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I wasn’t planning writing this post – but advice from the Problogger.com forum convinced me to!

Last week I headed to Sascon to meet like minded social and SEO peeps, learn a lot and drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol. One of the more anticipated talks by myself was the WordPress SEO talk late on the Friday. The talk was taken by Yoast, who’s known in the WordPress community for designing loads of plugins, but is also an accomplished SEO, with a lot of strong clients. He uploaded his presentation onto his website (bottom one), but here are the key takeaways from the talk.

Key Takeaways

Site Structure

  • WordPress sites should be structured like a pyramid. Having the home page at the top and individual posts at the bottom.
  • One of the best ways to create structure is using custom taxonomies. These are custom group types that you can structure in different ways.
  • Further structure can be created with breadcrumbs. These are links on the top of blogs that help create site structure. You can create these using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin.
  • One problem often experienced with blogs is duplicate content, often caused by inproper categorisation and tagging. Realistically you shouldn’t have tags and categories the same (have 10 at most main categories, and infinite tags). And the structure should be the post-name or category/post-name.
  • There are no such thing as an “SEO Friendly” theme. Genesis comes close, but themes should be structured (outside of the CSS) with the content at the top, related naviagtion next, then main navigation and finally meta information (such as privacy policy) at the bottom.

Site Performance

Speed of the site is a ranking factor, plus it’s always handy having shaving speed off your site’s loading time. Here’s what Yoast’s recommended.

  • First of all carry out analysis using Google Page Speed Online.
  • You should have a W3 Total Cache plugin installed as it’s what Yoast considers to be the best. It is tricky to set up though. I use WP Super Cache which is a lot easier to set up.
  • Use Google Libraries. This uses Google servers to call things like jQuery, rather than your own (their servers are faster than yours).
  • Using WP Smush.it to drop the file size of all images you upload.
  • Use Pingdom to test the load speed of the website.
  • If you have a background image on your blog, change it to a CSS Sprite using SpriteMe.

This was the main crux of the talk, and it was very fascinating, with some real takeaways for optimising wordpress. The rest of the conference was great too, and well worth attending if you get the chance!

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