On-Page SEO in WordPress for Beginners

April 5th, 2012 @ 9:42 am

Search engine optimization is a multifaceted and complex pursuit, but it’s very easy for beginners to implement SEO best practices on their pages using WordPress because of the user friendly interface and myriad of helpful plugins- but of course these tools will do no good unless you know how to use them effectively. Today we are going to be running through the essentials of how to implement on-page SEO on your pages using WordPress and the best tools to do it with.

Basics of onpage SEO

Before we get into the specifics on optimizing pages in WordPress, we should do a quick rundown of the most important on-page factors that you should be paying attention to.

Your keyword should be present in the title, a few times in the content, and ideally in a subtitle or header as well. A lot of people overdo it and end up stuffing their keyword unnaturally, but this isn’t necessary and search engines are getting a lot smarter about this. Keyword density doesn’t have to be above %1 or so, anything above %2 is overkill. The best way to optimize for your keywords in the content is to make sure the writer is knowledgeable about the topic and uses industry terms- Google reads through your pages for certain words related to specific topics and niches and uses them to determine what your page is about. If your writer is using a lot of ‘fluff’ in their articles that isn’t on-topic or just doesn’t produce helpful content in general, you should consider getting a new one. When it comes to your money site, quality is much more important than quantity.

Choosing an SEO plugin

There is a monolithic selection of SEO WordPress plugins to choose from, but for a beginner it’s a good idea to choose one of the most trusted and reliable all in one packages that streamline the process. Here are few plugins that can serve as a complete on-page SEO solution for your web pages:

Yoast SEO – Yoast is one of the best choices for beginners because it makes the entire process very easy to understand. The presentation is very clear and it even gives you some very helpful metrics in real time as you compose your article (or paste it in) so you can constantly keep track of keyword density and whether you are following best practices (keyword in first paragraph, etc.)

All-in-One SEO – This is another full SEO solution for WordPress that many webmasters rely on- the layout is very simple and it’s easy to customize the parameters of each post individually. It also supports e-commerce sites and automatically generates META tags, it’s extremely customizable for advanced users but is still great right out of the box for beginners.

Keywords, Titles, Meta Description, and Density

Each article that you add to your website should be targeting a profitable keyword that you find during keyword research (using a service like Google Keyword Tool), preferably a long-tail that you can easily rank for. This keyword should appear in the title of your article, the URL, the Meta description, and throughout the article itself. This can be very easy or fairly tricky depending on the keyword, get creative but don’t make it obvious and force the keyword where it doesn’t seem natural. The Yoast plugin makes some great SEO suggestions under the ‘Page Analysis’ tab while it actively scans your article, which is very helpful if you aren’t perfectly clear on what search engines like to see.

If your keyword appears in all of these places and your article is authoritative and helpful, the on-page portion of your SEO is complete. Now your focus should be on link-building and outdoing your competition, try to offer your visitors something that the other pages are missing- Google pays attention to the pages that users most often click on and don’t bounce from.

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