21st February 2016
Beginners guide to WordPress SEO (using the Yoast SEO plugin)
We’re often asked by our clients on how best to optimise their new WordPress website.
As such, we’ve put together a beginners guide to getting the most out of WordPress SEO, in particular using the common Yoast SEO plugin.
The following are the most important parts of every web pages’ search engine optimisation:
- Page Title (SEO Title)
- Meta Description
- Focus Keyword
- Links to internal web pages
The URL of a page is the address in the browser, as such http://www.harleysthearing.co.uk/lyric-hearing-aid/.
In this example, we have the URL for a web page that specifically talks about the “Lyric hearing aid”, and you can see that the last section (the part specific to the page itself), is matched to the name of the page. It’s important to have a well constructed URL for the page in question (as opposed to something like harleysthearing.co.uk/lha/ or harleysthearing.co.uk/?p=lyric), and you have full control over what to name each page. As standard with any website, separate each word with a hyphen, and generally aim to match this perfectly to the full name of the page.
This can be changed here:
We always recommend to name each page in as descriptive a way as possible. It helps a user easily identify a page, and Google includes the words when indexing it.
Read more at https://moz.com/learn/seo/url
The Page Title is probably the most important on-page SEO factor. This is a short 55 character summary of what the page contains and should briefly describe to the user what the content is about. It’s also fine to split sections up with hyphens or the pipe character, for formatting purposes. As such
- Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
It’s the top line that you see in Google’s search results:
To edit this, scroll down to the Yoast SEO section, and hover over each of the lines in the “Snippet Editor”. They’ll turn grey as you do. Click the first one and you’ll be able to edit the text directly.
Read more at https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag
The Meta Description is a small sentence (155 characters max) containing more details about the pages’ content. Used in conjunction with the Page Title above, it’s one of the most important on-page SEO Factors. Why should the user click on your result instead of another website? Entice them with a well written description that leaves them in no doubt what to expect when they click on it.
It’s the main black text that you see in Google’s search results:
To edit this section, again scroll down to the Yoast SEO snippet editor, and click on the last part.
Read more: https://moz.com/learn/seo/meta-description
The content of any page is everything on it, which includes text, images and also other things like video or sound embeds. Meaningful and rich content is extremely key to having a high ranking and popular website.
When adding content, the main text should be formatted as “Paragraph Text”, and for any headings or subheadings, the ideal semantics are to choose from “Heading 1”, “Heading 2”, “Heading 3” etc. These will be shown on the page in decreasingly smaller text (but still larger than paragraph text). Google looks at the content of each heading and so it’s good practice to make these very keyword rich.
With a modern version of WordPress, you can include videos from YouTube simply by pasting the video URL, such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4vY5Q5yRvo. This will then embed the video into the body of the page.
This is specific to the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin, and it gives advice on what you need to improve for each page. Enter a keyword or subject into this field to see what it suggests. The plugin will analyse all of the content on the page (Page Title, Meta Description, URL, Paragraph Text, Headings, Images etc), and let you know how well the page is optimised.
Links to internal web pages
To help Google crawl a website better, it’s good practice to link from one page to another. For example if you have a page talking about “Hearing Loss”, and there is a section about “Tinnitus” which you also have another page on, it would be a good idea to link the word “Tinnitus” here. Commonly, your website will have a main “navigation bar” at the top of the site, but linking to other pages within the body of the page itself can often help improve rankings.
Important tasks to undertake when creating a new page or post
1. Add the following for each page on your website:
- Page Title
- Meta Description
Try to make these as descriptive as possible. Make them sound readable whilst trying to get the relevant keywords present.
2. Make sure the page has enough text, ideally at least 300 words or so.
Make sure to include the keywords you want the page to rank for. Don’t over-use them, but you can typically include them around 2 or 3 times with the page reading too spammy.
3. Add the following for any Images that are present on each Page:
- Alternative Text (Alt Text)
This describes what the image is about, and is indexed by Google. Again, make it descriptive and readable. You can also include a “Caption” if you want to include a description of the image on the page itself. Alt tags are typically only seen on “hover” only.
4. Enter the keywords you want to rank for in the “Focus Keyword” section, to get some stats on how well the page is optimised.
You can also click the “Page Analysis” tab to get more stats on this. You can follow the Yoast recommendations to improve the ranking potential of your site or page.
An ideally optimised web page should do all of the following:
- Be very relevant to a specific topic/keyword (usually a product or single object)
- Provide unique and informative content about a given subject (not copied from another website)
- Include subject/keywords in the Page Title
- Include subject/keywords matter in URL
- Include subject/keywords in Image Alt Text
- Specify subject/keywords several times throughout the text content
- Link back to another page within the site (parent page / child page / related page)
Find out more about our search engine optimisation services.
Further online resources
- https://moz.com/learn/seo/on-page-factors (best practices for creating each web page)
- https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo (general overview to how SEO works)
- https://yoast.com/wordpress-seo/ (large, in-depth article covering everything specific to WordPress)
- Expert Level: https://moz.com/search-ranking-factors (list of all the common search ranking factors that Google uses)
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