Many of you build blogs to launch some type of product website. Most new bloggers try their hands at free blogging platforms before they discover the powers of a self hosted WordPress blog.
Unless you are using WordPress yourself it will be hard to convince you about the SEO juice WordPress blogs carry. Mind you, when I say WordPress, in this instance I’m talking about self hosted all the way.
Of course, the die hard Joomla supporters and those of the various other open source platforms available for similar reasons might disagree with me when I say WordPress is by far the best software in terms of SEO. I guess I’m convinced, because I experience the power of this all the time by ranking well on Google with my various niche sites.
New web users might need to do their own trial and error before they can agree with me on this. But for those of you open to WordPress, I like to introduce to you why I think this to be such a powerful software.
Out of the box WordPress is an extremely light application that doesn’t clog the user down with heavy or excessive loading times. The only way this is possible is through overuse of Plugins and also by using heavily coded themes.
Today, the end user can choose between a vast range of available WordPress themes. The best news of all is that most of them are free to use if you leave attribution to the developer in your footer. This of course is great for SEO if you use a clean theme that has been optimized. More on this later.
Versatility might not be a major factor for best SEO, but if you think about it, it certainly puts you into another league opposed to your non WordPress competition.
The sheer factor of having thousands of themes, Plugins and widgets available to choose from is reason enough for any greenhorn to use WordPress. Granted, it will take a little elbow grease in the beginning, but in my eyes it is well worth the learning curve.
Once you understand WordPress basics you can change the look of your website in seconds with no big effort. Contrary to traditional web design which takes hours for an inexperienced coder. Also, with WordPress one does not need to understand the coding languages at all. I admit though that it helps if you do because you can do so much more.
Many WordPress themes are already available optimized for SEO. Some are premium themes which means they will require a once of payment and others are free thanks to some theme developers and other happy coders who are determined to help the community.
The major aspect of self coding your own theme for SEO is to insert auto generated h1 title tags into your theme. usually this is done into the header.php and varies according to the PHP setup of each theme.
Second, it is important to use post excerpts on your home page. Otherwise you might get penalized from the search engines for duplicate content. Some people prefer to display whole posts on the home page and then use excerpts in the archives. Either way is fine as long as you use them both.
This is done by hard coding your theme (if it isn’t already) with tags within the Loop.
Further to this, you will also need to use the All in One SEO Plugin as this further optimizes your theme.
It is important to set proper permalinks once you upload your theme and get started. I usually set mine to /%postname%/. Some actually argue this and prefer to use /%category%/%postname%/ instead.
To be honest, it is up top you, but I would argue that the postname version alone is perhaps better in order to avoid duplicate keywords in URL’s.
SEO optimized themes also have proper attribution of h2 tags (post titles) and h3 tags (sidebar and comments section).
A winning combination
A theme that has been optimized for SEO plus the appropriate knowledge about on page SEO make up an irresistible combination that should see you climb the search engines.
If you incorporate the occasional link cluster into your posts, you should be ready to lead your competition.