SEO, or ‘Search Engine Optimisation’, is the process of altering your pages to maximise the chance of being listed in a search engine. Based on the knowledge that you must mention a word to begin ranking for it, logic dictates that further mentions of the same word can only increase your SE ranking. (Those of you quick to ‘get’ this stuff will therefore realise that links from high PR pages — including the word(s) you’re trying to optimise for in the link text — are super important.) Pages must work, and bots must be able to find your text to index it. A vanilla install of WordPress, while adequate for the majority, doesn’t really do much by way of optimising your pages for specific keyword placement in search engines.
I do not advocate “black hat” SEO tactics like keyword stuffing or filling attributes (e.g.
alt) with random crap for the sake of it. I also don’t approve of hiding text and links with CSS. Write your pages for your visitors, not for the search engines. With that out of the way, I’ve compiled a list of helpful plugins which (when used properly) can help to improve the keyword placement on your pages or work towards maximum optimisation.
Custom Title Attributes
Sarah’s new plugin, Custom Title Attributes, allows you to customise the text that appears in that little ‘tooltip’ when you hover over a link (try hovering over the link to the plugin). This is particularly helpful if your theme only allows room for link text like “About” and so forth and you want to get more words in. I recommend keeping any title attribute text short and concise.
The Search Pages Plugin, while not strictly a direct benefit to search engines, does allow people to more easily find the content they’re looking for. This in turn increases the likelihood that they will link to individual pages (increasing internal ‘deep-linking’) and add your pages to social networking sites which can be an all important boost in traffic. This type of plugin is especially vital if you have a lot of relevant or interesting content deep within pages rather than actual posts.
If you’re anything like me, chances are you change your site about as often as you change your underwear. This leaves 404s which take a while to disappear from search engine lists, and wastes potential rank. If you’ve got a page that’s already been assigned a Google PageRank, why waste it by deleting it? Redirect outdated or non-existent pages to more relevant counterparts with the Objection Redirection! Plugin (link warning: profanity) to transfer the link value and PR to better places.
All in One SEO Pack
Last but oh so definitely not least is the All in One SEO Pack. This beast of a plugin allows you to customise meta data such as keywords and description, as well as the page title, and repeating keywords in these elements is integral for boosting overall placement. The screen-shots make it look incredibly simple to use and for the functionality it offers, it’s not worth ignoring it.
At the end of the day, your site is only ever going to be as good as your content, but there’s no harm in pushing it out there if you’re struggling to bring in ‘organic’ hits from Google and the like. By making simple changes you can increase your potential ranking and only improve the browsing experience for your readers.
Note: As I don’t use WordPress myself I can’t make any guarantees about the quality of these plugins. Use at your own risk.