This is a question we get asked all the time – how do I make sure my WordPress blog is optimised for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?
WordPress SEO is an easy 7 step process which I have explained below.
Step 1: Do your keyword research
How do you know what keywords you have the best chance of ranking for in Google if you have not done any keyword research. Sometimes search traffic volumes differ by 1000s per month depending on if you use a word with or without and ‘s’ at the end. For example shoe v shoes. The easiest tool to use is part of the Google AdWords suite of tools, so if you don’t have an account already, sign up for one (you will need to go through the process of pretending to do an ad, which you can cancel once your account is set up) and then you can use the Google keyword planner tool.
Type in the keywords you want to be known for and sort through the results to see which variations google suggests has higher search volume. You are looking for what I call ‘money keywords’, which is ones with high volume but low competition (.80 to 1 is high .10 is low).
Step 2: Make your headline count
The headline or title is the one that is meant to peak your readers interest and make them want to click on the blog and read it. The headline should contain your 1 main keyword or sentence you want to rank for. It can be a little more orientated towards your target audience, or be a little more ‘out there’ for interests sake but it should also contain the keyword. In our case, we want to rank for WordPress SEO as it has more search volume than WordPress Blog Guidelines, however, that title would make more sense to the reader.
Step 3: Think about your permalink
Just below the title is the permalink (as shown above), this is the url that you will copy and use to post about the blog in social media etc. This is extremely important to google and must be relevant to your keyword you want the blog to rank for. So even though your headline or title might be a little bit more descriptive. Your permalink should be for good blog post SEO only.
Step 4: The body copy needs to be relevant
The body of your blog post should be completely relevant to the keyword you want to rank for. You should use variations and a common theme around the keyword in the copy. But whatever you do, don’t stuff keywords into the copy. Be natural, be relevant and make it totally focused on the reader. Yes do add 2-4 variations or instances of the keyword but don’t go crazy.
Step 5: Use an SEO plugin
Make sure you use an SEO plugin like Yoast or All in One SEO. This allows you to craft the best possible meta title and meta description that will be shown in the Google search results if you are lucky enough to get into the rankings. Make sure the main keyword is in the Title and the Description area. Remember the description is what will entice people to click on your link in the search results to you have to ‘sell the click’ and make them want to read more. If you do not use a plugin and fill this out manually, WordPress will use the blog title for the Meta title and the first 160 characters of the blog for the Meta description, which is not really what you want.
You can see the tool highlights how many characters you have used and it goes red when you have gone over, you do not want a “….” in the SEO results so try to stay within the character limits or your blog may look like this … close but no cigar!
Step 6: SEO your images
Don’t forget that images can be found in Google too so when you are uploading your images, make sure you “SEO” the title of the image and I always copy the title into the ALT area too. Don’t worry about the caption and description too much and remember to turn off the link to the media file option if you are not wanting the image to hyperlink
Step 7: The little things
The only other little things you should do to ‘tidy up’ your blog is to make sure you assign the blog to the right categories so people can filter your blog feed from your main blog page. Add a really good featured image in the featured image area and have that image on the blog somewhere too (as this is the image that will pull trough to social media when you share the link). And if you are posting for someone else, make sure you update the author to the correct person.
Now your blog should be looking good, be relevant and interesting to your readers and cover your WordPress SEO!