4 SEO Tips to Optimize your WordPress Blog

by Sherryl Perry on December 13, 2011

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There’s lots of information about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) available and there are many SEO professionals and companies that you can hire. There are also some very basic steps that you can take on your own. It starts with knowing who your target customer/client is and how they search for you online.

So, let’s assume that you know three things. #1 – You know which keywords you’re optimizing your blog post for. #2 – You understand that you need to incorporate keywords (when appropriate) into your content.  #3 – You understand that you need to write content that will help you rank well with the search engines while engaging your website visitors. Are you taking advantage of these simple opportunities to optimize your WordPress blog?

#1 – The Title of your Blog Post

Incorporating keywords into the title of your post is a good idea. Since I’m writing this article about optimizing your WordPress blog for SEO, I wanted to include as many of those keywords as I could while at the same time trying to create a title that would interest potential visitors. I decided on “4 SEO Tips to Optimize your WordPress Blog”. Search engines “see” this title, and you see this title. It’s also included in the URL of this page. This is a very simple first step to take. (Note: Most search engines use a maximum of 60 characters for the title.)

#2 – Meta Description Tags

Using meta description tags is no longer considered to be as important to SEO as it once was. Google reports that they no longer include meta descriptions in their algorithm.  However, these descriptions still appear in the search results. Therefore, they can influence whether or not someone decides to click on your link and visit your site.

WebsiteMagazine.com (one of my favorite resources) recently conducted a study where they analyzed the use of keywords in meta descriptions and the results that were returned in search queries. Basically, their conclusion was that since you’re not penalized for using meta descriptions and it does provide an opportunity to engage potential visitors, why not use them. (You can read the article here: Meta Descriptions on Google and Bing. Keep in mind that Google allows 156 characters in this field and Bing allows 150 characters. )

#3 – Formatting Text as Headings

Search engines give more weight to text that is identified as being a “heading”. The difference being that headings are identified with tags such as <H1></H1>. (The text between these two tags would be the highest priority heading.)  In this post, I formatted each of the numbered headings with the <H2> heading tags. (The H1 tag is reserved for your post title in most WordPress themes.)

When you create a new post in WordPress the default is to open in the“visual” view (as opposed to the “HTML” view.) It is possible to change to the HTML view and enter your heading tags but the easiest thing to do is use a WYSIWYG editor.

If your WordPress themes doesn’t include a WYSIWYG editor, you can download a plug-in like TinyMCE Advanced. Using an editor will make inserting header tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 or H6) a breeze. The image below shows a drop-down with the word “Paragraph” (using the TinyMCE editor). You would select your text and then choose the heading tag that you want to use (under the paragraph drop-down).

WordPress WYSIWYG Editor Tinymce Plugin

In addition to signifying the importance of your text to the search engines, using headings also makes your posts visually more appealing. Be sure to use headings that incorporate your keywords.

#4 – Optimize your Images

Search engines don’t “see” images. That’s why it’s so important to use the file nametitle, alternate text and description fields to help optimize your site for the search engines (SEO). Enter carefully chosen keywords that describe your post (not necessarily the picture).

Resize Optimize Blog Images

As you see in the image above, when I uploaded my graphic for this post, I used keywords where I could. (For a more detailed look at optimizing your images, read “Tips for Optimizing Photos and Graphics for Your Blog”)

This has been a fairly basic look at four quick and easy ways to optimize your blog posts. For those of you are interested in delving deeper into how to optimize your WordPress blog, I recommend reading “The Definitive Guide To Higher Rankings For Your Blog” by Joost de Valk. What are some of your favorite tips for SEO? Do you have a go-to resource that you recommend that we read for more information?

Note added 12/14/11:  Thanks to Steve Hippel for reminding me of the All in One SEO Pack. This is an excellent plugin to help optimize your WordPress blog for the search engines. (If you’re using a premium theme such as Thesis or Genesis, you don’t need an additional plugin because SEO is built in.)

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{ 162 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherryl Perry February 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Hi Kay, Steve is a great guy. I’m grateful that he sent you over here. If you ever feel something is a bit beyond you, please feel free to ask questions. If you need more information, I’m sure other people feel the same way too.

Since you’re new to blogging, another post that I’ve written that you may find interesting is: http://keepupwiththeweb.com/3-steps-to-develop-a-branding-strategy-for-social-media/. I’ve been sending a few people to that article lately and they’re finding it to be helpful. If you’re on LinkedIn, you may want to join the “Bloggers Helping Bloggers” group (that I manage). You should be able to find help there and I’m always encouraging new discussions.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Utilizing Social Media to Build Brand Awareness and AuthorityMy Profile

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kay February 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Thank you Sherryl. Steve said you was a genuine and helpful person and i am really taken back that you have taken the time to offer me all of this advice.
I will go and read posts (not articles as I called them before, still learning the lingo) now.

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Sherryl Perry February 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm

You can call them either one. They’re posted articles. Sometimes, I intentionally call them articles to make them sound more important. :)

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kay February 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Hi Sherryl.Steve Hippel got my husbands electrician started with a wordpress blog and recommended that we visit various blogs, including yours, to get to know other bloggers and learn the ropes. I’m glad I came here because I found your article easy to follow.I read a couple of your other articles, I must admit that some of it is a bit beyond me at the moment. By the way, congratulations on your good news with the reporter.

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Bridie Jenner
Twitter:
February 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Fantastic idea Sherryl, I’ll have to pinch that one!

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Bridie Jenner
Twitter:
February 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm

A great reminder to use alt text with images – something I’ve let lapse again recently. I don’t always know what to type in there, but your example has given me the main idea. Thanks.

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Sherryl Perry February 3, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Thanks for letting me know this helped you Bridie. I keep a Word document that has a table in it. In that table, I have columns for all of the key elements of a blot post. For example, I have columns for: the post title, the featured image (along with, file name, alt-text and description), the description for the post, keywords, tags and category. (I also have a column with the # of which post this is for me. This helps coordinate this document with a spreadsheet that I keep to track what steps I’ve taken to promote my post.)

This document serves two purposes. It keeps me from leaving any of those fields empty in WP and I use it if I’m submitting my post and I need to enter anything like tags or the description. It also gives me a quick overview of how I’ve incorporated those keywords across the different data fields. (I hope this helps you.)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..3 Tips for Building Awareness & Getting Your Website on TrackMy Profile

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Lisa Cash Hanson
Twitter:
January 20, 2012 at 3:41 am

I love how you did this post. SEO makes my eyeballs want to fall out so to see a post that explains it in such a simple way is great.
Lisa Cash Hanson recently posted..Great Tips How To Create Blog Posts That Drive Traffic To Your blogMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

LOL Lisa. I know exactly what you mean! SEO is a complex subject with lots of ins and outs but there are definitely some very simple steps that we can all take to help optimize our sites for the search engines. It doesn’t have to sound like rocket science. Thanks for letting me know you liked it.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Impact does Social Media Have on Businesses?My Profile

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Elaine January 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Hi Sherryl, I am just starting out with blogging and I have found your tips invaluable, I am currently implementing what you have stated in the post. Wow so many things to learn!

Thanks, Elaine x

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Sherryl Perry January 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm

You’re welcome Elaine. Thanks for letting me know that you find my tips valuable. There’s always something new to learn for all of us.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Impact does Social Media Have on Businesses?My Profile

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Mike January 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

One thing I think that is definitely worth noting is the use of custom permalinks. This goes along with number 1 in your list with keyword dense titles. Like you set up with your blog, you should set the permalinks to yourdomain.com/article-title/. This in conjunction with proper Titles/Headers will create an extremely useful and powerful environment to do much better with on-page metrics. It really all comes down to using your keywords in the most important parts for search engines…URL, title tags, heading tags, etc.

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Sherryl Perry January 17, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Thank you Mike! I should have mentioned the permalink setting. I wrote about this a long time ago but it’s extremely important.

For those of you who don’t understand what a permalink is, look at the URL at the top of this page. After my domain name, you see “4-seo-tips-to-optimize-your-wordpress-blog”. As Mike pointed out, by changing the WordPress “permalinks” setting, I’m displaying my (keyword rich) title rather than something like “?p=54″.

This was a great addition Mike. I should add it to this post.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Impact does Social Media Have on Businesses?My Profile

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Arjun Rai January 14, 2012 at 12:48 am

we should use every single optimization method to improve our wordpress website and meta description tags is a simple method to use which can give you nice result.

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Amanda Gordon January 13, 2012 at 5:47 am

Using headings in post is a very useful for onsite SEO. I found that instead of making a subheading merely bold, using a h2 tag helps. I am yet to use this for all my posts, but have found that the content items that I did use this strategy, it helped in ranking.

I also feel covering a topic comprehensively helps in getting traffic for quite a few longtails.

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Sherryl Perry February 27, 2012 at 10:15 am

Amanda, Please accept my apology for not acknowledging your comment on my post about SEO tips. Somehow, your comment ended up buried in my spam folder.

You are absolutely right about using an H2 tag rather than just using bold. It makes a big difference to the search engines. It’s sort of like waving a red flag in the middle of a crowd. It’s bound to attract more attention than simply waving your arms. :)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Ping Your Website Blog and When Not ToMy Profile

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Stacy January 12, 2012 at 3:29 am

As far as I know, it’s also recommended to give categories names of the most important keywords.

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Sherryl Perry January 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

That’s a good tip Stacy. It’s a good idea to use a limited number of categories that are related to the specific keywords that you want to rank high on. You can carry those keywords over to Twitter also and use them as hashtags.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Balance Traditional and Social Marketing StrategiesMy Profile

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Stacy January 13, 2012 at 4:33 am

Thanks, Sherryl! I have to admit, I didn’t think that far: I’ll try using the keywords as hashtags.

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Ellie
Twitter:
December 28, 2011 at 7:15 am

Enjoyed your article on 4 SEO Tips to Optimize your WordPress Blog. I am not into internet marketing; but, merely looking for ways to popularize my new site on anxiety attacks. You have provided me some very helpful tips. Thank you :)

Ellie

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Sherryl Perry January 12, 2012 at 11:57 am

Ellie, I’m glad you enjoyed my article on SEO. There are some very simple steps that you take to drive traffic to your site on anxiety attacks. That niche has a lot of competition. So, if you can drive organic traffic through simple steps like incorporating keywords in your post title and in text that is highlighted with heading tags, you may be pleasantly surprised by an increase in traffic from searches. Good luck!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Can Someone Tell What Your Website/Blog Is About In 3 Seconds?My Profile

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Dia December 28, 2011 at 7:02 am

I think optimizing a wordpress site is easy than optimizing a normal site if you know the seo properly. There so many built in option that help you to optimize the site properly.

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Sherryl Perry January 12, 2012 at 11:54 am

Dia, One of the easiest ways to optimize a Wordpress blog is to install the (free) WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. I’ve been reading a lot about this plugin lately and a lot of bloggers are recommending replacing the All in One Seo Pack with it. Yoast has even built an import option in his plugin to import the settings. You would deactivate AIO, install WP SEO by Yoast, import the settings and then remove AIO.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..3 Steps to Develop a Branding Strategy for Social MediaMy Profile

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Akos Fintor
Twitter:
December 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Hello Sherryl,

Thank you for sharing these SEO tips and looking forward to read more from you.

Best

Akos

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Sherryl Perry January 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

You’re welcome Akos. Thanks so much for the kind words. I apologize for taking over a week to reply to you but I took a little time off over the holidays to regroup. I’m back now! :)
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Rizwan Sultan December 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Hey Sherryl

Thanks too share the WordPress blog optimization tips it’s my glad to become a successful SEO may be it help me.But can you please add some tips on Search Engine Optimization for web sites I hope you post it on future.
Cheers Happy Holiday Season!!

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Sherryl Perry December 26, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Hi Rizwan,
The tips I posted here are equally important for static websites as they are WordPress blogs. WordPress blogs actually are websites. They’re just created using WordPress software and not all websites that are created with WordPress even include blogs. I should have made that clearer in my article. I was attempting to optimize this article for the keywords WordPress blog and inadvertently gave the impression that these tips only applied to WordPress. Sorry for the confusion. (Having said that, I’m sure that I could come up with more tips for a future article.)
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Sherryl Perry December 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Thanks for the kind words Dennis. As Catherine mentioned, these SEO tips apply to traditional websites as well as blogs. I should have mentioned that but in my haste to incorporate the words “WordPress blog” into my title (as an example of SEO optimization), I neglected to do that. :)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Guest Post: What to Avoid When Implementing SEO Tactics by Wes TowersMy Profile

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Dennis Salvatier
Twitter:
December 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm

You’ve been killing it lately, Sherryl. Another awesome post. I don’t even have wordpress and this helped me. Thanks!
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Ruth Sayson December 23, 2011 at 10:42 am

Than you for sharing these four basic step Sherryl. I got to admit that I sometimes have some problem when creating a good Tittle for my blog and reading your post here, really help me a lot in understanding and knowing what I miss. I also check the all in one seo pack link that you share and I’m going to used it for better optimization for my blog. Merry Christmas and hope to learn more knowledgeable insight from you.

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Sherryl Perry December 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Merry Christmas to you too Ruth. Thanks for letting me know that you found my post helpful.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Treat Your Blog Like a NewspaperMy Profile

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Jennifer Bourn
Twitter:
December 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm

These are a great start to optimize a blog post. I’d also add making sure your target keyword/phrase shows up not just in your title tag and description, but in your main headline, the name/alt text of your image, in bold text somewhere in the post, and in the anchor text of an internal site link to a similar/related article.

Also a big opportunity for added optimization is the much-overlooked “More” tag. Most people don’t realize you can customize the text of each post’s “more tag” – giving you added opportunities to create useful, keyword rich, relevant internal site links.
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Sherryl Perry December 23, 2011 at 10:10 am

Jennifer, thanks so much for adding your suggestions. I especially appreciate your reminding us to optimize the “more tag”. I recently read an article about incorporating keywords in that tag. Now, I need to remember to customize it when I write a new article. What needs to happen is for it to become a habit.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Utilizing Social Media to Build Brand Awareness and AuthorityMy Profile

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
December 22, 2011 at 12:09 am

These are great tips, and I actually am on my way with some of them. I have more work to do – especially with optimizing the photos. Also, I don’t use headers, although I believe you mentioned this to me before. OK, definitely on my list for next improvements. I really appreciate the clarity with which you explain all this. This is one post I need to bookmark and come back to. (I wouldn’t mind a post giving the basics about key words, either. Perhaps you can recommend one you’ve written. I know about them and try to use them but often am fishing around a bit without a strong plan.) I have to say I’m just grateful I can read and understand this post!

Judy Stone-Goldman
The Reflective Writer
Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

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Sherryl Perry December 22, 2011 at 10:08 am

Thank you for the nice compliment Judy. That means a lot to me and it’s good feedback. I don’t believe I’ve written an article specifically addressing keywords but it’s a great idea for the future.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Are Your Website Visitors Sticking Around Or Bailing Out?My Profile

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Annie
Twitter:
December 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I’ve seen so many blog posts that have a fun or catchy title like a song lyrics rather than an SEO keyword-rich title. Seems like such a waste to me, when it’s possible to make a keyword-rich and catchy title.

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Sherryl Perry December 22, 2011 at 10:06 am

I agree with you Annie. It’s also a lost opportunity. It’s a good practice to check Google Analytics (I recommend monthly at a minimum) and identify which “content” is the most popular. A quick scan of their post titles should give some indication whether catch titles are driving traffic to their site.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Where Does Your Website Traffic Come From?My Profile

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Praveen Rajarao
Twitter:
December 21, 2011 at 9:02 am

Hi Sherryl,

Followed you here from Leora’s blog and am I glad to have landed here.

This is an awesome post and I have seen and read many on SEO, but your writing style is definitely different and i am sure i will be visiting your blog often.

Thanks for sharing the wonderful information.
Praveen Rajarao recently posted..How To Make Your Online Business a SuccessMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry December 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

Hi Praveen,
Thanks for letting me know that you followed me here from Leora’s blog. That sort of information is always enlightening. I also appreciate your letting me know that you enjoy my writing style. I enjoy writing. My background includes being a reading/English teacher as well as the techie stuff. In my last corporate job, I used to be the one who was always asked to translate the “Geek” stuff to English. :)
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Valeria Merksim December 21, 2011 at 7:17 am

Honestly speaking, I find your post very informative and valuable for me because I’m beginner in SEO. I was not aware of about how to optimize wordpress blog using SEO tips. I learned a lot from your post. I promise to share your easy and simple tips to my friends rest assured that they will surely like it. Looking forward for your another post with regards to the same topic. Again, thank you for sharing such wonderful and informative post.

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Sherryl Perry December 22, 2011 at 9:42 am

Thanks so much for letting me know that my article was valuable to you. There is so much written about SEO but it can be overwhelming. Incorporating these simple tips should help you get started.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Treat Your Blog Like a NewspaperMy Profile

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Catherine Lockey
Twitter:
December 20, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Hi Sherryl,
This is a very thorough post about basic SEO for a Wordpress site or a traditional website. All you mention here holds true in both cases and anyone with a Wordpress blog should complete each of your steps.
Catherine Lockey recently posted..6 Ripoff Dead GiveAways: Don’t let that Marketer Make a Clown out of YouMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry December 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

Thanks Catherine! I’m glad you pointed out that these tips apply to traditional websites as well. The reason I included the words “WordPress blog” in the title is that I was optimizing this article for those keywords.

Note to anyone reading this comment: Catherine is one of my favorite bloggers to follow and the link she left points to an article that she wrote about outsourcing to “SEO marketing clowns”. It’s a good read.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Utilizing Social Media to Build Brand Awareness and AuthorityMy Profile

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Adeline
Twitter:
December 19, 2011 at 4:44 am

It’s always nice to be reminded of these SEO fundamentals. The importance of using SEO cannot be stressed enough. Thanks so much for sharing this, Sherryl

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Sherryl Perry December 19, 2011 at 10:05 am

You’re welcome Adeline. I the experienced bloggers here could find value in the articles that I linked too. SEO is a huge and complex topic but there are lot of little habits that we can develop that will help to optimize our sites.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Community Building and Having an Online Support SystemMy Profile

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Adeline
Twitter:
December 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

I agree! I’m still learning my way around SEO. It can be quite challenging at times, but it can definitely help. :)

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branded items December 19, 2011 at 4:37 am

Hi Sherryl! Being new to blogging culture, I am really in need for wordpress tutorials. I really appreciate the 4 SEO optimize tips for wordpress that you shared. I hope that this will bring high page rankings. More power to keepupwiththeweb.com and thanks for helping me.

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Sherryl Perry December 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

You’re welcome. Good luck with blogging. You should be able to find lots of tips here on blog and in the comment sections. Try following a few of us on Twitter too.

One of the first things I usually suggest to new bloggers is to start developing your brand. You can create a globally recognized avatar at Gravatar.com. It’s free and once you set it up, your profile pic and URL of your website will appear whenever you log on (with the email address that you register.) Also, it’s a really good idea to use your name instead of keywords like branded items. It will help us to get to know you!

Thanks for taking the time to let me know that you found my tips helpful.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Utilizing Social Media to Build Brand Awareness and AuthorityMy Profile

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Man Ray December 18, 2011 at 10:39 pm

That alt tag actually helps a lot. A site grade that I stumbled upon before recommended that I should add alt=”good keyword here” on my image to improve search engine visibility.

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Sherryl Perry December 19, 2011 at 9:42 am

Not using alternate text for your images is a lost opportunity as far as the search engines go. Another thing to keep in mind is that some website visitors may choose to not load images at all.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Are Your Website Visitors Sticking Around Or Bailing Out?My Profile

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Stan December 18, 2011 at 9:46 pm

The meta tags are like a trap for the common SEO worker. Since Google doesn’t use them in their algorithms, one could think they’re to be ignored.
And this is just an extension of the biggest mistake webmasters make, placing too much weight on search engines instead of the people that represent the potential traffic.

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Sherryl Perry December 19, 2011 at 9:38 am

Stan, That’s true. It’s helpful to keep SEO in mind while writing yet it’s important to write quality content. The other thing to keep in mind is that algorithms change. Who’s to say that Google won’t suddenly count meta descriptions in the future.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Where Does Your Website Traffic Come From?My Profile

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Leora Wenger
Twitter:
December 19, 2011 at 10:10 am

Google may not use the meta description in determining the weight of your post for rank, but they sure do use them in describing the post! Facebook also uses them to describe the post, as does Google+.

And as the social gains in importance over old-fashioned SEO, don’t you want control over those words?
Leora Wenger recently posted..Two Plugins: NextGen Gallery and WordPress SEOMy Profile

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Leora Wenger
Twitter:
December 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I see I’m late to the party … these are all great tips on improving the SEO on one’s site.

Regarding plugins, I used to use All in One SEO – then a few months ago I switched to Yoast’s WordPress SEO. It’s an amazing plugin, and the plugin makes it amazingly easy to fine tune each post so it is optimized for a focus keyword of your choice. It also helps you write your meta description. Included are other SEO goodies, such as XML sitemaps. I highly recommend it.

Take care, Sherryl.
Leora Wenger recently posted..Two Plugins: NextGen Gallery and WordPress SEOMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry December 18, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Let’s get this party started! :) Good to see you here Leora.

Thanks so much for letting us know that you use Yoast’s SEO plugin for WordPress. People have mentioned it here but you’re the first one to endorse it. I’ll check it out for sites that I build where I don’t use Thesis. It should be good since Yoast is an authority on SEO and really understands it.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Utilizing Social Media to Build Brand Awareness and AuthorityMy Profile

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Christopher December 18, 2011 at 4:49 am

Thanks for the tip for headings. I did not know until today that search engines give them higher priority. I will now try it and I hope it will give me some more success. Thanks!

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Sherryl Perry December 18, 2011 at 10:19 am

Hi Crhistopher,
Thanks for letting me know that you learned something from me. It’s a simple and easy tip that you don’t read a lot about. When I first started blogging, it never occurred to me that headings would make a difference but they do. Each of our blog posts needs to act as a mini home page because lots of times it’s the very first page a website visitor sees.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Treat Your Blog Posts Like Website Home PagesMy Profile

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Pranay Nigotiya
Twitter:
December 18, 2011 at 12:02 am

Hi Sherryl, 1st I should thank Linkedin because of which I got to know you and can now follow your important and useful blog posts. Thanks a lot for sharing these tips. I will definitely give attention to #4 to optimize the images which I have not been doing properly.

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Sherryl Perry December 18, 2011 at 10:16 am

Hi Pranay,
You’re welcome. Thank you for coming over from our “Bloggers Helping Bloggers” group on LinkedIn. Optimizing your images should definitely help with the search engines.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Treat Your Blog Like a NewspaperMy Profile

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Daniel
Twitter:
December 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Thank you for the tips, they’ll help for touch-up around the site. Many thanks!

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Sherryl Perry December 18, 2011 at 10:13 am

Good luck Daniel. You can usually pick up more tips from the comment section. There’s a great group of bloggers here who like to share.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Can Someone Tell What Your Website/Blog Is About In 3 Seconds?My Profile

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Abel Pardo
Twitter:
December 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm

You’re very welcome, Sherryl, and congratulations for your blog, it’s really helpful!

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Abel Pardo
Twitter:
December 17, 2011 at 11:32 am

SEO tips like that are very important. I also use bold and italics for ensuring a good SEO and never forget to put my keywords in the first part of the post.

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Sherryl Perry December 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm

That’s a great add Abel! I didn’t think to mention emphasizing text with bold and italics. Thanks for adding putting keywords in the first part of our posts too.
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Sandy Halliday December 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I use my main keywords as alternative text for images. I learned that one some time ago but I have never changed the image file name to reflect my keywords. I will start doing this. I also find that if I use H2 tags for my post headings the text appears too large on my page.
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Sherryl Perry December 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Sandy, If your H2 tags are too large, you should be able to change that in the CSS stylesheet of your WordPress theme.
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Catarina Alexon
Twitter:
December 16, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Great article Sherryl!!

TinyMCE Advanced is another plug in that it’s been suggested I downloade to handle the absence of my visual editor (as you can see I just published a post with the HTML only, Halleluja!!) Do you think that’s a good idea. Or would it be better to just download Google Library?

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Sherryl Perry December 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Catarina,
I believe you’ll need to fix the glitch with your WordPress upgrade for the TinyMCE Advanced plugin to work. It supplements the visual editor that’s built into WordPress.

The only reason I suggested installing the “Use Google Libraries” plugin was that several people recommended it as a fix to the error that you were encountering after upgrading to WordPress 3.3. I don’t personally have any experience with that particular plugin. (Maybe someone else here can shed some light on it.)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Treat Your Blog Posts Like Website Home PagesMy Profile

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Doreen Pendgracs
Twitter:
December 16, 2011 at 7:17 am

What a terrific post, Sherryl. Thank you!

I will have to go back into my WP travel blog and add descriptions to the pics. Have always just added captions and didn’t understand the value of “descriptions.”

So much to learn in the world of SEO!
Doreen.
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Sherryl Perry December 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Doreen, Thanks for letting me know that my tip resonated with you. It’s always nice to hear when I’ve helped someone.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Treat Your Blog Like a NewspaperMy Profile

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Ray December 16, 2011 at 6:08 am

Nothing wrong with seo optimization, but I know some folks get a little crazy and almost carried away spending hours on one single post. I do the basics like what you have mentioned, but I don’t spend a lot of time researching and writing just for search engines like some do.

The seo all in one plugin is pretty decent and popular. There is similar plugin by yoast that is similar and looks impressive. Based on the screen shots it seems to give you a seo rating or score and tips so you can make changes if you wish to improve the on page seo score before posting. I haven’t tried it, but I know a few people that use it.
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Sherryl Perry December 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Hi Ray,
Thanks for weighing in on Yoast’s plugin for SEO. I honestly have not researched it. When I started blogging, I researched Thesis and part of my decision to invest in it was based on the SEO capabilities.

I don’t get carried away with keyword research for this blog either. Usually, I draft a keyword rich title and then just write. As I’m writing, I have certain tags and keywords in mind but I don’t always include them. When I’m doing the final edit, if I notice that there’s a lack of keywords, I can usually swap out a few words without changing the tone of the article. I write to add value to my blog readers not for the search engines.
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Beth
Twitter:
December 16, 2011 at 5:46 am

Hi Sherryl

I’m glad you brought attention back to the Meta Description Tag. For quite a while now people it’s been seen as irrelevant, but as you said it does get displayed in the search result queries. If you write the description with people in mind there’s a good chance that you’ll get the click even over sites that are listed higher up.

I also use the All in One SEO Pack which helps take care of some natural limitations in Wordpress and ensures your content is presented to Google in a way that it likes e.g. taking care of duplicate content issues through posts, categories and archives to name one example.

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Sherryl Perry December 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Thanks for the endorsement of the All in One SEO pack Beth. It’s always helpful when another blogger shares their input. I’m surprised when bloggers don’t complete fields like descriptions and alternate text. Each data field presents an opportunity to provide snippets of content.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Guest Post: What to Avoid When Implementing SEO Tactics by Wes TowersMy Profile

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Keyuri Joshi
Twitter:
December 14, 2011 at 2:07 pm

It took me a while to understand the “header tags” so I appreciate the information you’ve provided to clarify even further!

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Sherryl Perry December 15, 2011 at 11:34 am

Hi Keyuri, I’m glad I helped. It’s a simple thing to do and it does help.
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Sherryl Perry December 14, 2011 at 11:52 am

That’s great that your website traffic from searches is steadily increasing. If you haven’t been incorporating keywords into your descriptions (and you start doing that now), it will be interesting to check your statistics later to see if doing this helps to drive more traffic to your site. I suspect that it will.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Where Does Your Website Traffic Come From?My Profile

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karen December 14, 2011 at 6:55 am

Optimizing one’s images is often overlooked when doing SEO but using alt text for images can really help a lot on gaining high rankings. Keyword density should also be considered to avoid being penalized by search engines.

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Sherryl Perry December 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Excellent point to keep in mind Karen. I didn’t mention the risk of being penalized by search engines for “keyword-stuffing”. Thanks so much for reminding us!
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Faissal Alhaithami
Twitter:
December 14, 2011 at 12:51 am

I use the Alt-tag for the images of my tutorials and it really help optimizing my post for targeted keyword.

Thanks for sharing these simple yet important tips.

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Sherryl Perry December 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Faissal, Thanks for letting us know that optimizing your images with alt-tags helped. It’s always good to hear from people who have utilized some of the tips that I blog about here.
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John Armstrong
Twitter:
December 15, 2011 at 12:55 am

Sherrly, yesterday only i read that it is important to have alt tags, as alt tag helps in image optimization. It helps to rank image with the targeted keywords.

Too many people forget their alt tags. Alt tags are important for your readers who may not be reading with their eyes :)!

Also with Google Places becoming so important, and a huge chunk of visitors come from such places as Google images if images are properly tagged.

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Jeannette Paladino blogging, branding
Twitter:
December 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Sherryl — excellent tips about SEO. Thanks for such a comprehensive, yet understandable primer. I’d add that it’s better for SEO to use key words at the beginning of the headline and in the first paragraph, if possible. There’s a lot of debate about meta tags, but Google will usually use your your description as the “snippet” when you come up in a search. I’d rather write the description, summarizing the post, than have Google grab the first line or two of the blog. Also, if you are distributing your posts to LinkedIn and other social networks your meta description will be included in the link. Finally, we all want to boost our search rankings, but I’d advise never writing with SEO as your first priority. Write for your readers. They are the ones you want to be engaging.
Jeannette Paladino blogging, branding recently posted..Coca-Cola Tampers With its Brand Again — in a Good CauseMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry December 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Jeannette, You echo my sentiments exactly! Thanks for pointing out the importance of using your keywords at the beginning of our titles, headlines and in the first paragraph. I completely agree that we need to make our readers our top priority. When we look at our Google Analytics, it’s great to see a spike in traffic but we also need to look at statistics like time spent on our site and the number of pages viewed. Both of those stats are important gauges of whether or not we’re meeting engaging our readers.

(A healthy conversation in the comment section is always a good indication to me that I’m connecting. So, thanks for taking the time to share your take. I always appreciate it.)
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George
Twitter:
December 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm

After every SEO activity, one should watch Google Analytics for the results. GA can get you lot of insight into the type of traffic existing content generates to optimize your blog further.

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Sherryl Perry December 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

George,
Thanks for reminding us of the importance of tracking our results with Google Analytics. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I keep a spreadsheet to track when I’ve implemented new strategies. That way, if I see a spike (or drop) of traffic in my GA, I can usually attribute it to a specific activity. Then, adjust accordingly.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Where Does Your Website Traffic Come From?My Profile

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Janet Callaway
Twitter:
December 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Sherryl, aloha. Thanks for the solid advice. When I first started blogging I did not know about the SEO on the image. Sherryl, when I started doing that I found that it made a significant differences.

All of these items are easy to do; people just need to know to do them. Until next time, aloha. Janet

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Sherryl Perry December 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Aloha Janet,
Thanks for letting us know that adding SEO info to your images helped. It is an easy thing to do and it can quickly become a habit.

It would be interesting if someone reading this post (who isn’t currently optimizing their images) started doing this and then reported back to us any changes in the amount of traffic they’re receiving from the search engines (whether it be an increase, decrease or remained static).
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Ben
Twitter:
December 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Cannot fault the all in one seo plugin. Its so so easy to setup. Also i’d recommend this article highly and the blog in general. (oh and its not mine) http://www.viperchill.com/wordpress-seo/

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Sherryl Perry December 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Thanks for sharing the article Ben and mentioning the “All In One SEO Pack” plugin. Steve reminded me of that too and I went back and modified my article to include it.

The article that you referred to mentions using permalinks. That’s a great point. I talk about permalinks in my post “Are Your Website Visitors Sticking Around Or Bailing Out?”.
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Roberta Budvietas
Twitter:
December 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm

That optimizing pictures is what really is something I learned the importance of the other day. Now I need to really get my head around the other items and ensure I am doing them right
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Sherryl Perry December 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Hi Roberta,
Every once in a while, I’ll visit a blog and I either have to patiently wait for photos to load or bail out. Most of the time, I’ll contact the blog owner and suggest that they optimize their photos for the web and usually the person is grateful. It’s common mistake. Good luck getting your head around the other items. Any questions, you know where to find me. :)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Are Your Website Visitors Sticking Around Or Bailing Out?My Profile

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Shy
Twitter:
December 13, 2011 at 11:23 am

Hi, Sherryl! I’m still a beginner when it comes to SEO stuff but thanks to many helpful resources like this one, I’m slowly learning the ropes :) Optimizing the use of your keywords all over your website will surely be a good one for the search engines to notice.

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Sherryl Perry December 14, 2011 at 11:48 am

Thanks for letting me know that you find my blog helpful. In addition to my articles, you’ll find a wealth of information in the comment sections. What’s important to keep in mind when you’re optimizing your blog for SEO is that you’re still writing for your readers and that you can be penalized by the search engines for keyword stuffing. I think it’s helpful to keep SEO in the back of my mind while I’m writing but I usually just write and then worry about keywords later.

I’d be interested in hearing what approach other readers take.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Treat Your Blog Posts Like Website Home PagesMy Profile

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Steve
Twitter:
December 13, 2011 at 11:17 am

All good advice Sherryl. I’m not entirely convinced that Google are telling the whole truth about meta descriptions. Not going to give away too much and I can’t say for certain but something that I done recently has left me wondering if they are still using meta descriptions to some degree at least. I would be interested to know if I’m the only one thinking this way. Have any of your other readers had reason to suspect otherwise.
Just wondered if you also use the All In One SEO Pack plugin for WordPress.
Steve recently posted..Promoting A Local Business On FaceBookMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry December 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

Steve, That is so true about Google. They want to keep their algorithms a mystery. I hadn’t really given much thought to whether or not Google was using the meta descriptions in their algorithms until I read the article in Website Magazine. I had just assumed that they did. It would be interested to hear from other readers what their thoughts are.

Thanks so much for mentioning the All In One SEO Pack plugin. (I went back and added it to my article.) I use Thesis for this blog and most of the blogs that I build from scratch. I have installed this plugin on client sites that have been built using other themes.
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John Soares
Twitter:
December 13, 2011 at 11:11 am

Really good tips here Sherryl. I’ve made it an important goal to become a “talented amateur” at SEO since it is crucial for boosting traffic.

And that’s a comprehensive article by Joost de Valk. I see he has his own SEO plug-in. I use Thesis for all my blogs, and it has good SEO tools built-in.

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Sherryl Perry December 14, 2011 at 11:33 am

Thanks John. I use Thesis too. Even with Thesis, we still need to enter descriptions and alternate text. I’m surprised by the number of bloggers who don’t do that. I’ve had clients who have asked me to review their blogs and make recommendations. When I look at what they’ve done, I often find that they haven’t entered anything for alternate text or descriptions.

One of my clients (the owner of a driveway paving company) had a website that had been built by AT&T. When we looked at his site, whoever built it had left the default file names for all of his pictures and they hadn’t entered any alternate text. When a website visitor moused over the pictures on his site, they saw descriptions like DSCF2608.JPG. (Actually, his site had not been optimized at all. I felt that AT&T had let their client down.)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Guest Post: What to Avoid When Implementing SEO Tactics by Wes TowersMy Profile

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Arjun Rai December 22, 2011 at 6:58 am

Hi Sherryl,
Im having five different wordpress sites and these information and tips will surely gonna help me a lot, I’m going try all this and after that i will tell you the review. Thanks for sharing Sherryl.

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