Part One of this two-part post looked at five key elements of creating SEO-friendly content. In part two, we examine the technical aspects of getting your blog posts discovered.
This checklist assumes that you are using WordPress 5.0 or higher, have already submitted your URLs and sitemap to Google’s Search Console and makes use of the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.
If you are a Reedsmore managed hosting client, these things will already be set up for you. And if you’re not, you should be. Get in touch to find out more.
6. Add a Featured Image
Your featured image accompanies your title wherever your post is seen, so choose an image that’s striking and keep it as relevant as possible. A good place to look for free images to use to accompany your blog is Unsplash. But if you can’t find the perfect image image to accompany your post, you can get creative. It’s always better to have a featured image than not, even if it’s only tangentially relevant.
Avoid filling your post with ripped-off memes or animated gifs. Gifs weigh on page load times, and slow loading harms your Google ranking. And while they might look good on the screen, repetitive animations really only distract the reader’s eye, making it harder for them to read what you’ve written
7. Don’t Forget Your Metadata
A snippet is the few words of text that appears in search engine results below the clickable result itself. If you don’t write anything here, Google will decide for itself what it should show. That’s not an outright catastrophe, but remember that Google’s paramount priority is to serve up useful results for search requests, not to optimise your blog posts, so it’s always best to take charge.
To add your snippet, when editing your post scroll down below the editing field to the Yoast SEO section. There you will see the snippet preview. Click the Edit Snippet button and edit away. Keywords should be included here, but it’s important to ensure that it still reads well.
8. Check Your Title
In part one of this checklist, we began writing with a working title. Now is the time to go back and change that to something more descriptive of what you’ve written.
Unless you are a very clear-minded, methodical writer, blog posts never quite finish the way you expect them to when you start writing. So even if you came up with a humdinger of a post title before you sat down and started typing, go back and make sure that the title still accurately describes the post you’re about to publish.
A descriptive headline lets potential readers know what to expect when they click, so include keywords and phrases. Be as catchy and clever as you like, but never at the expense of clarity. Cryptic headlines might be fun in print, but they leave Google bamboozled. No matter how niche your content might be, never be tempted to try and ensnare a wider audience by adding a misleading title, or including keywords that your content doesn’t address. That will only backfire by pushing up your bounce rate, sending you sliding down the search rankings.
9. Check Your Permalink
Once you’ve come up with your perfect title, check that your permalink – the URL of your post – matches it closely. While you’ve been drafting your content, WordPress will have been saving all of these drafts under the URL of your working title, so it will very probably need changing to match your actual published title. Google likes it best when your URL matches your page title, which accurately describes the post’s content. When all three fit together, Google knows where to send its users to give them the best response to their search query, which pushes your content up the search rankings.
10. Customise Your Social Media Message
Finally, if you’re using Jetpack or another service to automatically push your posts to your social media accounts, it’s worth taking the time to tailor what your social media posts say for your followers. If you don’t do this, your social media post will just consist of the post title. Again, that’s not catastrophic, but it’s far nicer to address your followers like a human being, rather than a bot.
This will be the final thing that you do, because the field to insert this only appears after you hit Publish.
Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to go. Hit publish again and unleash your wisdom on the world.
If you’re having trouble with anything mentioned above, from finding time to blog or topics to blog about, to publishing a whitepaper or e-book, Reedsmore can help. Contact us today to arrange a call and discover what we can do for you.