Optimising a WordPress blog post sounds straightforward, right? Let me tell you, there’s a lot more to it than you may think! With this article, I want to ensure that you make the most of the flexibility and all the advantages of WordPress and the Yoast SEO plugin. That way you can grow your audience, improve SEO and generate more sales.
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) amongst our affiliate marketers. If you’re not familiar with it, then you should get started now, as the chances that you will come across it in your affiliate marketing career are 110%. If you use it already, thumbs up.
When I started working within the affiliate marketing channel seven years ago, a big chunk of affiliates used to develop and build their own websites and this often caused trouble, especially when they wanted to optimise their websites for organic searches. However, it’s fair to say that this is no longer a problem as most affiliates use WordPress as their preferred CMS. Why WordPress? Well that’s simple. It’s easy to use, maintain, optimise and customise.
The vast majority of MoreNiche affiliates use SEO for traffic generation, therefore in this article I’m going to guide you through the process of uploading and optimising a blog post using WordPress and the Yoast SEO plugin. Taking the time to format and optimise your blog post can be the difference between website visitors who convert into buyers or not.
A Short Glossary Before We Get Started:
The Yoast SEO Plugin
There are tons of SEO plugins for WordPress available. So why Yoast? Yoast SEO is, in my opinion, currently the most complete SEO plugin available. It handles the technical optimisation of your site but also assists with optimising your content. It’s definitely an essential plugin for the affiliate who is serious about building quality sites and succeeding within affiliate marketing. If you don’t have it installed yet, I recommend you to search for ‘Yoast SEO’ on WordPress or visit their official site here and download it.
WordPress – The Difference between Pages and Posts
There are two options for uploading content to your WordPress site. On the one hand you have ‘pages’ (your landing pages) and on the other, you have ‘posts’ (your blog posts). Affiliates should add quality blog content that is of interest to their visitors on a regular basis. So just to clarify, I will be focusing on blog posts in this article.
PART 1: UPLOADING A BLOG POST TO WORDPRESS
Before you can optimise your blog posts for the search engines, you first need to publish them live on your website. If you’re already familiar with how best to upload a blog post, please jump straight to the ‘Optimising a Blog Post On WordPress’ part of this article – click here
Now, let’s get started with my all-in-one guide to optimising WordPress blog posts!
- After logging into your WordPress backend, https://myawesomeaffiliatesite.com/wp-admin hover over ‘Posts’ and then click ‘Add New’ in the menu.
- Now add the title of your post where it says ‘Enter title here’
- and paste the main text of your post in the section below.
- As you can see in the screenshot above, when adding your blog post you can alternate between ‘Visual’ and ‘Text’ editor. I always start with the ‘Visual’ editor as I’m not super-technical, but I do know a bit of HTML so at the end I always check the ‘Text’ editor too in order to see if I can spot any errors in the code (it doesn’t happen that often).
- If you want to include images in your post, which I recommend in order to get your readers even more engaged and excited about your useful content, then place your cursor where you want the image to appear. Click on ‘Add Media’ and select ‘Upload Files’.
- I recommend compressing the images before uploading them to ensure fast loading times which is very important for SEO. After choosing your image settings, click ‘Insert into post’. After that you will be able to align the image with your content as you can see in the example below, so choose the layout you prefer.
- It depends on your site and layout, but many affiliates categorise their blog posts, as this is good from an SEO perspective. So if you are using categories, go to the right-hand side of your screen and assign your new blog post to the relevant category.
- Below ‘Categories’, you will see a section for tags. These aren’t strictly necessary but are helpful for users if they search for something specific. If you do add tags, always ‘noindex’ tagged pages that are auto-generated by WordPress, as they can sometimes cause duplicate content issues.
Further Words Of Wisdom on Uploading WordPress Blog Posts
1: I always write blog posts for my sites in Microsoft Word or Google Sheets first and then copy the content over to WordPress once I think the content is good enough to be published. That’s simply because I prefer keeping an original copy. You can, of course, also write your post within WordPress and save it as a draft if the content is not ready to be published.
2: When writing your blog posts, always use subheadings to improve the readability of your post. Use keyword rich titles that describe the upcoming section, since people often like to scan through a post before reading the whole content. By doing this, you will improve the user experience massively.
3: If you have copied over links, it’s always worth double-checking them as broken links may impact on search engine rankings and are annoying for the user. If you add them manually, simply use the ‘add link’ option as highlighted in the screenshot below, and remember that these links (both internal and external ones) should be relevant to your blog post.
4: Visual content is key so I always add a featured image to my blog posts. By placing the image at the top right or left of your blog post, you can gain the attention of the reader. The featured image forces the first few lines of your blog post to shorten in width and this actually has a psychological effect. Researchers Bruijn et al. and Dyson/Haselgrove have proven that fewer characters mean readers think the text is less complex and easier to understand. They’ve also found that readers comprehend shorter line lengths much better than longer ones.
Once all of the above is done, scroll back up to the top right section that says ‘Publish’. Here you can also choose ‘Preview’ to make sure everything looks good before optimising and publishing it.
At this point, we’re ready to optimise your blog post – so let’s do it!
PART 2: OPTIMISING A BLOG POST IN WORDPRESS
In this part of the article, I want to break down how affiliate marketers can optimise their posts in order to achieve the best return on investment. After following this guide a few times, your optimisation skills will become second nature – mark my words!
- Okay, let’s assume that you are still on the ‘Edit Post’ page. Scroll down until you see ‘Yoast SEO’.
If you can’t see it, please make sure that you have installed the correct Yoast plugin. Another reason may be due to your screen option settings. If you want to check them, scroll up and ensure ‘Yoast SEO’ is ticked.
- The Snippet preview is great as it lets you see what your title and meta description will look like in the SERPs, so you can make sure all the important points are covered and nothing is being cut off. If you want to amend what you see, click on ‘Edit Snippet’ and enter your title under ‘SEO title’. I recommend that you always include your main keyword at the beginning and make sure it’s between 40 and 65 characters in length.
- Next on the list is the Meta description. I also recommend including your main keyword here if it flows well with your content. A good meta description is important for your potential buyers/readers since it will encourage them to click through to your full blog post. So make your description as appealing as possible – readers need to see at a glance why they should click on your blog post and not a competitor’s one. Rule of thumb here: always stay within 70 – 156 characters.
- A recent addition is the Slug field that allows you to edit the URL of your blog post. WordPress does add the title of your blog post by default which is a good way to go, but if you want to alter it, this is the place to do it.4 tips for URL optimisation:
- Keep your URL short
- Include your keyword if possible
- Ensure it’s easy to read
- Your URL should make it obvious what your blog post is about
- Below the snippet preview you can see a section called Focus keyword. When setting your focus keyword, always remember to go with the main keyword you want to target, because you are only able to set one focus keyword per blog post.
- The next section is Page analysis. Here you get some specific feedback on how search engine friendly your blog post currently is. The Yoast SEO plugin will tell you if you are using your main keyword sufficiently, or even too much (refrain from keyword stuffing to avoid penalties), whether you have images or outbound links, if your content is too short or if you have used the focus keyword before, and much more.
- If you receive a red or orange button, try to improve upon these sections because the ultimate goal is to achieve as many green buttons as possible. But don’t lose sleep over it, since there’s no harm in having some orange buttons.
- Also keep in mind that the Yoast plugin is not 100 per cent perfect – remember that it’s taking an extremely objective look at your blog post content. Ultimately you are writing content for humans and not for the search engines, so if you feel that Yoast SEO has picked up on something that does not feel right to you – follow your gut instinct and do what’s best for your readers. For example, if Yoast recommends adding your focus keyword at the beginning of your title, but you can’t find a natural way to include it – then leave it as it is.
- Below the content optimisation icon is the Share icon. This feature allows you to amend the default metadata (title, description and image) that social channels such as Facebook automatically display. So if you wish to amend them, for example you want to test a different image for a different target audience or add an even better description more targeted for the social audience, then this is the place to do it. Make sure that your post is eye-catching and will stand out from the rest when someone does share your content.
- The next tab is for Advanced optimisation. Here you can amend settings for meta robots, breadcrumbs titles and canonical URLs. These are set to default site-wide which generally works really well, but you can overwrite settings for your blog post here if you wish.
- As this is a comprehensive guide, I will explain what each setting is for even though you may not need to use them:
- Meta Robots Index – This lets you decide whether the post or page should be indexed by the search engines or not.
- Meta Robots Follow – Here you can set a ‘follow’ or ‘nofollow’ rule for all links on the page.
- Meta Robots Advanced – Four meta tags you will probably never use.
- Breadcrumbs Title – You can change the title used for this content inside your breadcrumbs (if active)
- Canonical URL – This feature is very useful if you are reposting content that has already appeared on the internet. Instead of risking a penalty for duplicated content, you can tell the search engine where the original article is posted.
FURTHER WORDS OF WISDOM ON OPTIMISING WORDPRESS BLOG POSTS
1: Another important element to optimise is the header tag (<h1> tag) which is vital for telling search engines what your blog post is about. In most cases, your blog title will automatically be the <h1> tag. Make sure that your <h1> tags are unique and that you have only one per page.
2: So simple and yet so many affiliates forget about that beautiful alt tag for images. Ensure that your alt tags always describe the image. So if you write a blog post about ‘5 Ways To Become Healthy’ and add an image of a woman eating a salad, the ideal alt tag would be, “Woman eating salad”. You can add alt tags with the Visual or Text editor. Just follow these instructions:
- Visual Editor: Click on the image you want to add alt text to, and click on the ‘Edit’ icon. Add your alt text in the ‘Alternative Text’ field and then click ‘Update’.
- Text Editor: Just add the alt code inside the image tag. It should
look something like this:
<img src=”http://www.myawesomeaffiliatesite.com/images/1″ alt=”add your
3: Internal links within your blog post are another essential SEO element. They supply your audience with further reading options and also help to spread link juice around. It’s important that the internal links in your post are relevant to your topic. Use descriptive keywords in the anchor text that give information about the topic or the same keywords that the source page is implementing. I suggest adding three to four in a blog post of around 1,500 words or longer as long as they’re relevant. Also, don’t be frightened to add good external links.
4: Calls-To-Action are very important for affiliates, so ensure that your blog post has at least one or two. CTAs such as, ‘Read Our Detailed Review Here’, ‘Find Out More’, ‘Sign Up For Our Newsletter’ etc., are necessary to ensure that people know what to do next. Rui, our conversion specialist, has written a great article, “Where Should You Place Your CTA?” which I highly recommend that you read.
After following the steps above, make sure you double-check everything again before clicking the ‘Publish’ button. However, if you do find afterwards that something needs changing or doesn’t look right, simply go back to the editor, make your amends and click ‘Update’.
WordPress and the Yoast SEO plugin are very powerful tools if used correctly for search engine optimisation, and in our case, for affiliate marketing. Yoast won’t shoot you straight to first place in the Google rankings, but using it is certainly a step in the right direction. I hope you’ve found my guide useful and that you learn one or two things along the way once you start applying the methods I’ve shown you here.
If you use Yoast SEO and would configure something differently or can contribute some further benefits, please share your experiences in the comments below.