A WordPress plugin brought to you by Search Engine Journal.
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, particularly with Internet marketers and SEOs. Its a great system that is easy to use and provides a huge amount of flexibility. Here are some advanced techniques to give your site that extra push:
Check Your HTML Semantic Structure
The power of WordPress, cheap or free themes, is also its greatest weakness. Even well-designed themes that claim to be “optimized for SEO” can have huge flaws built into them. The most common of which is misused header tags.
SEO rules dictate that only one H1 tag can exist on a given page. Many WordPress themes use multiple H1 tags on the sidebar for each widget, and in blog archive listings for each post title. This could lead to several H1 tags on EVERY page of your website, which is a big SEO no-no.
You’ll need to do a “view source” check in your browser and search for multiple H1 tags. If you have coding experience you can edit the theme files yourself, but if you have limited experience its best to get a cheap freelancer to take care of it for you. You must remove any H1 tag placing except for the blog or post title on that page, set all other headers to H2-H6 in the correct order.
Clear out Duplicate and Polluting Pages
Make sure you set all of your search results and tag pages to “no index”. These are insidious sources of duplicate content that Google hates. Tag pages can be especially problematic because people think that more pages is better; meanwhile, many tag categories may look extremely similar if they are closely related. Avoid this trap.
Another option is to include description for each tag in the tag listings page, this will add uniqueness to the tag listings to avoid duplicate content issues, a bonus is that you can use HTML in the description field for tags and categories (bet you didn’t know that!) so you can actually cross link internally.
You also want to minimize the archive breakdown. Some sites break down their archive listings by day or week, so unless you’re creating five new pages of content daily this is a problem. Empty or thin archive pages look spammy and will only damage your site. Try to keep your archive listings to semi-annual or, if absolutely necessary, monthly.
Anything you noindex you should also make sure not to link to, so Google simply doesn’t find it.
Optimize Your Internal Linking
Most sites have a “Home” button or use the logo as a home navigation button. Set this to NoFollow, and instead create a link in the footer that links back to the homepage using the targeted keyword for the homepage.
You should also “silo” your categories. Read more about the silo structure here. By grouping pages into categories that are semantically related, you get bonus points from Google for having a lot of related content in the same section of the website.
You can also let Google itself dictate your internal linking structure. Do a search using the operator “Site:” followed by your URL and the targeted keyword for a particular page. Google’s results page will show you how Google ranks the pages of your website for that keyterm, build links from the top 10 pages to the landing page you’d like to rank. (e.g. site:myurl.com, “my keyword”)