How To SEO-Optimize WordPress Articles (Old or New)

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  • August 17, 2014

So, you are wondering, “What can I do to make my upcoming posts generate more traffic / page views?”, and or, “What can I do to bring in more traffic to my older posts?”. Well, the best way to generate more traffic is to make your content, old and new, search engine friendly. For older posts, “SEO Optimizing” them is really the only thing that can help increase their traffic.

In the space below, I will provide tips on how to write SEO-optimized articles which rank better in search engines, and also tell you how to improve your older posts.

SEO Optimize Old or New Articles in WordPress
I create and improve websites and blogs. I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses, and you can see over thirty examples of the websites and blogs I have worked on, in my portfolio. If you are just starting to create content, or just want to refresh your memory, you should know blog posts are essentially web pages, at least in regards to search engine ranking. With that said, you can optimize each blog post in many ways. There are many parts of the anatomy of a blog post / article which we can optimize. Some are hidden and some are easy to see.

This article goes over all the important things related to blog post/article optimization. Aside from checking off the topics for a post, there is a basic SEO 101 checklist  you must take care of. This is a list I follow and share every time I work with a new client. By posting this here, all of our readers will benefit and will learn how to create SEO-optimized blog posts! One important distinction; I will not talk about keyword research here. This is extremely important and I will talk about this in another post.

Writing SEO-Optimized Blog Posts/Articles:

STEP ONE: Post title and Meta title:

To get started, you must understand the difference between post title and meta title.

  • Post meta title: what search engines see and show in search results
  • Post title: how your readers see your post

Do you not have a meta-title in your SEO settings? Well, then the post title you chose will be the meta-title. Keep in mind, it is VERY important to include your keywords in the meta title.

Key tip: limit your post titles to 66 characters or less. Otherwise, all of the text will not show in the search engines. 

STEP TWO: Post meta description:

All SEO plugins let you add meta descriptions, which strongly influence search engine ranking. Think of a meta description as the 10 to 30 second elevator pitch for your blog post. In 156 characters, you must add your keywords, and write a description which will make your readers and potential clients want to click on it. If you have not added meta descriptions in the past, that’s alright! Start doing it from now on, and you can go back to your old posts to add one in.

Meta description
For your older posts, it is very important to go back and add meta descriptions. Every single post you’ve written is important from the perspective of ranking and traffic. Google sees every blog post as a different webpage. This means you can characterize every post for a certain sub-set of keywords, which relates to the larger picture of your entire business.

STEP THREE: Image Alt Attribute:

Alt Tag Image SEO

Every photo you add into your posts can help further align your posts with potential readers in search engines. But, to start, you must understand, the search engine does not read images. It recognizes and organizes every image by the text related to it (aka the file names).

So, to start with, make sure to assign relevant names to your image files. Many people upload files with names like “IMG_1000.jpg” and this does not help with optimizing your post…When naming an image, keep the name relevant to that image, and the overall topic which is most likely to be searched.

Here at Tech Design Studios, we use a great plugin, SEO Friendly Image, which makes the most of the image name as ALT attributes. This will cause people to come to your website/blog when they do a Google image search, and choose an image from your site. You don’t even need the plugin. You can also add ALT (alternative text) when uploading your images. By using this trick, while not 100% of the time, it will often achieve positive results. At the very least, add a few of your keywords into the name of the image (image anchor text)

STEP FOUR: Interlink and Anchor text:

 

When writing a new post, you will often be writing about something which is related to your other posts. So you might as well make links to those older posts! This is a great way for readers to discover your older posts, and for the search engines to improve the rankings of those older posts. When you link back, use the anchor text technique to interlink and to make all of your posts interconnected.

Also, when you are inserting a link, you must first Add the URL, and second, Add the title or main keywords of that post.
Interlinking-in-WordPress
At Tech Design, we use the WordPress Insights plugin which helps you to interlink quickly. You can check out this video to learn how to work with this plugin.

STEP FIVE: Permalink and remove stop words:

editing-post-permalink

With every post, all of us have a tendency to write titles with many STOP WORDS (a full list of examples here and here) Take this article for example. How To SEO-Optimize WordPress Articles (Old or New) is the name. Our post permalink by default would be: domain.com/how-to-seo-optimize-wordpress-articles-old-or-new.html

“How”, “to”, and “and” are stop words in this example. To change this, click on “edit permalink”, and change the permalink. So, in this example we would change the url to domain.com/seo-optimize-wordpress-articles-old-or-new And voilà, the stop words are gone!

IMPORTANT WARNING:Do not change the permalink one you have published the post!

STEP SIX: H1, H2, H3 Headings

post-heading-tags

In most cases, people use the Thesis style feature when creating the style of their blog post. This is ok! However, we cannot forget an extremely important part of SEO. Aka, the proper use of H1, H2 and H3 headings. By default, SEO-optimized themes make the post title with the H1 tags.

So, for the next sub heading, it is best to use the H2 heading, and for the next sub heading, H3. It is critical to use correct heading tags for your post to be as SEO-optimized as possible. This is even more important with longer posts. To get a hang of how this works, please check out these two posts, Here and HERE, which go into further detail about headings in blog posts.

Now, just to go back over everything I mentioned in this post, here is a summarized checklist of…

The important steps you should take in order to SEO Optimize your posts in Word Press:

  • Post title and meta title (aka the title which reader will see and the title which the search engines pick up.
  • Post meta description (optimize it by including key words and make it persuasive for a better click through rate! Remember, this is like your 10-30 second elevator pitch for the post. Use your target keyword once.
  •  Image Alt text (try to include your keyword here)
  • Post permalink (remove stop words from permalink)
  • Interlinking within a post with anchor text, to your other related posts.
  • H1, H2, H3 headings (make sure to follow this format so the post gets up better results)

And something I did not mention before:

  • Add links to reliable & trustworthy resources within the blog article

Thank you! Please share this post via Twitter, Google Plus or Facebook if you think others will benefit from the information in this post.

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About Geoffrey Purkis

Geoffrey Purkis is the owner and creator of www.techdesignstudios.com. He's a WordPress / Web developer, SEO and online marketer located in Lafayette, California. He is active on all of the major social networks and enjoys writing and teaching small business owners how to leverage the Internet to promote and grow their business. Click here to follow him on Google+.