The 4 Crucial SEO Tips for WordPress Blog Editors

Creating content for a business website requires more than just excellent copywriting skills. It's common for editors to overlook or misuse certain settings, which then negatively impacts your SEO and proves to be costly for the digital marketing team. We have prepared a list of tips that will help your editors avoid the most common mistakes when publishing WordPress blog posts or new pages of your site.

Article by Dawid Zimny
I am particularly interested in web analytics. Knowing the way your visitors browse your website will help you improve their browsing experience and is crucial for converting them into clients.

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:

  • they didn’t specify different metatags for:
    • the title
    • the meta description
  • after two weeks, the editor fixed small a mistake in the URL without creating a 301 redirect

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:

  • if the title of your post is longer than 60 characters, it won’t be fully displayed in Google results, potentially cutting off engaging words or even the keyword
  • your meta description will be automated, meaning you miss out on a chance to advertise your web page to the visitors and it’s very likely it will lack the necessary keyword
  • the social media posts return a 404 error because the old URL doesn’t exist anymore and no redirect was created
  • if by some chance, regardless of the first two issues, the content ranked organically before the URL change, a lack of 301 redirect would hurt the ranking

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.

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
  • slug (the part of URL that comes after your domain)
  • meta description

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.

Moz.com

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 | Nerd Cow”. 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:

  • remove stop words, such as “a”, “the”, “and”, and so on
  • make it informative and engaging
  • include your keyword in it
  • separate the words with a hyphen
  • unless it’s crucial to convey your message, don’t use numbers (i.e. the slug for “99 Best Breakfast Ideas” should be “best-breakfast-ideas”)
  • be specific and consider future URLs – if you’re writing about Honda Civic price drop, a “honda-price-drop” slug (instead of “honda-civic-price-drop”) might be too broad and you could regret using it in the future

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.

If you have questions or feel that we could add something to the list, let us know in the comments below.

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