After last year's Google Caffeine update, blogs have seen an increased boost in Google organic search rankings. Whether you're new to blogging or trying to improve your blog post rankings, where can you get started? First and foremost, if you're not using a self-hosted WordPress, consider making the switch. I've found WordPress to be the most SEO-friendly blogging platform, and with its many fantastic plugins, WordPress goes a long way to making your blog SEO efforts more efficient. Here are my four favorite WordPress plugins for SEO:
The All-In-One SEO Pack
This plugin is my favorite SEO plugin for WordPress. The All-In-One SEO Pack allows blog post authors to define a specific title tag, meta description and meta keywords tag for each post. If you don't have the All-In-One SEO Pack installed, WordPress defaults to using your post title for the title tag and doesn't add a meta description or meta keywords tag. Using the plugin, you can then define these tags, which can not only help your SEO but also your click through rate in organic rankings by adding compelling content in these areas.
Google XML Sitemaps Generator
This plugin is a key one. The Google XML Sitemaps Generator plugin automatically updates your blog's Google XML Sitemap every time a new post is added.
Download the plugin and activate it. Once your Sitemap is created, register the Sitemap with Google Webmaster Tools. Then, each time you add a new post, Google will know about it quickly through your Sitemap update.
If you're not a PHP programmer and don't want to touch your .htaccess file for fear of messing something up, the Redirection plugin is a great way to create and manage 301 redirects without getting too technical. Redirection is especially important if you make changes to a blog post URLs. For instance, let's say you change the way WordPress automatically constructs URLs for blog posts. Don't lose your rankings for those existing posts! Use the Redirection plugin to create redirects for old URLs.
Google Analytics for WordPress Plugin
Like with the Redirection plugin, if you aren't the super techie type and don't want to have to edit your PHP template pages, the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin can help you add Google Analytics tracking scripts to your blog pages without having to actually code them yourself.