WordPress SEO Tips – Optimising your WordPress website is, luckily enough, a straight-forward process. Here is a step-by-step guide.
WordPress SEO Optimization Tips
On page optimisation for WordPress is about tuning up your site so it will rank in Google.
It is about removing ‘drag’ so that nothing is holding it back.
If your web pages are not fully optimised then you will not get the full benefit of any off-page SEO (link) that you engage in.
Before you can optimise any pages you must first establish exactly what you are optimising for – check out this post for a tutorial on Keyword research.
Watch the video version of this post below
WordPress SEO Tips- On Page Optimisation
First of all you write your content. When you are writing content write for your human reader, not for Google!
Whilst it is important to optimise for Google the first consideration is for your reader, so the first step is to write some useful, relevant and engaging content that will add some value for your reader. You can read here about how to choose a good topic for your target audience.
Once the content has been written you can then go back and optimise that content for Google.
Step one: Identify keywords
You will need one primary keyword, a couple of secondary phrases and some related phrases. Check out this post for keyword research.
Step two: URL Optimisation
In WordPress, unless it is your home page, it is simple to specify the exact URL that you want for any page or post.
With other types of CMS or e-Commerce sites you can often see ugly URLs that are too long and non-descriptive, for example;
Simply make the URL of your post your exact primary keyword and then your URL will look like this;
Depending on how you set your permalinks up in WordPress.
The point is to get the keyword phrase into a short, relevant and descriptive URL.
Step three: Add in heading tags
Heading tags are similar to the sub-headings that you find in newspaper and magazine articles. They break up the text into sub-topics that help present the content in an appealing manner and give the reader an indication of what the next paragraph or two is about.
Google uses the headings to initially gauge what the page is about. Google wants to see relevancy, but also looking for over-optimisation so be careful not to spam the page with your keyword!
You will need;
- Main key phrase in H1 tag – usually in WordPress this is the page (or post) title.
- Have a secondary phrase in H2 tag.
- Have a related or secondary phrase in a H3 tag
- Possibly another H3 tag with location (if this is relevant to your business and has not already appeared).
- Heading tags summary
- Your main keyword phrase MUST be in your H1 tag.
- Break up the text with two or three additional headings using relevant keywords or variations
- Be sure to use your heading tags in order!
- Only use one H1
- You can use more than one H2 or H3 but they must be in sequence.
See the video for a more in depth explanation of heading tags.
Step four: Optimising Images
You should always use at least one image in your web page.
Google favours pages with rich media.
Your readers also enjoy looking at relevant images.
If you want to know where to get images from read this post (link coming).
When you upload an image to WordPress you are offered a number of options to add meta-data to that image. Remember: Google cannot ‘see’ images – it only read the HTML code!
Make sure that the image has a relevant title and add a keyword phrase to the ALT tag.
The ALT tag is for visually-impaired users who use screen readers to listen to web page content. Adding a relevant key phrase here tells Google that your page is relevant for the general topic and the specific keywords.
You will find the ALT tag on the right side of the image upload screen, see below;
Optimising Images summary
- Add a relevant title
- Add a relevant phrase to the ALT tag
- Set the ‘Link URL’ to ‘None’ – WordPress automatically links to the image file when you upload an image – this is not good SEO practise. Add a custom link if you want the image to be clickable.
Step five: Adding Youtube Video
Adding a relevant and useful video from Youtube helps you from a number of perspectives;
- Adds value to your page
- Google favours pages with rich media
- Research shows that users spend longer on pages with video than without – time on site and page views are important SEO metrics for Google.
You can still add Youtube videos to your pages even if you have not created any videos!
Of course it is better if the video is yours but it is not imperative.
Obviously you probably would not want to add videos from any of your local competitors – so find something from someone that is not a direct competitor.
Add your own written commentary before or after the video – you may/may not agree with everything in the video, or you may be able to expand further on a particular point – the important thing is to add value for your reader.
To embed a video from Youtube, click on the share button on the video’s Youtube page, then click on embed, copy the code and then paste it into your WordPress editor in ‘Text’ mode.
Step six: Link out to Authority sites
Add authority links to your page – link out to government sites, industry bodies or trusted online resources like Wikipedia, etc.
Google rewards you for sending your visitors to trusted online resources.
Use the ‘open in a new window’ setting so that the user stays on your site when they click the link.
Step seven: Keyword Density
Keyword density was irrelevant as a metric for a long time, but with the renewed focus on on-page optimisation in Google it is worth paying attention to again.
You want a keyword density of no more than 1 – 3% for both main and secondary keywords.
You can use this tool to extract a lot of information about how Google sees your new content ( you will have to publish the post first).
Enter your page URL and hit enter, then scroll down to the keyword section and you will get the density for one, two, three and four-word phrases.
If you are getting density of over 4 – 5% then you will want to go back and amend your phrases slightly – just change a couple of phrases that appear too often to variations on the phrase.
The above resource will also give you a lot of other information about your page that you may find useful.
Step eight: Optimising the meta-description
This is the description that appears in Google search results and is massively important for both Google and the human searcher.
Google likes each page to have a unique and original description and will slightly favour pages that have one over those that don’t.
Just as importantly, this 150-odd character description is shown to your prospect before they click-through to your site – this is their first exposure to you! So why wouldn’t you make an effort to grab their attention?
Essentially it is an ad for your page or website which you can use to ‘steal’ clicks from competitors!
Generally people will go for the number one result, then number two and so on. However, if your description is more relevant and more compelling than those ranked above you it is likely that searchers may click on your link rather than those above you
Add the main keyword phrase at the start, then hit ‘Space’ ‘hyphen’ ‘space’ so it looks like this;
“Main Keyword Phrase – “
Then write a description for the post that acts like an ad, or a trailer, for your page. Finish with a call to action – click here, read more, etc.
Here is a screenshot from the meta-description for this post;
- Identify keywords
- Optimise URL with primary keyword
- Optimise headings with primary, secondary and related keywords
- Optimise image ALT tag
- Add relevant Youtube video
- Link out to a relevant authority site
- Check keyword density is not too far over 3%
- Optimise meta-description