There are many ways that you can increase traffic to your blog with search engine optimization (SEO), but if you use WordPress as your blogging application, particularly the self-hosted application available at WordPress.org, then there are some easy SEO tricks that you can use to ensure your blog gets the most search traffic possible.
1. Change the Permalink Structure
The first thing you should do is change your blog’s permalink structure, so it includes some useful text rather than just a post number. The default permalink structure for WordPress blog posts is http://www.yourblogname.com/?p=173. In the Settings section of your WordPress dashboard, select “Custom Structure” rather than the default permalink structure and enter “/%category%/%postname%/” to change the permalink structure to include the name of the category the post is in as well as the post title. If you prefer, you can simply enter “/%postname%/” to include only the post title in the permalink. Showing the category and post name in your blog post URLs tells search engines a lot more about the content of your post than a number does.
2. Write Custom Post Descriptions
Don’t rely on the auto-generated blog post description or excerpt that is pulled from your post content and used as the description of your post in search engine results. Optimize that description for search instead by writing a brief, custom description of each post. Include your target keyword and useful, descriptive language that not only tells search engines what the post is about but also motivates people to click on your post when it appears in their search results.
3. Customize Image Titles and Alt-Tags
WordPress makes it extremely easy to customize your image titles and alt-tags. When you upload an image to your WordPress account, you have a chance to customize both. When you insert an image from your WordPress media library into a post, you get another chance to modify the image title and alt-tag so it’s most relevant to your post content and useful for search engine optimization
4. Speed up Your Blog’s Page Load Time
The amount of time it takes for the pages and posts on your blog to load in a visitor’s web browser affects your search engine results rankings. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to make sure your blog always loads quickly. Not only should you delete any elements that are slowing down page load time, but you should also use a WordPress plugin like WP Super Cache to increase the speed of your WordPress blog page load.
5. Link to Related Posts
A useful list of related posts published at the end of each of your blog posts is not only a great way to keep people on your blog longer by leading them directly to relevant content, but it can also boost search traffic to your blog. That’s because a list of related posts helps communicate the content of the post to search engines, and it helps search engines easily find your older content. Use a WordPress plugin like Yet Another Related Posts Plugin to automatically add a list of related posts at the end of your blog posts.
6. Use an SEO Plugin
Many WordPress plugins are available that help you automate SEO processes and boost your search rankings and traffic. A great option is the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin, which enables you to identify your target keyword, create a search optimized post title, enter a custom description, and include a list of related keywords. It’s easy to set up, and it’s very effective.