How to Optimize Your WordPress Blog for Google
Keeping a WordPress blog has become a major hobby for some, but for others, it is also a way to make an extra stream of income. Although only a very small percentage of these people make anything near a full-time income from blogging alone, there are ways in which you can gradually build up your revenue from pay-per-click advertising and affiliate programs placed on your blog.
It is all about traffic. More visitors generally means more money and a blog which receives tens of thousands of visits per day has the potential to make a few thousand dollars per month. Before you can hope to succeed though, you should start optimizing your blog for Google, since this is where most people start when they arrive at your site for the first time.
Make Your Content SEO-Friendly
SEO, or search engine optimization can be difficult, particularly because it is a constantly changing area. A few years ago, Internet marketers talked on and on about things like keyword density, article marketing and completely artificial forms of link building.
Today, with Google’s improved algorithm changes, the lower-quality websites which place a higher emphasis on SEO than quality content have disappeared towards the end of the search results. On the other hand, higher-quality sites have moved towards the front page. Google constantly strives to deliver better quality content in its results and this is exactly why most of the content mills, producing thousands upon thousands of low-quality articles, have simply disappeared in recent years.
In spite of all this, SEO is still important and, done correctly, it can greatly help your site. The first step is to choose the right key phrases. These should be phrases which do not have a lot of competition, yet still receive a decent number of searches per month. You can start by using the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool for your research. Do not rely on it entirely, however. It is also important to actually search for your preferred key phrases on Google Search to see what you’re really up against regarding competition.
Your chosen key phrases should be subtly included in the content on your website. Your site should have some primary key phrases and one or two separate ones for each blog post where appropriate.
Use SEO Plug-ins and Suitable Themes
WordPress is a highly versatile blogging platform and this is what makes it by far the most popular one out there. You can greatly extend the functionality of your blog through the use of some of the many hundreds of plug-ins available for it. Of these plug-ins, there are a great many which help you to make your blog SEO-friendly. Among the most popular is the All-in-One SEO Pack. This plug-in takes care of a lot of the SEO work for you and allows you to add a Meta title and description and your keywords. Another highly popular SEO plugin is WordPress SEO by Yoast.
As any WordPress blog owner knows, there are literally hundreds of themes available for the platform. Often customizable, these themes allow you to give your website a unique and personalized touch. However, many of them are not very SEO-friendly and will give the search engine crawlers quite a hard time when it comes to analysing and cataloguing your site. Simpler themes tend to be more SEO-friendly, but there are many great SEO-friendly themes out there to choose from. Some of the best, however, can cost a modest fee.
Share Your Content
Another major factor in what makes Google decide which sites to display on the first pages of the search results is social networking. If others enjoy a page on your blog and share it with their friends, then you get a plus point as far as Google is concerned. Whereas in the earlier days of Internet marketing, it was all about link building by placing links to your site on low quality websites, it is now about real people enjoying your content and telling their friends about it.
The first step is to make your content sharable. There are many plug-ins for WordPress which allow you to easily add social networking buttons automatically to every post on your blog. This allows your viewers to share content they like on their favourite social networking site with just one click. It is thanks to this highly effective form of Internet marketing that great content goes viral, receiving countless hits per day.
It is also a good idea to have accounts on major social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook where you can post new updates and links to new articles. This also provides you with a platform where you can interact with your visitors and find out more about them and what they like about your blog. It all counts as valuable market research and towards getting your site better recognized by Google.