The best place by far to find traffic is from search engines. The art of Search Engine Optimization is often very daunting for new bloggers. Even some experienced bloggers just see SEO as a cloudy puddle of mud they would rather not play in.
Wordpress by default is pretty decent at letting search engines see what’s going on. But there are a whole bunch of other things that can be done to make your blog rank better. Fortunately there are plugins available to help you get better rankings for your blog, so you don’t have to go digging into the code of your blog to get some results from search engines.
I’m not going to explain the validity or effects of each of these SEO tactics in detail. There is more than enough of that on the Internet already if you want to do some research. I’ll mention briefly what the benefits of each plugin is, and why you need it.
This allows you to set the basic SEO stuff for your blog. You need page titles, meta tags, keywords, and descriptions. This plugin allows you to configure them for either your entire blog or on a post by post basis.
From time to time you make changes on your blog. Sometimes these changes end up breaking your Permalink structure. This often happens when you make a change to an old post, or do an upgrade to Wordpress and make some changes to the permalinks. It’s very very common if you move your blog from one host to another.
Basically what happens is that each post has a unique URL, called a permalink. When this changes, visitors who go to that blog post won’t find it. The redirection plugin helps you fix these problems by redirecting the visitor to the new permalink. This reduces the amount of traffic you get to pages that don’t exist.
3. Robots Meta
By default search engines crawl and index ALL the pages on your blog. This isn’t ideal, because it creates duplicate content and you can get yourself punished by search engines without knowing it. What the Robots Meta plugin allows you to do is tell the search engines which sections of your blog to crawl. This means that you’ll get more respect from search engines, and likely more traffic.
One of the key issues with SEO is your internal linking structure. The more you link to a certain page on your blog, the more important it is to your overall content. Search engines treat your internal links as an indication of how well structured your site is. The problem with this is that if you had to manually go and create links to relevant and important posts you’ll spend hours and hours doing it.
SEO Smart links allows you to specify a word, like ‘SEO’ and then link it to a post on your site. Then each time the word SEO appears on your site, it’s automatically turned into a link you specified.
Images also play an important role in your SEO strategy. So it’s important that you tag them correctly. SEO Friendly images allows you to do this, and saves you hours and hours of work. If, like most bloggers you use images in your posts, then this plugin is essential.
It’s important to know your keywords. And this handy plugin allows you to track the keywords you’re getting searches for. It’s pointless selecting a few keywords, then writing some content for those keywords and hoping that the rest goes well. SEO is about being proactive and tracing what works and what doesn’t.
A common mistake bloggers make is choosing the wrong permalink structure. When you start your blog you think you know which is best, and as time goes buy you want to change your permalink structure. The problem with changing your permalink structure is that your traffic will come to a standstill until your site is reindexed, and that could take months.
This plugin is similar to redirect but is an easier and better way to manage permanent permalink changes.
The nofollow attribute over the last year or two has had a fairly large impact on the blogosphere. All comments in Wordpress by default are nofollow links. This means that no Page Rank (PR) is being given via the link. This plugin changes that and makes comment links valuable again. There are a number of reasons you would want to give away link juice. It’s often used to attract people and encourage them to comment. It can be very useful for new blogs who need some exposure.
9. SEO Slugs
Stop words are ignored by search engines. So most of your post titles have them in, but they are meaningless to search engines. So when you have a post title like this: “What You Can Do Immediately For Higher Rankings” you have a permalink like this: ‘/what-you-can-do-immediately-for-higher-rankings’ but what you really want is for your permalink to look like this: /immediately-higher-rankings.
This plugin automatically removes stop words from the permalink, helping you to rank better.