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WIGHT HAT BLOG
SEO for WordPress
Adam Provis, April 29, 2011
We have just started blogging and so it seems appropriate that our firstpost should be about our tips for blogs.
First let’s consider why any company would want to write a blog. By writing something that you think people will find useful around the subject area of your business you hope to attract readers that will then take a look at your web pages. If a post is particularly useful you may get people linking to it from their blog, web page or social media page. If you make several posts which are useful you may gather a regular readership which can then be used as a way to launch new products, propotioms etc. from time to time.
All of these points depends a great deal on the quality and usefulness of the posts that you make- to repeat the cliché, content is king. However, the second aspect, gaining links to your blog, is very important in raising your profile within the search engines and this aspect is the first point that we wish to discuss.
Inbound links (web links from other sites or blogs) are critical to climbing the search engine rankings. Using an external blogging site to host your blog such as blogger, blogspot or wordpress.com is very easy to set up. However, all of the links that you acquire over the lifetime of the blog will be pointing to someone else’s www.wight-hat.com/blog/seo-for-wordpress) and this will help your website in the search engine listings as well as your blog. It is more hassle to set a blog up on your site and you may have to pay someone to do this if you do not have the expertise in house but it is worth the extra effort if you are serious about promoting your business by having a blog. Having said that, installing WordPress is very straightforward as long as you have hosting that can cope with php and a database. If you need to upgrade your hosting then please consider our green hosting package and we would be happy to help you move your site and install WordPress onto it. Full instructions on WordPress installation can be found here: Installing WordPress(e.g. blogspot.com) instead of your own domain. This means that it will certainly help your blog in the search engines but not your website. Contrast this to installing a blogging system onto the back of your own website such as wordpress (the software, not the website) as we have done. All links to your blog will now be going to your domain (such as this page
Our second issue is concerning the url structure of the posts. Many blogs assign a url to a post like http://www.example.com/?p=3099. The url will start with a common part followed by a ? and then a value which indicates which post it is. The problem here is that in the eyes of the search engine, the part before the ? is the page and the reference afterwards if often ignored. This leads the spider to think that there are many pages with the same url but different content and can confuse the indexing of the blog. Whilst search engines have got much better at understanding this sort of url, the system still isn’t perfect and if the spider does not understand the page structure of your blog it is more than likely to just ignore what it finds. We have configured WordPress to use meaningful urls which not only avoid this confusion but actually help the spiders understand what the page is about.
Search engines do not like duplicate pages. These are pages which have a different url but the same or similar content. With the url problem above, it is often found that different urls can lead to the same post and this will trigger the duplicate content filter. This is because posts can often be found on the home page for a while, their own post page, in a category achive and a dated archive. It is common to see a post which has an array of different urls for it such as:
Using WordPress, you can change the format to meaningful urls by selecting the Permalinks option on the Settings page. Follow the instructions on this page (not forgetting the entry into the .htaccess file!) and your blog will naturally generate urls based on the post’s title rather than some random numbers.
Finally, it is important to use social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) to publicise your posts to the world and get some people reading your posts. Whilst you can certainly put your posts onto your own profile pages, it is beneficial to give your readers a simple way to “big up” your post on their pages as well. There are a number of different ways to do this but we think that by far the easiest and painless way to do it is by using the “Addthis” plugin on WordPress. To install this plugin, go to your WordPress dashboard and select “Plugins” on the left hand menu. Search for “Addthis” and install the plugin by following the subsequent instructions. Once this is installed you can have it automatically add the social media buttons that you can see at the bottom of this post on every post that you make. Your readers can simply click the appropriate icon to shout about your article to their friends making your posts reach far further afield. This plugin supports 362 different social media sites (at time of writing) and so you’re covered whether your reader uses Reddit, Digg, Slashdot or pretty much any other form of online group and you never have to think about it again! You can even use it yourself to conveniently put it onto your social profiles the moment you write each post.
Writing useful content on your blog can really benefit your business in the long run by generating interest on social media and acquiring inbound links. For this reason, I hope you like this post and if you do, please “big it up” using the social media icons below
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