You are excited to be a thought leader in your industry. You’re ready to solidify the perception that you’re an authority in your space. You create a WordPress site and put up some stellar blog post content that’s sure to draw in an audience. Wait, are you drawing them in? Where’s all the traffic? In the content marketing business, the name of the game is optimization. Let’s learn how to optimize your WordPress blog post so all that hard work doesn’t go to waste.
1. Use a Plugin
There’s no denying WordPress on its own is a great platform; after all, it hosts over 73 million blog posts. However, to stand out from that staggering number, you should take advantage of an SEO boost from a great plugin. There are a lot of great options out there. CopyPress uses Yoast SEO. To search for options and add a plugin, navigate to “Plugins” and choose “Add New.”
The advantages of plugins are many. With Yoast SEO, you get page analysis, a preview of how your post will appear in search results, XML sitemaps, RSS optimization, and much more. Whichever plugin you choose will undoubtedly give you a leg up from the standard WordPress blog post.
Yoast SEO specifically provides analyses for each post to vastly improve optimization. This allows you insight into what works and what doesn’t before you click “publish.” If you get a less-than-optimal score, you’re pointed to the specific issues in your post.
2. Pick Your Keywords
Chances are, you know the importance of keywords. Performing keyword research may seem like an intimidating job, but there are plenty of services that provide spot-on results. Free services such as Google Keyword Planner are a great starting point, but you’ll get the most out of paid options, such as SpyFu or SEMRUSH.
When you have your keywords, the trick is integrating them naturally into your blog post. Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past. A good rule is to include your keywords in the title, subheadings, introductory sentence, concluding paragraph, meta description, and URL (more on that soon). Remember, only place them where they feel natural. If it seems like you’re going overboard, you probably are.
Using Yoast SEO, you’re prompted to choose a focus keyword. The plugin then analyzes your post and notifies you if you’re using that keyword optimally.
It’s important that keyword research is not a one-time task. Stay up to date with what your audience is searching for and you’re likely to garner more traffic
3. Edit Your Permalink
WordPress defaults to permalinks that are of absolutely no help to you. They are an ugly mix of letters, numbers, and symbols that doesn’t reflect your content. The good news is these permalinks are primo real estate for keywords.
If you use what WordPress comes with, there are five pre-made structures your permalinks can take to make them pretty, plus you can create a custom structure. The custom structure makes it easier to include keywords, as you can include structure tags.
If you’re using the Yoast SEO plugin, you can use the “Slug” section to update your URL. This is a quick and easy way to make your URL friendly and incorporate appropriate keywords.
NOTE: Proceed with caution when updating permalinks to existing content. Changing permalinks will, you guessed it, change the URL and make all links to that post invalid. To start, consider only editing permalinks to new content.
4. Make Images Count
Not only does Google crawl the content of your post, it looks at your images, too. There are three easy ways to make that relevant image you’ve added to your post work for you.
- Add alt text that’s a clear description of the image. Not only does the alt text allow great accessibility to visually impaired readers and describe your image if it doesn’t show up, Google uses it to determine what the image is compared to the relatability of your image to the search. Because images show up in search results, this is pretty important.
- Compress your image for quicker load times. The more compressed the image, the faster the image loads, and the faster your page loads. The faster your page and image load, the more likely readers are to stick around. Another plus? Faster sites are ranked higher. And don’t worry, the compressor plugins keep your images looking high-quality.
- Name the image file using keywords, perhaps the ones you so dedicatedly researched. Google picks up the image file name, just like the keywords in your blog post. A Google image search can show your image and easily lead a curious viewer to your post.
Don’t overlook the importance of image optimization. It’s too easy and too beneficial to pass up.
5. Choose Your Theme Wisely
How much easier than this can it get? Improve your SEO optimization by simply choosing the right theme. Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. Colorlib put together a comprehensive list of optimized themes for any type of site you’re running. Not only are the themes in the list beautiful, they also come packed with tools to help improve your SEO game.
An optimized theme attracts followers. If your blog post sparks interest in a reader, they’ll be more likely to become a consistent follower if your whole blog is beautiful, professional, and easy to navigate. How many times have you clicked out of a page because it looked amateurish? You know first-hand that a professional looking theme can increase your perceived authority.
Optimizing your WordPress blog post is easier than it has ever been if you know what to do. The platform itself gives you all the tools you need to achieve greatness. Utilize the plugins WordPress offers for a variety of different optimization-related tasks, be smart with your keywords, choose great images, and let your theme do some extra work. Sometimes the simplest ways of doing things are the most effective.
How have you optimized your WordPress blog posts? Let us know in the comments.