John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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SEO Aware WordPress Publishing

By describing the strategic use of WordPress blogs for search marketing for a customer, I defined a process I am calling SEO-Aware WordPress Publishing.

You start with WordPress, configured according to SEO best practices, and then … you don’t start publishing, but rather you get a little SEO training. Training in SEO copywriting, yes, but also beyond just SEO copywriting. I could have called it SEO copywriting on WordPress, because we make strategic use of page slugs/permalinks, H tags, outlinks, and excerpts, and the various SEO plugins for WordPress as they support our publishing mission (where at least one outcome metric is search marketing).

Since I know that YOU know what I am talking about, I am inviting you to continue this conversation on your own SEO blog. Below I will present three SEO tips for WordPress Publishing that I would include in that initial SEO training session for an in-house copywriter/author responsible for publishing on the platform. The goal is to help them become SEO Aware, to reduce the amount of SEO involvement needed on the blog. If you have other tips you would recommend, why not publish them on your blog as a follow on? If I see the potential, I’ll collate the best tips into a larger article with credit given back, of course.

When publishing with the SEO’d WordPress blog, consider these tips for SEO-aware blogging:

  • write the excerpt first, from a perspective of “here I am telling the desk editor what this blog post is about and why it is important from her desk’s perspective“. You can always go back and edit it again later, but writing it first makes sure it gets something in it. Drafting the excerpt will also probably help you forumulate your post (especially the attitude of your post, and the closure it needs).
  • The post slug or permalink defaults to the standard “null permalink” provided. This ensures your drafts are saved in a safe location until they are ready for publication. But since we craft permalinks like we craft headlines and titles (after the post is written), consider making the first line of your post “Permalink: ” so it remains painfully obvious that we need to create a permalink before approving the post for publication.
  • Consider hiding buried treasure messages in the “title” field of embedded links. When your reader hovers over the anchor text, they will appreciate the way the hover tip gives them additional, off line communication about the link. The message can also can help them to store a concept in short-term memory, giving them confidence to not click away just yet, but rather stay and finish reading your prose. For example, Michael Gray made a video about SEO for WordPress
  • If you didn’t just hover of that link to Michael’s blog and see the buried treasure message, do it now.
    Good job! I hope you SEO consultants recognize the potential value in continuing this conversation with 3 of your own tips published on your own SEO blog.

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8 Responses to “SEO Aware WordPress Publishing”

  1. Barry Welford Says:

    This is an excellent initiative, John, and I’ll certainly take up the challenge. Let me just mention here one step I think most important, which will be one of my three when I get there. I always try to write a memorable headline for my human visitors. I then do a Google search and a Google Blogsearch on that headline. You’d be surprised how often that pulls up new ideas or prior authors whose articles you can build on. At the least it ensures you don’t just write the same old, same old that has already appeared ad nauseam.

  2. KinPin Says:

    I have to confess I’m not the most savvy when it comes to wordpress but after reading you’re article, I’m quite impressed.

    Really it’s just about using common sense.

    Great article.

    KP

  3. Galen De Young Says:

    Hi, John. Followed this post through Barry’s Sphinn. I think both the initative and the tips above are great. As someone who manages writers charged with creating business content, with more and more of it being online via blogs, the instruction to write the excerpt first resonated with me. I’ve often found that if you can’t craft the excerpt, writing the article or posting is going to take three times as long…and it won’t be very focused. Also the reminder about the slug was great. So often we forget to check everything before hitting the post button. Better to plant some obvious reminders to get it right the first time.

  4. john andrews Says:

    @Barry: that’s a good idea about the headline, and partly why headlines are often written by someone other than the author. There needs to be some market awareness involved.

    @KinPin: Not rocket science, but specialized attention. If someone pays attention to he specific aspects of publishing (in this case with WordPress), it can be ptimized for effectiveness. If no one pays special attention, it is just as good as it is naturally.

    @Galen: Glad to hear it resonates with you. I work with professionals like yourself (writers, marketers, promotors) not just small business owners, and sometimes I think the SEO community should take stock in some of that perspective. After all, every day our work is assumed by those same professionals as they become SEO aware, right?

  5. Margaret Says:

    Thanks for this topic! For the completely uninitiated, this is a shocker. Now I have to go and figure out how to do all these things!

  6. John Cronin Says:

    Hi John

    Longtime lurker here.

    Great little tip about “buried treasure” in link title – really like that idea!

    Regards

    John

  7. Simonsays Says:

    wordpress is in the source nowhere on seo. Google hates the code

  8. Seotips Says:

    Thanks for these tips. I agree, buried treasure messages can be quite helpful and save time for browsing away from the post. However, often you can also meet banner ads that pop-up when you point at a link with a post, and those could be quite annnoying.