How to Do On Page SEO in WordPress

How to do on-page SEO in WordPressPin

Are you completely at a loss when it comes to using on page SEO to improve your websites search engine rankings?

Don’t worry, you are definitely not alone.

I’m going to show you exactly how I do on site SEO in WordPress with this very article, as I write it!

When writing your next blog post or website page, you should keep the following on page SEO checklist in mind. With only 5 factors to think about, it’s should be pretty easy to remember.

Even though I’m using WordPress for this particular example, I should note that it’s possible to use these on page SEO factors for any type of website, content management system (CMS) or shopping cart solution.

If, for some reason, you’re unable to easily alter even one of these factors on your current website or CMS, it’s definitely time you moved on to something new (such as WordPress).

With that out the way, let’s get started by making certain you have the tools you need for the job.

Choosing Your WordPress SEO Plugin

There is really only one option and that is the wonderful WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. There are other options out there, but this is definitely the best one.

This plug-in allows you to very easily edit all 5 of the on page SEO factors we will examine, plus:

  • Edit your .htaccess and robots.txt file
  • Integrate with social media
  • Generate an XML sitemap
  • Control which pages appear in search
  • Optimise you RSS feeds
  • Confirm Google Webmaster Tools
  • and much more!

Here are some of the plugins included settings…

Wordpress SEO by Yoast plugin settingsPin
WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin settings.

On a side note, if you are unfortunate enough to be using a different type of plug-in, such as Headspace II or All-In-One SEO, you can easily port your info over. All you have to do is use the SEO Data Transporter function in the IMPORT/ EXPORT area of Yoast SEO…

WordPress SEO import and export settingsPin
WordPress SEO by Yoast SEO import and export settings.

Let’s move on to on page SEO now that you have the correct tool.

5 Factors of On Page SEO for WordPress

Let’s jump right into applying SEO to your WordPress page or post.

For this article, “on page SEO” is the keyword I’m optimising for. Now, the first thing to do is…

1. Optimise the Slug

When I get started on a new post, the first thing I do is alter the file name, or slug, as it is referred to by WordPress. You’ll be amazed at how much of an SEO impact applying the keyword to the slug can have.

At a loss as to where you would find a slug? Let’s take a look.

On page seo the slugPin
How to on page seo the slug

Warning!: NEVER change your website page links once they’ve been published (without creating a 301 redirect). Doing so will cause broken page links and 404 errors for visitors and can negatively effect your search engine rankings. If you must change them, always create a 301 redirect from the old page slug to the new one to avoid errors and minimise risk.

2. Optimise the Main Body Copy

When creating your new page or post, be sure to include your target keyword in the main body of text. It should only appear where it feels natural to do so though.

If it doesn’t sound right, don’t shove your keyword in. Use alterations of the keyword by swapping around the keyword order or fitting in synonyms.

Whatever you do don’t sacrifice you visitors reading experience for the sake of achieving, what you might feel are, extra SEO brownie points.

Be sure you err on the side that involves user experience, not SEO. It’s great for your keyword to rank high, but if visitors can’t really understand what you are saying, they will leave your site quickly with likely with no intention of returning.

Just slide your words in where they fit seamlessly into your post.

Optimise the body textPin
How to optimise the body text.

If it’s not possible to effortlessly tie your keyword into your post, it’s probably a signal that you should rethink your keyword.

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3. Optimise Your Images

The ALT attribute in the image metadata is what’s important here. Make certain to include an image description in the ALT attribute. Do this for every single image on the page.

In the main image on your page, be sure to use your target keyword.

People often go SEO crazy in regards to the ALT attribute. Your images do not need to be stuffed with keywords. When using the ALT attribute, just correctly describe what the image is. In the ever changing world of “semantic searches”, this is becoming really important. (Semantics search is Google’s effort to determine the meanings of phrases and words through the context around them.)

Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding the searcher’s intent and the contextual meaning of terms to generate more relevant results.

Wikipedia

Also, give the file a name that correctly describes the image and includes your keyword.

On page seo the imagePin
How to on page SEO images.

Now, it’s time to move on to the biggest of the on page SEO elements.

4. Optimise the Title Tag

The title tag is a crucial SEO element, but it is also an important user experience (UX) element.

On any search engine results page, your title tag is the displayed text that jumps out at you. It is the predominantly displayed text.

Google search title tagPin
How the title tag appears in Google search.

Your title tag is most effective when it can be easily read.

Follow this rule. The nearer your target keyword is to the front of your title tag, the bigger the impact it will have on your SEO. Just don’t stress out about it! Most importantly, just make sure the keyword is in your title tag. If it fits in early in the title, great, go with it. If not, then move on.

You’ll be editing your title tag in the WordPress SEO by Yoast plug-in. The WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin lets you preview how your title tag will appear in the Google search results. This is done on the “WordPress SEO by Yoast” panel within the main “Edit Post” screen using a little tool called “Snippet Preview.”

WordPress on page SEO title snippet previewPin
Entering, previewing and completing on site SEO for the title tag

It’s time for the last SEO on page element.

5. Optimise the Meta Description

Okay, let me clarify. The meta description isn’t technically a SEO element and optimising it doesn’t increase your ranking, but it is helpful for a quite a few conversion and user experience reasons.

Most of the time the meta description is very prominent on the Google search results page. It is read by the majority of people when choosing what to click on.

Google search meta descriptionPin
How the meta description appears in Google search.

Additionally, the meta description is frequently “pulled” by social sharing plugins and used as the descriptive text on social media platforms. When your meta description is optimised, you’ll get more clicks.

This is how one of my blog posts looks on Facebook…

Meta description social mediaPin
How the meta description appears in social media.

This meta description can again be optimised and previewed with the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin…

Yoast meta description - On page SEOPin
Entering the meta description in the Yoast SEO plugin.

Now, how easy was that? On page SEO isn’t some kind of black magic and it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Any questions? Leave them in the comments section below or get in contact here.