SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION TIPS Don't Block the Search Engines! As silly as it sounds, I've seen this happen many a time. Make sure you are not telling the search engines to stay away from your blog; not good for your high search engine ranking optimization at all, as you can imagine. Believe it or not, some WordPress installations block the search engine spiders by default. How do you make sure you are not one of those blogs? Simple: go to your admin panel and under your "Privacy" tab choose "I would like my blog to be visible to everyone" option. Do You Know What Your Blog Is About? "Of course, I do, Ana - silly question!" Not so fast. Some of us prefer to talk about this, that, and the other: cars, movies, photosynthesis, dust mites - you name it. I am not saying there is anything wrong with this style of blogging; it just might not be the best IF you are hoping for high search engine ranking optimization. Lack of any specific direction for your blog will leave search engines clueless as to what keywords they should rank you for. The result - your blog might ap- pear in some random long tail searches, but will never rank for the keywords you are targeting. By the way, your readers might get annoyed with you as well. So, pick a topic and stick with it! URL Canonicalization There are several variations of each URL: with or without WWW, for instance. To you and me, all of them are absolutely fine; they all will get us where we want to go: to my blog. Search engines though have a mind of their own, and to them variations of my blog URL look like different URLs altogether. Here are some of the problems this confusion can cause: Search engines confused as to which URL to display in the SERPs = your high search engine ranking optimization efforts down the drain. PageRank split between multiple pages. Duplicate content penalties. Picking one URL that your blog can be accessed from is called URL Canonicalization. Starting with version 2.3, WordPress makes it easy to ensure that your content is accessible from one URL only. All you do is go to your blog Admin panel and under "General Settings" look for "Blog Address" setting. Whatever address you type in there (with or without WWW - either one is fine, it's just personal preference) will become your canonical URL. REMINDER: when building links to your blog, make sure you use your canonical URL and stick with it. One more tip on that: you can (and should) set the same preference in Google Webmaster Tools. Make Sure Your Code Is Valid Code errors can potentially create quite a havoc with search engines, resulting in less blog traffic and barring high search engine ranking optimization. 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 or through theme customizations) Keep Your Link Juice to Yourself! Most blog owners display their sidebars on every page. Sometimes it's because their theme does not give them a choice; sometimes, it's because they don't know they have a choice or don't know why they need one. Do you really need to pass your link juice to every single one of those links on every single one of your pages? Solutions: Get rid of the sidebars on some of your pages (like I did on my "About Ana" page). At the very least, make sure you add rel="nofollow" tag to all of your sidebar links. Consider getting rid of some of your sidebar clutter all together. I bet you can find a few things (like a Blogroll) that can go - your blog will look much cleaner and reader-friendly and your link juice will stay right where it needs to be.