To introduce you to the issue and its scale, let’s take a very realistic example. You have an editor who’s excellent at producing content. We can even assume the content is optimised for the web, but they lack knowledge about WordPress and publishing through its CMS.

Their article gets published, you promote it on social media and it does well. However, assume there were a couple of mistakes the editor has made:

We could add more to the list, but for the sake of introduction, this will suffice.

It might not seem like a big deal at first – the title tag and meta description will get populated. The page will inherit the title from the content and the meta description will be picked from your copy automatically by Google.

Here’s how many issues these two small mistakes will cause:

Long-term, creating this particular blog post or a web page was a waste of resources. And as mentioned in our article about content marketing and the importance of content strategy, it’s all about long-term.

If you run a small business, you might not know about the specifics of WordPress SEO. Or perhaps your web agency didn’t do a good job at supporting your website post-launch and you didn’t get SEO guidelines. You’ve hired a great editor, and it wasn’t your or their fault. Your editors need just a few tips on how to make their content rank on Google – and we have these tips for you.

How to add metadata in WordPress

In our list of essential WordPress plugins for every website, we have included the Yoast SEO plugin – and for a very good reason. It’s a plugin that allows your editors to change metadata and even grade the readability and SEO optimisation of your posts. You can learn more by following the link above.

What is website readability and how does it help with SEO?

In 2020, Google announced that user experience will become one of the key factors to rank your website. Making your website easier to read is crucial for user experience – and, in turn, SEO. Learn how making your website easier to read will help you rank higher.

With that being said, we highly recommend you to install the plugin, as it will be taking the centre stage in our short guide.

How to set the meta description in WordPress

After installing Yoast, you’ll find the following snippet preview in your blog posts (depending on your configuration it might be below or above the editor):

An example of Google snippet preview from Yoast SEO plugin.
Editing meta description in Yoast SEO for WordPress.

The plugin itself asks you to provide a meta description with an explanation of what happens if you don’t. You can do that by clicking the “Edit snippet” button which expands three fields:

SEO title and meta description input fields have text length bars underneath them, signalling whether your input is optimal.

An example of setting the SEO title in Yoast plugin.
Yoast helps you create optimal metadata.

As a rule of thumb, try to fit as much into SEO title and meta description as possible, while retaining their relevance and genuineness. Use them to offer value for your potential visitors.

Optimal meta title length for blog posts

A great blog title isn’t synonymous with a great meta title. The optimal length of the latter is 50-60 characters (or to be more specific 600 pixels) due to the amount of “real estate” in search engine results. However, that might be too short for a compelling “display” title of your blog post.

If you keep your titles under 60 characters, our research suggests that you can expect about 90% of your titles to display properly.

The display title of one of our recent blogs is “6 WordPress Plugins That Will Enhance Your Blogging (Updated For Gutenberg)”, while the SEO title reads “6 WordPress Plugins That Will Enhance Your Blog | NerdCow”. We have shortened the appealing display title to meet the requirements of search engines while keeping it as attractive as possible.

Please note that as far as our full SEO title goes, we’re using our brand name as one of the good title tag practices. It’s a sitewide rule for all the pages so do not replicate it unless it’s the standard on your website.

Creating the best blog post URL

The aforementioned slug, or permalink as it’s called by the default WordPress editor, is another part of your post that’s crucial for SEO. By default, WordPress sets the slug to match your post’s title, which is wrong for several reasons.

Here are a few key points to keep in mind when creating the URL of your blog post:

Setting a focus keyphrase for your blog post

Since 2009, Google doesn’t use the meta keyword as a ranking factor. However, you can set a focus keyphrase in Yoast’s plugin instead. While this won’t directly affect your ranking in search engines, it will give you a better overview of the quality of your meta description and even analyse your post to give it an SEO rating.

User interface of Yoast plugin.
Yoast rates your SEO and provides a snippet preview for the focus keyphrase.

It’s a good simulation of how your website would look on the search results page if the visitor used the exact query to find it. On top of that, below your snippet preview, you can expand the “SEO analysis” to see practical tips on how to improve your copy for search engines.

While you should take these suggestions and previews with a pinch of salt, they can be very helpful, especially for editors that are just starting to write for the web.

Closing words

Creating content optimised for the web is a complex process that goes beyond copywriting. We have compiled our list of SEO tips to ensure your efforts don’t go unnoticed. We hope you can use our article as basic guidelines for your editors to achieve your content marketing goals.

Originally published Aug 01, 2019 12:56:22 PM, updated January 12 2022.

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