How to optimise a WordPress blog post properly

WordPress is the planet’s best-loved content management system. It’s so good that we insist on it, and we design all our clients’ websites on it. Better still, WordPress makes it really easy to optimise your blog posts for search engines, giving them the best chance of being found, read and hopefully shared by people searching Google for the information you blog about.

Thanks to the Yoast SEO plug-in, thought by many to be the best of the SEO plugin bunch, optimisation is a relatively simple procedure. Here’s how to do it.

Optimising blog posts with the Yoast SEO plugin 

First, install the Yoast SEO plugin – If you don’t have Yoast installed to your WordPress CMS, you can either visit their website to download it or search for ‘Yoast SEO’ in the search plugins box.

Do keyword research – what’s the subject of your blog post? What will people type into Google search if they want to find information about the subject? You could take an educated guess, but it makes more sense to make a quick visit to Google’s own keyword research tool, available in your Google account, or the WordTracker tool. They’re both really good.

You could choose a popular, high-competition keyword, but in an ideal world you want a phrase with low competition and decent search volumes. Then at least you stand a chance of your post ranking for those keywords. A less competitive phrase still attracts traffic, just less of it. But the traffic it sends is often tightly targeted.

Here’s an example. You want to write about the lovely fresh peas you sell. You might choose the high-competition, high volume keyword ‘peas’. But the longer phrase ‘where to buy green peas’ comes with less competition, and because it’s a buying term it’s more targeted. In effect you’re joining the dots between your article about buying peas and people who want to buy peas, and everyone – including Google – is happy.

Draft your post – Now you know the keyword it makes sense to focus on, a phrase that accurately reflects the subject matter, you can write your post. Don’t repeat the keyword too often. Once in the post title and once towards the top of the body of the post, or in your 2 header, is usually enough. You can also include a few similar and related keywords or phrases to add valuable context.

Remember quality matters – Optimisation isn’t a substitute for quality content. The better the quality of your post, the more chance it’ll have of attracting people’s attention and maybe even backlinks. You can stuff a rubbish piece of content with keywords, of course, but it’ll get you nowhere fast.

Use Yoast to optimise your post – Once your post is written, it’s time to use the Yoast plugin to complete the optimisation process. Scroll down and you’ll see the Yoast SEO section.

  1. Use the snippet editor to include your chosen keyword in the snippet that appears in the search results.
  2. Add your focus keyword into the ‘focus keyword’ box – this activates the Content Analysis list that guides you through the rest of the optimisation process
  3. Follow the traffic light-coded recommendations Yoast provides about your meta description, images, links, keyword density, ease of reading, focus keyword, meta description, page title and word count. As you tweak your content according to the advice, your optimisation score goes from red (poor) through orange (OK) to green (good)

Optimise your images – Every good post deserves an image, since imagery inspires people to read content by giving it big visual boost and confirming at a glance that the subject is indeed what they’re looking for. Use your focus keyword in the image’s title, alt text and description, a process you carry out when you upload the image to the post, with special boxes to fill in.

Now you’re ready to publish and promote your post

It might sound complicated at first but the Yoast optimisation plugin makes it a lot easier to construct blog posts with the right focus, helps search engines classify your content accurately and helps people find the information via Google. Forget to optimise your posts and you’re in a weaker position than a competitor who makes a good job of it every time.