SEO Guidelines For Setting Up A WordPress Blog

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May 28, 2013 by stevenmacdonald


Having a blog is great for Content Marketing, Link-Building and SEO. However, by not taking advantage of the tools provided by WordPress, you limit your exposure and opportunities to capture high quality web traffic and track performance. The following guidelines have been created in order to make optimizing your blog as easy as possible. The guidelines in this post will cover:

•    WordPress SEO Plugin
•    Blog Content SEO
•    Google+ Authorship

By implementing these best practices, blog traffic and total traffic to your website will increase significantly.

1. WordPress SEO Plugin

Once you have created your blog, download and install the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. The plugin allows bloggers to easily optimize blog posts for SEO. When creating a new post, scroll down below where you would enter your blog content and you will find the SEO fields that are needed to be completed in order to optimize your post for search engines.

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Your first field is “Focus Keyword”. Here you will need to enter a keyword that your blog post is about. In the above example, the Focus Keyword was “email marketing”. The SEO Plugin will then analyze how many times that keyword has been mentioned in your blog post. If you do not enter a Focus Keyword, a message will be displayed:

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You will then need to complete the SEO Title and Meta Description fields as both are important for SEO. The Page Title should be no longer than 67 characters and should include your Focus Keyword at least once and end with “| BRAND NAME”. The Meta Description should be no longer than 155 characters and include your Focus Keyword at least once.
Fortunately, the SEO Plugin shows a Snippet Preview of how the page will be viewed in Google if someone was to search for it.

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If these fields are missed, it is still possible to post your blog, but in the Google search results, the blog will not be optimized for SEO and will look similar to the following:

SEO Guidelines WordPress SEO 4

2. Blog Content SEO

Now that you have your Focus Keyword and your SEO framework in place, you will need to optimize the content of your blog post. Within your blog post, you will need to:
•    Use the Focus Keyword at least twice within the content
•    Bold the Focus Keyword

If the Focus Keyword has a specific webpage on your website, link the Focus Keyword to that page. For example, if a blog post used the Focus Keyword “Whitepapers”, you would link to www.superoffice.com/resources/white-papers/

Another way to use the Focus Keyword in your blog post is to optimize the blog post URL. When creating a blog post, WordPress will automatically take the blog title and use that as the URL.

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However, by clicking on the ‘edit’ button, you can optimize the post. Google prefers shorter URLs than long URLs.

In the case above, the URL is:
•    http://www.superoffice.com/blog/2013/02/measuring-the-effectiveness-of-email-marketing/

A better example would have been:
•    http://www.superoffice.com/blog/measuring-email-marketing-effectiveness/

Blog posts, just like newsletters should include a call-to-action at the end of each post. Once the reader has finished your blog, they are more committed to taking action. A good call to action can be:

•    Subscribe to the BRAND NAME newsletter
•    Subscribe to the BRAND NAME Blog
•    Contact BRAND NAME to arrange a meeting
•    Download the latest BRAND NAME Whitepaper

By doing so, you will be increasing page views per visit and reduce bounce rates on the blog post. In addition, a great way to increase page views is to link to other blog posts at the end of each post. In the Email Marketing blog post I published, I included two links at the bottom of my post.

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The result of this can be:
•    Increased page views per visit
•    Reduced bounce rate
•    Building authority between posts

Each time you link to a webpage or blog post, you give that page a boost in authority. In order to succeed in Google, we need to increase the authority of the website and blog.

3. Google+ Authorship

Once you have published your blog post, you have a great opportunity to build your personal brand and claim what Google refers to as Author Rank (more commonly known as Google+ Authorship). Google Authorship is becoming increasingly important for online marketers. Google likes authority, and if you claim your Author Rank, you are telling Google you are a real person and thus, more authoritative than a webpage on a website.

To claim your Author Rank, you will need to login to your Google+ profile and under Profile > About > Edit Profile, scroll down to the Contributor To section and add a link to your Author page on the SuperOffice Blog. Before clicking Save, make sure that the link is set to Public, which is usually the default setting. For example, my profile looks like:

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In my Google+ profile, I currently link to: www.superoffice.com/blog/author/steven-macdonald/.

You will also need to add a link under the bio section. The bio is pulled automatically for each post and the below instructions only needs to be completed once. Using myself as an example, my bio reads:

“Steven is a guest blogger for SuperOffice. With more than eight years’ experience in the online marketing field, Steven is driven by creating success stories.”

The keyword “Steven” links to my author profile: http://www.superoffice.com/blog/author/steven-macdonald/. To make my name a link, I’ve included some HTML:

<a href=”http://www.superoffice.com/blog/author/steven-macdonald/“>Steven</a>

To add the link, you will need to:

1. Login to WordPress
2. Click Your Profile and About Yourself.
3. Under ‘Biographical info‘ include your name (as if referencing yourself in a third person) and then copy the link from the below:

<a href=”http://www.website.com/blog/author/yourname/”>YOUR NAME</a>

You can then click save and your bio will link to your author page.
A fast way to get your blog post indexed by Google is to share the post on Google+ and then click the +1 button on your link. Your Google+ post will then be shown as:

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Once the post has been shared on Google+, you can now share your blog post on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. This can apply to both personal (your profile) and professional (brand profile) social networks. You can repeat this process each time you publish a blog post.

Have you optimized your WordPress blog yet? Let me know below.

About Steven: Steven Macdonald has been working with online marketing since 2005. Experienced in online gaming and travel, Steven is currently working on global SEO with SuperOffice CRM and regularly contributes to the Tribes blog.

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