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How I Tweaked my WordPress Blog to Rank Better in the Search Engines

This guest post is by Jonathan of NutraSol Natural Center.

As bloggers and website owners, improving our websites is an absolute must, and search engine optimization is important if we want to get more traffic through search engines.

I have been familiar with SEO since before I started my first blog on professional business strategies. I came across it during the research stage when I was trying to learn everything I could about creating a website. Once I was exposed, I was instantly hooked.

What interested me the most about SEO was the challenge of competing with other sites to appear on the first page of Google for my target keywords. It is almost as if SEO gives us esoteric super-powers that are only fully understood by a small community of internet marketers.

After learning enough to get me started, I created some blogs and conducted experiments that allowed me to learn a few tricks on my own.

Using WordPress features for SEO

Not long ago, I started a Spanish blog on home remedies and alternative medicine. It’s not in English—my apologies—but that’s the blog I first implemented this technique on.

When I started it, I had envisioned it as a reference site where people could go and find information on natural remedies, so I decided to have the articles on static pages rather than blog posts. 

I also decided to have the names of the ailments in the page URL. For example, for hypertension, I had the URL http://www.informenatural.com/hipertension/  on a static WordPress page. 

The logic behind this approach was to have a reference page for all the ailments I covered, and people could go there just to get this information. It was going well and traffic was growing little by little, but suddenly, a light bulb switched on in my head. 

I decided to turn my static-page reference site into an online magazine instead, and to feature articles that would encourage social activity where people would be allowed to leave comments. Effectively I wanted to move from a static informational website to a blog.

The problem was that in order for me to do this, I had to turn all the pages I had into posts.

Turning pages into posts without losing links

The site was already two years old and I had backlinks around the web that I didn’t want to lose. But I also knew that I couldn’t have the old pages and the new posts existing together because that would create duplicate content issues for my site with the search engines. Not only that, but all of the pages were in Google’s index and some were ranking in the first page of search results for some of my target keywords.

Now, you may be thinking, “Why didn’t you just give the posts the same URL as the pages?” or “Why didn’t you just use a 301 redirect?” The reason is because I was going to turn all the articles I had into posts, and I didn’t want one post to have a permalink with a specific single keyword term such as Hypertension. I also preferred to have more pages indexed by the search engines anyway.

Hypertension Page

So, I decided to take a different approach. I decided to turn the single keyword terms into categories so that I could keep the same URL structures and can keep all the inbound links my blog had acquired over the years.

I also decided to do this because the single keyword term in the URL could then be used to direct users to other articles that have to do with that term.  For example, www.informenatural.com/hipertension would no longer lead to one article on a static page; it would be the page to go to to find all the posts related to that subject.

Add Category Hypertension

Here’s how I did it

By default, WordPress category pages contain the word “category” in their URLs. For example, informenatural.com/hipertension would be converted to informenatural.com/category/hipertension. 

In order for things to go as planned, I needed to remove the word “category” from the category permalinks. I did this by using a WordPress plugin called WP No Category Base.  Doing this allowed me to maintain the URL and preserve the permalinks in the format I originally had them in.

After doing this, I copied the content from the page to the post, with my keyword terms in the titles and permalinks of the posts.  Then, I deleted the pages.

Hypertension Category Page

This allowed me to maintain my links and transform my static-page site into a blog. I conducted keyword research, found the long-tail terms that I wanted to rank for, and included them in the permalinks of my posts. 

After that, I signed into my Google Webmaster Tools account, and used the Fetch As Google tool to submit the new URLs.

Hypertension Post

Grow your traffic with WordPress

These changes have allowed my traffic to increase tremendously and I predict it will continue to grow with time.

WordPress gives us the flexibility to do many things with our blogs and it allows us to stay organized while we’re at it.  If you find that a post is not ranking well enough for a keyword, you can always do some keyword research to find a better phrase with more searches and change your URL to include that term.

Experiment with your blogs, using WordPress features to your advantage, and you can help your blog grow like never before.

Do you use WordPress features to help your search rank? Share your favorite tip with us in the comments.

Jonathan is the founder of NutraSol Natural Center and LocalRoamer.Com. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and he is currently enrolled in courses to get a degree in Nutrition. Jonathan has designed 2 blogs on natural remedies to educate his customers for his store at Informe Natural and Earth Doctor.

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Comments

  1. You don’t need that plugin for that.. most people use Yoast and that can be setup in the Yoast SEO plugin. You can also use a SEO plugin like SEO Ultimate that will do this for you as well. No need to have extra plugins on your blog

    • It’s good to read these kinds of articles that would really help new bloggers. Plus I always find lots of interesting tips from the commenters as well.

  2. Rich B says:

    Good Ideas , I use blogspot for now just getting it started trying to learn the best SEO ways and tactics per say. I have a wordpress but this is already set up and starting backlinking and trying to grow and get this out there so im going to wait to switch or get a real domain and just use this as the blog for my site. Finding keywords and long tail keywords is kinda hard with my topic , its not a niche its a way of thinking lol. I really enjoy doing this and researching about different strategies! Enjoyed the read thanks

  3. Very good work around but please explain to me: why not just leave those pages and start writing new posts ? seems little risky to me ;-)

    • Jonathan says:

      I didn’t want single keywords in the url so I had no choice. It was better off this way. The users have been responding a lot better to this new format.

  4. Justin Mazza says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    Wow man, that is a lot of incredible experiments that you have done with your site. I use the All in One SEO plugin and I make sure to place my keyword in my title as well. SEO is a topic that I am still learning much about even after nearly 2 years of blogging.

    take care.

  5. Neil says:

    Great site and a real inspiration thanks for the tips and we will be following your progress and hope others can follow ours.

  6. Ferb says:

    It probably takes you quite a long to complete it, lose the value of the page and time you spend on it. What I do is to add a link to the menu bar and write a new post as an invitation to drive visitors to that page.

    But your way is also great too, you use that idea to compose this post and have it on problogger.net which also generate a huge amount of traffic to that post.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  7. Michael says:

    Wow. Great tips! Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Moe says:

    Glad it worked out for you. I also would have just left the pages and continued on by switching to posts. Definitely motivated me to look back at some of my older posts that get little traffic and re-work them.

  9. John says:

    Good work Jonathan :-)
    I have the same issue but didn’t do anything yet
    Gonna study the no category base plugin, thanks for the tip

  10. rakesh says:

    yes rework will definitely helps in improvizing our sites..

  11. Shelby Roth says:

    This is really an amazing site I would actually love to re-read now and then! The information there is actually inspiring and educating. I really loved your technique starting with static pages and transferring them into blog post; sounds so unique style of blogging. This is so informative especially for new beginners. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  12. This is amazing and can’t thank you enough you are always doing your best in helping us improve our sites and blogs.

  13. This is quit inspirational and you have got me back on my feet, l had almost given up on everything but you have given me reason to go on and l just want to say thank you.

  14. I give credit where it’s due, like hell I believe it is due here. Thumbs up for the nice post!

  15. Reed Nixon says:

    What can I say? I really like the tips! Good work!

  16. Simon says:

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you Jonathan for this interesting post.

    I just wanted to add that the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin (http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/) as on option to remove “category” in the URLs. Plus, I consider it the best SEO plugin. So you can have both with one plugin :)

    • I agree with you Simon, Yoast WordPress SEO is best SEO plugin. Thanks Jonathan for nice post. While changing post to pages or pages to post do not change URL of article.

  17. Okay im following you.Just launched my blog a few days ago.this will really help.Thanx for the good tips

  18. Fedobe says:

    Awesome Post! I was searching world press related post from last few days, and I think this is the perfect place for me to know the proper way of wordpress blog optimization. Thanks for this post.

  19. Ehsan Ullah says:

    Jonathan, This is a great strategy to boost the SEO rank for WordPress blogs, but I want ask that If I change my permalinks of my category, I’ll lose all the rankings for them which I got till now?

    • Jonathan says:

      I don’t recommend changing existing permalinks. In this article, I am explaining how to change WP pages into posts without removing the urls from your site. The point is, if you want to change pages you should make sure that you preserve the urls so that you don’t lose links. A way to do this is to add the words in the url you want to change as a category and then use a plugin to remove the word “category” from the url so that the url is exactly the same.

  20. Berman says:

    Thanks for the advice and interesting work around. Looks a little complicated for me right now but I am learning and at least I know it is possibility if I need to do something similar in the future.

  21. Debarshi says:

    You have listed very good and informative methods. These methods will really help newbie bloggers like me to gain that dream traffic. Thanks for the share

  22. Steven says:

    I was wondering how I was going to convert my personal blog over. Thanks for the answer!

  23. rakesh says:

    I need to study about this plugin…i will try for sure

  24. Bob says:

    I have had 2 blogs on WordPress.com for several years and have not gotten much traffic. Is there a way to do this on WordPress or do I have to have my own blog site? Thanks.

  25. jure says:

    hi, thanks for great tips…i would like to learn some metrics about your “tweaking” process. what was the traffic increase, ranking in google, etc..if you share that information of course..thanks!

  26. Jayne says:

    Bob, you can’t use plug-ins on a wordpress.com site but you can on a wordpress.org site which is self hosted. I always recommend a wordpres.org if you want a decent site.

  27. Jena Isle says:

    This is most helpful. I was wondering what SEO theme would you recommend based on your experience. I have been browsing for themes that could be SEO maximized have all the helpful features but are still not expensive. Because I’m working on a very limited budget, one that doesn’t cost above $35. Thanks.

  28. novoline 2 says:

    This is my first time to visit your blog and I found very useful knowledge you done a great job, Keep more posting like this.