When it comes to search engine optimization, the base WordPress system is miles ahead of any other popular CMS out there. The built-in SEO techniques in WordPress allow for every page of your site to be easily indexed by search engines. What’s more, there is a whole bunch of tweaks you can do to further optimize your WordPress website for search engines. In this post, however, I’m going to show you how to optimize your sidebar for SEO. It is a key part of your web page that can have profound results on your SEO strategy if used correctly.
So here’s how to make the most of your sidebar.
1. Choose A Specific Purpose For Your Sidebar
Decide what you want your sidebar to accomplish and make sure it is precise. By precise I mean you shouldn’t crowd it with stuff that will overwhelm and confuse your readers. Instead, decide on something precise you want the sidebar to accomplish and run with that. For instance, you can use your sidebar to display your most popular posts or you can use it to promote your social media pages, a new app, or you can use it for your newsletter email signups.
Don’t stuff your sidebar with affiliate ads because they’re a big distraction for the vast majority of blog readers. Choose less nauseating ways to display ads such as embedding links within your content.
2. Choose Good Placement For Key Elements
Once you have a purpose for your sidebar, choose the right placement for key elements. For instance, most sidebars include a search box somewhere. The best placement for your search box is at the top of the sidebar because it makes it easier for readers to search for posts they want when they revisit your website.
A nicely designed sidebar can have a search box at the top followed by links to social media profiles, a section displaying recent posts, and finally a section displaying popular posts.
3. Only Place Internal Links In The Sidebar
Besides links to your social media profiles, you shouldn’t put links that redirect traffic away from your blog in the sidebar. Ideally, all links you put in the sidebar should link internally to other parts of your website such as posts with related or complementary content. Be sure to give your links proper labeling.
4. Insert an Archives Widget
Admittedly, very few bloggers understand the full potential of an archives widget. Firstly (and obviously), this widget displays your posts based on time of publication, typically month and year. Thus, your readers will find it easier to navigate to posts of a particular month. And if you have nofollow links in your sidebar, it may slightly improve your blog’s PageRank as all the link juice is passed to your posts.
WordPress comes with an archive widget out of the box, but there are many brilliant plugins that extend the basic functionality. Using appropriate customizations, you can ensure that the widget doesn’t go back too far but still includes important periods of time you want to highlight.
5. Add A Top Commenters Widget
This is optional and depends on your preferences but websites with a top commentors widget tend to build a loyal readership. It encourages loyal commentors to always come back and check your blog and also encourages new readers to comment even if your engagement in the comments area is minimal.
Remember, the main purpose of a blog on your website is to increase visibility of the website so that it is found by Internet users. Optimizing your sidebar is just one way to make it easier for users to find your blog. It should have a specific purpose. Avoid clutter and banner ads and you should be just fine.
Now I’d like to hear from you as well. How do you optimize your sidebar? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Feel free to share your thoughts below!
Image source: Pixabay