Optimizing a Blog Post
WordPress offers the unique ability to create optimized content for the web. Most content management systems do the same, but because of the widespread adoption of WordPress as a web and blogging platform, I will discuss optimizing an article specifically in WordPress– but keep in mind, the overall message can be applied anywhere.
When it comes to choosing a title for an article, you have 65 characters. Use these to describe the content of the article and incorporate keywords that people would use to find your post. Since the title will be part of the permanent URL, a clear and succinct title is crucial.
*Note, WordPress will allow you to alter the URL after an article title is created and before it is published, if it needs to be edited.
WordPress has some simple and effective search engine optimization (SEO) plug-ins available, such as the All in One SEO Pack, which allow the author to easily manipulate and optimize page meta-data. Use the page title to leverage keywords to describe the page content.
These SEO plug-ins will also let you create an optimized description. In less than 250 characters, usually a sentence or two, summarize or discuss the main points of your article. The article title, page title, and description should work together to relay to people (and by default, to search engines) what the overview of the article is.
Develop an informative, descriptive, and useful piece of information for your audience. Use the keywords in the meta-data naturally throughout the copy, as well as some variations. Changing up the keywords serves to strengthen the prose while adding search terms.
Review for Bold and Italics
Use the bold function a few times to highlight keywords and phrases. Again, don’t bold randomly just for SEO but naturally to bolster keyword phrases and assist readers that skim the written content.
Review for Internal and External Linking Opportunities
Now that the article is in place, look for ways to link to other articles on your website or blog. Let’s say paper company Dunder Mifflin is creating a post about the growing need for environmentally friendly paper products. Within this post, you mention the types of dye you use. There is an older article on your blog about safe chemicals used in your dyes. You can use a descriptive set of anchor text within a sentence of the new article to link to the old article.
“In addition to the biodegradable chemicals we use in our dye process, we also strive to use 90% recycled paper products in our line of office copy paper.”
The hyperlinked description (depicted in the example above) creates in the new article a clearly defined pathway to the old article. This makes it easier for users to dig deeper into your content and stay on your pages longer. It will do the same thing for search engines— allowing them to jump to more contextually relevant pages and index them properly.
*Note: When adding a hyperlink in the CMS of WordPress— and most other CMS platforms— you will see a field to enter a “title.” Always add a very brief description of the link. This serves as an “alt” tag, or description of the file in the site’s code instructing both users and search engines where the link will go. The link above could have a title like, “Article about Dunder Mifflin paper dyes.” The title of the link will also appear when the pointer of the mouse rolls over the link.
Adding images to posts is generally where people trail off and get lazy in the optimization process. Name your source images. Change the image’s file name from “Image_00012.jpg” to something more descriptive like “dunder-mifflin_sales-team-2012_paper-products.jpg.”
Use a variation of brand name, description of the picture, and another keyword or phrase in the title. Should people left-click and save the image they will see this new, optimized title. It also gives search engines like Google Images and Bing Images a better shot of including your page’s art and photo files in their image search results. Many people search photos, and clicking on a picture will deliver the user to the website the image came from: yours.
Additionally, WordPress editors, as well as most other CMS editors, allow the administrator to add a title and description for the image. The title serves as an alt tag, which describes the image to impaired users and search engines. This title also appears when users mouse over the image. The description helps search engines further understand what the image file in the article actually contains.
Post to Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+, Pin on Pinterest
Now that the article is optimized for search engines and ready for prime time, publish it and post it to social channels to support your blog. Use a description and link on Google+, ask for feedback on Facebook, get it out on the Twitterverse, and pin it on a specialized pin board on your company’s Pinterest page.
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