On the WordPress.com Blog, we recently published a post on Search Engine Optimization for WordPress.com. It has a ton of great information relevant to authors on WordPress.com VIP, so please check it out and feel free to forward it to your colleagues.
Common Myths about SEO
Myth: I need a plugin for SEO.
Fact: WordPress.com has great SEO right out of the box — you don’t have to do anything extra. In fact, WordPress takes care of 80-90 percent of the mechanics of SEO for you, according to Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team. All of our themes are optimized for search engines, which means they are designed to make it easy for the Googlebot (and other search engines) to crawl through them and discover all the content.
Smart ways to increase your SERP rank
Make sure to use short, easy-to-read post slugs that accurately describe what your posts are about. On WordPress.com, the post slug is the last part of your post title, which you can edit to be anything you like. For example, the slug “/buying-sailboats” is better than “/how-to-buy-a-beautiful-inexpensive-sailboat-on-Craigslist” or “/354.”
Read the full post here.
Danny Sullivan reports on Search Engine Land that only 5% of news publishers are using the Google News Keywords tag, which Google introduced back in September—are you one of them? If not, it may interest you to know that WordPress.com VIP comes with support for the
news_keywords tag built-in, via the Add Meta Tags plugin available from your WordPress dashboard.
Google introduced the new tag a few months ago to help publishers make their content more easily discoverable, without having to modify their headlines to inject keywords:
The goal is simple: empower news writers to express their stories freely while helping Google News to properly understand and classify that content so that it’s discoverable by our wide audience of users.
Similar in spirit to the plain keywords metatag, the news_keywords metatag lets publishers specify a collection of terms that apply to a news article. These words don’t need to appear anywhere within the headline or body text. News keywords such as “stocks”, “stock market”, or “crash” would be helpful in allowing Google News to better understand the article content for ranking without forcing the editors to water down the creativity of a great headline. Because the metatag appears only as part of the HTML code of a page, visitors to a site won’t ever see the magic under the hood.
Head over to VIP -> Plugins & Services from within your WordPress dashboard to activate the Add Meta Tags plugin and the Google News meta tag on your site—happy SEO’ing!
And thanks to our friends at Metro.co.uk who added the support for news_keywords to Add Meta Tags!
For publishers looking at the search traffic benefits of WordPress, Matt Cutts from the Web Spam team at Google, offers his take:
WordPress takes care of 80-90% of (the mechanics of) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Below is a great video of Matt speaking at WordCamp SF 2009 about how Google search works and what publishers should be doing to ensure proper indexing:
[ Slides from Matt's presentation available on mattcutts.com ]