If you are serious about establishing your blog as a vertical in your business or personal brand, you need to treat your blog posts as search results to questions being asked. That’s why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your blog posts in WordPress is a must-do for earning rankings, wooing targeted traffic, and nabbing Return On Investment (ROI) for your blog.
Our experts here at Creative Partner have created a concrete free SEO guide for your personal or business needs, which you can find at the end of this article.
If you spend all that time producing a wonderful piece of content, you ultimately need to give it legs to stand on. Without SEO, you’ll put your blog at a disadvantage from the start.
Choosing random blog topics is probably the easiest way to limit how much your blog post appears as a search result. It is important to focus on choosing topics for your blog that have the potential to rank your blog higher in search results. Knowing the popular or unique questions asked on search engines is called SEO Marketing and that in and of itself is a whole other topic for another day.
If your blog is set up in WordPress, SEO optimizing a blog post before publishing is incredibly easy to do. You just need to know what to do. Here are 8 “Checklist items” you can EASILY do.
1. Edit and Proofread Your Blog Post
Firstly, make sure your blog post is edited and proofread for typos. You want a clean, error-free blog post for obvious reasons. Google says the quality of content directly impacts rankings for SEO for blog posts more on their Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (EAT) factors. Click here to learn more about EAT.
A quick scan with your two eyeballs will usually suffice, but if you are not the best editor, hand this task off to a trusted second party. Alternatively, you could install the Grammarly Chrome extension to check your grammar and spelling right inside the WordPress editor.
2. Add Relevant Images to Your Blog
After editing, it’s time to add and optimize relevant images. If you’re working from a draft, you should be able to add them into WordPress without a problem. Just place your cursor where you want the image to go, then drag it straight into the editor.
Once you’ve got pictures placed within your post, optimizing them goes like this:
- Make sure all images are inserted correctly. Don’t place images that mess with your paragraph formatting. Keep your image placement consistent (e.g. centered, in-between paragraphs).
- Images should be original size to ensure they’re clear and crisp. Only decrease the size of an image if it’s too big or the file size is bloated. Anything over 4-5 MB can usually be scaled back without sacrificing its quality.
- Add alternate text to EVERY image. This is important for SEO for blog posts! Alternate text is a descriptive text that provides context for people who are visually impaired or need to use a screen reader to browse the web. Alternate text (or “alt text”) also describes your images to search engines so they can potentially appear in image searches.
- To add alt text to an image in the WordPress editor, click the image. A toolbar will pop up – click the “Edit” icon (the pencil) to add image properties like alt text.
3. Format the Content for Readability to further enhance SEO for blog posts
Another must-do for SEO for blog posts is formatting your blog posts for readability. These are the top considerations so that people (and search engines) can read and understand your post easily:
Above all, be consistent. If you use auto-formatted bullet points, use them every time you require a bulleted list. If you format your subheaders with numbers, keep doing so throughout the post. Maintaining consistency in formatting keeps things looking neat and clean, not to mention easier to read.
Fix your spacing. Remove double spacing after periods, add more paragraph breaks where your text looks dense, and ensure spacing around images is consistent.
Make sure all H2s, H3s, etc. are coded correctly (use WordPress’s formatting!). If you’re not familiar with the Hs, click here to learn more.
4. Add Easy One-Click Social Sharing Codes
For me, Twitter and LinkedIn is a huge platform for engagement. I use those platforms to grow a solid social presence.
Knowing Twitter is a hot platform. We’ve chosen to use a plugin that enables us to add “Click to Tweets” to every post. These are punchy phrases or takeaways in the blog post that readers can share to Twitter with one click.
- Know your platform (for us, that’s Twitter)
- Add a plug-in to your blog that will allow you to add manual shortcodes to every blog post that makes sharing super easy.
- Avoid sharing CTTs too early in a blog. I’ve seen this directly negatively impact the possibility of earning a Featured Snippets ranking! Don’t put too much code, or “stuff” above your first H2s and H3s.
Some tips for adding “Click to Tweets” to your posts:
- Get creative! Sure, you can copy a bit of text straight from the blog post, but why not reword it to make it more impactful, punchy or powerful?
- Make sure your tweets are readable. Eliminate any clunkiness.
- Add emojis. A split test by Larry Kim of WordStream found that including an emoji in tweets increases engagement by 25.4%.
- Don’t add them too early in your blog post. This can ensure that you avoid messing with the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) readability of your blog post.
5. Check Your Links
For every link in your blog – whether it points to another site or links internally to your other blogs or web pages – make sure it works. Broken links are a BIG no-no for SEO for blog posts.
Subsequently, make sure all links pointing off-site are set to open in a new window. That way, you won’t be directing readers off-page. To edit a link in WordPress, click the link text. A toolbar will pop up. Then click the “edit” icon. Your link will become editable text and a gear icon will pop up. Click it to access “link options.” Make sure the box next to “Open link in a new tab” is checked.
6. Include a CTA
After you check the links, scroll to the end of your blog post and make sure a CTA (call-to-action) is there.
Check out the image below of the CTA we use at Creative Partner from one of our blog posts.
At least one CTA in this location is essential because it tells the reader what to do after they’ve finished consuming your awesome content. If you managed to build trust along the way, you don’t want to let that fly out the window. The CTA helps you capture the trust you’ve built and leads the reader into your marketing lifecycle.
7. Add Metas – a must-do for SEO for blog posts!
Looks like we’ve reached the last few steps for SEO for blog posts. Don’t get lazy, though, these final steps are major.
At this point, it’s time to add a strong and unique meta title and meta description. The meta title of your blog post WILL show up in Google search results. Make sure it includes your focus keyword so the term you want to rank for signals straight away.
The meta description may or may not show up in search results. It’s still important to create one that’s the right length, properly summarizes the post, and includes your focus keyword.
A great way to add metas to all your posts in WordPress is to use the Yoast SEO plugin. We use this to optimize all of our posts on the Write Blog.
Once the plugin is installed, scroll all the way to the end of your post in the WP editor. There you’ll find the Yoast SEO options including a snippet preview of what your post will look like in Google SERPs. To edit the metas, click “Edit snippet.”
Now you can add:
- Your optimized SEO title (also called the H1 or header)
- A URL slug (a short string of text that describes the page – this text string follows the domain extension in the URL, e.g. https://yoursite.com/page-description-goes-here)
- A meta description (a short summary, up to 158 characters, of what the page/blog post is about – it’s a good idea to use the focus keyword in this description and put the most important text at the beginning)
8. Optimize Your Blog for Social Sharing with Yoast (Yes, Yoast Does That!)
Final step! This could be the difference between zero clicks and lots of clicks, so don’t skip it!
Ensure the right image is shared with your post link on social media by completing this step. This is especially important if you’ve created custom, share-worthy graphics to accompany the post.
In the Yoast SEO options, click on the “Social sharing” icon.
- Skip over the title and description fields – Yoast will pull the information for these from the main snippet fields you already filled out in step #7.
- Scroll to “Facebook image” or “Twitter image.” Upload your custom image here to make sure it’s shared with your link when people click one of your social share buttons.
- Make sure the image you use has an alternate text and a title specified. You can add these by selecting the image in your media library.
This step keeps all of your social shares looking snazzy and professional, no matter who shares your post.
Just publishing your blog is not enough. For better results, you must establish SEO for your blog posts.
Click here to receive a free SEO guide from our experts here at Creative Partner.
Taking care of all these small pieces of your blog post may seem like busy work, but it’s not. Each step is essential for making your content the best version of itself. Attention to detail may be the difference between two posts vying for the #1 or #2 spots on a SERP. If your post has better signals, both readers and Google will take note.
The devil is in the details. A sharp eye and a few extra minutes of your time before hitting “publish” could make all the difference.