You must do much more than just pressing the Publish button after writing your post if you want to compete with other websites on the SERPs ranking. The following are a few tips on how to optimize your Wordpress blog.
1. XML Sitemap
First of all you must install the XML sitemap plugin and generate a sitemap for your entire blog including all the blog posts and pages. Google XML Sitemaps plugin is the best plugin for generating sitemap within a few seconds and it has got millions of downloads. The WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast also contain an XML site generator for generating sitemap for your WordPress blog. Once you have setup the XML sitemap plugin, it will automatically update itself with the latest blog posts. After generating the sitemap, you should submit it to Google and Bing webmaster tools.
2. Categories and Tags
Secondly, you must categorize your posts and tag them properly. Don't put your posts in the uncategorized category as this is the most irrelevant category. Instead, create different categories so that your blog look like a table of contents. You only need to give each post 3 - 5 of the most relevant tags. Categories and tags enables your visitors to easily navigate around the blog and it also make the blog more appealing for people who are visiting for the first time.Don't put too many tags as it will make your post looks like spam.
3. Related Posts Plugin
Thirdly, you should use the related posts plugin that displays posts related to the current post the reader is viewing on the website. It prevent them from having to press the back button to find other interesting posts that they want to read.
4. Canonical URL
Fourthly, you must define the canonical URL for your WordPress blog. Canonical means choosing the best URL that will display when people land on the homepage including www.samplesite.com, samplesite.com/,www.samplesite.com/index.html and samplesite.com/home.asp. You can customize this via the setting menu on your WordPress blog, You also have to ping Google Webmaster and tell them the URL you want to use. The WordPress SEO by Yoast also enable you to define the canonical URLs for all the pages on your blog.
5. Meta Tags and Meta Descriptions
Fifthly, you should add a unique meta title and meta description for all your posts by using the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. You must not exceed the word count suggested by the plugin for the meta title and meta description. Google will search for the user query keyword in the meta description if it couldn't find any keyword in the blog post.
6. Choosing a Low Competition Keyword
When researching for keywords, you should choose low competition keywords that have competition lesser than 75,000. Low competition keywords are easier to rank because you only need a bit of backlinks to get to the first page of the SERP. The low competition keyword you choose must have some search traffic. You can write a new post about the targeted low competition keyword or you can customize other old posts on the low competition keyword. You should repeat the keyword in the heading tags including H1, H2, H3 and so on and you should also repeat the keyword early in the content as well as in the meta description tags. If there are any images related to the low competition keywords, you should also repeat it. Another benefit of using a keyword in the meta description tag is that Google will bold it in the search result, so that even though you don't rank high for it, people are likely to click on it when they can see the bold keyword in the search result.
6. Optimize the Image Files
You must optimize your images by renaming the image files with an appropriate name in conjunction with the content presented on the post. Every image should have an appropriate alt tag and title tag. Never upload an image that is in the camera file name format such as DSC574689.jpg but rename it first to a relevant name before uploading it.
7. Use a Short Permalinks
It is recommended that you use a short permalink for all your blog posts. You can include keywords in the permalinks and you must remember that Google only take into account the first 4 words in the permalink so there is no need to use a long permalink.
8. Use a SEO Optimized WordPress Theme
The last tip is to use a theme with a layout and design that is optimized for SEO. Google will scan through your source code so make sure the code is neat and well organized.