SEO step-by-step plan for WordPress:
With the SEO step-by-step plan below you can optimize your content from A to Z for a specific keyword. I show you step by step where to place your keyword to get high in Google on that specific keyword.
Rule of thumb in this SEO Guide
In this SEO manual, this rule of thumb applies:
It is therefore advisable to optimise your content from top to bottom and front to back. That’s how I will classify this step-by-step plan, although most writers only fill in the title tag, meta description and SEOcial settings as the last step.
Step 1: Title tag
The most important place for a keyword to score in Google is in the so-called title tag. The title tag is the title of a page on your website. Every page in your website or webshop has its own title. This is the blue title that is shown in Google when the page in question is displayed.
This looks like this:
Make sure that the keyword you want to be found on (at the front) is in the title tag. Try not to include too many keywords or the same keyword too often in a title, as this will cloud the title and make it unattractive.
Step 2: Meta Description
Just like every page has its own title tag, every page has its own meta description tag. This is the description of the page you deliver to Google as shown in the picture above. Make sure that the page is relevant (the right keywords) and of course a catchy piece of text that makes you click.
Write a catchy text that invites you to click!
In addition to the relevance of the title tag and description, it is of course also advisable to write a catchy text so that people actually click on it in Google. You won’t get anything out of being found alone if no one clicks on your website in the search results.
Google also takes this into account when determining its position. For example, if you are in first place, but all searchers click on your competitor in second place, Google will see your competitor as “more relevant” and place them above you.
Title tag and meta description in WordPress SEO plugin
Are you using the WordPress SEO plugin from Yoast or Rank Math SEO? Then fill in the title tag and meta description:
Step 3: The keyword tag?
A few years ago, the meta keyword tag also counted for SEO. This was similar to the meta description but contained instead of a description some keywords for the page. This keyword tag hasn’t been used by Google for SEO for years, so you can ignore it.
Step4: Search engine friendly url in WordPress
Always check if your blog post contains a logical and search engine friendly url. If you have used a very long title with a lot of superfluous words for the url you can of course change the url. A short url with only the keywords you want to be found on usually works better. Again, the more forward the keyword, the more valuable Google will find it.
Is for the specific keyword SEO-roadmap-wordpress better than:
Even if you have made your title tag for Google different from the title (H1) of your blog post, you should pay attention because most systems make a url of the H1 and not of the title tag. You will then miss the title for Google in your url.
Step 5: Breadcrumbs
At the top of this article you see a breadcrumb trail of the path the visitor has taken to get here. This gives your visitor an overview / rest. It also allows the visitor to quickly return to the homepage or category.
The homepage is like the polar star of your website.
You can see these breadcrumbs as internal links (more on this later) that pass some value to the categories. Of course, the breadcrumb also contains the keyword you want to be found on.
Like the url, you can also change it / make it more specific:
Step 6: H1 (title)
Now that the “basic SEO” of your page is set you can actually focus on the content. This always starts with a title. Make sure this is a so-called “H1” heading tag. In WordPress the title of your page or message is automatically an H1.
Normally an H1 only occurs once per url. So for intermediate purchases in the text, you don’t use H1 but H2, H3 and H4 (see below). If you don’t understand this, see your website as a book and every page on your website as a chapter of that book. A chapter can only have 1 header, after that it usually goes over to sub headings (or paragraphs).
The H1 doesn’t have to be the same as the title tag, in fact, they can be completely different from each other. For example, you could choose to write your title tag entirely in the theme of your keyword and write your H1 more “exciting” and “arousing curiosity” for (returning) visitors from other sources (social media, e-mail marketing etc.).
Step 7: Starting with an image
After the title it is recommended to start your article with a picture. A picture says more than a thousand words and also invites you to read:
In addition, you can put your keyword in a picture in no less than 3 places and because your picture is at the very front, it is exactly in the right place. You have to take these 3 places into account:
7.1 The file name
The filename is the name of the file as you save an image on your computer before uploading it to your website. When you take a picture of a soccer field, this picture will have such a filename: IMG057.jpg. Of course, Google can’t read that this is a soccer field.
If you would call the image Sony-dslr-camera.jpg instead you would have a good descriptive title for Google. If someone in Google Images would then search for ‘sony dslr camera’, there is a good chance that your image will appear.
7.2 Titel & alt tag
In addition to the file name, you can also give an image a suitable title and “alt tag” after uploading it in WordPress. The title will appear in a separate title field when you hover your mouse over the object.
Alt tags are ‘alternative titles’ for images that appear when an image is not loaded correctly.
You can see an example here with my article about 15 Serious ways to make money online. That’s a term I would like to be found on so I named the image that way.
7.3 Nice extra: Scoring in Google images
In Google you can also search for images, Google will then display all images from its index that match your search. Again, of course, the most relevant images will appear at the top. Here you can see how the image create a niche website emerges.
Step 8: Optimising the first paragraph
We will now start with the text itself and stay in the pattern of “the further forward, the better”.
Therefore, use the keyword you want to be found on anyway in the first paragraph of your article and preferably as the first word of the first paragraph as long as it makes sense.
It’s better to let the keyword you are found on return to the top of your article a few times instead of stuffing your entire content with it. Make sure you also work with synonyms and “broad keywords”, more about this later at keyword density.
The most important thing about the first paragraph is that, just as with the title, you are catchy and invite further reading. In the example above, it is on the verge of logical, but this example lends itself well for this article.
Step 9: Write words bold
To give a keyword extra power, you can write it bold. Writing an important keyword bold, only needs to be done once, multiple times in your article no longer has any added value for Google.
Step 10: Headings (H2, H3, H4) in WordPress
After you’ve used a heading 1 as a title, you can also divide the text into headers. These can be seen as paragraphs under a chapter. Headers are more “valuable” in the eyes of Google, so of course you want to incorporate your keyword (in moderation) in them.
You use headers 2, 3 and 4 for this purpose. In WordPress you can even go all the way to heading 6, but that is not recommended:
Step 11: Table of contents in your blog
Did you write a long article with headlines? Then place a table of contents of that article at the top of your article with so called “anchor links” with which you can jump directly to a headline.
Anyway, this is nice for your readers (overview) but it also provides a SEO function because it is again a kind of internal links. Therefore, Google can also index segments of your text because there is a direct link to it. Also, these are often placed as sitelinks in Google making you stand out even more.
You make that as follows in HTML in WordPress:
<h2> Table of Contents</h2>
<li><a title=”Text 1″ href=”#text1″>Text 1</a></li>
<li><a title=”Text 2″ href=”#text2″>Text 2</a></li>
Here you place the text with tip 1
Here you place the text with text 2
It will look like this:
Table of Contents
Here you place the text with text 1
Here you place the text with text 2
When you have placed an article on your website you can create anchor links like for example yourwebsite.com/article#text1, with such a link you stay on the page itself. In the html you indicate the destination with <a name=”text1″</a>. Please note that here again you can provide the “title” with a good keyword that relates to that section of your article.
There are also easier ways to create table of contents without using HTML, using plugins for Table of Contents.
Step 12: Keyword density
Of course we also have the further content of your article itself, not entirely unimportant. Make sure that the keyword you want to be found on is also regularly mentioned in the text of your article.
We do talk about an ideal keyword density of a page. This is the percentage of how often a certain keyword occurs in an article.
Keyword density (SEO Manual) I personally don’t believe in this, in my opinion a text should be written logically and readable. The keywords should be in the right places instead of stuffing your text with them. What you want to avoid is “keyword spamming“.
Step 13: Place derived keywords
In addition to placing a keyword according to the step-by-step plan above, it is advisable to include some related / derived search terms in your text, images and possibly even in the title and metas. For example:
13.1 Broad search terms
If you want to be found on “SEO Checklist for WordPress” you can place that word combination “exactly” in the text. However, when you place “a WordPress Checklist to optimize your SEO” in the text you are talking about a “broad” search term. The words are in there but there are other words in between. This is much more natural in the eyes of Google than if you only use the exact keyword several times.
13.2 LSI Keywords & Synomymes
Latent semantic indexing keywords (LSI) are related keywords and synonyms that you can find at the bottom of Google when searching for something. This gives you on a silver platter which keywords also contain a lot of search volume and which you should include in your article.
13.3 Long tail keywords
Short tail searches are all searches in Google consisting of 1, 2 or 3 keywords. Long tail searches are those of 4 words and longer. One of the things I sometimes do myself is make up questions that people could literally type in regarding the article I wrote. Think about it:
Shorttail: At the top of Google
Longtail: How to get my website on top of Google
Longtail: Tips to get to the top of Google
Shorttail: Making a marketing plan
Longtail: Examples and explanations for a good marketing plan
Longtail: How to write your own marketing plan
I notice that adding words like “tips”, “manual”, “example”, “how works” works incredibly well to get more traffic on the longtail. There’s much less competition on that and it’s just pure extra traffic on something you’ve already written.
Step 14: The recommended length of your text for SEO?
Exactly how long does your content have to be? One says at least 400 words, the other says very long…
I myself read several blogs, of which I take the total number of words and share them through the read blogs with the help of a wordcounter. Search for Wordcounter in Google.
This way I know roughly how long my blog should be.
Step 15: Rich content
The richer a page on your website is, the more valuable Google will find it. With ‘rich‘ I mean the different media you offer such as: text, images, audio, video, PDF, infographics, reactions, internal links, outgoing links, social media influences, etcetera.
The more of these factors you incorporate in an article, the more valuable that article becomes. Always set up your website as valuable as possible for your visitors, then Google will automatically reward you!
15.1 Images in the text
We already talked about the first image and the scoring in Google images but of course you can put multiple images in an article and focus on different (derived) keywords. Prevent multiple images in your article from giving the exact same title, that’s not logical. Do you place the same image several times? Then use the same title.
15.2 Video / YouTube
Video is already seen super valuable by Google and especially of course YouTube videos. This is because YouTube is from Google.
The advantage of placing YouTube videos in your content is that on the one hand you will score better and on the other hand you will be able to show that video in the Google results.
Step 16: Optimize WordPress category
In WordPress it is customary to categorize your blog post. These categories make your website nice and clear for your visitors, but you can also use this as a SEO function for your website. Choose clear categories that have little or no overlap. Always choose 1 category instead of ticking more than one (Google finds this illogical).
When you optimize your blog categories with a title tag, meta description and even content you can also use it to attract visitors from Google.
Maybe you don’t immediately think of this but placing (do follow) backlinks to other (valuable) websites that are relevant to your article is also seen as valuable by Google. A link to Wikipedia, for example, can be beneficial for the position of your article in Google.
After all, Google always wants to offer its users the most valuable information and a “total article” with lots of information and references to relevant sources is of course a perfect example of this. This of course also increases the objectivity and transparency of your blog.
When you never link to someone else it is experienced as “unnatural”.
17.1 Anchor text and title attributes
When placing links in your text always make sure they have a correct anchor text and title attribute. This way I can better make the word “Hosting” clickable than the words “click here for more info” when I’m talking about Hosting! Google values this anchor text because it acts as a title for the underlying page.
The title attribute is the title bar that appears when you hover your mouse over a link.
Step 18: Generate interaction
When an article on your website gets a lot of reactions, Google will see this as important. Responses indicate that a topic is ‘alive‘ and therefore current and relevant (otherwise no visitors reacted to it).
Each reaction is another piece of content on your site, typed by your visitor (ideal for you). We call this User Generated Content. Sometimes an article posted by you can only double in length due to the number of responses. Responses are also ideal for “long tail searches” because readers often ask you questions in their own words.
So it is certainly advisable to stimulate interaction on your website, involve your visitors and start the conversation. So you can also respond to reactions yourself.
18.1 Show yourself!
In addition, research shows that it enhances interaction when a reader sees the author’s face. Adding a small bio often does the trick.
Step 19: XML Sitemap & Pinlist
In order to get your article to Google faster, I advise you to work with an XML Sitemap. A sitemap is an extract of all urls on your website in an index. You can send this sitemap to Google via Google Webmastertools.
When you do this, Google automatically receives a signal when something is added or changed to your website. Entering a Pinlist also contributes to faster indexing of your content.
I won’t dwell too long on backlinks because this is more of an “on page SEO” checklist to optimize your content so you get higher in Google. As soon as your article is perfect for Google you can of course rise even higher when you get good backlinks to your website / the specific article.
When you have written a really top article that you think the world should hear of you could think of publishing press releases or approaching other blogs / websites asking if they want to link to your article.
In addition to backlinks, “internal links” also contribute to the position of your article in Google. By making the keyword / relevant keyword combinations you want to be found clickable in other articles on your website you will also score better.
Do you do this just like me? Think for a few seconds after posting each article about which words characterize this article and add them to your system (including the link to the new article of course). This way, a new article can only suddenly receive dozens of links from your own site, even if it is just online.
Besides backlinks and internal links we also have links from social media. These also count in Google because when someone “likes” your website, that visitor actually gives a recommendation to his/her friends – so it’s a plus for a website.
The same goes for Twitter, Google plus and other social media recommendations. You shouldn’t think of a like or tweet as a backlink, but it is a ‘popularity indicator’ for your website.
For example, you can stimulate social media very well with “sticky social media buttons” or “TweetQuotes”.
If you like what you see, please click one of the share buttons!
You can press these social buttons and you will automatically go to the desired social media page.
22.2 Snackable content
To be shared more on social media, you need to write content that people “want to share”. In the content above about the ideal length of your blog I already talked about snackable content (7 tips to…, 16 ways to…, 20 useful facts about… etc.) and articles with newsworthiness / topicality.
22.3 Will you help us by sharing this article?
So, I’d like to ask you to share this article.
CLICK one of these Buttons!!!
Step 23: Social media titles and meta
Make sure your article has the right title, meta decription and images for all social media channels. It’s such a shame when someone shares your article on Facebook and it has the wrong image. In the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress you can set that in this tab:
Step 24: Mobile responsive and adaptive
In order to score well in Google it is important that your website is Mobile Responsive and/or Mobile Adaptive. Especially since the Mobilegeddon update of 23 April 2015. When your website is not mobile responsive, you will start dropping in the search results.
In the image on the right, you can see how the display of Moneysuccessguide.com on a mobile phone is very different than on a bigger screen. We call the “multiple racks” mobile responsive. Changing the design is called mobile adaptive.
Step 25: Google friendly WordPress Code
Your website must have a clean code if it is to appear high in the search engines. Google looks at the readability of your website and therefore also at how neat and clear the code of your website is built up.
Imagine a website with a lot of surplus code equals a book in which every word is explained with one or more extra sentences, would that be nice to read?
WordPress basically has a neat code. However, you run a risk when you download plugins (extensions) yourself. Unfortunately, a lot of WordPress websites are dirty with bad software. In many cases, the code clutters up, causing the SEO value to drop.
25.1: Indispensable for the future: Semantic code
Google’s “Rich Markup” is currently something you probably haven’t heard much about but which will become increasingly important in the coming years when it comes to search engine optimization.
The Rich Markup will be an essential part of your SEO strategy when you want to join the “semantic search engine” of Google which has made its entry with Google Hummingbird …