If you’re a longtime WordPress user, then you’re probably familiar with the term “sidebar”. It’s the small column found on either side (or sometimes on both sides) of your main content. Most of the free and readily available WordPress themes have already integrated the sidebar, so that all you need to do is place whatever content of widgets you want to appear on your pages.
Even if you’ve been using the world’s most popular blogging platform for years already, some of you might be surprised that sidebars can also play a big role in improving your website’s Google rankings. A number of search engine optimization companies have been studying WordPress deeply now, and have discovered some basic elements and some tweaks that should appear on posts and pages.
Here are four things that you can put into your WordPress sidebar so that you can see your website climbing up the ladder of search results:
Most Popular Posts. This is perhaps one of the best ways to make sure that your site visitors not only discover your other pages, but will also stay longer on your site when they see another interesting (and hopefully relevant) page. Unlike in past years when plug-ins were few and far between, the WordPress depository is now a rich and deep haven of plug-ins that provide you with practically anything – including the placement of your most popular posts on the sidebar. If you’re diligent enough, you can even find a number of themes with the Most Popular Posts widget already integrated into the template.
Category List. Another basic element available as a WordPress sidebar widget is a list of your categories. This provides you with an internal link structure, while at the same time allowing your visitors to visit your other page archives by clicking on the category link. Using categories is also a great way to organize your website for better browsing not only by website visitors, but also search engine spiders.
Search Field. In order to aid your visitors in browsing through your site, make sure that you have a search functionality available for them to use. Not everyone is patient enough to go through each and every line in your content, so having a search field will make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.
Random or Related Posts. Like a normal human being, search bots also seem to prefer new content. The sidebar is not excluded in this matter, and so putting up a regularly changing content at this portion of your page will bring you double benefits. To do this, you may use a WordPress plug-in that displays either a “Related Posts” that displays links with the same topic or category as the article that the visitor is currently reading. Alternatively, there’s another nifty plug-in that displays a list of random posts on your sidebar.
Most of these search engine optimization tips are pretty basic on WordPress. However, if you don’t use them properly, you might be wasting a potential opportunity to improve website SEO by making simple adjustments to your sidebar.