5 Nontraditional Ways To Improve WordPress SEO

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There are so many ways to help improve the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on any given site and while the principals are the same, SEO for WordPress must be treated a bit differently due to its nature.

There are tons and tons of articles out there that talk about duplicate content in WordPress, permalinks, plugins and all that good stuff.  But there are still some really great tips that you do not often hear about but that should be practiced.  So this post contains some of great secrets on how you can help improve your SEO with some “non-traditional” WordPress SEO tactics (5 tips to be more specific).

Also, one of the important parts of SEO that many people don’t know about is the speed of your website hosting.  The faster your hosting, the faster your websites, and Google does take speed into account.

Note:  For this post I will assume you have some knowledge of WordPress and on how to edit theme files.

1. Excerpts

Many people like to show their latest posts on their homepage or on the categories and along with the title and often times thumbnails many people like to display a small excerpt about the blog post. Which of course generates some substantial amount of duplicate content.

A lot of people suggest that you should make these “excerpts” shorter in order to help diminish the duplicate content, however, I suggest that you write a unique paragraph that describes your post into the excerpt field when making the post.

This will not only decrease repeated content across your site, but as you will be describing the post it will give your readers a much better understanding of what the post is about and whether they want to check it out or not.

2. Page Templates For Categories

Here is something I came up with one day. Rather than using the category pages that are created automatically by WordPress you can create your own category pages using page templates.

What does this do in terms of SEO?

First – It will allow you to easily add content (we all know its king) to your category pages.

Second – You can use whatever URL and meta tags you want for each individual category.

Third – You can design each one based on their needs. For example if you want one category which a jQuery featured slider on it, but not another you can use different headers for each one and not have to load the javascript unnecessarily.

3. Random Posts

Many people use “Popular Posts” plugins to show other posts that may have a relevance to the page the visitor is currently on. This is a good idea because you will be providing the user with some blog posts they may find attractive, however, if you are running a website where all content is related than you should consider showing a list of random posts instead.

Basically every-time a page on your site is crawled it will find different links  (because they are random). I have no proof, but I think this has some great benefits in terms of the speed in which your site can be crawled as well as I believe it sort of “tricks” the search engine into thinking that the page has been “updated” every-time it scans it because it will be finding different links than the last one.

4. NoIndex On Paginated Pages

Two huge pit-falls of WordPress SEO are duplicate content and page-rank flow. Both of which are mainly caused on your category pages. Earlier I discussed how to minimize the duplicate content issue, now I want to show you a quick “hack’ so you can keep your page rank where it matters.

The problem with paginated pages is that they share the same meta descriptions, very similar title tags and any given category can have from 1 to hundreds of paginated pages. As the search engine crawls your site and starts spreading page-rank amongst your paginated pages you will be getting less and less page rank for each following paginated page.

The Fix

Personally I love to use Page Templates for my categories as suggested above because I want my category pages to rank just as high in search results as my posts and homepage. In order to do this you must keep as much page rank on that page as possible and not spread it to your paginated pages.

The very simple and not so great way of doing this is by adding “nofollow” tags to the next and previous links…but you want your older posts to be crawled still. So the better solution is to add “noindex” to the paginated pages and here is how you do it.

1. Open your header.php file.

2. Paste the following within your header (make sure to fix the quotation mark if you cut and paste from this post)

<?php if ( is_paged() ) { ?>
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,follow” />
<?php } ?>

5.  WordPress Thumbnail Generator

With Google taking speed into consideration for your ranking, I decided to share with you a quick tip for showing thumbnails on  your homepage/posts and categories that can help improve your site speed.

Many websites tend to use 2 methods for showing thumbnails on their WordPress site.

1. Using the width and height tags to create smaller thumbnail images of a specific size from any image

2. Using the timthumb script which dynamically re-sizes an image and outputs a thumbnail

The problem with the first method is that you may be loading a larger lets say a 500px by 500px image and only showing it as a 100px by 100px image. Thus, you are loading more kilobytes than necessary. And if you have 10 or so thumbnails showing on a giving page that can greatly slow down your site.

The second method is better, but not only can it effect the quality of your images it is not an easy solution for many WordPress beginners.

My solution: Did you know WordPress has its own built-in thumbnail creator?

Log into your admin panel and go to tools/media. Here you can set the thumbnail size you wish to show on your site. Than all you need to do is create the necessary “post-meta” or customize the current one on your site so you can show the thumbnails created by WordPress. It should be something like this:

// check for thumbnail
$thumb = get_post_meta($post->ID, ‘Thumbnail’, $single = true);
// check for thumbnail alt text
?><a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>” title=”<?php the_title(); ?>”><img src=”<?php echo $thumb; ?>-100×100.jpg” alt=”<?php the_title(); ?>” border=”0″ />

If you noticed I just added “-100×100.jpg” to the end of the php echo. If you had set the thumbnail dimensions to 200px by 200x than you would simply use “-200×200.jpg” as this is the format WordPress uses to generate thumbnails.

The one thing you must remember is that when you go to add the image in the custom field that you paste the image url but remove the extension “.jpg” as it should already be in your theme file. And make sure you adjust this in the image link on your actual post as well.


Sorry, that was a lot of text…I know. Hopefully these little tricks will help your WordPress site rank higher in the future and if you have any questions you can always comment below or contact me at my site (will respond faster this way).

Oh, and don’t forget to share this post and visit my site at WPExplorer.com to checkout some sweet WordPress Themes.

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