in SEO Resources, WordPress SEO by John Lamansky

We would like to introduce WordPress Expert John Lamansky, who we managed to extract from the lab just long enough for him to compose this brilliant WordPress Top 20 SEO Guide.


Got a WordPress blog that you’re eager to supercharge for optimal search engine performance? Read on! We’ll cover pinging, sitemaps, canonicalization, link juice, header tags, slugs, tags, timestamping, social media, permalinks, and a whole lot more!

WordPress SEO Tip #20 — Don’t Block the Search Engines!

First and foremost: make sure you’re not inadvertently telling the search engines to go away! Believe it or not, some WordPress installations block the search engine bots by default.

From your admin panel, go to Options > Privacy and make sure it’s set to “I would like my blog to be visible to everyone.”

Bonus Tip #1 – Are Comments Enabled?

Some WordPress users restrict comments to registered users, or disable them entirely. While this may be appropriate in some situations, in most cases comments are a very beneficial factor, and a defining mark, of a blog.

Comments engage your readers, help you get more “fresh content” SEO brownie points, and give search engines another reason to come back frequently.

Here’s how to fully enable comments:

  1. Login to the WordPress administration center
  2. Click “Options” on the menu bar
  3. Is “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” checked? If so, consider unchecking it.
  4. Click “Discussion” on the submenu bar
  5. Make sure the following are checked: “Allow people to post comments on the article” and “Allow link notifications from other Weblogs (pingbacks and trackbacks.)”

WordPress SEO Tip #19 — Does Your Blog Have a Topic?

Some of us would prefer to have a blog where we talk about anything that comes to mind: cars, movies, photosynthesis, dust mites, you name it.

In and of itself, such a blogging style isn’t wrong; however, you can leave search engines clueless as to what your blog’s about and thus for what search queries your blog should appear. And some of your readers might get annoyed in the process as well.

WordPress SEO Tip #18 — Ensure URL Canonicalization

If your blog posts are accessible from more than one URL, you could end up with:

  • Search engines confused as to which URL to display in the SERPs.
  • PageRank split between multiple pages.
  • Duplicate content penalties.

Starting with version 2.3, WordPress takes care of this and makes sure your content is accessible from only one place. So if you use an older version, either upgrade to the latest version of WordPress, or install the Permalink Redirect plugin.

WordPress SEO Tip #17 — Check for Valid XHTML

Most code errors are minor, but the more serious ones can cause content misinterpretation by search engines, lower rankings, and rendering errors.

WordPress itself produces valid code, but errors can crop up from two other common sources:

  • Poorly written plugins or themes
  • User-created coding errors (in the blog posts themselves, or through theme customizations)

First check your site for errors. If an error is found, look at the surrounding content to determine the source of the error.

If a plugin is the culprit, fix it if you’re good at that sort of thing (the beauty of open source!), or send a quick email to the plugin developer and let him or her know.

WordPress SEO Tip #16 – Don’t Leech Link Juice!

One characteristic of WordPress blogs is the sidebar, which is typically present on every single page. Do you really need to be passing link juice from every single one of your pages to every single one of those links? If the answer is no, consider adding rel=”nofollow” to the less important ones.

WordPress SEO Tip #15 — Use Images in Your Posts

Not only do they increase visitor attention and retention, they give you an opportunity to use keyword-rich “alt” attributes, “title” attributes, and filenames. Plus it’ll give your blog visibility in image search engines.

WordPress SEO Tip #14 — Does Your Theme Use Header Tags Correctly?

  • The blog title, or your main keyword should be in an <h1> tag.
  • If your subtitle is keyword-rich, you can put it in an <h2>; otherwise I recommend putting it in a non-header tag like <div>.
  • The post titles should go in <h2> tags.
  • Sidebar section titles should be <h3> tag or non-header.

Unfortunately, some themes (including the WordPress Default Theme) put the sidebar section titles in <h2> tags. Although this makes sense from a strict structural point of view, it also gives irrelevant sidebar headers (“Categories,” “Archives,” “Meta,” etc.) equal weight with your SEO-important post titles.

To sum it up: Use a theme that utilizes header-tags properly, or try fixing the theme you have.

WordPress SEO Tip #13 — Use Pinging

A ping is a “this site has new content” notification that invites bots to visit your blog.

WordPress pings one website called Ping-o-matic by default, which in turn pings others. You can also add additional services by going to Options > Writing in the admin panel. (For example, the pinging URL for Google Blog Search is

Another Bonus Tip: Once a post is published, WordPress issues pings whenever the post is edited. Try to cut down on after-publishing edits to avoid being considered a ping spammer.

WordPress SEO Tip #12 — Install the Google XML Sitemaps Generator Plugin

XML Sitemaps are search-engine-friendly directories of your blog’s posts and other pages intended to help search engines spider your site. Though pioneered by Google, they’re supported by Yahoo, MSN, and as well.

The Google XML Sitemaps Generator for WordPress makes creation of these sitemaps easy and automatic. It also lets the engines know when you post new content.

WordPress SEO Tip #11 — Avoid Sponsored Themes

There was a debate in the WordPress community not too long ago on the topic of sponsered themes. These themes include paid links (usually in the footer) than can suck PageRank and possibly result in a Google paid links penalty.

Stick with WordPress theme directories that don’t include sponsored themes, like the WordPress Theme Viewer.

Bonus Tip #2 — Write Right Post Titles

SEO isn’t everything: once you’re high in the SERPs, you need action words to prompt clickthroughs.

Put keywords in your title if at all possible, but not if it’ll compromise the click-trigger action title.

WordPress SEO Tip #10 — Use Traditional SEO Techniques

A WordPress blog is a website too, so the traditional SEO techniques still apply:

  • Use important keywords in the title and throughout the post, but don’t overdo it.
  • Bold your keywords when it makes sense.
  • Develop links to your blog.

WordPress SEO Tip #9 — Use the Power of the Slug

Ever wondered what the “Post Slug” on the “Write” page was? It’s the text that goes in the URL when you have “Pretty Permalinks” enabled (see tip #2).

By default the slug is a “sanitized” version of the post title. However, if your title is overly long or keyword-sparse, you can change the slug through the Post Slug box.

Yet Another Bonus Tip: The SEO Slugs plugin can take out common words like “you,” “is,” etc. out of the slug for you automatically.

WordPress SEO Tip #8 — Use Timestamping to Stagger Fresh Content

Search engines and visitors love fresh blog content on a steady, regular basis. But for a lot of us, creativity comes irregularly: 10 post ideas one week, none the next.

Enter timestamping. When writing a post, click the plus sign next to “Post Timestamp.” Set a date and time, and the post will publish by itself whenever you specify.

Search engines will keep coming back, and visitors won’t be inundated with a ton of new posts all at once.

Hint: If you’ve timestamped a post, don’t click the Publish button, since that’ll publish your post immediately regardless of your timestamp. Instead, select “Published” under “Post Status” and click the Save button.

WordPress SEO Tip #7 — Use Tags for Free Keyword Boosts

WordPress 2.3 and above include a tags feature that lets you assign keywords to your blog posts. Once you start using them, then since each tag gets its own webpage, you’ll be generating a ton of your own themed, keyword-oriented internal backlink pages.

WordPress SEO Tip #6 — Integrate Social Media

Adding social media links/buttons like the ones above makes it easy for visitors to promote your quality content (hint, hint). Social media is a great way to build links naturally as well as drive targeted site traffic.

  • Share This is a very popular “social media all-in-one” plugin.
  • If you’re a FeedBurner user, you can use FeedFlare to add action links, including social media ones, to the bottom of your posts.

Lots of social media sites provide code you can use to generate buttons like those above. Grab your own code from:

WordPress SEO Tip #5 — Implement Deep-Linking

Here are several great ways to implement deep-linking on your WordPress blog:

  • Within your posts, link to other posts on your blog and use important keywords in the anchor text.
  • Install the Similar Posts plugin, which inserts a list of related posts you’ve written to the bottom of each of your blog posts. This process will create aged deep links and increase visitor retention.
  • Display your most popular posts in your sidebar using the Popularity Contest plugin. Gives your most popular posts tons of internal links, and helps your visitors find your best content.

WordPress SEO Tip #4 — Make Scrapers Work to Your Advantage

Most of us would probably be upset if someone used scraping (automated content stealing) to publish our laboriously-written posts as his or her own.

But with a little work, you can make the scrapers work for you, not against you.

Here’s how to do it, courtesy of

If you use WordPress it’s very easy to take full advantage of these sites linking to you, all you need to do is create links back to your content within your feed.

What you’ll need for this:

These plugins simply show your entire post in your feed & also add some related posts in your feed only (which will also increase the amount of people in your feed reading more than 1 post).
Now, everytime anyone scrapes your blog via your RSS feed & republishes it they’ll be deep linking to 5 or more of your existing posts. Bingo.

WordPress SEO Tip #3 — Install the All-in-One SEO Plugin

Like the name implies, this plugin covers a lot of the bases.

  • Puts the blog name after the post title, giving your keyword-rich titles more prominence.
  • Allows you to override title and meta tags on your homepage as well as your individual posts.
  • Lets you add “noindex” to your category and/or tag pages to avoid duplicate content.
  • And more.

A must-have for serious WordPress SEO.

WordPress SEO Tip #2 — Use “Pretty Permalinks”

Sure, you may already use Pretty Permalinks, but are you using the best possible permalink structure?

For those of who don’t use Pretty Permalinks, it’s a must-do for WordPress SEO. Permalinks, in essence, are the URLs of your WordPress blog posts. “Pretty Permalinks” put slugs (which should contain keywords — see tip #9) in your URLs instead of the default numbers.

To enable or change them, first login, then go to Options > Permalinks.

The two options you do not want are “Default” and “Numeric.” Here are my suggestions for picking a “pretty” permalink structure:

  • Date and Name Based: The problem with this is that your posts are several extra directories deep, which can decrease relevence in some search engines. However, such a permalink structure can nevertheless be desireable if your blog is news-oriented or date-sensitive.
  • Post Name Only: If your blog covers one topic that has no subtopics (which, though possible, is unlikely), select “Custom” and type /%postname%/
  • Category Based: If your blog covers multiple topics, implement category-based URLs. (You have to look into the Codex to find information on category-based URLs, so many WordPress users probably don’t realize that this option exists!) To implement it, select “Custom” and type /%category%/%postname%/

WordPress SEO Tip #1 — WordPress Secret: Use Category-Based Permalinks for SEO Siloing

Here’s the big finale. Problem is, this tip is so important (and lengthy) that it really merits its own post.

Here’s a teaser: it entails implementing the powerful siloing technique on your WordPress blog through a combination of plugins, settings, and strategies.


Okay, so it was actually more like 23+ tips instead of 20. I certainly hope you gleaned a useful strategy or two in your quest for WordPress search engine optimization. If you enjoyed this post, please social it, email it, link it, or leave a comment!

Stay tuned for the “mega-tip” later this week! If your eager to try these techniques out, download our free WordPress SEO Theme, Small Business SEO.

John Lamansky is an up-and-coming web developer who has building websites for 7 years and has been working with WordPress for almost 3 of its 5 years of existence. He is experienced with XHTML, CSS, PHP, WordPress, and much more, and looks forward to providing WordPress tips, services, and resources to the blogging community. 

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173 thoughts on “20 Practical SEO Tips to Super-Charge Your WordPress Blog!
  1. LP says:

    Great advce. Thanks!

    I’ve had my blog running for a few months now. I didn’t know about the permalink trick until now – it’s been set to default. Do you know of any plugins that can change the permalinks automatcailly and then redirect from the old URL’s?

  2. BlabTalk says:

    Although as a webmaster I build forums mainly, this is a very helpful post for those of us that use WordPress for building websites, me included. Thank you for a great post, I have copied and pasted this post to my computer to refer to it in the future.

  3. Wow! mind blowing post. Thanks John Lamansky for these tips I was so ignorant about these useful tools on web. Now I will implement your tips on our wordpress blog. i am waiting for some more tips.

  4. WOW, that was one heck of tip to boost up your wordpress blog.I will apply your tips on my blog. currently we are working on it and your 20tips are great help tp me.

  5. Vinod says:

    Google has done a U turn in the SEO game by providing a fantastic new tool to assist anybody looking to develop there website and target specific keywords.
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  6. Hicham says:


    Thanks a lot for the supurb tips :)

  7. Great site, some very good tips… Link building is still the way forward!

  8. Hi john

    Can you help me with some blog stuff please?

    I contacted you some time ago and I never got back to you.

    Thanks for your patience


  9. Ridho says:

    I will try all of your tips, and i hope after i try your tips, my blog will have more pagerank.

  10. Masini VW says:

    Thanks for this SEO free tips!

  11. yamato says:

    thanks!add into my blog :)

  12. Two words….AWE-SOME! Thanks a bunch…we are implementing these suggestions right now…thanks…much appreciated…

    Also I checked to see how your site rates…and well…you are practicing what you preach..nice too see..

  13. thanks,
    Tips are very benifisial to my sites,

  14. Some really interesting SEO points. Thanks for sharing these ideas John!

  15. Du Nguyen says:

    Good post! I’d translate it into Vietnamese or copy to my SEO blog (of course, a link back). Is it OK?

  16. jazzian says:

    All-in-One wordpress plugin is just like a blessing for new bloggers, it really make things easy and if used properly then increase the chances of your pages appear in search results 100 times more.

  17. sally says:

    Thank you for the information.

    I have a built on wordpress cms. I have blog, forum and other 2- 3 pages.I have given 6 external links in blog roll. Do you I think I should provide nofollow to that; Since my site is not completely blog I have additional pages I feel my page rank value is simply going out of my site.

    Thanks a lot for informative blog.


  18. Wow, I have just bookmarked your site and will be returning.

    Your post was awesome.

    Thanks a million.

  19. Those 20 tips really are simple yet effective ways of optimising any site or blog. I’ve written in effect a diary of my SEO techniques..

    I think your readers may find some use for it when reading this post.


  20. thanks for sharing! time to action!

  21. Nome says:

    excellent Tips ! these are really useful for me !

  22. Wow…I think this is basic but also very useful.thanks dude,I will notice this,and make a good one to my Blog…

  23. Great post. I, too, look forward to your expanding info on certain items within this valuable list. Just discovered this blog today. I have it bookmarked for future visits. I will also refer others to it. Thanks. Have a good trip.

  24. Great and interesting points! I agree these are amazing ideas to improve blog performance. Thanks

  25. Sahil says:

    Thanks for sharing the great info.

  26. I was unsure if I should use WordPress or html/css for my next website. Now that I’ve read these tips, it’s WordPress all the way! Thank you so much for this post.

  27. izac says:

    THX a lot for sharing this great tips !!

  28. Sneha Gupta says:

    Useful information to your points. I am very impressed how to useful in this point.
    I am also interested in latest news, sometimes i posted on
    Web Development

  29. infopemula says:

    Thanks for the completely seo guide

  30. Seo says:

    Most informative wordpress Seo article you submitted here.They are worth to read really.Especially for new starters SEO or new bloggers,these will be very useful.All of them is true in my opinion.

  31. Davey says:

    Thank you for the tips. I am in the process of designing a new site using WordPress as a CMS and researching SEO so that I can optimize my pages for the search engines, sooner than later.

  32. James says:

    Perfect hit to target.
    Thanks for this nice post.

  33. shady says:

    Thanks alot for this info

  34. shady says:

    a very informative post. thanks for shareing

  35. WordPress SEO Tip #18 — Ensure URL Canonicalization

    what do you mean by this
    can you please tell me ?

  36. SEO Dubai says:

    Thanks for wordpress SEO techniques and tips… very informative!

  37. pemilu says:

    a very informative article, which describes step by step implementation of seo.

  38. I have been using wordpress for website but i didn’t know that there is SEO techniques for it. Thanks for grate information.

  39. mixedsite says:

    Ya really nice work Still I have some doubts How to avoid duplicate pages
    how to stop indexing the comment link

  40. Madhu says:

    Thanks a lot for the useful comments. I am presently using Blogger but seeing how effective WordPress is, I think I will switch to the latter!

  41. i agree with you. thank so much…

  42. thanks for the tips…best regards.

  43. I read this post just in time. As a relatively new website, we have plenty to learn, but fortunately we don’t have too much baggage to correct. It is wonderful that experts such as you are willing to share their knowledge. THANK YOU.

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