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WordPress, straight out of the box, comes ready to embrace search engines. Its features and functions guide a search engine through the posts, pages, and categories to help the search engine crawl your site and gather the information it needs to include your site within its database.
WordPress comes with several built in search optimization tools, including the ability to use .htaccess to create apparently static URLs called permalinks, blogrolling, and pinging. There are also a number of third party plugins and hacks which can be used for search engine optimization (SEO).
However, once you start using various WordPress Themes and customizing WordPress to meet your own needs, you may break some of those useful search engine friendly features. To maintain your WordPress site's optimal friendliness towards search engine spiders and crawlers, here are a few tips:
There are many resources that will "help" you submit your site to search engines. Some are free, some for a fee. Or you can manually submit your site to search engines yourself. Whatever method you choose to use, once your site has been checked for errors and is ready to go, search engines will welcome your WordPress site.
Here are some tips for successful site submissions:
It is also useful for traffic generation and search optimization purposes to submit your site to directories. Both comprehensive directory sites and those specific to the subject or localisation of your site can be used.
DMOZ.org this is the most important directory. Its content is licensed in an open fashion, allowing it to be syndicated through out the web. Its content is also used directly in some fashion by almost all of the major search engines.
While WordPress comes ready for search engines, the following are more resources and information you may want to know about preparing and maintaining your site for search engines' robots and crawlers.
Meta Tags contain information that describes your site's purpose, description, and keywords used within your site. The meta tags are stored within the head of your header.php template file. By default, they are not included in WordPress, but you can manually include them and the article on Meta Tags in WordPress takes you through the process of adding meta tags to your WordPress site.
The WordPress Custom Fields option can also be used to include keywords and descriptions for posts and Pages. There are also several WordPress Plugins that can also help you to add meta tags and keyword descriptions to your site found within the Official WordPress Plugin Directory.
Search Engines read a yourserver.com/robots.txt file to get information on what they should and shouldn't be looking for, and where.
Specifying where search engines should look for content in high-quality directories or files you can increase the ranking of your site, and is recommended by Google and all the search engines.
An example WordPress robots.txt file:
Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml # Google Image User-agent: Googlebot-Image Disallow: Allow: /* # Google AdSense User-agent: Mediapartners-Google Disallow: # digg mirror User-agent: duggmirror Disallow: / # global User-agent: * Disallow: /cgi-bin/ Disallow: /wp-admin/ Disallow: /wp-includes/ Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/ Disallow: /wp-content/cache/ Disallow: /wp-content/themes/ Disallow: /trackback/ Disallow: /feed/ Disallow: /comments/ Disallow: /category/*/* Disallow: */trackback/ Disallow: */feed/ Disallow: */comments/ Disallow: /*? Allow: /wp-content/uploads/
WordPress comes built-in with various feeds, allowing your site to be viewed by various feed readers. Many search engines are now accepting feed submissions, and there are many site which specialize in directories of feeds and feed services.
To submit your site's feeds, you need to know the link to the various feeds your site provides. The article WordPress Feeds lists the various links of the feeds that come built into WordPress.
For information on customizing these links, see the article on Customizing Feeds.
Technorati is a "real-time search engine that keeps track of what is going on in the blogosphere — the world of weblogs." According to the site, "Technorati tracks the number of links, and the perceived relevance of blogs, as well as the real-time nature of blogging. Because Technorati automatically receives notification from weblogs as soon as they are updated, it can track the thousands of updates per hour that occur in the blogosphere, and monitor the communities (who's linking to whom) underlying these conversations."
Technorati tags are used to categorize the different topics and information used by blogs. Technorati uses WordPress categories as tags automatically. You can add more tags by adding a rel="tag" to any link on your site. For example:
<a href="http://wordpress.org/" rel="tag">WordPress</a> <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/" rel="tag">Codex</a>
There are also several WordPress plugins for maximizing Technorati tags.
Note: In WordPress v1.5.x, Technorati will automatically recognize your category names as tags. For more info, see: WordPress Categories, Technorati Tags and Search Engine Optimisation
Note: For optimal Technorati listing, you should include the Atom feed in the header of your theme. For this you may use the following code, which you can add somewhere between the <head> and </head> tags:
<link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="Atom 0.3" href="<?php bloginfo('atom_url'); ?>" />
Without adding the Atom feed to your header, your posts in Technorati will most likely be displayed wrongly. Which can result in the post content on Technorati duplicating the post title and listing other (meta) information, which is displayed between the post title and the real post content on your weblog.
Permalinks are enhancements to your existing URLs which can improve search engine optimization by presenting your post, page, and archive URLs as something like http://example.com/2003/05/23/my-cheese-sandwich/ rather than http://example.com/index.php?p=423. See Using Permalinks for more information.
As search engines use links and the title as part of their information gathering, links to posts and articles within your site gain importance with Permalinks.
As an added bonus, enable the Permalink Redirect plugin. This plugin "replies a 301 permanent redirect, if request URI is different from entry’s (or archive’s) permalink. It is used to ensure that there is only one URL associated with each blog entry."
A sitemap or "site map" is a single page listing of all the posts on your website. It is intended for your visitors to get a good overview on what your site is about and to find a blog post quickly but it also has great benefits in the search engines as a good link is always pointing to all your blog posts. By having a link to your sitemap on all your sites pages both visitors and search engines will easily get to it and find all your posts.
Here is a tutorial with three different examples of sitemaps with demos and how to set them up:
As of June 2005, Google is now accepting sitemaps of your site as part of their website submissions. Google needs to have this sitemap formatted in a special way using XML. You can find more information about Google's Sitemap Submissions from Google, and the discussion on the WordPress Forum about WordPress and Google Site maps.
Some utilities have been created to help the WordPress user to create a Google site map of their site for submission to Google. For more information on these and Google sitemaps:
There is some debate over whether listing the link relations actually effect search engine ranking however it is simple to implement.
There is a lot to learn about search engine optimization and site submission. Here are just a few sites to help you learn more about how this works:
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