It’s all about the words you use and how you use them. Writing original and informative posts on your website should improve your ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This post provides a few pointers as to how to get your posts seen. You’ve taken time to write, but there are a few rules you need to know to create optimised WordPress posts. Your other option is to wear fluorescent clothing and carry a signpost flagging up your website!
It all starts with choosing a keyword (or phrase) for the post. Your decision about what to write about should be influenced by your expertise of course, but also by what people are searching for. Write about something that people want to read about. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to make sure.
Describe what the post is about, using your keyword as close to the start of the title as possible. Keep it simple, don’t try and be clever. The title is displayed in blue on SERPs and is clickable. Getting the title right is really important.
WordPress automatically creates a URL for you based on the post title. Make sure you have chosen the permalinks option in Settings. If you’ve used the keyword in the post title it will appear here. Short words are likely to have been removed automatically, if they haven’t been then it makes sense to take them out. The URL is displayed in green on SERPs. It’s important for the keyword to appear early in the permalink, so that it’s visible when returned on SERPs.
Summary paragraph/Meta description
This should explain in 156 characters what the post is about. Using keywords here doesn’t have an impact on search but, if you do use them they will be highlighted in bold. If you don’t write a Meta description, the SERP will take the first 156 characters from post.
The content of your post
Be structured. Say what you’re going to say (introduction), say it (the main body), and say what you’ve said (conclusion). Include a call to action at the end of the post so people are more likely to comment or share it with their networks. Sign off with your contact details.
Make your post easy to read and you’ll be credited for it. Last year I identified 9 ways to format your posts for search, but just to recap. Use headings/sub-headings (H1, H2, H3 etc.), images, ordered/unordered lists, tables and so on. Include relevant outbound links, set these up to open in a new window, don’t send people away from your site. Link to other posts on your site if it will help the reader, and use appropriate anchor text for these links. Find out more about using anchor text in WordPress. Once you’ve decided on a template, stick to it.
In terms of the content, you’ve got to get your facts straight. Be accurate and original. Don’t copy. Editing and proofreading are essential, don’t do it after you publish, or worse still, after you promote the post.
Use Categories (posts can be linked to more than one) and Tags (pick from a maximum of 20) as a filing system for your posts. Last year I wrote about using Categories and Tags in your WordPress posts. You don’t need to use all the variations when it comes to tagging, e.g. starting 11, starting eleven, starting XI – pick the one you think people are most likely to search on.
These need to be uploaded intelligently as they are searchable too. Don’t upload as a ref (e.g. P1020556.jpg), images need to be given a name, all lower case, with the words separated by hyphens (e.g. Nathan-opening-batting-against-Headliners.jpg). Save these images using the same keyword you’ve applied to your post, as the file name will come up on image searches. You need to do this before uploading to the media library.
Give each image a title and alt tag – these can be the same. These should be easily readable (i.e. no hyphens) and should include keywords once again.
So there you have it. I hope there’s enough here for you to take away and so you too have optimised WordPress posts. It’s important that you write regularly, but getting into good routines about how you post is equally important. The emphasis should be on quality not quantity. Making things easy to read for the search engines and your potential visitors is the least you can do, right?
Do you agree? What did I miss? Are there any bloopers in this post?? Comments welcomed below, please be kind.
Many thanks to Leigh Harries on Flickr for allowing us to use this photo on this post