One of the most important steps in content writing or preparation is structuring. Perhaps, you have heard that excellent text structure leads to improved copy? Well, it is the absolute truth. A blog post’s skeleton goes a long way in determining its impacts on your audience, and its overall success.
Reading a well-structured blog post is easier for readers. The information is passed and grasped fluidly. The author enjoys the writing process because it is easier for them. The audience absorbs the information even better, without missing out on the important messages. All these play a vital role in the SEO – which is the ultimate goal of content creation.
As the title of this blogpost suggested, we will be discussing the practical and straightforward process of structuring a blog post using WordPress and Yoast SEO. For the records, Yoast SEO is arguably the best SEO plugin for WordPress websites and blogs. If you are not using Yoast SEO yet on your site, now may be the best time to jump on it.
Text Structure and SEO
It is common to see business owners and blog administrators assume that text structure has little or no effects on SEO. This is a wrong assumption; the structure of your text is vital for SEO. When a text is adequately structured, it tells on the readability. The improved readability means readers can quickly get meanings out of the text. This means they understand the information you are offering in the text, and it will most likely provide answers to their questions.
Interestingly, Google observes this process closely, using its user-signals feature. Once it sees that your text is offering relevant and helpful answers to the questions of the searchers, they attribute more importance to your page. This means you enjoy improved rankings on the SERPs. And your SEO just got better, especially in WordPress and Yoast.
That said, it is essential to note that a proper text structure is not the only prerequisite to a successful SEO copywriting. You must combine this with other facets of SEO copywriting to get the desired results.
11 steps to structure your blogpost to Yoast and WordPress standards
This is the section where we consider, in-depth, what has to be done before a blogpost can meet Yoast SEO and WordPress standards. Before we start, let’s quickly reiterate the fact that all these steps are simple and you can implement them all by yourself.
Step 1 – Decide on the topic
It is only reasonable that you know what you want to write about before you proceed to write. Research a topic you believe your audience will find relevant. If it helps, check the social media space to see what your target audience is talking about concerning your industry or business. This might give you a few ideas on what to write on.
Step 2 – Make a draft
Since you know what to write about, go ahead and make a draft. Your draft here is the proposed body of your blog post, so, it is not entirely a draft. You should prepare your draft in another program or software other than the WordPress editor (consider Google Docs or Word). Ensure your draft is free of any form of errors and consistencies. Proofread after reading, so that it is publication-ready before you move on to step 3.
Step 3 – Keyword Research
Are you surprised that this came up early on the list? Well, it should be. Keywords are crucial to the structuring, and by extension, the optimisation of a blog post on WordPress and Yoast. Plus, keywords will be required in the preceding steps below. So, it is only normal that we sort it early.
Everyone knows what keywords are all about – they are the words and phrases searchers used when asking a question from the search engine. These are the words or phrases you want your blog post to address. So, getting your keywords right is crucial to a productive SEO campaign.
How do you find the right keywords? Start by thinking like your target audience. What words would you use if you were to ask a particular question or find information about a specific topic? This is called search intent and will help you to come up with the search terms and their different combinations.
While keyword research may appear basic on paper, it is not in reality. Fortunately, we now have some tools that can help with your keyword research, making things easier and faster for you. Let’s take a look at a few of these tools and how they work.
- Start with your website’s internal search engine. You can find keywords in the search terms or phrases your audience used in asking questions. Identify the reoccurring ones and add them to your keywords list. To assess the results of your internal search, head to Google Analytics at Behaviour, click on Site Search, and then Search Terms.
- Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a reliable tool to discover relevant and new keywords. It gives you viable ideas for possible keywords that your audience are using in their searches. It also offers the keyword search volume data, although that is hardly needed, except you are about to do a PPC campaign.
- Yoast Suggest is another great keyword research tool that works based on the principles of Google Suggest. All you have to do is put in a potential keyword, and it will give you more expansions, which can be used as long-tail keywords for your post.
- Google Trends is a tool that makes a comparison of the traffic for groups of keywords. It offers reliable data on keywords and how much they are used in various geographical regions. Google Trends comes handy when you are working with seasonal keywords.
- Moz is another powerful tool that determines how competitive a keyword is. It tells you if a keyword is easy or difficult to rank for. The rule of thumb states that keywords that are difficult to rank for should be avoided, except when your website is already ranked high on SERPs.
Use one or more of these tools to derive your keywords and set them aside. We will need them from now on.
Step 4 – SEO Title
You need an SEO title when publishing a blog post on WordPress for Yoast. It will interest you to know that the SEO title you choose for your post goes a long way in boosting your rankings. It is what comes up in SERPs, and the first opportunity you get to entice the searcher.
A proper SEO title must be compelling while reflecting the content of your post. You do not want to mislead the audience with a title that contradicts your blog content, or a title that does nothing to push them to click. Also, it should contain your keyword phrase (as researched in Step 3).
Lastly, make it brief. The ideal character limit of an SEO title, according to Yoast standards, is between 50-60 characters. Ensure that your title does not exceed that number of characters.
Step 5 – Post Title
The Post Title is different from the SEO Title. While the latter is displayed on SERPs, the former is the main heading the reader sees at the top of your blog post when they eventually follow the link from the SERP. You may repeat your SEO title as your post title, but without the limiting yourself to just 60 characters.
You must include your keyword phrase in your Post Title – this convinces the reader they are at the right place. So, do not disappoint them by adopting a Post Title that is entirely different from your SEO title.
Step 6 – The Post’s Permalink
The permalink or URL of your post is the unique address allocated to your blogpost by WordPress. The readers can see your post’s permalink right under the SEO title on SERP pages. Make your permalink unique and include your keyword phrases, to increase your chances of ranking.
Again, you can adapt your SEO title to be your permalink, but you must remove empty words like “the” and “a” to make it short and easy to remember. Although there is no character limit associated with permalinks, it is best to keep it between 70-75 characters.
Step 7 – Keyword Integration
Recall the draft you created in Step 2, now is the time to incorporate keywords into it. This is where we discuss Keyword Density – the percentage of times your keyword or phrase is found on a webpage relative to the total number of words on the webpage. Contrary to popular opinion, Goole itself has stated that Keyword density does not influence ranking.
While there is no ideal keyword density, it is best to do what helps your readers. The rule of thumb here is to use your primary or focus keyword phrase three times, for a post with 600 words or less. If the post is longer than 600 words, using the keywords or phrases five or six times is considered productive.
That said, you should know where exactly to include these keywords in your body of the text. Here are some recommendations on where and how often a focus keyword should appear in your text body:
- Headings – once or twice;
- First Paragraph – once;
- Mid paragraph – once; and
- Last paragraph – once.
Apart from the primary or focus keywords and phrases, integrate a couple of your secondary keyword phrases. The integration should be such that they do not disrupt the meaning or context of the sentences or paragraphs they are inserted.
Step 8 – Post Meta Description
According to Google, the meta description has little or no effect in the ranking. However, it indirectly increases your chances of getting ranked. How? Your meta description is the short text the searchers under your post on SERPs. So, it is your next best shot, after the SEO title, to entice them to click through the link and visit your page.
In addition to making your meta description enticing and relevant, integrate your focus keywords and phrases. The character limit is between 155 and 160 characters, and lastly, avoid the use of quotes at any point in your meta description.
You can learn more about crafting a great meta description by checking the Hubspot guide here.
Step 9 – Images
Images are vital if you want your blogpost to be acceptable by WordPress and Yoast. These visual enhancements have proven to improve the readers’ experience and ultimately engage with your post. The most common mistake with the use of images in blog posts is using copyrighted images.
For the records, not every creative content on the internet is free to use for this purpose, even if it is free to access. If you want to learn more about the rules of photo usage on the web, check out the Macworld article on the same topic here.
After picking your images, you need to create descriptions for each. Your descriptions should contain your focus keyword (once), and also describe the image. You should also create an image caption for each image – something that says more about the image to your reader.
Step 10 – Internal Links
Linking, if done right, will improve your rankings on SERPs. For best results, include not less than three links into your blog post. However, these links must point to the internal pages or valid and authoritative external links. What really counts when it comes to linking include the relevance of the linked pages, how the pages are related, and the value of the pages linked.
So, you should include the link to your most important content, which also relates to the blogpost in question. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to link to related posts. You may also add contextual links – i.e. links to different articles on the same topic (if any). For external links, ensure that you are adding links to the most popular or recent posts from highly authoritative websites.
Doing these will make your blog post more valuable and relevant to Google.
Step 11 – Final Touches
Now, go ahead to categorise and tag your post – the last step before posting. If you are not conversant with this, here is a guide to help. You should also include your social tags so that your posts can be simultaneously published on your social media pages. You also need to add the feature image, i.e. the image that represents this particular post on different pages of your website or blog.
Lastly, specify who authored the post, especially in cases where you have multiple authors managing one blog.
Is your blogpost up to Yoast and WordPress standards?
The only way to find out if you have applied the 11 steps above correctly is to check the WordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin window. Locate the Focus Keywords field and see where your keywords were found. It should be five greens – Article Heading, Page Title, Page URL, Content, and Meta Description.
While it is not compulsory to achieve the five greens, you must ensure that your post is error-free, easy to read, well-written, and relevant to the reader. Once the post satisfies these criteria, you can go ahead and post.
Do you have questions or comments on this topic? Feel free to share them in the comment section. Alternatively, you can reach out to us with your thoughts. Our team of experts will be on the ground to help you.
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