Here’s a short and sweet list of things you could do to improve your WordPress blog for Google consumption (assumes your motivation is for blog marketing):
- Do you have a Google+ account? If not, stop here and go create one. Your Google+ account is the key to the new concept of “authorship” (introduced by Google in June of last year as rel author). This is where, if you set it up correctly, Google will attribute your contributions. This is where they will bestow topical authority to you.
- Have you altered your blog to either link your name to an Author page within your blog/website or directly reference your Google+ account? To do this, I had to edit the “Single Post” file for my theme, replacing the php code for author with a link to my Google+ page. The code I inserted looks like this: by <a href=”https://plus.google.com/107558136239525284785/about?rel=author”>+John-Scott Dixon</a>. You probably should make a change to the main index page or whatever your theme calls the page that contains summaries of your most recent blog posts.
- Make sure you add your blog domain to the “Contributor” section of your Google+ profile. This is required for Google to completed the verification process.
- If you’ve created a blog for SEO purposes – please tell me you upgraded the theme – nothing says SPAM quite like the default WordPress Themes: Twenty Eleven and Twenty Ten.
- Install WordPress SEO by Joost de Valk (good dude, got to hangout with him at BlueGlass in LA a few weeks ago). This plugin has a Sitemap XML component – just check the box to enable. It’s also the best SEO plugin in my opinion (and we’ve used nearly all of them).
- Add Google Analytics tracking to your blog – Joost makes a great plugin for GA as well – Google Analytics for WordPress.
- Verify your blog with Google Webmaster Tools – this will require accessing the DNS manager for your blog’s domain – simple procedure (just create a new TXT entry with your unique GWT code (they walk you through the process – I promise it’s super easy).
- Add your sitemap to GWT – if you go to the enabled WordPress SEO plugin – it has a button to show you your sitemap XML file – you’ll need this. This is a dynamic sitemap, so as content gets added to your blog – the plugin will automatically update the file and ping Google.
- I recommend adding the “Twitter Facebook Social Share” plugin as well – however, I would only show Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Also, I make it available on the home, posts, and pages only. You’ll see what I’m talking about when you configure the plugin. Again, it’s super easy.
That’s it (for now). Get it done.