Optimizing WordPress Post 12 Steps to SEO
by Julie Larson
Optimizing WordPress Post – 12 Steps to SEO
Optimizing a WordPress blog post is not hard to do, but many bloggers are so anxious (including myself) to get the content added, they publish their posts without optimizing them first. It’s an easy habit to fall into and will very likely cost you when it comes to the search engine rankings. Your onpage optimization can pay off big for you if you spend just a little more time and take the proper steps to make sure your posts and images are well optimized.
Let me take you through the steps I take when creating a blog post.
Step 1 – Pick Something You’d Like to Write About
I decide on the topic first. For me, it’s usually something that I’ve heard others voice or post online that they needed help with.
Step 2 – Do Your Keyword Research
Once I’ve decided on the topic, I then start my keyword research. Very basically, I’ll start by doing an unbiased Google search using a keyword phrase that describes my topic. I do the unbiased or unpersonalized Google search with quotation marks around my keyword phrase. This gives me an idea of how many sites I’ll be competing with. Personally, I like to go for keyword phrases that have over 3,000 competing results and under 50,000. Keep in mind, that’s my general rule of thumb. I have posted blog posts that had greater than 50,000 competing results and did well. There are many variables, that can also effect your rankings. For example, if your site is an authority site with a page rank (PR) of 3, 4, 5 or higher, then you may be able to easily compete with a much greater number of competing results and still do well.
For each blog post, I try to find 1-2 good keyword phrases. For the most part, I optimize each page for only 1-2 keyword phrases. Occasionally, if the keyword or keyword phrase is shorter, I have optimized for three, but that’s rare.
Step 3 – Write Your Blog Post
Once I’ve got my keyword phrase(s) picked out, I begin writing my blog post. Fresh, unique content that provides useful information for the visitor is my top priority. Once I’ve got my article written, then I go back and “work in” my keyword phrases so they make sense to someone reading my post.
Step 4 – Use Keyword Phrase to Title Post
I’m always careful to name my blog post with one of my keyword phrases and incorporate them into the blog post. Using a title that makes sense, accurately describes the article while being catchy is helpful. The title will show up in the slug or url of the actual post.
Step 5 – Use Your Keyword Phrase in Your H2 Tag
I make the first line of my post a H2 headline and use my keyword phrase(s) in the headline.
Step 6 – Use Your Keyword Phrase in Your Custom Title Tag*
I add my keyword phrase to my custom title tag and if I have 2 keyword phrases, I use the primary keyword (the one I’d like to rank for first) first and then the secondary and I use a vertical bar | to divide them because I think it looks nicer. The vertical bar is on the same key as the back slash just above the “enter” key on your keyboard. You have approximately 70 characters that will show up in the search results as the title of your listing. So, try to stay within 70 characters or less.
Step 7 – Add Your Meta Description*
Whether or not you add your keyword phrase(s) to your meta description is up to you. It doesn’t make any difference to the search engines. However, if you do add them, Google bolds the keyword phrase in the search results which may make it more likely that someone will click on your search listing.
Step 8 – Don’t Bother With Meta Keywords*
Google no longer gives any weight to the meta keywords. So, you don’t need to bother adding them.
Step 9 – Make Your Post More Interesting With an Image or Photo
Find a related image or photo that you’d like to add to your post. Prior to uploading it to your WordPress media library, rename the file using your keyword phrase (if the keyword phrase describes the image). Then upload your keyword named image to your media library
Step 10 – Add Alternate Text to Your Image
Once you’ve uploaded the image to your media library, click on “edit” to add a title and alternate text to the image. If the image is relative to my keyword phrase, I’ll add my keyword phrase as my alternate text. The alternate text is what will appear on the post if for some reason your image does not load. The search engine robots are able to crawl the image and read the alternate text. The alternate text will also show up if someone hovers over the image with their mouse.
If you click on the image to the right, you can make it bigger and you’ll see that I’ve added my alternate text using one of my keyword phrases “optimizing wordpress post”. My preference is to title my image the same as the alternate text, but you can title your images whatever you would like.
Step 11 – Choose the Proper Category for Your Post
I like to organize my blog posts according to categories. Yes, you’ve probably guessed by now that I research my category names and, if possible, make sure they are good keyword phrases. If your article fits into more than one of your categories, check all that apply. Never leave your post as “uncategorized”. If it doesn’t fit into any of your existing categories, create a new one!
Step 12 – Add Your Tags
I didn’t use to add tags because I didn’t think they were important. I now add tags that are relevant to my article with the idea that as long as they are accurate, they can’t hurt and possibly will help.
A few last thoughts on the subject…
Length of Your Article – Due to the nature of the subject, this post is actually longer than most of my posts. If the thought of writing an article is a little daunting to you, remember that as long as you are providing useful information to your readers, the length of your post doesn’t matter that much. I’ve had many, many posts that were only a couple of paragraphs and a photo or a video that have ranked quite well. It has to do with the optimization and providing good, fresh content.
Take the Time to Optimize – If you’re going to take the time to put up a post, definitely take the time to do it right! By right, I mean taking the steps I’ve listed above. Having the best article ever about your topic will be of no use to anyone if they can’t find it in the search engines…which brings me to my final thought on the subject…
Make Your Article Stand Out in the Search Results – You can do that by adding your author rich snippets to each and every article you post. Even if you’re camera shy, make sure you’ve got your Google+ profile filled out and your profile picture added. People are going to be much more likely to click on your search result when it stands out from the rest because it’s got your picture to the left of it in the search results. Learn how to add your author rich snippets…
*DivasMobileSolutions.com uses the SmallBiz Theme by Expand2Web which has the SEO module built in to the theme. Many SEO plugins will give you these same options. If yours doesn’t look exactly the same, it’s because ours is in the SmallBiz Theme.
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