SEO is the first thing you want to be doing after the website design is nearly complete and you’ve got four or five posts/pages.
Of course, if you want to get hits on your website, than you must implement an SEO technique, and this is the simplest way to do it in WordPress. That being said, Yoast SEO, is by no means a simple plugin, there is quite a learning curve.
WordPress is one of the best, if not the best content management systems when it comes to SEO. That being said, spending time on your WordPress SEO might seem like a waste of time, it most definitely is not. Optimizing your site to the best practices outlined in this article will help you improve your rankings, gain more subscribers and have a better website in general.
You can control your SEO titles with the SEO by Yoast plugin. There are two parts of the plugin that control these. First of all, as soon as you install & activate the plugin, you get an SEO section in your admin. Navigate to SEO → Titles & Metas and you’ll see a bunch of tabs for different types of pages on your site. For each post type and taxonomy you can set a so called Title Template (as well as meta description templates but we’ll get to those later).
For titles the following things are important:
- They should always contain your brand, preferably at the end, so people may recognize you in consecutive searches.
- They should always contain the keyword you think is most important for the current post or page, which we’ll call the focus keyword from now on. The focus keyword should preferably be at the beginning of the title.
- The rest of the title should entice people to click.
Some plugins, most specifically the All in One SEO plugin, use so called “automated descriptions”. They use the first sentence of a post to fill the meta description by default. That’s not very smart. That first sentence might be an introductory sentence which has hardly anything to do with the subject.
When you publish a new post or page, the XML sitemap is automatically submitted to Google & Bing allowing them to easily (and quickly) find your new content.
Although most themes for WordPress get this right, make sure your post title is an
<h1>, and nothing else. Your blog’s name should only be an
<h1> on your front page, and on single, post, and category pages, it should be no more than an
<h3>. Your sidebar shouldn’t be crammed with
<h3>‘s either etc.
On smaller sites it might make sense to noindex either the category or the tag structure, but in our experience noindexing those on yoast.com does little to no change at all.
If a post on your blog becomes incredibly popular and starts to rank for a nice keyword, like this one did for WordPress SEO, you could do the following:
- create a new page with updated and improved content
- change the slug of the old post to
- publish the new page under the old post’s URL, or redirect the old post’s URL to the new URL
- send an e-mail to everyone who linked to your old post that you’ve updated and improved on your old post
- wait for the links to come in, again;
- rank even higher for your desired term as you’ve now got:
- more control over the keyword density
- even more links pointing at the article
- the ability to keep updating the article as you see fit to improve on it’s content and ranking
One way of getting search engines to get to your older content a bit easier, thus increasing your WordPress SEO capabilites a LOT, is by using a related posts plugin. These plugins search through your posts database to find posts with the same subject, and add links to these posts.
A lot of bloggers still think that because their blog is a blog, they don’t have to optimize anything. Wrong. To get people to link to you, they have to read your blog. And what do you think is easier: getting someone who is already visiting your blog to visit regularly and thenlink to your blog, or getting someone who visits your blog for the first time to link to your blog immediately? Right.
If you’ve followed all of the above WordPress SEO advice, you’ve got a big chance of becoming successfull, both as a blogger and in the search engines. Now the last step sounds easy, but isn’t. Go out there, and talk to people online.
If you want to rank for certain keywords, go into Google Blogsearch, and see which blogs rank in the top 10 for those keywords. Read those blogs, start posting insightful comments, follow up on their posts by doing a post on your own blog and link back to them: communicate! The only way to get the links you’ll need to rank is to be a part of the community
A good SEO campaign relies on not only implementing changes but also measuring the impact of those changes, seeing what works and doing more of that. Two great Analytics packages to measure results areGoogle Analytics and getClicky. For both of these Analytics packages maintain plugins, our Google Analytics by Yoast plugin and our Clicky plugin.
You can also measure results by tracking rankings, the problem with rank tracking though is that it’s hard to determine “real” rankings because of personalized and localized search results. Really the only outcome of being great at WordPress SEO is to get more traffic.
Another great source of data is Google Webmaster Tools.