How to Improve the SEO of your WordPress Blog: A Practical Guide
Anyone publishing a WordPress blog should be trying to improve SEO to increase exposure and to attract more visitors and potential customers.
The basic principles of SEO are well outlined by Google here. This article is about how we go about achieving this in practice.
Why you would want to improve your SEO should be obvious, the better your SEO the better the chances are more people will find your content and come to your site. If you provide quality content, this will enhance your brand and you will gain the trust of your visitors. Few will turn into leads and customers but if you continue to give value, then some will.
Here at Veracity we’ve developed a tool that will enhance your marketing performance, so much of our content is concerned with marketing and how to improve it, a subject we consider ourselves knowledgeable in.
This is something you must consider when devising your content strategy – to find subjects that you or your copywriters are experts in, which will also interest your potential customers.
When we have decided on our topic, we do keyword research around the subject to see what people have previously searched for, what “longtail keywords” are being used and what questions people ask, that lead them to relevant blogs and articles. This is where Moz comes into play (other keyword tools are available, but you can get 10 free searches a month with Moz).
Content Creation with SEO in Mind
Armed with our subject and an appropriate keyword, there is the small matter of writing fresh, interesting and informative content which is also relevant to our business or brand. The copy needs to have the correct density of keywords. Too few and the SEO score will be low, too many and we will be penalised by Google for “keyword stacking”.
It helps to have the services of an experienced and professional copywriter on hand, if not to necessarily write the copy, but at least to cast a professional eye over the article afterwards and to add some polish.
Use a Content Checklist
When creating content, we have a tried and tested formula and use our blog creation Checklist and Template for creating all the elements for a successful blog post all in one go.
This includes reminders for the title, keyword, meta, excerpt, images, author, category, tags, URL and the content. We complete the template before it is passed on to be published.
Publishing Posts and What to Do to Improve SEO
We use WordPress to manage our site and to publish our posts, and creating the post is possibly the simplest aspect of this process, just cut and paste from the template.
We use the Yoast plugin for several elements at this point, firstly for checking keyword density and a number of other elements in their SEO Analysis (we don’t like to publish without at least 10 good results ).
Here you can also check your SEO title and Meta description (this is crucial for a good CTR ). Use the “Edit snippet” to check yours against what Yoast says and tweak it to fit.
Remember what you set out to do – would somebody who may be interested in your message (product/service) searching using the keywords you have created your content for, want to click on it based on the snippet? – this is all you have to sell your post.
We have the Twitter social card turned on in the settings for Yoast (summary with large image works best for us, but you can test the results using the Twitter card validator.) This controls what image will be used when a link to your post is shared on most social media platforms and messaging apps, the FB one is on by default and we use the same image for both.
Regarding image creation, we use this template so the size is always correct, using the unbranded one for the featured image, this appears at the top of the post and is displayed in the blog roll.
The branded one is used in the Yoast social tab, so our web address is displayed when the post is shared offsite.
All images contained in the body of a blog should also contain alt tags for accessibility reasons, but they should also contain the keyword if at all reasonable.
Having completed the rest of the page elements, we complete our pre publishing checklist. We then share a preview of the post with at least a couple of people to check.
After making any changes and corrections, we are ready to publish, in our experience when you publish is not as important as at what day and time it’s shared, and working out the best times for this takes testing and quality analytics tools.
Tools to Improve SEO
We use Google Analytics and Veracity for monitoring our results, we also use Google search console to see our performance over time .
When using the search console it is worth viewing your results with your brand name excluded for a fairer view of your traffic.
We also use Serpfox for keeping an eye on our performance against our chosen keywords.
If you have a number of posts in your blog roll you may want to give your site the once over with Screaming Frog, a handy tool for looking at the details of your site and checking your Page Titles and Meta Descriptions.
A Domain Authority checker is also a handy tool for checking how well a site will rank on search engine result pages. We use https://websiteseochecker.com/domain-authority-checker/ and https://analytics.moz.com/pro/link-explorer/home#index is very useful as well.
Getting the best results from your content is a journey which will take a few steps, but once you have the formula right, you can apply it to any subject matter which helps promote your business, services or brand.
Let us know on our social media what you do to make sure your content has great searchability!
Why not talk to us about arranging a Veracity demo.