How to optimize WordPress posts and pages for better search results

Content talks 

Search engines can’t “see” a site. They can only “read” a site. Looks do not talk to a search engine. What “talks” to a search engine are the words, the content, the material in your site that explains, shares, informs, educates, and babbles. Make sure you have quality word content for a search engine to examine and compare with all the parts and pieces to give you a good “score”.

Write your content with searchers in mind 

How do you find information on the Internet? If you are writing something that you want to be “found” on the Internet, think about the words and phrases someone would use to find your information. Use them more than once as you write, but not in every sentence. Learn how search engines scan, evaluate, and categorize your content so you can help yourself get in good favour with search engines.

Content first 

A search engine enters your site and, for the most part, ignores the styles and CSS. It just plows through the site gathering content and information. Most WordPress themes are designed with the content as close to the top of the un-styled page as possible, keeping sidebars and footers towards the bottom. Few search engines scan more than the first third of the page before moving on. Make sure your theme puts the content near the top.

Keywords, links, and titles meet content 

Search engines do not evaluate your site on how pretty it is, but they do evaluate the words and put them through a sifter, giving credit to certain words and combinations of words. Words found within your document are compared to words found within your links and titles. The more that match, the better your “score.”

Content in links and images 

Your site may not have much text, mostly photographs and links, but you have places in which to add textual content. Search engines look for alt and title in link and image tags. While these have a bigger purpose of making your site more accessible, having good descriptions and words in these attributes help provide more content for search engines to digest.

Link popularity 

It is not how good your site is, it is how good the sites are that link to you. This still holds weight with search engine favoritism. It’s about who links to you. Blogrolls, pingbacks, and trackbacks are all built into WordPress. These help you link to other people, which gives them credit, but it also helps them link to you, connecting the “links.” The number of incoming links your site has that have been recognized by Google can be checked by typing link:www.yoursite.com into Google (other search engines have similar functions). Other ways to generate incoming links to your site include:

  • Add your site’s url to your signature on forum posts on other sites
  • Submit your site to directories
  • Note: Leaving comments on blogs will not help with this, since all modern blogging tools use the rel=”nofollow” attribute. Don’t be a comment spammer.

Good navigation links 

A search engine crawls through your site, moving from page to page. Good navigational links to the categories, archives, and various pages on your site will invite a search engine to move gracefully from one page to another, following the connecting links and visiting most of your site.

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