I recently read a great, detailed article on SEO for WordPress here, and I agreed with most everything that was said, so I thought I would share the absolute basics with my readers. You can refer to the original article by Trond Lyngbo for more details. I wanted to answer some of the common questions I get from clients and even developers (yes, the same developers that tell you they know SEO). Those of you who have a basic understanding of SEO know some of these answers, but it is worth repeating.
WordPress is not automatically optimized: A content management system can be SEO friendly, meaning that it allows easy editing to the important parts of the site needed for SEO, has nice text and speed to the template, etc. Some of them even automatically try to tag your pages and other things. This does not mean that simply using the template or even WordPress in general means your site is optimized. I do think WordPress is a great CMS for doing SEO however and have been able to help many business owners help themselves by teaching them some basic fundamentals.
There are some good plugins for SEO: I recommend the “All in One SEO Pack” and Yoast’s SEO plugin. I’ve used both of them and they both do a good job with tags, etc. Again, just by adding the plug-in doesn’t mean that your site is optimized. These plug-ins just allow you to edit the things like title tags that help you better target your site. You still need to research and assign the proper tags and keywords to your pages and follow the rules.
Put the analytics and Webmaster Tools Plug-ins On There: Google offers so much information for you about how your site is performing, who is visiting it, etc. Though this week Webmaster Tools has been having some technical issues, the WMT by Google is a great tool to help you get indexed, monitor indexing issues, etc. These plug-ins make it so easy and helpful to set up these entities. When I first started in SEO, I used to have to paste code individually in every page of a site. These tools help you do it in one step.
Add Local or other Semantic Markup Plug-ins: Semantic markup has become another way to help boost your on page optimization. There are plugins that help you input your authorship, local business, reviews, product, and other information much more easily. Depending on what your business is, look to find what the important markups you should be using and find a good plugin for it.
As I mentioned, a great article on search engine land spurred my thoughts for my own article. This article also went in some depth on some more technical aspects like hosting and templates. Please check it out for more information.