Do you remember when you could land a top slot on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) with keywords alone, as if by waving a magic wand? Those days are long gone. Today, content is king – so while keyword strategy still matters, the quality, depth, structure, and usability of content are what drive SEO success in WordPress.
Are keywords still magical?
Good keywords help SEO, and keyword research can even drive your content strategy, as you may decide to add a keyword-rich “angle” to the content your considering crafting. Reviewing WordPress site statistics can give you insights regarding content ideas. Google Adwords Keyword Planner can help you find alternative keyword phrases to use within your content, and examining Google Analytics can reveal what keywords are used to find your website.
There are other keyword tools that can be helpful to WordPress publishers. Ubersuggest lists keyword ideas by search volume, cost per click estimates, competition scores and more. Moz Keyword Explorer ranks keywords by search volume, creates scored keyword lists, performs competitive keyword analysis and even finds keywords in question format to make them more useful to content creators.
So too does Answer the Public. Its tool provides useful keyword question maps and suggestions to ensure content meets the needs of your website visitors.
Placing keywords in the context of a question (and its answer) is one way to improve the chances your search results could be displayed in Google’s Featured Snippets. These enhanced displays make your content stand out on SERPs, and they’re often focused on providing answers to searches recognized as questions.
When creating content, target a keyword-bearing question for which people seek a brief answer. Also take a long look at long-tail keywords and mix them into your content recipe.
Great content is your greatest trick.
If a website is a magic show, you’re the magician – and providing useful content is your greatest trick. By honing razor-sharp, laser-focused content that’s fresh, relevant and engaging, you make it easy for your visitors to take the next step with you – whether it’s a purchase, a download, a signup or something else.
Great content works like magic because it has real value. Even as you use keyword-focused questions to help your search engine ranking, you should always strive above all else to create unique content that’s valuable to your specific audience. Weaving appropriate keywords (and their alternative keywords) into great content is a straightforward task – but it starts with making great content.
Don’t overdo keywords either – they should be used naturally in context, and appear no more than 4% of the time. That’s 64 keywords or keyword alternatives in a 1,600-word article – or 80 keywords in a 2,000-word article.
Why 2,000 words? On average, the top 10 Google results for any keyword link to articles of at least 2,000 words – and shorter articles tend to rank lower in SERPs. Long posts aren’t necessarily more valuable, but robust, detailed and engaging content is.
Richer content should always be a focal point of your efforts. Images (make sure they have an informative ALT tag), videos and infographics boost the value of your content and therefore its search engine ranking. Any images or videos should be optimized for WordPress and sized for fast delivery. And please – give images relevant filenames readable by fellow humans (and search engines).
WordPress users have some useful tools at their disposal: Yoast offers a free plugin that lets you easily configure meta tags, titles, keywords, schema details, canonical URLs and more. WordPress itself provides the means to enhance content with topic-related tags and make it more visible to search engines with SEO-friendly URLs (permalinks). To make permalinks more effective, go to Settings > Permalinks and select either the Post Name option, or customize your own option that includes the Post Name.
Boot bot hecklers.
WordPress lets you decide whether users can comment on posts and articles. Generally, commentary should be encouraged, as it promotes interaction and can enhance the credibility of your magical content. Comment spam, however, hurts SEO like a noisy heckler ruining your best act. Some companies place link-laden spammy comments wherever they can, often using robots to do so.
Thankfully, WordPress provides a way to prevent spambots from doing their dirty work. Under Settings > Discussion, you can choose to moderate discussions, giving you an opportunity to stop bots before their posts go public. You can also blacklist commentators and automate spam-flagging to target posts containing a certain number of hyperlinks.
There’s also Akismet, a free tool that comes with WordPress. Akismet checks comments and contact form submissions against its database of spammers, and flags comments that even look like spam whether they’re in its database or not.
Share your other tricks.
Anytime you write another post or craft another page for your WordPress website, link to other relevant articles and posts you’ve previously published. Those internal links give search engines context about the content of your post, helping them create a logical “map” of its relevance and value. Links are helpful to regular humans too! Link your post to related posts manually rather than relying on a plugin to get a bigger SEO boost. The higher the quality of the related resources, the better.
Higher quality content is more likely to be shared – but only if you make sharing easy. Google notices when your posts are shared on social media. Highly shared posts – and those with good reviews – gain better rankings. To make content easy to share, embed social sharing buttons in content. In WordPress, go to Settings > Sharing to enable sharing and select which platforms you’d like to include sharing buttons for.
And while it’s important to link to other resources within your site, it’s not good to link to outdated information or, worse, to include broken links in your content. Broken Link Checker is a free plugin that helps find and fix broken links. It even finds missing images and misconfigured redirects.
WordPress takes a lot of the mystery out of website management, but you need to work some SEO magic to maximize your site’s visibility. Add the tricks outlined above to your act and make SEO an integral, natural part of your efforts. You’ll then be able to focus on what really matters: creating magical content that keeps your visitors coming back.
Make SEO Magic with WordPress
was written by me, Greg Norton – also known as webzenkai. I’ve got more than two decades’ experience building effective websites and powerful email campaigns that yield results. Feel free to contact me regarding this article or anything else you find on this website.