Best On-Page SEO Practices for WordPress Sites

Written by: Jason Bayless | October 07, 2015

A properly configured WordPress website is a great way to start spreading a message. Whether you’re writing a blog or selling a product, WordPress, as a base package for operating a website, includes a ton of features that are well-designed for search optimization purposes. Also, WordPress has a variety of available plug-ins that are superb for SEO work.

While WordPress itself handles a lot of the grunt work, that doesn’t mean that the job of dealing with SEO is over simply because the software is already carrying that burden. Instead, with the code-level SEO work in place, it’s time for you to start thinking about your role in the process. As the writer of SEO content, it’s important to understand how the on-page seo elements work. With a few best practices in mind, it’s possible to do a better job of handling your on-page SEO needs through WordPress.

Keyword Stuffing: Avoid It

Back in the very old days of the Internet, once of the most common tricks was to pound every imaginable variant of the words that you wanted to rank for in an article. If you were operating an automobile dealership, this meant inserting a pile of different versions of the same concept over and over into your on-page content. Why stop at using the word “automobile” when you might also want to rank for the words “car,” “truck” and “vehicle,” along with numerous other related terms?

This practice became known as “keyword stuffing,” and the major search engine operators long ago found ways to detect it and penalize the behavior. For this reason, today’s web copywriters work diligently to avoid overuse of terms on pages. They usually strive to use the preferred keyword about two to three times over the length of a 600-word page. While variations are still acceptable to use, they refrain from needlessly jamming a hundred different versions of the same word into a single paragraph. This lets the big search engines know that the page was assembled thoughtfully by a real person and with a clear purpose in mind, and it can help the page rank higher.

Title Tags and Subheadings

The title of a page is a major factor in determining where a site will rank for a particular query. Other similar on-page elements, particularly the H1 and H2 tags, are also important factors in driving traffic to a site from search. These elements should be used judiciously, and they ought to employ titles that are brief, preferably less than 60 characters, in order to be displayed properly in search results. Where possible, try to utilize a keyword inside either the TITLE tag or one of the first two H1 or H2 tags.

Page Descriptions

The description tag at the top of an HTML document is often used by search engines when they need to provide a brief summary of the content to a potential visitor. These should be kept to below 160 characters in length, and they should be aimed at providing a human-readable summation of the content.

List-Style Data

One of the more interesting recent developments in SEO is the emergence of Google’s Knowledge Graph tool. Google uses data that’s presented in list form to show quick summaries of simple concepts to search engine users. The sites that supply this data are typically listed at the very top of the first page for queries, and they are rewarded with a link that accompanies the displayed information. For folks who might want to find a great way to cut to the front of the line, list-style data may be worth adding to their bags of on-page SEO tricks.

Length

Google is increasingly disinclined toward sending searchers to short articles, and this means that writers doing SEO work should look at length as a net positive. 200-word articles are largely a thing of the past, especially in competitive niches. Instead, you should look to target article lengths anywhere from 600 to 1,500 words. This also allows you room to add a few variants of your keywords without stuffing the content.