You can’t trick Google into loving your site, and there’s no secret technique to vault
your site to the top of the search page rankings. However, you can give your site
the best possible odds by following some good habits. These practices help search
engines find their way around your posts, understand your content, and recognize
that you’re a real site with good content, not a sneaky spammer trying to cheat the
Here are some guidelines to SEO that don’t require special plug-ins or custom coding:
• Choose the right permalink style. Every WordPress post and page gets its own
permalink. If you create a self-hosted site, your permalinks should include the
post title, because the search engine pays special attention to the words in your
web address. (Page 117 explains how to change your permalink.) If WordPress.
com hosts your site, you already have the right permalink style.
• Edit your permalinks. When you first create a post, you have the chance to
edit its permalink. At this point, you can improve it by removing unimportant
words (like “a”, “and,” and “the”). Or, if you use a cute, jokey title for your post,
you can replace it in the permalink with something more topical that includes
the keywords you expect web searchers to use. For example, if you write a post
about your favorite cookware titled “Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire,”
you ordinarily get a permalink like this: http://triplegoldcookwarereview.com/
out-of-the-frying-pan-and-into-the-fire. If you remove some words, you can
shorten it to http://triplegoldcookwarereview.com/out-of-frying-pan-into-fire.
And if you substitute a more descriptive title, you might choose http://triplegoldcookwarereview.
• Use tags. Google pays close attention to the tags you assign to a post. If they
match a web searcher’s keywords, your post has a better chance of showing
up in search results. When choosing tags, pick just a few, and make sure they
clearly describe your topic and correspond to terms someone might search for
(say, “artisanal cheese,” “organic,” and “local food”). Some search-obsessed
bloggers scour Google statistics to find the best keywords to use in attracting
web searchers, and use those as their tags in new posts. However, that’s too
much work for all but the most fanatical SEO addicts.
• Optimize your images. Google and other search engines let people search for
pictures. When someone searches for an image, Google attempts to match the
search keywords with the words that appear near the picture on a web page,
and with the alternate text that describes the picture. That means people are
more likely to find your pictures if you supply all the details the Insert Media
window asks for, including a title, alternate text, a caption, and a description
(page 182). Remember to use descriptive, searchable keywords when you do.