First, let me say that your keyword phrases are important for more reasons than just improving your search engine optimization (SEO). While search engine ranking is important in getting found by you target audience, just as, if not more, important is that you’ve only got 3-5 seconds to convince your site visitor that he or she will find the answer or solution he or she needs on your site. One of the first things we do when landing on a web page is skim the images and text looking for the keyword concepts that sent us there in the first place. So don’t just think of keyword phrases in terms of SEO, but in terms of reaching your target, that is the right, audience.
Tips on SEO for WordPress Content
- You should take your initial or core keyword phrase list and tape it to your monitor. Seriously. It needs to be in your line of site whenever you are working on new content for any and all of your marketing materials. It’s too easy to forget some of keywords and phrases when you are under pressure. So step one is creating a list of keyword terms and putting them where you will actually see them while writing your WordPress posts and pages (and all the rest of your marketing efforts including interviews).
- The second step may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how often it happens. You have to use your keyword terms in your content — consistently. In other words, if your keyword terms includes the phrases “Butte, Montana,” ” bed and breakfast,” and “B & B,” then make certain you use those terms in your writing and blogging. For example, instead of “people love my grandmother’s recipe for apple fritters at breakfast” in your blog post for your B & B in Butte, Montana, say “guests at our bed and breakfast in Butte, Montana love my grandmother’s apple fritters recipe at breakfast.” Boom. Two keyword phrases used, in the right order, and in a way that makes sense and feels natural (relatively natural). Later on you might have a line like “People in Butte, Montana like a hearty breakfast, so here at our B & B we don’t let our guests go away hungry.” (Look, this is a lesson on SEO, not writing, okay?)
- Use keywords and keyword phrases that your target audience actually searches on. It does no good to use academic or technical or slang keyword terms, if that isn’t what the people you are trying to reach use when they search. Always remember who you are trying to reach and talk to them in their own language.
- Try to use your most important keywords or keyword terms in the first sentence or two of your posts or page. The search engine listings will use the first line or two of your post or page to display beneath the results listings, unless you have a custom meta description. While you can install an SEO plugin and write custom meta descriptions for each and every post or page, it’s a bit more work and getting in the habit of putting those keywords and phrases in up front is a good one to get into for all of your writing. It’s like they teach in classic journalism, get the important information in at the beginning because people don’t always read to the end.
- While you want to use your keyword phrases often in your WordPress content, you don’t want to stuff your content with keywords. Your keywords should be no more than 8-12% of your content. No one knows exactly at what point Google and the other search engines penalize for too many keyword phrases, but 8-12% seems to be a good, safe number and also keeps your content sounding fairly natural. We all hate landing on those web pages that are nothing but a string of keywords, many that aren’t even relevant to our search. Well, guess what? Your site visitors hate it, too, and it lowers your trustworthiness and authority in their eyes.
SEO Tips for WordPress Titles
- The title of your WordPress post or page should contain at least one of your keywords or keyword phrases. Ideally, the keyword term should be at the front of your title instead of near the end. From an SEO point of view, positioning at the front makes it clear to the search engine analysis program that the keyword term is important. From a visitor point of view, if you can’t position the term in the front of your title because it might sound weird, then at the end is the second best option. We tend to notice the beginning and end of sentences, before the middle.
- Again, you don’t want to stuff your WordPress post or page title with your keywords or keyword terms. You will be penalized by the search engines and make it sound like you are doing a hard sell to your site visitors.
- Choose your title before you start to write your post or page, because WordPress will autosave it and it’s more difficult to change after it’s been saved. Also, don’t make your title too long or if you do, make certain you get your critical keyword or keyword phrase at the beginning of the title. Titles are truncated to 70 characters on the search engine results listings and you want to have that keyword phrases seen so your potential visitor knows he or she has found the right link.
- Always spellcheck your title before saving and publishing your WordPress post or page. I have one site where I can’t correct a typo in the title because it is already indexed and linked by several other sites. If I change that title to fix my typo, those links are broken and frankly the links are more valuable than the cost to my ego in owning up to my mistake.
- Never changed your title after you have published your post and had it indexed and linked by other sites. If you believe that the title is costing you some traffic, figure out how to change the post slightly and create another posts with the new title. Newspapers and magazines reuse content all the time by adding or editing a previously published article. You can to. Just make certain there is enough difference in the text that Google and the other search engines don’t think it is duplicate content. You will be penalized if the search engines think you are trying to palm off duplicate content, from your own or other people’s sites, as fresh content.
SEO Tips for WordPress Tags
- Tags are keywords or phrases that help your target audience find the right content. Tags are optional, but extremely useful in today’s socially connected Internet. WordPress tags are used in feeds and various social media to “push,” that is promote, relevant content to their users.
- Tags should obviously be relevant to the post. You should use the tag in the content at some point. At least some of your tags should be your keywords and keyword terms. If you don’t, you may be penalized by the search engines in your rankings.
- You should have no more than 2-10 tags per entry. Try to limit the number of tags that you use to the most relevant and those related to your core keywords and keyword phrases.
- Use a few tags often instead of a lot of different ones. Too many tags makes them less useful, especially if you are using a “tag cloud” for navigation.
- Use tags that people actually search on.
Okay, that should give you a solid grounding for optimizing your WordPress posts and pages keywords and keyword phrases.