If you have any kind of WordPress-powered website – whether that’s a static site or a regularly updated blog – then you may well have fallen prey to one of the most common WordPress SEO myths around. And it’s costing you a lot of traffic…
If you listen to some of the blogging “gurus” online then you could be led to believe that WordPress is perfectly optimized for SEO and the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo simply lap up the content on WordPress blogs. Indeed, many authorities seem to suggest that merely by using WordPress your content will get an “unfair advantage” in the search engines. However my own experiences of 6+ years of using WordPress for SEO is rather different…
Having started off SEO back in the year 2000 and having been testing, learning and experimenting ever since then I still believe that in general it’s easier to rank a well-designed static HTML website than it is a WordPress blog and a major reason for this is all the “bulk” that WordPress adds to the code that makes up your site in terms of formatting and so on. Certainly WordPress blogs can get ranked, but to do so requires a degree of effort for anything other than those keywords with the weakest of competition.
Additionally please bear in mind that many marketers focus most of their efforts on going for the “money keyword” – that is the high traffic keyword you’ve chosen as the main theme of your site. The vast majority of links point to this homepage and certainly in time you may well find your site ranking for this term.
The fact is though that it’s not just your homepage that should be ranking well in the search engines. Every single article you add to your WordPress site should be receiving decent search engine traffic in it’s own right which means the more articles you publish the more traffic you should be getting.
I have seen too many situations over the years where each blog post or article that gets published adds little or nothing to the overall traffic that a site is getting as a result of focusing primarily on the homepage rather than putting the same amount of effort into ranking your internal pages.
In this article then we’re going to look at some “best practices” that I have found to work time and again in the real world for onpage WordPress SEO so you can get the best results possible from every article you publish on your site. And we’re not talking theory here – these are the specific onpage factors that I apply to my own sites on a daily basis and that will guarantee you the best possible chance of ranking well.
Offpage Versus Onpage SEO
Before we dive in it’s important to appreciate that in many cases you can rank any page of your site if you build enough links to it. Unfortunately for many people (myself included) link building is quite frankly dull and repetitive. It also takes considerable time and, depending on the methods you choose, has cost implications too.
In essence getting your onpage WordPress SEO factors correctly set up gives you the best possible chance of ranking for a certain keyword and also in general means that it is necessary to build fewer links to attain the ranking you seek. Of course for most of us making a few changes to your article is a lot quicker, easier and more interesting than trying to build hundreds of high-quality links to each of your articles.
In other words ignore onpage WordPress SEO at your peril because your competition are probably doing it and you’ll have to work that much harder without it to get the sort of traffic you seek.
Content Creation For Onpage WordPress SEO
Onpage WordPress SEO all starts with the text on the page you’re trying to achieve a high search engine ranking for. Getting the right content on your WordPress site to begin with is therefore going to make a major difference to your results.
We’re going to start off this tutorial then by taking a look at how to go from a blank screen (or piece of paper) to a carefully-written article with the best chance of ranking highly in the search engines. Once we’ve covered these bases we’ll move onto the correct ways to format your articles for onpage SEO so that you’re familiar and comfortable with both aspects of onpage SEO which will work together to help push you up the search engine rankings.
Primary Keyword Selection
There are three ways to write an article for your site. The first of these is to simply write like the author of a book or magazine article might and pay absolutely no attention whatsoever to keywords.
The second is the person who is reasonably new to SEO and decides to write an article based purely on one or more keywords, squeezing them in wherever possible irrespective of how well the content actually reads to a human visitor.
The third way – and the route I strongly suggest you follow – is to use keyword research as a basis for your article but to tow the line between creating an article for the search engines and writing one for your visitors.
The best website articles manage to cover both these bases so smoothly that you may not even be aware that any form of onpage SEO has even been done on the page.
Why is this “double whammy” so important for onpage SEO? There are a whole host of reasons not least that the search engines now more than ever are using social signals as a ranking factor so the more people who share your content on Twitter, Facebook, social bookmarking sites and even use Google’s own “+1″ service the higher your content will likely rank in the search engines.
This is a pattern that is only likely to become more prevalent over time as it has the potential to significantly increase the quality of the search results and so it’s wise to start creating evergreen content around these principles now so it stands the test of time.
Of course there are other reasons too. Tricking someone to visit your website which only offers poor-quality content is really a recipe for disaster because you’re unlikely to manage to convince that visitor to subscribe to your blog or mailing list or to buy any kind of product or service off you.
In contrast if you can draw visitors from the search engines and then offer them an exceptional visitor experience then your marketing will be that much more effective as these people bookmark you, tell their friends and become drawn into your online community.
In other words: quality counts. Now more than ever.
That said, the process of onpage WordPress SEO all begins with a germ of an idea. We take that initial idea for an article and then use keyword research to look for the “ideal” keyword to focus our article on.
This keyword that will the main focus of our article is typically known as our “primary keyword” – it’s the high-traffic phrase that, if we can get a top ranking for it, will draw in the most traffic for us.
Selecting primary keywords is something that can be difficult to teach and the best results come from your own trial and error as you discover how much effort it takes to rank your articles for certain keyword phrases but there are a number of factors worth considering when you’re trying to select a primary keyword phrase:
If we’re going to put the effort into creating a great piece of content, formatting it correctly for onpage SEO and then building links to it then it makes sense to try and attract as many visitors as possible. If it takes the same amount of work to rank well for a keyword that can draw 100 visitors a day to your site, or another that will drive 25 per day, then it makes sense to go for the higher traffic phrase whilst bearing in mind the points listed below.
What is someone who types a specific keyword phrase into the search engines actually looking for? Are they looking for articles? Videos? Are they looking for information, entertainment or to make a purchase? This is important because essentially you want to be focusing on attracting visitors who produce a result for you – though what kind of result you’re looking for is up to you.
Let’s take an example and consider that we’re considering writing an article about beginners tips for learning to skateboard. What do we want to achieve from this article? Do we just want eyeballs on our website or are we hoping to convert that visitor into a paying customer of our skateboarding ebook? Are we looking to monetize visitors though contextual adverts like Adsense? If so it pays to consider the per-click rate so we can target more profitable keyword phrases. Are we looking to promote a product as an affiliate and if so how likely is it that the people searching for a certain keyword phrase are in a “buying” frame of mind?
Consider these potential primary keyword phrases as examples:
- skateboarding - a very general keyword. Searcher could be looking for all sorts of information and predicting the type of content they will like is difficult. Equally this is likely to be a high-traffic keyword phrase and so can draw considerable traffic to our site if we rank for it.
- skateboarding tips – we have a slightly better idea of what this searcher is looking for and a small number of visitors may convert into an action though it is likely that the majority are simply looking for free information.
- books on how to skateboard – we have a far better idea of what this searcher is looking for so we can tailor our content far better to this searcher’s needs and wants. Furthermore by mentioning a product type we know there is a good chance that this searcher may be considering a purchase so this phrase has a higher “commercial intent” than the previous phrases. Whilst the longer phrase means that traffic will likely be far lower than the keywords above, we stand a better chance of selling a product or receiving a decent per-click rate for any advertising we display on this page.
- best skateboarding course – this person is hinting even more that they are looking to make a purchase and are simply looking for guidance on exactly which product out of a selection they should opt for. Therefore a high commercial intent again.
- “skateboarding for beginners” review – this searcher has discovered a product called “skateboarding for beginners” and is seriously considering buying it but just needs a little extra push before they make their final decision. Keyword phrases like this typically have the lowest traffic but the highest commercial intent and so it is easiest to encourage these visitors to take an action.
As you can see different keywords have wildly differing traffic levels and degrees of searcher intent. Unless you merely want to drive as much traffic to your website as possible it makes sense to try and find the “sweet spot” when selecting keywords so that you manage to select a keyword that receives a decent search volume but also has a high level of commercial intent as it is these people that you can profit from most easily.
Examples of words that suggest a high commercial intent (people considering making a purchase of some form) which are therefore handy to see in a potential primary keyword phrase include:
Ease Of Use
How easy is it going to be to “naturally” include this keyword in the body of your article? Sometimes a keyword phrase like “tattoo designs free and colorful” might get lots of searches but would be very difficult to weave into your content without it looking odd. So consider just how “usable” a keyword phrase is too if you’re going to succeed in creating content for both the search engines and your visitors.
It goes without saying that irrespective of the primary keyword phrase you go after there will be other websites – sometimes millions of them – competing with you and vying for top spot in the search engines. However not all competitors are created equal – and some are easier to “beat” than others.
By analyzing the websites that are already ranking for a specific keyword phrase you will be able to make an educated guess about how easy it will be for you to rank well for it.
There are a number of factors which can help you to make an informed decision about the strength of competition for a specific keyword phrase:
Keyword In Title – is the primary keyword phrase you’re looking at actually mentioned in the title of their webpage or not? Generally the fewer sites in the top 10 who are using the specific keyword phrase in their page title the easier it will be for you to rank your site for that page.
Homepage Vs. Supplementary Page – take a look at the specific website addresses (URLs) that are ranked for a keyword phrase. Are the sites that show up the site’ homepage (such as http://www.example.com) or a supplementary page (such as http://www.example.com/another-page.html). The fewer results that are ranking purely for their homepage the easier it will generally be to rank your page for that phrase.
Keywords In URL – is the keyword phrase you’re considering actually mentioned in the URLs of the top ten results? So if you keyword phrase was “blog marketing” examples of URLs that might be harder to beat could be http://www.blogmarketing.com or http://www.example.com/blogmarketing.html while an easier site to beat would be http://www.example.com/unrelated-phrase.html.
PageRank (PR) – Whilst many SEO-newbies over-rate the importance of PR as a ranking factor it does have some relevance in my experience as the PageRank of a page is to a degree an indication of that site’s trust and authority. Marked on a scale of 0 to 10, the higher the PR of the pages you’ll be competing against generally the harder it will be for you to rank well for that term. However lots of sites that show PRs of 0-3 means you have a reasonable chance with that keyword.
Inbound Links – How many links do your potential competitors have pointing to their sites? The lower the numbers the easier you’ll find it to rank for that phrase.
High Quality Directory Listings – Are the sites you’re looking at listed in high quality, human-edited directories like DMOZ or Yahoo? If so, these links carry a lot of weight and so it can be hard to “dislodge” them from the topspots.
Some authorities also like to look at the number of competing sites for any keyword phrase but my own experiences have shown this to be less effective as an indicator than the above ranking factors.
Overall I find the above factors give a fair estimation of how easy it will be to rank for a certain primary keyword phrase assuming you have properly optimized your article. In general we want to be competing with sites that have a low PR, few incoming links, that don’t have the keyword phrase in their page title or URL and we’d rather be competing against individual pages of a site rather than it’s homepage. If you see a number of the top ten results fall into this category then this should be seen as a green light to move forward with a keyword idea.
Primary Keyword Selection In A Nutshell
Selecting the “ideal” keyword is more of an art than a science and one that you get better at over time through the process of trial and error. In essence selecting the perfect primary keyword phrase for your onpage WordPress SEO efforts is finding the perfect balance between each of the factors listed above. In an ideal world you’ll find a keyword phrase that receives a decent number of searches each day, is going to be reasonably easy to beat the competition for, is easy and natural to use in your content and has a moderate to high level of commercial intent.
In this way you’ll stand the very best chance of getting a good ranking for a phase that will draw plenty of cash-in-hand visitors to your site and it’s exactly these kinds of visitors – rather than those looking for freebies – that can make a massive difference to the results you generate from your WordPress site.
The Process Of Keyword Selection
There are many different keyword research tools around and every SEO expert has their own preference. For example Market Samurai is a very highly regarded tool in the internet marketing industry and for good reason. It will not only you to generate plenty of possible keyword ideas but it also provides a detailed analysis for each keyword offering up the number of searches together with the competition factors for each.
It is therefore currently one of the very best tools for making informed decisions about which keywords you should target in your content. Essentially Market Samurai does most of the “thinking” and analysis for you so you simply need to look at a simple table of results to decide whether a specific keyword phrase is a “yes” or a “no” for you.
In terms of the free tools available Google’s own External Keyword Selection Tool is as good as any for generating keyword ideas as well as analyzing the number of searches each phrase gets and the estimated per-click price should you be monetizing your site with Adsense.
However competition analysis for WordPress onpage SEO is far more repetitive and time consuming in this way where one must type each of the potential keyword phrases on your list into the search engines and then use a tool such as SEO For Firefox to analyze the competition for each. It works, but it’s a lot slower than using a tool like Market Samurai.
Secondary Keyword Selection
With the correct optimization it is possible to rank a blog post or article for more than one single keyword phrase. Certainly the primary keyword you have chosen is likely to be the keyword to deliver the vast majority of your traffic but secondary keywords have two real benefits.
Firstly these lower traffic, yet closely related, keyword phrases can still draw some visitors from the search engines so that overall your article receives a higher number of total visitors.
But secondly – and just as importantly – having these secondary keyword phrases on your page supports your optimization for your primary keyword phrase. Many SEO experts believe (and my own experiences suggest) that the major search engines use a “silo”-type analysis when looking at web pages so they don’t look purely for the primary keyword phrase that you are optimizing your content for but they also look for other related phrases which act as additional ranking factors.
So how do we find these secondary keyword phrases?
Personally for this I tend to use Google exclusively and use three distinct tools that they provide.
Firstly I type my primary keyword phrase into the Keyword Suggestion Tool to see what related phrases are suggested by Google.
Secondly I do an actual Google search for my primary keyword phrase, then scan down to the bottom of the page to see what “related” searches Google suggests.
Finally I use the Wonderwheel to gain further suggestions.
By now you should have generated a varied list of secondary keyword phrases. I certainly don’t aim to use them all but keep this list easily to hand whilst writing that specific piece of content as reminders of potential topics and keyword phrases to include.
When it comes to creating high-value content that over time should naturally acquire links it is a smart idea to type your primary keyword phrase into the major search engines and visit the first 5-10 results just to see what other authors having been writing about the topic.
The aim here isn’t to steal ideas from them but rather to gain a better understanding of the overall content structure they’ve used (which, we can assume, works well for this keyword in the search engines) and also to look for ways to make our content even more appealing than that of the competition. What have they missed out? How can we make a point clearer? What would make this article even more useful or worth passing on to your friends?
Remember that the higher the competition for a keyword phrase the higher quality our article needs to be to hit the top spot and so as a general rule I try to create the best possible article every time I write. Setting this as the “baseline” ensures highly-sharable, highly-linkable content with a long life-span.
Thinking Like Your Readers
Image you typed the keyword phrase you’ve chosen into the search engines. What would you want to see? What would make you say “wow!”. And conversely, what is likely to make you want to click the back button immediately?
Hopefully now you’re starting to see that effective onpage WordPress SEO isn’t about hiring someone who speaks only basic English to create a load of junk articles for you on the cheap. Quite the contrary – if you’re serious about the search engines that means you also need to be serious about producing content that will blow people’s socks off.
A handy trick here for producing fantastic content is to take a look at some of the more popular social sites to see what content is getting shared and bookmarked on a regular basis. Type in the most basic version of your primary keyword phrase (for example if you selected “how to lose weight fast” try shortening it to “how to lose weight” or even just “lose weight”) and look for patterns and ideas in the most popular content on these social sharing sites.
A few useful resources for this are:
Article Titles For SEO
In line with our hybrid “SEO/visitor satisfaction” model of content creation we need our article title to both include our primary keyword phrase and attract the interest of visitors.
It’s important to consider here what happens when someone uses a search engine. They type in a keyword phrase and are then presented with a list of possible results to click. All things being equal, a search engine user will typically start at the top of the page and click the first listing. If that doesn’t satisfy them, they click the “back” button and instead visit the second listing and so on.
So the higher your ranking, the more traffic you’ll get.
But things aren’t all equal. Each of those listings says different things and if your listing has a hypnotic title you can often draw more than your fair share of clicks from the search engine result pages (SERPs) simply because searchers set eyes on your listing and immediately want to learn more.
Techniques For Creating Hynpnotic Headlines
Creating a winning article headline is very much like creating a headline for a sales letter. They both have the same purpose of attracting interest, getting someone to click on your website and then drawing them into our content. The only real difference with onpage WordPress SEO is that we want to include our primary keywords too, so that our title is appealing to both the search engines and real people.
Here are a few “tried and tested” strategies for creating headlines that get results…
- Promise A Result – for example “How To Lose An Extra 2lbs A Week Without Exercising”
- Elicit Intrigue – for example “How I Shed 9lbs Of Fat In A Week While Living On Pizza”
- Use Specifics – for example “37 Things You Can Do Today To Improve Your Ebook Sales”
Take the time to brainstorm how you can combine your primary keyword phrase with one or more of these elements to create a headline that searchers will simply have to click to find out more.
Subtitles For Onpage SEO
Most “articles” included on WordPress sites simply consist of an article title followed by a large body of text. And while this works – to a degree – such content misses out on a whole range of possibilities.
Better formatted content not only helps to make your articles appear more readable – thus increasing visitor engagement – but there are also a number of ways to use these formatting elements to help with your onpage WordPress SEO.
Subtitles or subheads (depending on your preference) are an excellent example of this.
Generally speaking it appears that the search engines place more emphasis on text formatted in certain ways than in others. So, for example, all things being equal text that has been emphasized by making it bold or italic is likely to rank better than plain text. Further still text that has been made larger – just like a subhead – will often suggest more importance and so increase one’s rankings.
When creating content for the search engines try to break down the full story into smaller more “bite-sized” chunks and use subheads to break them up. Once again think of the subheads in a sales letter that keep the content neatly organized and compartmentalized leading to easier-to-digest content for your readers.
Including your primary and secondary keyword phrases naturally in your subheads can act as a strong indicator the the search engines need to place extra emphasis on your page’s rankings for those keywords mentioned in your subheads so try to look for ways to naturally include them.
The All-Important First Paragraph
A visitor arrives at your website. Within seconds they’re making a decision about whether your content is likely to answer their question and so second to your article title your lead paragraph is a major deciding factor on whether a reader will be drawn into your content or not.
The first paragraph in many articles contains a boring, rambling introduction to the overall subject before the writer actually gets into the meat of the topic. However a great first paragraph starts with the big guns and immediately attracts the readers attention. Think of it like a far longer article title that uses the same strategies such as promising a result, eliciting interest and/or using specifics. Take the time to craft a first paragraph that makes you really want to read on. If you could happily skip over your first paragraph then you may want to rethink it.
In terms of onpage WordPress SEO it has also been suggested that text that is included higher up the page may be given more emphasis than text in the main body of your content so ensuring you manage to naturally include your primary keyword phrase and ideally your secondary phrases too in the opening paragraph of your article can give you a further boost in rankings.
Using Images And Videos
Gone are the days where visitors expect purely text-based content. Certainly in terms of the search engines the text on your page is arguably still the most important element but increasingly the use of images and videos are helping to create top-level content. So why are these media so important?
1) Including images in your content helps to make it look more readable, increases interest, helps to drive home important points and in many cases will reduce your bounce rate. In other words the liberal use of images and video in your content simply makes for a better visitor experience because it is easier on the eye and holds the readers attention for longer. In many ways images can be seen as rather like the subheads on a sales letter in that they help to draw the eye in and keep the visitor engaged.
2) Images can become an important part of your onpage WordPress SEO efforts thanks to such additional elements as the ALT tag and image captions as opportunities to include further keywords.
There are a wide range of different ways to find relevant images which are covered in the “tool” section at the end of this article.
Back in the day marketers used to recommend breaking up a longer piece of content into a number of smaller pieces. In this way a 2000 word article would become 4 articles each around 500 words in length. Some people would try to stretch this even further by turning it into even more linked articles with the theory being that it was easier to optimize each of the smaller articles for a specific keyword phrase and as a result receive more traffic from the search engines overall.
My own tests though suggest that this landscape is changing. In general I find that longer articles tend to perform better and there are a number of reasons for this:
1) Longer articles by default contain more content and as a result you’re far more likely to receive a large volume of long-tail traffic from it.
2) Longer articles seem to hold more “weight” with the search engines. The search engines are all about providing the best possible resources for an individual search and in general it’s fair to say that a longer article is likely to contain more “meat” than a shorter article.
3) Longer articles can be better for your visitors. An article of a decent length means lots of interest for your readers if it is suitably broken up with links and subheads to keep it readable. Think about the concept of “pillar content” and appreciate it’s far more likely you’ll create the “go to” guide for a particular keyword with a longer article than a shorter article. Of course more visitor satisfaction means a smaller bounce rate and a greater likelihood of natural, organic sharing and linking which will further help to improve your search engine rankings.
4) Now that the search engines are paying more and more attention to latent semantic indexing a longer article gives you more chance of including all those important related keywords and phrases that will help reiterate to the search engines that your content really does have the answer to their users needs.
5) Even with decent onpage WordPress SEO strategies in place it’s likely that your content will require some link building to really hit the top spot. Of course the higher your authority and the lower the competition for the keywords you’re chasing the less links will be required to hit the top spot but generating a few links is beneficial irrespective fo the situation because it will really help to “stick” your content to the top of the SERPs.
But link building takes time and – depending on how you do it – costs money. Fewer articles of a greater length and with a better visitor experience means that your link building just got easier.
After all, would you rather try to manage a link-building campaign covering dozens of pages of low-value content or just a handful of high-value articles? Clearly the latter requires less work not only because you’re dealing with fewer pages to link to but also because people will want to link to it if it really is that good.
In short (no pun intended) I now prefer to opt for longer content where appropriate. Now I’m not suggesting you pad out your content and make it longer than necessary. Writing content for your website should be just like writing a salesletter in that you say exactly what you need to say – no more and no less.
Don’t get boring but don’t miss anything out. An example of a WordPress blog using longer-form content is Glen over at Viperchill. Whilst he posts far less regularly than many “gurus” would tell you is essential, each of his posts comes in at several thousand words and offers incredible value both in terms of the quality of writing, the topics covered and Glen’s unique perspective.
And that’s why Glen’s blog is really becoming one of the major “go to” resources for those looking to make a living online.
A Recap Of Content Creation For Onpage WordPress SEO
We’ve covered a lot of points so far so before we continue onto how to format your content using WordPress let’s just go back over the major points covered so far which you should bear in mind when creating content to rank well in the search engines.
1) Select a primary keyword phrase to base each of your articles around. This keyword should have been carefully chosen rather than pulled out of a hat and should offer a decent search volume with a degree of commercial intent and with competing sites that you can “leapfrog” over easily.
2) Analyze your competition and consider your primary keyword carefully in order to create the very best content possible for that keyword. Remember that in general longer content tends to work better than shorter content. Aim to create “pillar content” that others will want to link to.
3) Include your primary keyword phrase in the main title of your article, in subheads and liberally throughout the body of your article whilst keeping your use of it sounding natural rather than forced.
4) Consider including images and/or videos if they help to back up a point and use the ALT tag to include your primary keyword phrase here too (we’ll discuss how to do that shortly).
5) Find related secondary keyword phrases to include in the content of your article to increase the traffic it receives.
Content Formatting With WordPress For Onpage SEO
So you’ve created the single most amazing piece of content you’ve ever written based around a carefully-chosen keyword phrase. By now you’ve already got an unfair advantage over your competition but the second part of the puzzle is all about formatting. Essentially we want to use the built-in formatting tools which WordPress includes to not only make your content easy to read but to really drive home the point to the search engines that they need to really make your content highly-visible in their results.
In other words in this section of the article we’re going to take your basic text article and turn it into a WordPress SEO “powerhouse” of a finished article, so let’s log into WordPress, click on the “new post” link, paste in the content you’ve created and get formatting it so it turns from a basic block of text into something so much more.
WordPress SEO Plugins For Onpage Optimization
In just a few moments we’re going to take a look at the specific elements you should be focusing on in order to format your article so it performs well both for the search engines and for your visitors. But before we go through the nitty-gritty details it makes sense to tell you about a couple of tools that can help to make your onpage SEO efforts a lot simpler – namely a couple of powerful WordPress SEO plugins that will do a lot of the work (and the thinking!) for you.
SEOPresser is a WordPress SEO plugin which will analyze a huge number of onpage optimization elements including your article title, subheads, content length, keyword placement and images to provide you with a “score” for your content based on SEO best practices. It then provides guidance on what to do in order to improve your score and thus give you the best possible chance of ranking well in the search engines.
But whether you opt to take one of these WordPress SEO plugins for a free test drive or not it’s still worth being aware of the onpage formatting factors that can affect your site’s ranking so you understand both the “why” and the “how” on onpage SEO with WordPress so let’s take a closer look at those factors now.
Highlight each of your subheads and select the “paragraph” drop-down menu from the formatting options. From here you can select larger-sized text which of course adds a little more emphasis to your primary keyword phrase. Personally I tend to use the ”Heading 1″ option for my own subheads.
Inserting an image is incredibly simple and there are a number of ways to do this. One way is to upload an image that you have the rights to use by clicking on the “upload image” button. Select the image on your computer hard drive and then click the upload button. At this point you will see a tiny thumbnail of your image together with some basic details about it such as it’s file name etc.
It is on this screen that you can add your primary keyword phrase to both the ALT and title sections and thus increase the keyword density of your content. Appreciate that you can edit this image at any time – including the tags you have used – by simply clicking on it and then selecting the “edit” icon when it appears in the top-left of the picture.
There are also several highly-effective WordPress plugins that will search for royalty-free images that you can easily insert into your WordPress content though if you use them ensure that you “edit” the image using the technique above to add a suitable title and ALT tag. My own personal favorites are:
PhotoDropper – Simply click on the little PhotoDropper icon in WordPress and a search box will popup. From here you can enter a keyword and PhotoDropper will find relevant images for you on Flickr. Simply select the one you like and it’ll be pasted straight into your article.
Zemata – Zemanta is a free WordPress plugin designed to help you format your WordPress articles in a more interesting way. Just one feature they offer is the ability to search for images which you can then “drag and drop” into your article.
Links To Related Content
As mentioned previously most articles published on the internet consist purely of an article title followed by a body of text. However when we’re creating pillar content and working with onpage SEO the formatting can become almost as important as the text of the article itself. That’s why we add subheads and images. And links are just one more useful formatting technique for better rankings.
So why does adding links to related content help us to rank better in the search engines?
1) The major search engines seem to pay attention to who a website links to. The higher the quality of a website that you link to, the more authoritative your own article will appear to the search engines.
2) Creating links to other articles on your own website helps to “recycle” traffic and keep visitors on your site for longer as they end up visiting multiple pages rather than just the initial article they landed on. This reduces bounce rates and increases the chance of a visitor clicking an advert, buying a product or subscribing to your blog.
3) As mentioned earlier, the search engines place more emphasis on certain text which is one reason why we increase the font size of our keyword-rich subheads. By making them bigger we get a ranking boost. My own research suggests that having other links on your site – that include your primary keyword phrase – can also act as a signal to the search engines that your content is highly relevant for the search term you are targeting.
So how do we add links to related content? There are a number of ways to achieve this result and fortunately a number of free WordPress SEO plugins help to make this job considerably easier.
WordPress Related Posts Plugins – There are a number of plugins that will quickly and automatically add a list of other related articles at the end of your content. The WordPress Related Posts plugin is a simple yet bulletproof solution while LinkWithin has a similar remit but also includes images as well as the text link to your articles thus helping to draw the visitors eye.
Link To Post – Do you have other content on your site that is closely related? If so the Link To Post plugin will let you automatically search through all the other articles on your WordPress site to find related content before enabling you to quickly insert links to these articles within the body of your content.
Zemanta - Mentioned previously as a tool for adding images to your site Zemanta also has a handy feature that will search through the content of your article before suggesting certain in context links you can add. For example it may offer up links to certain pages on Wikipedia as further resources and adding these links to your content is as simple as clicking a button.
SEO Smart Links – SEO Smart Links is a plugin that will turn any word or phrase you specify into a link to any URL you specify. So if you were writing an article about “oven cleaning” you could tell this plugin to automatically link every instance of this phrase anywhere on your site to this specific piece of content thus helping to build keyword-rich internal links to your new article.
In the “tags” section of WordPress ensure you include your primary and secondary keyword phrases.
Page Load Speed
Google has openly admitted that they are using page load time as a factor in their ranking algorithm so a faster-loading page will rank higher than a slower-loading page if everything else is equal.
But that’s not the only reason to try and ensure your WordPress site loads as quickly as possible. It also leads to a far better visitor experience because when someone sees a link in the search engines that points to your site and then clicks it they get the information they desire that much quicker. Which means a better visitor experience, a lower bounce rate and once again more chance of organic links being built to your site over time.
Unfortunately this is one major area where many WordPress blogs really trip themselves up. Many WordPress users like to load up their sites with numerous plugins and add-ons which significantly slow down page load time. Indeed there are a few blogs that I have come across in the past that offered great content but took so long to load that I simply never bothered going back again. What a shame.
So what can you do to speed up the load time of your site and so improve your onpage WordPress SEO?
Uninstall Unnecessary Plugins – every plugin you use will slow down your site. Go through all the plugins that you’re using on your WordPress site and decide whether it’s really essential. If not, get rid of it.
Eliminate Social Sharing Bars - It seems “share bars” like Wibya are all the rage at the moment with bloggers hoping to encourage visitors to share their content but unfortunately these share bars tend to load incredibly slowly. Consider getting rid of them altogether and just using one of the faster-loading WordPress plugins for adding social sharing buttons.
Caching - Plugins like WP-Cache store regularly-accessed website files in such a way that they load far quicker.
Take the time to personally read your content before you hit the “publish” button. Ensure your writing is clear and makes sense to your readers and where necessary remove pointless or muddling sections to leave you with a clear, focused, logical article. Even better have someone else who hasn’t seen the article before look it over to ensure there’s nothing that doesn’t make sense to them or any “weird” punctuation that sounds fine to you but muddled them.
Additionally, assuming everything makes perfect sense use the built-in spellcheck in WordPress to ensure that your carefully-crafted content isn’t suffering from any typos (as mine invariably is thanks to typing faster than I can think!).
Encourage Social Sharing
As mentioned earlier on search engines and using social signals more and more to analyze and rank web pages. If you’ve followed the guidelines in this article then you’ll have really created some content to be proud of and that your visitors will love so make it easy for them to share your content with their friends – and in doing so you’ll not only receive extra traffic as a direct result of all that sharing but all those likes, shares and tweets also have the very real potential to give you a boost in the search engines.
There are dozens of different plugins and services that will allow you to add buttons to your content so your visitors can easily share it on Facebook, Twitter and so on so feel free to do some experimenting with the differen options but if you’d rather just go with a recommendation then I have found the Sexy Bookmarks plugin to do an admirable job as well as being visually attractive.
A Recap Content Formatting For Onpage WordPress SEO
Once again we have covered a lot of information when it comes to properly formatting your content for onpage SEO so let’s recap the more salient points as a quick reminder of what you should be bearing in mind.
1) Add image(s) and use the ALT tag to include your primary keyword phrase.
2) Increase the font size of your subheads to aid in readability and emphasize the importance of those keywords to the search engines
3) Link to relevant, related content either on your own WordPress site or on high-trust authority domains like Wikipedia. Also link your primary keyword phrase to the permalink of your article.
4) Aim to speed up the load time of your page wherever possible
5) Add your primary and secondary keyword phrases to the post “tags”.
6) Make it easy for your visitors to “share” your content on the major social bookmarking/networking sites.
How Can I Help?
This monster article is almost 8000 words is length and has taken the best part of a week to write (as well as years of trial and error to discover all the tips it includes) so if you have enjoyed it and feel you’ve benefitted from it please take a moment to click the “like” button below or tell your friends about it.
Given the effort I’ve put into this article I hope you’ve learned a few things that will help you to significantly improve the results you’re getting from your onpage WordPress SEO efforts. Please leave me a comment below if you have any feedback for me or if you have any questions and would like a personal response. I look forward to hearing your thoughts…
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