Posted on February 3, 2021

WordPress SEO: The 7-Point Checklist for Optimizing WordPress Posts

Creating high-quality posts for your WordPress website isn’t always enough to earn high search rankings. You must optimize your posts so that they check all the metaphorical boxes of search engines’ algorithms. When visiting your WordPress website, search engines will crawl your posts. Optimization ensures that your posts are received positively by their algorithms, thus encouraging higher rankings.

1) Choose Relevant Categories and Tags

Prior to publishing new posts, choose relevant categories and tags for them. Categories and tags are optional taxonomy units available for posts. With them, you can group similar posts together. Categories are simply broader, whereas tags are narrower.

You can create categories and tags in the admin dashboard or the Gutenberg editor. For each post, choose one to three relevant categories and no more than 10 relevant tags. Search engines will look at the categories and tags to which a post is assigned. Assuming they are relevant, search engines may rank the post higher for its target keywords.

2) Format With Hierarchal Heading Tags

Heading tags, when used properly, will improve your posts’ ranking performance. Also known as heading elements, they consist of the H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 tags. When writing a post, you should format the subheadings with these hierarchal heading tags.

You don’t have to use all of the heading tags. Rather, most WordPress websites only use the H1, H2 and H3 tags in their posts. Just remember to use them hierarchically, meaning the H3 tags should go under the H2 tags.

WordPress will automatically apply the H1 tag to the post’s title. To add an H2 or H3 tag, enter the subheading’s text as a new block in the Gutenberg editor and click the paragraph icon in the upper-left corner. From there, you can select “Heading” to convert the block’s text into an H2 tag. To use a different heading tag, select the newly converted block and click the “H2” icon.

3) Optimize Images With Alt Text

Don’t forget to optimize your posts’ images with alt text. While search engines can easily decipher text, they often struggle with images. They can’t accurately interpret images, which is why you need to use alt text. Alt text consists of crawlable text that’s used to describe a corresponding image.

To add alt text to an image, select the image in the Gutenberg editor. In the right-hand menu, you should see a field labeled “Alternative Text.” The text you enter in this field will be used as the image’s alt text. Go through each image in your posts and optimize them with relevant and descriptive alt text.

4) Create Meta Descriptions

Creating meta descriptions can help your posts rank. Like with traditional web pages, meta descriptions influence how posts are displayed in the organic search results. If a post has a meta description, search engines may use it for the post’s organic listing. Without a meta description, on the other hand, they’ll capture a snippet of text from the post’s content to use for its organic listing.

You can create custom meta descriptions by using a WordPress plugin. All in One SEO and Yoast are two of the most popular search engine optimization (SEO) plugins. After installing either of them — the free version will suffice — you’ll see an option to add a meta description at the bottom of the Gutenberg editor.

5) Touch Up the Titles

Even more important than meta descriptions are the titles of your posts. Each post must have a title. Visitors will see it displayed as an H1 tag at the top of the post and as a label for their web browser tab. Search engines will also use the title when creating the post’s organic listing. Most organic listings consist of the title at the top and the meta description or a text snippet at the bottom.

For SEO-friendly titles, use between 50 and 60 characters. Longer titles typically suffer from display problems in the search results. Search engines generally only show the first 60 characters of a given post’s or page’s title.

6) Preview

It’s a good idea to preview new posts before publishing them. Depending on the theme, a post may look entirely different when viewed outside of the Gutenberg editor. It may be easy to read in the Gutenberg editor. Upon loading it externally, though, the post may have misaligned or other awkward-looking elements. Fortunately, you can preview posts before publishing them.

To preview a post, click the “Preview” button in the Gutenberg editor. You can then choose to preview the post from the perspective of a desktop, tablet or smartphone user. WordPress will load the post using your theme’s settings while rendering it for the selected type of device. If you notice any rendering problems, go back and fix the problematic element or elements in the Gutenberg editor.

7) Proofread for Errors

Always proofread your posts for errors before publishing them. You’re bound to make typos when writing posts. According to Ratatype, professional writers have an average accuracy rate of 92 percent. For every 100 words they type, for instance, they’ll make about eight typos.

If a post has an excessive number of typos, it may not rank very high. Some visitors will abandon the post after encountering a typo. As the post’s user engagement drops, so will its rankings in the organic search results. Low engagement indicates the visitors are dissatisfied with the post, so search engines may demote it in favor of a post or page with higher engagement.

You can proofread posts for errors either manually or with an app. There are grammar-checking apps, such as Grammarly and Hemingway, that will scan your posts for typos. If they discover a typo, they’ll highlight or underline it while offering recommendations on how to correct it.

The quality of your WordPress posts is still important. For high rankings, you need to create high-quality posts that provide value to visitors. Optimizing your posts, however, will maximize their ranking performance. Your posts will project all the necessary ranking signals that search engines look for.

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