5 WordPress SEO Tips that work

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 2, 2013

If you have created a WordPress blog in the last two years, or are running an established blog, you may have been caught in the crossfire of the ever-updating ever-changing Google algorithm. Especially the Panda and Penguin updates have caused quite some havoc among webmasters, with some quitting their blog outright after trying everything in their might to recover from a hit, and others desperate but not out of hope yet.

When you search for SEO tips for WordPress or something similar you will usually find lots of advice on how to improve your website. Not all will work anymore as they may not have taken Panda into account and others may need an update or two so that you do not implement them in a way that is not helpful at all.

The following five tips work, I have been using them on my sites and they are what I consider boosters rather than general tips that you find a lot in every top list about the topic. So, even if your blog is doing well right now, you may benefit from those tips. Lets get started

Fat Pings

So called Fat Pings help you establish your site as the source of content that you publish. One of the big issues on today's Internet are so called scraper sites. Those automated sites take your contents, usually via RSS feed, and publish them automatically on their site. It may only take a couple of seconds before the article that you have just published ends up on scraper sites.

Search engines and other authority sites have sometimes difficulties finding the original content creator. This can especially be an issue if you have a small site that is not crawled that often, while you are facing off against a scraper that has thousands of articles on the site so that it gets crawled quite often.

Fat Pings are used as signals to notify any service using them that your site is the original content creator. WordPress users can simply install a plugin and be done with it.


You may have noticed that more and more entries in Google Search display the author profile picture next to it. That's usually an advantage, especially if competing sites have not configured their sites yet to display the profile photos on Google. It is also likely that the author's rank is a signal in Google's search algorithm.

google author profile

You need a Google+ profile for this to work, if you do not have one I suggest you create one immediately if only for the author information. What you then need to do is link your author account on your WordPress blog to the Google+ profile, and your Google+ profile back to your WordPress blog.

You can check out Display Author Profile Photos On Google Search which is a tutorial I wrote in 2011 that you can use for that, or if you prefer a couple of newer options Yoasts guide on his website.


Breadcrumbs display path information to visitors and search engines. I recently moved them from the bottom to the top here on Ghacks, and you see them listed above the page title on all articles published on this site. While they may be helpful right away for visitors of the blog, they are also used by search engines and display on the search result page.


What this means is that you get additional click options in the results. Not only is the page title clickable, the Software breadcrumb is clickable as well. Compare that to the site below where only the title is clickable.

breadcrumbs search engine

I'm using WordPress SEO by Yoast for breadcrumbs and a lot of other SEO related features. There is also a standalone script available if you do not want to install the heavy SEO plugin right away.

Permalink optimization

WordPress by default creates ugly looking urls that use the ?p=1337 syntax. That's bad for a number of reasons, and it is a lot better, both for site visitors and the webmaster, to use "speaking urls" instead. WordPress uses code that it writes to your blog's htaccess file to rewrite the articles.

That code is not optimized, and optimizing it will result in a speed boost for visitors. That's good of course as every millisecond counts nowadays.

Check out our guide on how to speed up WordPress with better permalink rewrite code. You basically replace WordPress' version of the code with the new one. Make a backup first to be on the safe side of things.

Check broken links

It is a tedious boring tasks to verify links on your blog. But it needs to be done for two main purposes. First, most visitors will dislike your site if the articles they open contain broken links. Second, search engines may also use the information in their ranking information.

So, broken links are bad and the best program to verify them on your WordPress blog is Broken Link Checker. The plugin runs in the background all the time scanning and verifying links.

broken links

What you need to do regularly is to check the broken links listing and edit articles and remove links that are broken. I usually give it a day or two to see if a technical issue caused the hit. I also highly recommend that you update the article with an alternative if available.

Closing Words

SEO is an ever changing game, and what works today may not work tomorrow anymore. Webmasters do not have any other option but to stay informed about the latest changes that Google or Microsoft introduce, and most need to play ball if they want to receive traffic from these search engines.

Have another SEO tip that you'd like to share or a question? Post them in the comment section below.


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  1. The Coeus said on December 24, 2013 at 6:25 am

    Great tips, These are really useful and works too. Broken links are really bad, they reduces the traffic also decreases the reputation of our site. So it is always good to check for those links and make them to redirect to your home page. And it will be good to you keeping update your site regularly. This can increases the visits of Google bot.

  2. Paul said on March 30, 2013 at 3:42 am

    What would you say is the best permalink structure for SEO? I’ve always thought it is to just display the post name.

  3. Lorenzo said on March 25, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    The Redirection plugin can help you fix broken links with a 301 redirect. Its available from the WordPress plugins directory.

  4. Ahmad Raza said on February 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Great tips,,,really was unaware of them… thanks alot…

  5. Matt said on January 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    No worries, happy to help.

    My colleague has also written a good ‘top 10 useful WordPress plugins’ list if anybody is interested. Some really good ones we’ve used on our site:


  6. Mick@Garner SEO said on January 22, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    PubSubHubbub seems to be one of those plugins that is great but doesn’t get all the publicity it deserves. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Matt said on January 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Fat Pings can be done through installing PubSubHubbub, a free extension.


    Hope that helps.

  8. Mike @ cyberma.us said on January 7, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Thanks for the great info! I only knew about the Yoast plugins. But this Fat Pings, is this free?

  9. A. Morris said on January 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Great list, thank you. I had no idea what some of these were and I’ve been using WordPress for a year now. I always recommend it to everyone I know – it certainly seems to be the best blog format to use (in my opinion, anyway). It’s so easy to use and great fun. Wicked!

  10. Gloria Dublin said on January 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Martin,
    Thanks for this useful post.
    Everything are changing so and SEO but some parts will stay the same or will have little change. So, we have one kind of SEO tool that will always work for us. It’s SEO tool who is checks tehnical bugs on site/blog and social media parameters because those factors will have big importance through long time.

    I hope you don’t mind, I have recommendation of one kind of this SEO tool that check more than 150 SEO factors and provide personal tips for improvements. It’s good and free for use. You can check on http://tutor.rs

    Best regards and keep this good posting.

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