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July 20, 2010

SEO for WordPress; Quick, Cheap and Easy

There are three words not normally associated with SEO. They are quick, cheap, and easy. But there is one situation where I can honestly say these words really do describe the optimization process; the WordPress blog.

Google loves WordPress because it’s easy to spider and uses extremely clean code on the back end. But there’s more…

Google has a thing for dynamic content and lots of it. And it doesn’t get much better than WordPress when it comes to making Google happy. You don’t have to know a lot about SEO because WordPress sets you up to naturally take advantage of what Google likes. And if you invest a bit in a nice plugin, you can often see results you never even dreamed of.

There are just a few things to know about initial setup so I’ll cover them one by one.

First, if your blog is part of a larger site, name its directory ‘blog’ or ‘topic blog’ with ‘topic’ being your main keyword or topic. Don’t name it WordPress.

Second, be sure your sites uses ‘www’ in its fully qualified domain name (FQDN.) Here’s how.

  1. Login to the WordPress dashboard.
  2. Go to Dashboard > Settings > General.
  3. Edit your WordPress URL and Blog URL to include the www prefix.

Third, set your WordPress to use Permalink with optimal custom setting. This creates a permanent URL that Google can easily reference and makes each post into a page. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Login to the WordPress dashboard.
  2. Go to Dashboard > Options > Permalink.
  3. Select custom option placing /%postname%/ in the custom field.

Fourth, make each post date easy to find. Google loves fresh, relevant information.

Now for doing the actual posts, here is how to get the biggest SEO bang for your buck…

  1. Use your main keyword in the post title wherever it falls naturally. Make sure it is in the title, but don’t force it to the beginning if it does not work. If your keyword is ‘lake retreat cabin’ you might have a title like ‘Finding Peace at Your Lake Retreat Cabin.’
  2. Try to write the post naturally and use the keyword two to three times for every 100 words of the post but don’t go over 5 mentions total. Also be sure to use other related words in your post. If your keyword is ‘lake retreat cabin’ you might use words like ‘view’, ‘wooded’, ‘cottage’, ‘stream’, ‘waterfall’, etc.
  3. Keep your posts to an appropriate length. Consider each to be an article. In most simple articles 300 to 600 words is ideal. But don’t drone on if your point is already made. If you only need 250 words to say what you want to say, end it there.
  4. I know I already said it, but it’s important enough to say again; write naturally. Google invested a lot of time and money in its natural text algorithm (NTA) and it loves to let it weed out blocky text jammed with robotic feeling keywords.

Even if you do everything else perfectly, there are always ways to get that extra inside advantage. Here are two:

First, be sure to be consistent with all of your backlinks. If you set your prefix to ‘www’ as recommended, make sure all of your backlink URLs come into the ‘www’ version of your pages. If some are ‘http’ while others are for ‘http://www’ they will be treated as separate pages and you will be throwing away links.

And finally, if you can invest forty os so dollars, you might want to consider getting a high-end WordPress SEO plugin like the one at Most pros use the unlimited version and put it on all of their client sites, but if you have just have one blog you can get by for under $50. There are also some freebies out there, but this is definitely a case of “You get what you pay for.”

Good luck.

Scott Jason is the president of Best SEO Copywriting and author of three SEO books. Although his specialty is SEO copywriting, he has provided full service SEO services since 2000.