Usually we notice that new users install and activate SEO plugins, but they never use it properly. We asked a few of our users about it, and their answer was “I didn’t know I had to”. Yes, we are talking about SEO meta data such as title and meta description tags. By using SEO features appropriately for each post, you can be sure to improve your search rankings. There’s a lot you can do to optimize your posts so they can show up better in search results. In the article about WordPress SEO tips for beginners, we will show you how to use SEO features properly to optimize WordPress posts.
At wparrow.com, we use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast to optimize blog posts. So all screenshots should reflect that.
Table of Contents
Choose a focus keyword
A focus keyword is the main keyword you hope people will search for and find your post. If your blog is in a competitive niche then it is likely that you will be competing with many other well-known and established websites for popular keywords. In this situation, you can get more organic traffic by using long tail keywords. Always remember that your readers are people, not search engines. People don’t just type a keyword into a search engine, they use phrases. Your focus keyword could be a phrase.
WordPress SEO by Yoast will allow you to choose a focus keyword for your individual articles. It also helps you in finding keywords that are similar to your focus keyword type.
Once you have chosen a focus keyword for your post, WordPress SEO will tell you how many times you have used the keyword in different areas of the post.
Write an SEO standard article title
An SEO article title is a human-readable title that contains a focus keyword and is limited to 70 characters. However, it also needs to be attractive. When your page shows up in the search results, users will decide if they want to click on it based on the SEO title and description in the search snippet. The description may change as search engines show the most relevant part of your article as the description. But this title will be preserved. Make sure your SEO title accurately describes what people will get if they click on the link. And finally, simplify your title, instead of “A Comparison of Categories and Tags from an SEO perspective” or “My Thoughts on Categories and Tags”, try something like “Categories” vs Tags – SEO best practices for categorizing your content. This title is not only attractive, but it also contains the exact keyword that the user will be searching for.
SEO meta description for the post
Some SEO experts believe that the meta description tag on a page has become unnecessary. However, many others disagree. At dieuhau.com, we recommend using meta descriptions for all your posts. A good meta description can explain a lot about an article. Meta descriptions are also displayed in social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter pages via Twitter Cards.
Since you now know that people will read your meta description, you want to make sure it’s helpful. You also want to make sure that you at least mention your focus keyword in the meta description for search purposes. The character limit for the meta description is 155 characters. Try to stay within the limit or your meta description will be truncated after 155 characters. Try to use your focus keywords at the beginning of the meta description so that it has the best chance of being displayed.
Categories vs Tags
Categories and tags help you categorize your content not only for your readers but also for yourself and search engines. Earlier, we wrote a detailed guide on how to use Categories and Tags in WordPress. Think of your website like a book. Categories are the table of contents, and tags are the index in the book.
Make internal linking a habit
After blogging for a while, you’ll have enough articles that you’ll want people to read. With internal linking you can direct readers to your older related posts. Internal linking is a great way to develop context between your new and old posts by creating relevant links. WordPress allows you to search for your old posts right in the post editor. Click the link button in your post editor and click “Or link to existing content”. This will open a search box. Search for the previous post you want that link to and it will show the results as you type. Select the post you want to link and click Add link.
Every post that you put out on your website has the potential to increase your search traffic. By adding meta data to your posts, writing good headlines, and cross-linking between older articles, you’ll soon see an increase in your search traffic. We hope you found this article helpful. Tell us, what are you doing to optimize your WordPress blog posts?