If you run one of the millions of websites built with WordPress, you are likely concerned about Search Engine Optimization – SEO and overwhelmed by your options or do not even know some of these exist. There are no shortages of plugins built to assist with SEO and social sharing but it’s hard to find the gems in a sea of widget madness. Read on for advice on which are truly helpful in boosting your search engine efforts!

WordPress SEO Basics

Before you start installing a plethora of plugins, you’ll want to tackle a few basic Search Engine Optimization tasks on your WordPress site. These are must-haves for Google friendly sites and are a great place to start your strategy.

1) Map Out Your Site’s Structure with Google XML Sitemaps

In order for google to fully index your site and tell when new pages are updated, we use an XML sitemap tool. Google XML sitemap, will map out your whole site and put timers inside each link in order to tell google when to check the pages for new changes. A must for all websites.

2) Setup Your Permanent URL Structure (PERMALINKS)

First, set your preferred permalinks format in the WordPress settings. This is extremely important because wordpress creates really bad address links that are not descriptive. Every beginning search engine optimization worker knows that if you don’t have descriptive links or folders, then you are losing out on to some big time traffic. Permalinks creates rich folders with actual words instead of the ugly coded garble that is stock on all wordpress sites.




Here is how you do it

A) First go to your wordpress admin and find SETTINGS -> PERMALINKS and choose “CUSTOM STRUCTURE”

B) Next enter in this code at the end…


So it should look like this

C) Now you have to add in a file in to your .htaccess file inside the root of your website. If you don’t know how to do this or do not feel comfortagble with this, then consult a web designer. They can install this whole process for an hours wage.

Add this code to your .htaccess file

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ – [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

D) Make sure you put your .htaccess file in the root folder of your website and then upload it to your website. This will ensure that every time you create a new wordpress page, it will create rich URLS and folders, so search engine optimization is done correctly.

3) Specify Which Folders Can and Cannot Be Crawled

Chances are there will be sections of your site that you would rather not allow search engines access to. To manage this process, create a Robots.txt file in the top-level directory of your site. For full instructions on how to add one to your site, visit the ‘Robots.txt how-to guide’ (http://www.robotstxt.org/robotstxt.html). Once created, you can specify any folders that search engines will thereby ignore, and keep others from spying on this private content as well. It’s also a great solution for hiding duplicate content. Don’t forget that users can still access the pages through the direct URL.

The Best WordPress SEO Plugins

1) SEO Ultimate

This puppy is a meta data powerhouse, with access to controls for descriptions and keywords, Google Webmaster Verification, and integration with Google Analytics. If you have a lot of pages with separate titles, Ultimate will help you manage all this data with ease.

2) Local Search SEO Contact Page

Perfect for those just beginning their quest for great SEO, Local Search allows you to add all business information to your site’s contact page, and will also include an embedded Google map, which links to your Google+ Local account.

3) WordPress by Yoast

Yoast helps determine what your current SEO score is, and in tandem, lets you monitor the areas that require some improvement. Yoast will let you know if your keywords are missing from title and H1 tags, and looks at your content and metadata too. This tool is rumored to be the most-used WordPress SEO plugin, and for good reason. It assists in setting up XML sitemaps, helps you map out all title and description templates, and truly enables you to stay on top of all the SEO must-do’s. If you only have one SEO plugin, this should be it. It’s regularly updated too, which is a big bonus.

4) Jetpack

Jetpack has a host of new tools you can use. File sharing icons, twitter feeding to your front page, really nice stats, an image carousel and much much more.

5) Platinum SEO

Platinum Search Engine Optimization Plugin offers Complete onsite SEO solution for your WordPress blog.Platinum SEO Plugin offers all the functionalities of All In One SEO

Top SEO-Friendly Image and Content Tools

1) SEO Friendly Images

This plugin does exactly what you’d expect – ensures all your images have alt attributes, title tags and all other relevant search engine data. There’s also a premium version that unlocks a myriad SEO features, like XML sitemap generators and custom settings.

2) SEO Content Control

If you’ve got a lot of content on your site, you need this tool to help you identify the weakest links. Options for SEO Content Control include viewing a list of all pages/posts that have lackluster (too short) text, missing meta data, and missing keywords.

Must-Have Analytics Plugins

1) SEO Rank Reporter

Rank Reporter is an awesome tool that allows you to monitor your Google ranking through your WordPress dashboard, and it’s updated every three days. This plugin will help you assess if and when more SEO improvements are needed. When your ranking slips, you can use the other tools to identify why this may have occurred, and then set out to address each one.

2) Google Analyticator

If you’re a fan of Google Analytics, download this plugin now and integrate the data directly into your WordPress dashboard. You’ll be able to view your top performing pages, referrers, and keywords, among many other invaluable metrics.

Top-Notch Social Plugins

1) Sociable

Sociable is a superior sharing plugin that is jam-packed with
customization options. It features an excellent default setup,
with the options to use all your own personal icons and images.
It’s super easy to connect to most WordPress themes, and makes
your social sites immediately accessible to your users.

2) Social Media Tabs

This one is a unique plugin that allows you to add a social media widget to your site in a tabbed format, showing data from your major social sites. It currently supports Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, and RSS.

You are now armed with a gaggle of excellent, functional and easy-to-use WordPress SEO tools. Go forth and enjoy your increased rankings!

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