Optimizing WordPress for Search Engines
November 12, 2008
WordPress is fairly search engine friendly in it's default configuration, but you can make some changes to make sure that it is fully optimized. To make sure that your blog is indexable by search engines, leave the "Allow my blog to appear in search engines like Google and Technorati." checked during the installation process. If you uncheck the option because you don't what your blog to be indexed by search engines until later, make sure to turn on blog visibility on in the Privacy section of WordPress's settings when you want search engines to index your blog. By default, when new content is posted WordPress will ping http://rpc.pingomatic.com/, which informs blog search engines of the new content. If there are specific search engines you want to index your posts, you may wish to add their ping service address to the Update Services, which is located in the Writing section of WordPress's settings. By default, WordPress creates URLs for posts that are a combination of a question mark and series of numbers. In the Permalinks section of WordPress's settings you can change to a more user and search engine friendly structure that includes your posts title in the URL. There are also several plugins that will help to optimize the blog for search engines.
All in One SEO Pack
The All in One SEO Pack plugin allows for setting a number of options to optimize your blog for search engines. You can modify the blogs home page title and add a meta description and meta keywords tag. Additionally, the plugin allows setting the meta description, meta keywords, and page title for individual posts and pages while editing them. The plugin can modify the titles for various types of pages without having to edit your theme's code. To reduce duplicate content issues the plugin can be set to tell search engines not to index your category, tag, and archive pages.
Google XML Sitemaps
The Google XML Sitemaps plugin produces an XML Sitemap for your blog that you can submit to search engines. A XML sitemap provides the search engines information about your blog, allowing them to better understand and crawl your website. Under the default settings the plugin will automatically produce a new sitemap when the content of blog is changed and inform search engines of the update. The plugin provides the ability to customize the information that is provided to the search engines.