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February 7, 2012

Best Ways to use WordPress to Optimize Your Website for SEO

Author: Valerie Baker

The WordPress platform is one of the best solutions for people who are interested in updating their own website and getting the best return on their efforts in terms of search engine optimization. To create a optimized posts using WordPress here are the top tips you should do to make sure you get ranked through Google and other search engines.

1. Do Keyword Research. 

ShiatzuBefore you write your first post, do some keyword research to optimize your post title for better results. For example if you are going to write an article called, Guide to Grooming your dog. The article can be highly informative and helpful to someone looking for that, but the problem with this title is it’s not targeted enough for the search engines. So you might change it to something like: Dog Grooming Tips for Shiatsu Owners

I always use the google keyword tool to see what terms are search the most locally. What you want to do is try to find search terms that are getting over 8,000-10,000 searches a month and that have low to medium competition. From there you can figure out if it will take you just a few articles or pieces of good content or 10-15 articles centered around the search phrase to get you the first page search results that you are looking to achieve.

2. Optimizing Your Headline. 

For the best title-tag SEO, your goal should be to try to put the keyword phrase in the headline or as close as possible to the front of the headline as you can. For example if I was writing for a real estate company and wanted to get searchers that are ready to buy, my headlines or sub-headlines would be:

  • Bonita Springs, FL Real Estate Market Report: February 2012, or
  • Bonita Springs, FL Mortgage Rates: February 1st 2012

In both examples, I put the keyword phrase in the beginning of the title.

3. Optimize Your Post Slug. 

When you write the title for your new post, WordPress automatically generates the post slug for you by placing every word of your title into the slug URL. For example if the article is titled “The best ways to clean your Porsche 911”, the automatically generated post slug reads: /The-best-ways-to-clean-your-Porsche-911. Instead of having so many words you would change the post slug to /cleaning-Porsche-911 or /Porsche-911-cleaning-tips. By doing this the post slugs are using just the keywords that I want to optimize for in each post.

5. Optimize Your Images. 

Including a nice relevant image in posts helps visual learners to stay on a page and read the article. The mistake that is often made is that when the image is loaded it is not labeled correctly and is usually just labeled as picture.jpg. Instead when you save the image make sure to label the image as the keyword or keyword phrase that the article is about. In addition the “alt text” that wordpress allows you to enter is also labeled as the keyword or keyword phrase as well.

6. Optimize Your Post Meta-Description. 

Your meta-description tag is a sentence or two that tells Google and the other search engines what your page is about. The meta tag is what shows up in search engine results below your page title and if it is well written you have a much better chance of getting a web browser to click on your site. There are only 156 characters in the meta-description tag so being brief, using the proper keyword phrases and having something interesting will go a long way. The meta-description doesn’t help your SEO rankings in Google eyes, but it definitely helps with clickthrough because it accurately summarizes the content on the page of the website and minimizes people clicking on your site and instantly bouncing off.

Valerie Baker

Valerie is the Senior Account Manager & Project Manager here at Atilus.

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