Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is one of the hottest topic on web. There are thousands of spam sites/books dedicated on this topic to just mint your money. They do well because of one reason – everybody want traffic for their site, but nobody want to work hard for that!
So let me make this clear right now. Today I am posting about few wordpress plugins & tips, which will really improve your blogs search engine ranking but in most natural way. So do not expect any overnight burst in traffic.
1. ALL in One SEO Pack Plugin
This is best and only plugin enough to do search engine optimization for your blog. This automatically take care of three important things about a blog. Discussing each point in details is beyond the scope of this post. Options listed in bracket must be enabled to optimize that point.
- Automatically optimizes post/page titles. (Rewrite Titles options)
- Generates META tags automatically. (Use Categories for META keywords & Autogenerate Descriptions options)
- Avoids duplicate content. (Use noindex for Categories/Archives/Tag options)
2. Google (XML) Sitemap Generator Plugin
This plugin is not actually optimizing anything directly. It creates a sitemap of your blog and submit to it search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc.
If you are hearing word sitemap for the first time, then think it as a protocol/language which websites use to communicate with search engines. Sitemaps tell search engine about your sites content structure, importance of each link, timestamp for each link among other info.
Two biggest advantages this plugin offers:
- You can submit only post/”page” URLs as part of sitemap. This option help you avoid category/archive pages which potentially content duplicate contents.
- It automatically pings search engine whenever you post a new article. This way search engine add recently posted articlea to their indices within few hours. Gone are the days when search engine index update used to happen once in a month! This is good as search engines prefer fresh content.
You can also link to your sitemap explicitly if you want to. Here is sitemap for Devils Workshop.
There are many options, this plugin provides. Go through them once, for forever.
3. Permalink Migration Plugin
If your blog URLs have something like ?p=123 or post/123 in them, then its time to change your permalink structure. Not only above URL format is worst example of SEO practice but also is bad from user perspective. Wouldn’t it be nice if a URL gives hint about content in advance?
Permalink options can be found under settings section of wordpress Dashboard. Use a structure which makes use of post names in URLs.
Now thing plugin comes handy when you want to change your permalinks structure for your old blog. Any change in permalinks makes your old blog URLs inaccessible. Many user finds a better custom structure after they start blogging and fear of URL-breaking prevent them from making changes to it.
4. Redirection Plugin
This plugin allow you to create manual URL redirects within wordpress. This is good for merging many posts or redirecting users from a outdated post to new one.
WordPress allow you to edit permalinks for individual posts. You may like to do this to include a keyword which you may not be able to stuff into post titles. When any such changes happen to already published posts, this plugin automatically create a redirection entry for old post.
Moreover, if you use date-based URLs then changing a posts date will result in change in its URL. Again this plugin transparently adds a redirection rule automatically when something like this happens.
Personally I rely on this plugin a lot for post containing hacks & bugs. These kind of posts becomes outdated as bugs get fixed with time. But then again, when new bugs pops out, it help me redirect users from old outdated bug posts to fresh bug posts automatically.
After spending more than 2 years in blogging, all I can say that, DONT let SEO tactics affect your writing style. In the end, its your readers who will read your blog. I never mind sacrificing few keywords if they can improve my posts flow. 🙂
Rest, suggest via comments if I am missing something.
Also let me know if you like to read more about wordpress plugins in a particular category.
[Update: I mistakenly linked to a differnet plugin for #3 candidate. Please note the updated link. Sorry for inconvinience.]