Over the next 3 articles Id like to take a look at what I call the 3 Ps of WordPress site structure for SEO, starting with P#1: Preparation.

Although this article aims to advise on WordPress on-site structure for SEO, it is important to understand and accept that youre unlikely to attract a decent amount of visitors without preparation and that involves competitor and keyword research.

Competitor Analysis

Begin by considering who your competitors are and what keyword phrases theyre targeting. You should have already have a good idea of who a few of your competitors are, but you should also be thoroughly aware of the keyword phrases that theyre targeting and the keyword phrases which theyre ranking for Alexa Site Information is a great source for this data.

Keyword Trends

The next thing you should look at is whether or not your keyword phrase that youre thinking of targeting is increasing or reducing in searches as months and years pass by. Is an alternative keyword phrase surpassing the popularity of your original phrase? Find this information in Google Insights for Search.

Related Keywords

Once youve researched your competitors, had a look at their keyword phrases and chosen your main keyword phrases, you should have a look at building up a list of related keyword phrases to use on different pages on your site. By building relevant, related content this is useful for your visitors and helps search engines to determine what your sites about. Googles keyword tool is a good place to find related keywords.

Ranking Difficulty

After you select the keyword phrases that might be good to target, you need to consider how difficult it might be to rank highly for those phrases in search engine results. To do this you need to compare how competing pages are performing in terms of metrics like Google Page Rank, back links and on-site SEO. The SEO competition module on Market Samurai is my favourite tool to analyse this,

URL Structure

Once youve pinpointed your keyword phrases we finally get onto WordPress, and structuring your URLs. The first thing that you need to do is pick a www. or non-www. version of your website address and stick to it. Secondly you should choose your permalink structure. I prefer /%postname%.html. And thirdly, you should automatically remove generic words such as an or the from your post URLs by using a plugin like SEO Slugs.

I appreciate that there wasnt a lot of WordPress in this months article however unless you prepare off-site, youre going to have limited success on-site.

In next months article Im going to move on to P#2 of the 3 Ps of WordPress site structure for SEO but youll have to wait until then to find out what that is!

More WordPress SEO goodness: