Once you have a website and blog, then it’s time to turn your attention on how to bring traffic to your site. Gone are the days of stuffing your pages and posts with tags and keywords. In case you didn’t know, Google has had several big algorithm changes over the past couple of years that have pretty much wiped out that practice. Now, best practices suggest having one topic/keyword phrase per post or per page and to make darn sure those words are actually in the content in a major way.
Actually, if you were an excellent writer this might happen naturally, but it usually doesn’t. In my experience helping people optimize their WordPress sites, tweaking is essential to have the desired result of being found by the search engines for a particular keyword or keyword phrase. I do not suggest that you change your writing style. It is important that the content flows for the reader and does not sound like smarmy keyword-filled blather. My suggestion is to write your post or page and then tweak it using the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
I now suggest using WordPress SEO to take the place of two plugins. Before, there was All in One SEO which did a good job of adding titles, keywords and meta descriptions to your content; but I would have clients also use Scribe, which is a premium plugin starting at $17.00 per month, to guide them in optimizing their content. Now the WordPress SEO plugin does the job much by itself. The thing I really love is that it shows you a snippet preview of how your search result would appear to Google without you doing anything to your content. Believe me, this is eye-opening. It acts as a powerful visual incentive to tweaking the content to actually have some potential for appearing in a search for your keywords by optimizing your pages content, images titles, and meta descriptions. As you make the changes, the snippet also changes.
But it doesn’t stop with letting you change your title, keywords, and meta descriptions. If you just do that without also making the content of the page or post reflect the changes and best practices, it is a wasted effort. I had been using the Scribe plugin to give my clients that added information that would guide them to learn how to write optimized content. Now, the WordPress SEO plugin does that, too. It will go through your content, looking for whether you have met certain criteria, and gives you feedback on what you can do to improve the chances for your content to rank for your keywords.
When you finish using the plugin, your information will be presented to you on the All Pages or All Post lists in a series of green (optimized) and red (not optimized) dots. Looking down the list at where you still have room for improvement, thereby changing red dots to green dots, is another powerful visual incentive to going back and optimizing the others:
This is the screen that appears under you page or post content, showing you the snippet and allowing you to change it by filling in an optimized Title keyword and description.
Sometimes you may have titled the page or post for readability rather than use the keyword at the beginning of your actual page title.
Here are the basic rules to tweaking your content to get Google goodness.
- Think of the keywords or better, keyword phrases that people are likely to search on to find your business. Do a search and find out how many people are searching for that term. Choose to focus on keywords or phrases where you are competing with only thousands rather than millions.
- Write 300- 500 words on the page or post.
- Have your keyword or keyword phrase in the beginning of your Title.
- Have your keyword or keyword phrase place in the beginning of post or page. Note that if you do not add a meta description to the SEO plugin, the search engines take the first 160 characters of your post or page for the search result description.
- Use your keyword or keyword phrase as a header in your page or post content.
- Use the keyword or keyword phrase about three – four times in 300 – 500 words of content.
- Use one link every 125 words of your page or post content. You can link to other content on your site that relates to the subject or link to other related sites. Note the links should be appropriate to the keyword or keyword phrase, not just anything.
Once you have done all of the recommended things above, you can check your success at meeting the recommendations by viewing the Page Analysis Screen in the WordPress SEO plugin which will give you a report on how you are doing.
Hopefully you will get a page of green lights!