WordPress is ready and willing to be your partner in search engine optimization. This new series will focus on the best ways to optimize your WordPress installations. It is going to be broken down into 2 parts:

  1. Server Side WordPress Search Engine Optimization – these articles will deal with the backend, management dashboard, plugins and themes. We will be exploring the proper use of the robots.txt file with WordPress as well as other server-side technology to best optimize your blog and feeds. We will also look at the installation of analytics tracking, setting up specific blog oriented goals and getting your blog ready for submissions and planting.
  2. Front End WordPress Search Engine Optimization – these articles will deal with how to optimize your content, obtain trackbacks, submit your blog, submit your feed and plant your articles. We will also be looking at the front end of Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Center, Yahoo Site Explorer, FeedBurner and powerful services such as Technorati, Del.iso.us and mag.nol.ia.

I know that there are more blogging platforms than WordPress, and that the backend articles are not going to help people running TypePad, but the front end posts will help anybody with a blog. I use WordPress and am an expert at customizing and marketing that platform. As every professional blogger will tell you: “write about what you know”!

Getting Started With WordPress and SEO

We are going to assume you have hosting that either offers WordPress with their packages, or that you have control over your servers and can install whatever you want. I host with Rackspace Managed Hosting and have 4 servers, 3 of which are Linux. If you are ready to get a blog going and either have hosting that doesn’t offer WordPress or want to upgrade, call me at (813) 907-7688 and I can hook you up with all kinds of different hosting. My Social Network Marketing packages all include hosting if you don’t have a blog and want one.

Once you have installed WordPress and chosen your theme, the fun stuff begins! It helps for you to have a theme that is optimized. A search for WordPress SEO themes will show you a ton of excellent themes that are ready for SEO. While it is true that you have hundreds of choices, you want to keep it simple. Themes that are 100% CSS driven are hard to modify if you aren’t a serious coder.

The theme is extremely important since it dictates how your blog is presented to the search engines. Things like meta descriptions and post headers are extremely important, and are usually within the index.php, single.php and page.php. The page is extremely critical if you use them as well as posts. Standard page code has the title of the blog appear as the primary meta title, I usually remove that line of code so that only the actual title that you input into the visual editor is the title of the page, not the complete title of the blog THEN the page title. Most search engines don’t read meta titles past 85 characters.

If you are unsure of anything I said in the last paragraph, please leave a comment with your question and I will answer it.

Once your blog is installed and you have chosen and installed a theme, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. For search engine optimized WordPress installs you will need several plugins to help the search engines help you. My next post in this series will list all of the plugins I use, where to download them and how to configure them.