how to seo optimize your blog posts

How to SEO Optimize Your Blog Posts in WordPress: 8 Easy Steps You Can Follow

SEO optimizing your blog posts in WordPress is a must-do for earning rankings, wooing targeted traffic, and nabbing blog ROI.

After all, if you spend all that time producing a wonderful piece of content, you need to give it legs to stand on.

Without SEO, you’ll put that blog at a disadvantage from the start.

On the other hand, optimize correctly, and Big Things are more likely to happen. (See our case study below of ranking for a super-hot keyword in 30 days.)

If your blog is set up in WordPress, SEO optimizing a blog post before publishing is incredibly easy to do.

You just need to know what to do.

Here are the 8 steps to use every single time you publish a post to thoroughly hit all those “SEO check marks.” As you’ll see, you can optimize every single element of your blog — from top to bottom – and get more out of every blog you publish.

(Note: While this how-to applies to WordPress, you can take these general steps and use them with whatever publishing platform you please.)

wordpress tutorial how to seo optimize your blog posts

How to SEO Optimize Blog Posts in WordPress: 8 Steps

1. Edit and Proofread Your Blog Post

2. Add Relevant Images to Your Blog

3. Format Blog Content for Readability and SEO

4. Add Easy One-Click Social Sharing Codes

5. Check Your Links

6. Include a CTA

7. Optimize and Add Meta Title and Description with Yoast

8. Optimize Your Blog for Social Sharing with Yoast (Yes, Yoast Does That!)

Get more traffic and pull in more customers by ranking in Google's top search. Here's the checklist you've been waiting for -- 8 steps on how to SEO optimize every blog post in @WordPress, via @JuliaEMcCoy 🎯 Click To Tweet

Why SEO Optimize Your Blogs in WordPress? A Case Study

Why take all the trouble to search engine optimize your blogs?

Like we referenced earlier, Big Things Will Happen.

Case in point.

We have over 1,100+ blogs published on Express Writers’ Write Blog across eight years, which have earned over 21,000 keyword positions in Google (case study here). 90% of the blogs I write and publish here start with a keyword search. If I can map the keyword to ROI, we take it into the blog creation stages.

Here’s a specific blog post example. We recently earned a #3 organic ranking and featured snippet for the keyword “how to build a digital content strategy:”

Express Writers is Google's featured snippet for the keyword “how to build a digital content strategy”

Express Writer's blog post "How to Build a Strong Digital Content Strategy in 2019 & Beyond"

One key player for this blog’s ranking power is the work we did on optimization before publishing. From the title to the copy to the subheaders to the images, CTAs, links, metas, and more, everything is optimized for search engines.

Search success is a big deal, but I don’t need to tell you. Over and over, brands that edge into top positions on SERPs get the lion’s share of the spoils, including higher click-through rates and more traffic.

Need great content to fuel your blogging presence? We offer packaged blogging plans. See pricing here.

Advanced Web Ranking chart shows the CTR for organic position 1 on Google is 31.19%. Meanwhile, the CTR for position 10 is 1.12%.

According to Advanced Web Ranking, the CTR for organic position 1 on Google is 31.19%. Meanwhile, the CTR for position 10 is 1.12%.

Google alone processes over 40,000 search queries every second. If your brand isn’t present on the search landscape, you’re missing out on a huge piece of the traffic pie.

[email protected] processes over 40,000 search queries every second. If your brand isn’t present on the search landscape, you’re missing out on a huge piece of the traffic pie. Click To Tweet

So, that begs the question: Are you covering all your SEO bases? Are you optimizing everything you can optimize to give your blogs their best chance?

How to SEO Optimize Blog Posts in WordPress: The “How-To” of Each of Our 8 Steps

how to seo optimize your blogs in wordpress guide

1. Edit and Proofread Your Blog Post

First up: Make sure your blog is edited and proofread for typos.

You want a clean, error-free blog post for obvious reasons. (Google says the quality of your content directly impacts your rankings. More on their EAT, or Expertise Authoritativeness, and Trust factors.)

A quick scan with your two eyeballs will usually suffice, but if you’re not the best editor, hand this task off to a trusted second party.

Or, install the Grammarly Chrome extension to check your grammar and spelling right inside the WordPress editor.

Grammarly Chrome extension correcting the "what" typo in WordPress Editor

'First up: Make sure your blog is edited and proofread for typos. ✔️ You want a clean, error-free page for obvious reasons.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on how to SEO optimize blog posts Click To Tweet

2. Add Relevant Images to Your Blog

After editing, it’s time to add and optimize relevant images.

If you’re working from a draft, you should be able to add them into WordPress without a problem. Just place your cursor where you want the image to go, then drag it straight into the editor.

Once you’ve got pictures placed within your post, optimizing them goes like this:

  • Make sure they’re inserted correctly. Don’t place images so they mess with your paragraph formatting, and keep your image placement consistent (e.g. centered, in-between paragraphs).
  • Images should be original size to ensure they’re clear and crisp. Only size down if they’re huge or the file size is bloated (anything over 4-5 MB usually can be scaled back without sacrificing quality).
  • Add alternate text to every image. This is important for rankings! Alternate text is a descriptive text that provides context for people who are visually impaired or need to use a screen reader to browse the web. Alternate text (or “alt text”) describes your images to search engines, as well, so they’ll potentially show up in image searches.
    • To add alt text to an image in the WordPress editor, click the image. A toolbar will pop up – click the “Edit” icon (the pencil) to add image properties like alt text.

You can use "Edit Image" by clicking the pencil button that shows up when you click an image.

The alternative text box under WordPress editor's Image Details dialog box.

'Images should be original size to ensure they’re clear and crisp. Only size down if they’re huge or the file size is bloated (anything over 4-5 MB). ✨' - @JuliaEMcCoy on how to SEO optimize blogs. Click To Tweet

3. Format the Content for Readability

Another must-do for SEO is formatting your blog posts for readability. These are the top considerations so people (and search engines) can read and understand your post easily:

  • Above all, be consistent. If you use auto-formatted bullet points, use them every time you need a bulleted list. If you format your subheaders with numbers, keep doing it throughout the post. Formatting consistency keeps things looking neat and clean, not to mention easier to read.
  • Fix your spacing. Remove double spacing after periods, add more paragraph breaks where your text looks dense, and ensure spacing around images is consistent.
  • Make sure all H2s, H3s, etc. are coded correctly (use WordPress’s formatting!).

How headings and subheadings are applied based on hierarchy.

To make your blog posts SEO optimized, make them readable! @JuliaEMcCoy's top 3 readability tips include being consistent in formatting, using spaces properly, and ensuring all headers are coded correctly. 📖 Click To Tweet

4. Add Easy One-Click Social Sharing Codes

For us at Write Blog, Twitter is a huge platform for engagement. We’ve kept up a Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat, for years now on Twitter that has helped us grow a solid Twitter presence.

So, knowing Twitter is a hot platform, we’ve chosen to use a plugin that enables us to add “Click to Tweets” to every post — which we do. These are punchy phrases or takeaways from the blog that readers can share to Twitter with one click.

  • Step 1: Know your platform (for us, that’s Twitter).
  • Step 2: Add a plug-in to your blog that will allow you to add manual shortcodes to every blog post that makes sharing super easy.
  • Step 3: Avoid sharing CTTs too early in a blog. I’ve seen this directly negatively impact us earning a Featured Snippets ranking! Don’t put too much code, or “stuff” above your first H2s and H3s.

To add your social-sharing codes, this couldn’t be easier – we use the Better Click to Tweet plugin for WordPress. This adds a little Twitter bird icon to the top of your WordPress editor. Click it to pull up this generator:

Better Click to Tweet Shortcode Generator dialog box where you can type in yout Tweetable Quote, Twitter username, and checkbox to include username below the tweet.

It will add Click to Tweet boxes to your blog post drafts with the correct code. When you publish, it will look like this:

A "click to tweet" snippet inserted in the blog post.

Some tips for adding Click to Tweets to your posts:

  • Get creative! Sure, you could copy a bit of text straight from the blog, but why not reword it to make it more impactful, punchy, and/or powerful?
  • Make sure your tweets are readable. Eliminate any clunkiness.
  • Add emojis. A split test by Larry Kim of WordStream found that including an emoji in tweets increases engagement by 25.4%.
  • Don’t add them too early in your blog post to avoid messing with blog post SERP readability.
SEO optimize your blog posts by adding easy one-click social sharing codes. For clickable Click to Tweets, @JuliaEMcCoy advises to creatively reword blog quotes, make them readable, and add emojis. 🐦 Click To Tweet

awesome cta

5. Check Your Links

Next up: Check those links.

  • For every link in your blog – whether it points to another site or links internally to your other blogs or web pages – make sure it works.
  • Broken links are a BIG no-no.
  • After that, make sure all links pointing off-site are set to open in a new window. That way, you won’t be directing readers off-page.

To edit a link in WordPress, click the link text. A toolbar will pop up. Then click the “edit” icon.

Your link will become editable text and a gear icon will pop up. Click it to access “Link options.”

When you click on a link, a toolbar appears that gives you the option to edit the link. Click on the pencil button to edit the link and allow it to open in new tab.

Make sure the box next to “Open link in a new tab” is checked.

An "Open Link in a New Tab" checkbox in WordPress Editor's edit link dialog box

Links are essential in every blog post you want to be SEO optimized. But don't forget to be sure they're all working and set to open in a new tab. 🔗 Check out more of @JuliaEMcCoy's tips in getting those blog posts SEO-ready. Click To Tweet

Need great content to fuel your blogging presence? We offer packaged blogging plans. See pricing here.

6. Include a CTA

After you check the links, scroll to the end of your blog and make sure a CTA (call-to-action) is there.

At least one CTA in this location is key because it tells the reader what to do after they’ve finished consuming your awesome content. If you managed to build trust along the way, you don’t want to let that fly out the window. The CTA helps you capture the trust you’ve built and leads the reader into your marketing lifecycle.

On the Write Blog, every single post gets its own CTA. Sometimes it’s a text version with a link to one of our product pages, and sometimes it’s a clickable banner CTA, like the one below:

A clickable image CTA with social media buttons (for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) below it that you can see at the end of a blog post.

This one links to our pricing page. As long as you draw the reader further into your circle and the link is relevant to your post topic, your CTA can point to any internal page you want.

CTAs are always a must in every blog post! They tell readers what to do after consuming your content, and guide them to your marketing lifecycle. ⛳ Learn more about @JuliaEMcCoy's tips on how to SEO optimize your blog posts. Click To Tweet

7. Add Metas

We’ve reached the last few steps for optimizing your blog for search. Don’t get lazy, though: These final ones are major.

At this point, it’s time to add a strong and unique meta title and meta description.

  • The meta title WILL show up in Google search results. Make sure it includes your focus keyword so the term you want to rank for signals straight away.
  • The meta description may or may not show up in search results. It’s still important to create one that’s the right length, properly summarizes the post, and includes your focus keyword.

A great way to add metas to all your posts in WordPress is to use the Yoast SEO plugin. We use this to optimize all our posts on the Write Blog.

Once the plugin is installed, scroll all the way to the end of your post in the WP editor. There you’ll find the Yoast SEO options, including a snippet preview of what your post will look like in Google SERPs. To edit the metas, click “Edit snippet.”

The Edit Snippet button in the Yoast SEO plugin you'll see below the blog draft in WordPress Editor

Now you can add:

  1. Your optimized SEO title (also called the H1 or header)
  2. A URL slug (a short string of text that describes the page – this text string follows the domain extension in the URL, e.g. https://yoursite.com/page-description-goes-here)
  3. A meta description (a short summary, up to 158 characters, of what the page/blog is about – it’s a good idea to use the focus keyword in this description and put the most important text at the beginning)

Text boxes for SEO title, slug, and meta description in Yoast SEO plugin's Snippet Preview

To get your blog posts #SEO ready, make sure to add meta titles and descriptions. @JuliaEMcCoy shares how you can best do this using the @Yoast SEO plugin + other optimization tips. Click To Tweet

8. Optimize Your Blog for Social Sharing with Yoast (Yes, Yoast Does That!)

Final step! Ensure the right image is shared with your post link on social media by completing this step. This is especially important if you’ve created custom, share-worthy graphics to accompany the post.

  • In the Yoast SEO options, click on the “Social sharing” icon.
  • Skip over the title and description fields – Yoast will pull the information for these from the main snippet fields you already filled out in step #7.
  • Scroll to “Facebook image” or “Twitter image.” Upload your custom image here to make sure it’s shared with your link when people click one of your social share buttons.
  • Make sure the image you use has an alternate text and a title specified. You can add these by selecting the image in your media library.

Social sharing upload box in Yoast SEO plugin

This step keeps all of your social shares looking snazzy and professional, no matter who shares your post. This could be the difference between zero clicks and lots of clicks, so don’t skip it!

Get your blog posts shared on social media to keep their professional, custom, share-worthy graphics using @Yoast's Social Sharing feature. Know how you can do this + other SEO tips on @JuliaEMcCoy's 8-step guide. 🎯 Click To Tweet

Just Publishing Your Blog Isn’t Enough: SEO Your Blog Posts for Better Results

Taking care of all these small pieces of your blog post may seem like busy work, but it’s not.

Instead, each step is essential for making your content the best version of itself. Attention to detail may be the differentiator between two posts vying for the #1 or #2 spots on a SERP. If your post has better signals, both readers and Google will take note.

The devil is in the details. A sharp eye and a few extra minutes of your time before hitting “publish” could make all the difference.

Need great content to fuel your blogging presence? We offer packaged blogging plans. See pricing here.

awesome cta

108 replies
  1. Nidhi Kumari
    Nidhi Kumari says:

    Hi,
    Very Nice blog, so well you explained so that any beginner could easily understood.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Keep writing!!

    Reply
  2. Thiru
    Thiru says:

    Hi Julia,

    Thanks for the great article again.

    Is there any tool like Yoast for non-Wordpress site like simple HTML pages for checking SEO and optimising the pages ?

    Reply
    • Julia McCoy
      Julia McCoy says:

      Hmmm. I haven’t used a simple HTML site since 2011 (my first year of business), and back then I didn’t use any plugin, I plugged content straight into the code myself. Sorry!

      Reply
      • Thiru
        Thiru says:

        Great, Thanks Julia for the quick response. Btw, would you mind if I ask you to share the tool/app you’re using to create info graphic images like ones you posted in this article? Indeed I really liked it, very intuitive and clean

        Reply
  3. movies123free
    movies123free says:

    Nice idea about blog post in word press Thank you for this information . Keep update kind of information.

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      Thank you for stopping by to read! We plan on providing new information for those who seek it!!! -Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  4. civilsinfo
    civilsinfo says:

    I am a writer and blogger had started journey 2 years back with no idea. For doing SEO these five tools are very important. Thanks for the informative article that inevitably surge our knowledge.

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      You are most welcome! Good luck with your blogging efforts! -Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  5. Tejbir prajapati
    Tejbir prajapati says:

    Instead, post an answer and then link them to an article that explains HIIT in more depth. This could mean that you have to write a post on that subject specifically: this is no bad thing!

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      Keep in mind, you don’t want to give away all your points right at the start! You want your reader to stay engaged, so supply a little information at a time, provide back up when needed and don’t forget to enage with them! -Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      This isn’t always the case! If you add in a featured image, it will use that in many cases! However, there is the option of selecting an image as Julia pointed out! -Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  6. emerging india
    emerging india says:

    Very Nice blog, so well you explained so that any beginner could easily understood.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      So glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for stopping by and leaving us feedback! -Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  7. Sindhi News
    Sindhi News says:

    You completed a number of nice points there. I did a search on the issue and found nearly all people will have the same opinion with your blog.

    Reply
  8. gatistwam
    gatistwam says:

    great explanation of SEO optimization. Every site needs organic traffic and to achieve this Doing SEO for a site is must.

    Reply
  9. Sakshu
    Sakshu says:

    Thankx for shairing step by step knowledge is Provided. very nice for people who want to make website without coding skills

    Reply
  10. SasthoBarta
    SasthoBarta says:

    Julia,

    Share your article and save it. I’ll always look at your tips. If the size of the image would have been better then.

    Reply
  11. Gold Smith
    Gold Smith says:

    I really like these articles. They helped me out greatly That is one thing I’m really anticipating. Awaiting studying more from you next weeks time.

    Reply
  12. amar
    amar says:

    Hi Julia McCoy,

    It is a really good article on SEO optimize on WordPress. Yoast SEO plugin is very effective and helpful in SEO and SMO.
    thank you very much for this article.

    Reply
  13. Gaurav Singh
    Gaurav Singh says:

    Thank you so much, sir, this is very useful information for me. nowadays everyone wants to read the news on the internet. I also wanted to make a web blog portal that’s why I did a digital marketing course.

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      Good luck with your projects! And thank you for stopping by! -Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  14. andrew lee
    andrew lee says:

    Blog posts that specifically use a variety of on-page SEO tactics. Now days everybody wants to learn for optimizing blog post with seo optimization. this information is so helpful for all beginner . each step you explained breifly. thank you for sharing your idea

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Andrew! We hope you return for more tips and tricks! -Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  15. Alison
    Alison says:

    Thanks for the great tips! I love that you included social media strategy and tips for making content more shareable, as well as SEO-friendly. It’s a win/win.

    Reply
  16. Syght Glass
    Syght Glass says:

    I think Format Content Readability is more important than any other things because how we present any thing that really meters

    Reply
  17. SEO Packages  
    SEO Packages   says:

    You are the only help out there for us beginners and I thank you for being there. I have a question, How do I Add internal links? Once you have published a post

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      How sweet! Thank you for your kind words! Once you’ve published a post on WordPress, you simply have to highlight your chosen anchor text and then look at the toolbar for the little chainlink icon, from there you will get a popup box (you may need to click clink options – an icon that looks like a gear) then a box with a list of all of your content will appear! You can then choose your internal link of choice and hit “add link” -Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  18. Prashant Rai
    Prashant Rai says:

    Sorry but this article is very very long but I have read the full article. The full article is very clear and simple according to Yoast blog. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  19. Mercy
    Mercy says:

    Hey, Hi Julia, Hope you’re doing Great..!!

    This post is very useful to optimize SEO in WordPress Thank you very much for sharing such a great blog and that really helps me… unique content is critical for better SEO and it is also beneficial for potential websites to rank naturally.

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      Unique content IS critical for better SEO! You are so right, Mercy! Thank you for your input! -Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  20. Google Index Checker
    Google Index Checker says:

    Hey.. really informative post. Came to know about many interesting things about social media here.
    keep sharing

    Thanks

    Reply
  21. Ankur Santoki
    Ankur Santoki says:

    Hello I have Read Your Blog And Your Blog Is Very Very Nice And Also I have Use My website Tnxx For Your Blog.

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      I, personally, recommend the Yoast SEO plugin! It makes SEO very simple to implement! -Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply

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