The Basics of SEO for WordPress.com

Is SEO for WordPress.com something that you should worry about?

Well, “worry” is a bit extreme, but you should certainly look into it.

SEO — or search engine optimization — is the practice of making your website or blog align with Google’s expectations and requirements. With good SEO, your website will rank higher in Google searches, increasing the likelihood that new visitors will find it.

Here are some SEO basics to keep in mind.

1. Pick your keywords

The first thing you need to do when starting your SEO journey is pick the keywords that you want to rank for. These should be keywords that your target audience is likely to search for on Google.

Google itself has a tool that can help you discover those key terms. There are also some third-party tools, like KWFinder, that you can use.

2. Make sure Google can see your site

Double check to make sure that your site isn’t hidden from Google.

Go to your WordPress.com user panel and click Settings. In the General tab, scroll down to Privacy and make sure Public is selected.

Setting your WordPress.com site to public

3. Set your blog title and tagline

Your title and tagline are considered prime real estate when it comes to SEO. In other words, they’re the perfect spots for you to insert your main keywords.

To set them, go to your WordPress.com user panel and click on Settings. There, in the General tab, you can set your title and tagline under the Site Profile section.

Changing your title and tagline for SEO

For example, if you manage a blog on vegan smoothies called SmoothieLuv, your title can be something like, “SmoothieLuv — The World’s Best Vegan Smoothies.” That way, people Googling “vegan smoothies” will be more likely to find you.

4. Use optimized headlines for blog posts

Each blog post’s headline should not only convey the topic of the post, but also include the post’s main keyword.

For example, a headline like, “10 Vegan Smoothie Recipes That Will Rock Your World” is highly optimized for the keyword “vegan smoothie recipes.” But if you were to title the same blog post, “Rock Your World with These Refreshing Smoothies,” your post wouldn’t rank as well, as it’s missing the keyword.

5. Use your keywords in blog posts

Try mentioning your post’s main keyword within the first 100 words, and be sure to mention the keyword and other related ones throughout.

Don’t overdo it, though. Unnaturally cramming keywords into a post is known as “keyword stuffing,” and Google can recognize it. Write in a way that sounds natural, with occasional mentions of your keywords where they make sense.

Don’t forget to use your keywords in subheaders, too.

Changing the subheadings on a WordPress.com blog post

6. Optimize your slugs

A slug is the part of a post URL that comes after your domain name. For example, in the URL, “http://mygreatnewblog.com/awesome-blog-post/” the slug is “awesome blog post.”

WordPress.com lets you adjust slugs freely when editing your posts or pages. Under the right sidebar where it says Post Settings, scroll down to More Options and fill in the Slug field.

Changing the blog post slug

7. Interlink your posts and pages

When working on a new post or page, always look for opportunities to link to your already existing posts and pages. Those links should be relevant to what your article is about. Aim to include at least one link for every 250 words of text. It’s also a good practice to link to outside resources when it makes sense.

What’s next?

Apart from the above practices, you should also make an effort to publish new content regularly. When you do so, optimize each individual piece of that content. This is what’s going to give you the best long-term SEO for wordpress.com.

Want to go the extra mile and get into some advanced tactics? WordPress.com offers some SEO tools to check out.

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