Tuesday, 1 May 2012

How to Set Up a New Wordpress Blog for SEO

When setting up a new blog on Wordpress, most WP bloggers and developers tend to ignore some crucial aspects regarding their blog and good search engine optimization. These developers tend to add their favorite plugins and to the blog and think that their job is done, and the plugins will do the rest. That however is untrue.

There is a set of things that one needs to do when setting up a blog on Wordpress. It is this set of ‘best practices’ that determines how well you SEO does.

These best practices include basic stuff like adding a few free plugins to your blog, strong link-building and other on-site and off-site aspects. It also includes some not-so-obvious stuff such as having good, quality content on your blog, using a theme that is SEO friendly, improving website navigation and the like.

Benefits of Good SEO

Without a shadow of a doubt, SEO is important. A good SEO strategy provides multiple benefits, such as a constant stream of traffic and revenue on a regular basis. SEO is hands down the best way of getting traffic, ranking high on the SERP for your keywords, having a good CTR and attaining a low bounce rate – just to name a few of the benefits.

Getting traffic at regular intervals is the key here! For instance if you run a promotion for your blog on your Facebook page, you might end up getting a 100 visitors the first day, or maybe even more, which is great. But then the next day, that number might be 0. You might end up getting no visitors at all the very next day!

SEO ensures that doesn’t happen, and that you continue getting a steady stream of traffic every single day. And not just any traffic, getting targeted traffic is the cornerstone of any good SEO strategy!

SEO is important from a purely monetary perspective as well. A steady stream of visitors on your AdSense-enabled blog, your affiliate marketing website or your ecommerce setup would ensure a steady stream of revenue as well.

In addition, a proven SEO record, which shows that you can consistently attract new visitors will also play a big role in helping you expand your SEO clientele.

SEO with a New WP Blog

With a new Wordpress blog, expecting a large number of visitors and a bagful of revenue and cash almost instantly is unrealistic and highly unlikely. It takes time and patience. However there are many things that you can do with your Wordpress blog initially, all of which form an essential part of good SEO. These SEO ‘best practices’ will ensure long-term success for you as far as your SEO efforts are concerned. Having a solid SEO foundation at launch usually goes a long way in providing you with far-reaching effects for your blog and your business.
  1. Use a SEO-friendly theme – I’ve created a countless number of blogs, and trust me when I say this: putting on a good, SEO friendly theme on your blog is essential. The beauty of Wordpress is that it is backed by and excellent support system in terms of plugins and themes. My suggestion would be to invest in a good, premium theme. Thesis theme would be a good place to start. A good theme will allow you to set up meta titles, descriptions, tags, as well as H1, 2 and 3 headings, and the like.
  2. Essential plugins – There are over 19,000 plugins available on the Wordpress gallery, so its safe to say that you have plenty to choose from! The WP plugins page will even recommend essential Wordpress plugins for you. Start off with Yoast’s Wordpres SEO and the All-in-one SEO Pack – both excellent plugins from the SEO perspective and a generally good place to start. You can add, edit or generate all sorts of meta information, breadcrumbs, XML sitemap, and the like with these.
  3. Understanding How Search Engines Work – search engines crawlers and bots look for specific keywords on your website. Keywords used the most frequently are eventually the ones you get ranked for. For instance if you run a blog on Football, you will probably end up using the word a lot. Search engines like Google will pick this up, and rank you for it. Keyword research is an essential part of SEO. Do your research, use Google’s Keyword Research Tool to find out which keywords are the most popular, and try including them in your content. Speaking of content …
  4. The Blog Content – writing good quality posts, unique content, which is not rehashed, copied or spun, is important. Google places a lot of emphasis on quality. All posts and pages should come with proper meta information, titles, and tags. Titles and tags should include your keyword in them. But above all, having good quality content that is updated on a regular basis (not necessarily daily), content that provides value to its readers, is perhaps the most important thing here. In addition, create proper permalinks (e.g. YourWebsiteName.com/post-name) that accompany your posts, and include your keywords in the permalink. Keep it small, short and easy to read.
  5. Submit your blog to search engines – Google’s webmaster tools and Submit Your Content services allow you to do just this!
  6. Measure, analyze, adapt – Use an analytics package such as Google Analytics to measure and analyze how well your blog is doing. From basic information such as the number of visitors you’re getting, to looking beyond basics, it is all important. Check visitor demographics, trends, CTR rates, how well your social media promotions are doing… it is all important. Change and adapt accordingly.

Concluding Words

SEO is a really vast field, and while is it humanly impossible to cover each and every thing in a single post, getting a few basics right and building upon them is generally a good idea. Getting to know all aspects of SEO takes time. But getting the basics right usually goes a long way!

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