Search Engine Optimization for WordPress – The 10 Commandments

I’ve done a lot of search engine optimization for wordpress in the last year or two and would like to share my experiences with what works, and what doesn’t. Now I can’t guarantee ALL of you first listing in Google or anything crazy like that, but I can guarantee, that if you follow my directions, you’ll see more of your pages being indexed, and have better overall search engine placement. Heres our primordial post in this series, entitled: “The 10 commandments of WordPress Search Engine Optimization”. Enjoy.

10. Thou shalt not cloak. Simply put, you don’t have a flash blog, or any real need to do this. The SE’s will find you, and you will end up as supplemental results or worse scraping google search results. In fact, stay away from nearly all blackhat “miracle” tactics you find. Most things that sound/look really sensational, end up being much less.

9. Thou shalt not submit thy blog to link farms. Garbage sites reward you with garbage serps. These sites have little value, and if you submit to enough of them, as so many anxious bloggers do, you may find yourself trapped in Google’s enigmatic sandbox, or banned altogether.

8. Thou shalt utilize thy image ‘alt’ tags for keyword placement. People these days don’t put any faith in ‘alt’ tags. Granted, they aren’t a miracle pill, and many of you don’t even have images in your MFA sites, but if you have the opportunity, use them. You’ll be happy you did.

7. Thou shalt not covet they neighbors content. Write unique content, no scraper sites, no ditto posts. Period. Your readers want fresh new content, and by writing some GOOD unique content you’ll be able to reap the benefits of article directories, social networking/bookmarking sites and other blogs and earning some nice inbound links from high PR sites.

6. Honor thy elders and mentors. Don’t be frugal with the outbound links to better known, higher ranked sites. Jealousy is your worst enemy at this point and time. Give credit where credit is due, and help establish your e-lationships (did I just coin a new term?), and watch the referrals roll in. Outbound links to reputable sites are imperative in the infantile stages of a new blog to most “good” SE’s.

5. Remember the plugins and use them wisely. I’d recommend a widget enabled wordpress theme to start with, but also make sure you are utilizing the available plethora of plugins available to enhance your user experience, search engine optimization, AdSense optimization etc. Heres a list I compiled of a few essential ones a while back. (visit site for list.)

4. Thou shalt get feedburnt. You need to offer a universal syndication option for your readers. RSS is the easiest way to do this, and Feedburner has awesome tools to “bling” out your feed and make it more compatible and drive feed readers (as in the people, not the software) to your site, because nobody likes offering free feed content. As far as placement goes and promotion of your feed, I recommend the biggest you can get away with on your site. This means grab yourself a big button, (I read something from John Chow once, about the worlds biggest rss button), and if you feel extra evil (more John Chow lingo), you can sneak someone else’s feed subscriber number into your chicklet. Sometimes blogs grow more popular simply because they are popular.