputable. You have to be on topic and you have to talk about something that you care about.

Apply Katamari Philosophy

About Keywords: You should use categories and tags that are also keywords relevant to your site’s content. Don’t make your categories “cool stuff”. Take a look at my categories: WordPress, Design, WpThemesPlanet, Patagonia Theme. All those categories are relevant to my site’s content. What I’m trying to say is that I’m not going to use the name of a medication as category because my site’s niche is not about meds. It’s about WordPress Themes and Blogging Articles. Take this in mind when you build your category list. Make sure to use the keywords you want to rank well for in your posts and articles.

If you are going to use keywords in your url paths, the best option is to use dashes (example: yourdomain.com/your-keyword/). The next best option is to use underscores (example: yourdomain.com/your_keyword/). Having no spaces is your worst option (example: yourdomain.com/yourkeyword/). Some time ago, I wrote an interesting article on how to change your permalink structure to “Month and Name”. With this permalink structure, the urls of your articles are going to display your keywords. The urls are going to display the title of your articles, which is a very important point of SEO optimization. However, this change should only be applied if your blog is barely new. You should not change this permalink structure if your WordPress Blog is old or already established and spidered. In that case, just take note of this tip for future sites or blogs you might open.

Matt also recommends using the Google Webmaster Tools. If you are doing a post, it is worth doing a post and then going to the Google Keyword Tool. Think about the words you want to rank well for and then type your words in to check how popular those keywords are. Don’t overdo your keyword optimization. Matt gives examples of some sites that choose a keyword to rank well for and use that keyword a lot of times in each post. You should never do that. So, to be relevant you need to find something you care about. You should write often and pay attention to the mechanics. And don’t overdo it.

Matt also talks about how do you gain a reputation. How do you get to be more known and increase your page rank. You should be interesting and write often. If you write only once in a while, people are likely to lose interest in your Blog. However, If you write once per day, every other day or at least once per week (and you write interesting stuff) people are going to come back and follow you. Having a visible RSS feed, Twitter, or any other social networking add-on button is highly recommended, so people can follow you. Matt talks about using the Katamari Philosophy. He says you should start small and start on an edge where you can do well and the build up gradually. Then you can think about embiggening that edge. You will write about more and more things and bigger edges. And eventually, over time people will get to know you. There are many other things you can do to gain reputation. You can provide a useful servive, you can do original research or reporting, you can talk and give reviews for different products, etc.

Choosing a good WordPress Theme is a very important step too. Unfortunately, not all WordPress Themes are designed to respect the mechanics of Google’s Algorithm. So, if you want a very nice and optimized template, you can download my Patagonia Theme. I worked hard to code this theme, making sure you get the most out of your WordPress Blog.

That is it!