The Start-to-Finish Guide to Optimizing Your WordPress Blog Posts [Plus a Checklist]

Posted by sergeystefoglo

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. There’s a good chance you’ll need to optimize or work on a website that uses WordPress, if you haven’t already! Whether you’re a business owner, designer, developer, PPC expert, SEO consultant, or writer — getting familiar with WordPress is a smart move.

When I started out in SEO, I worked with local businesses that hired smaller firms to design or develop their sites. Naturally, most people gravitated towards WordPress as their CMS of choice: it was easy to customize, even easier to maintain, simple to use, and did the job well.

It wasn’t until I started working with websites that were using Joomla or Drupal that I began to appreciate the simplicity and flexibility that WordPress offers. Don’t get me wrong, Joomla and Drupal are both great, but they require a lot more setup and learning beforehand (especially if your goal is to optimize the site for organic search).

What this post is about

This post is going to walk through the process of uploading and optimizing a blog post using WordPress and Yoast SEO. I’ll go into detail on both of these topics and provide you with a downloadable checklist that you can give to your team or use yourself.

Before we get started

Yoast SEO

While it’s true that there are a variety of SEO plugins available for WordPress, I prefer Yoast SEO and will be referencing it as an essential plugin for this post. If you don’t currently have Yoast installed, you can visit their website to download it or simply search for “Yoast SEO” in WordPress and install it directly.

Pages and posts

WordPress has two basic sections for uploading content. There are pages (which are defined as landing pages on your website), and there are posts (which are essentially blog posts). One could argue that this article could be used as a guide to uploading and optimizing landing pages on WordPress, but I believe there’s a different approach for that and therefore will keep the focus of this article around posts.

Uploading your blog post

Before you get to optimizing your blog posts for organic search, you need to get them live on your site. If you’re familiar with how posting a blog works on WordPress, feel free to skip ahead to the optimization section of this article.

1. After logging into your site, hover over “Posts” and then click on “Add New.”

2. Copy and paste the title of your post where it says “Enter title here,” then paste the body text of your post in the section below (don’t copy over images yet).

Pro Tip: I personally write all of my blog posts in a separate program (like Word or Ulysses) and then copy over the text into WordPress when I’m ready to post it. You can definitely write your blog within WordPress and save it as a draft if you aren’t ready to publish it, but if you like having a local copy of your writing I’d recommend simply writing it in a different program.

Pro Tip: You can alternate between the “visual” and “text” editor here. If you’re familiar with HTML, I’d recommend “text,” as you can spot any potential errors in the code and have more control. If not, the “visual” editor works perfectly fine.

Pro Tip: If you have links in your post (which you should), double check that they were added correctly. If not, you can add a link using the WYSIWYG editor. In general, try to at least have 3 relevant internal links in each of your posts. Don’t be afraid of adding external links, either! The important thing to remember is that if the reader will find it useful, it’s okay to add it.

3. If you have images, place your cursor where you want the image. Click on “Add Media” and select “Upload Files.” After choosing your preferred settings, click “insert into post” to add your image in your article.

Note: There are various settings and options for sizing and aligning images. Please see this write up for a more detailed explanation of how images and featured images work in WordPress.

Pro Tip: It’s always a good idea to compress your images before uploading them so they don’t cause long load times. Here’s a great guide to compressing your images.

4. Scroll down a bit and you should see the “Categories” section on the right side of your screen. You don’t have to categorize your post (unless your site is organized by categories), but you can add one if you wish. If you do, WordPress will create category pages that pull in posts within that category. Here’s a great write-up on how WordPress utilizes category pages and what you should consider from an SEO perspective.

5. Under the “Categories” section, you’ll see the tags section. Similar to categories, you don’t have to use tags. In fact, I would argue that you should always noindex tagged pages that are auto-generated by WordPress, as oftentimes it can cause duplication issues. Nonetheless, you can add tags to your post here.

6. If you scroll down further you’ll see an “Author” section, where you can choose the author of your blog post.

7. Scroll back up and find the section that’s called “Publish.” Here you can choose “Preview” to make sure everything looks right in your post before optimizing/uploading it. If something doesn’t look the way you want it to, just edit that section.

8. If you want a snippet of your post to appear on your blog homepage instead of the entire thing, simply place your cursor where you want the break to be and click on the “Insert Read More tag” button. Read this post that explains the “Read More” tag and its function in WordPress.

This should get you to a point where you’re ready to optimize your blog — let’s focus on this next.

Optimizing your blog post

Getting down the foundational elements of uploading a blog post on WordPress is crucial, but we are marketers, aren’t we? This section breaks down what you (or your team) should be doing to optimize a post on WordPress as best as possible. My goal with creating the checklist at the bottom of this article is so that you and your team can reference it when uploading posts. Pretty soon it’ll become second nature!

1. Assuming you’re still on the “Edit Post” page, scroll down until you see a section titled “Yoast SEO.”

Pro Tip: If you don’t see this section, make sure you have the correct plugin installed. If you do and still don’t see this section, scroll up to the very top right of the screen and click on “Screen Options.” From here, make sure that “Wordpress SEO by Yoast” is checked.

2. Click on “Edit Snippet” in the Yoast SEO section. The “SEO title” box will be where you input your title tag.

Pro Tip: In general, you want to include your main keyword first followed by your brand name or website name. Also, make sure that you stay within 40–65 characters here.

3. You guessed it — the “Meta description” box is where you’ll input your meta description.

Pro Tip: Although not necessary, including your main keyword in the meta description can be a great idea if it flows well with your content. Google has explicitly mentioned that meta descriptions aren’t important to search engine rankings, but that doesn’t mean using a keyword won’t help users click on your post. Because of this, try to make your meta description as enticing as possible to a potential user. Why should they click on your blog post instead of the other options available in the SERP? Also, as a general rule, stay within 70–156 characters here.

4. A new addition to Yoast SEO (although not WordPress), the “Slug” section allows you to edit the URL of your post. By default, WordPress will add the title of your post to the URL (which isn’t a bad way to go), but if you want to alter it this is where you can.

Pro Tip: There are “standard practice” tips for URL optimization that don’t necessarily affect your rankings, but solidify what your post is about to users and search engines. These standard practice tips include keeping your URL short, including a keyword if possible, and having the URL make obvious what the post is about. Here is a great write up from Rand on URL optimization.

5. If you click on the gear icon tab within the Yoast SEO section, you’ll notice options for things like meta robots and the canonical URL. In most cases, these settings will already be set on a global scale; however, you can override your global settings for specific posts here.

6. If you click on the “Share” icon, you can override the default metadata (titles, images, etc.) that Facebook and Twitter will pull for your post. In general, you can leave these blank. However, if you have a good reason to override them (testing different images, optimizing for various target audiences, etc.) this is where you can.

7. We’ve covered a lot of important on-page elements so far, but one we haven’t covered is the <h1> tag. This tag is crucial for telling search engines what your page is about. In most cases, your title will automatically be an <h1> tag.

Pro Tip: I see a lot of sites who have multiple <h1> tags on a page, as well as many sites who have duplicate <h1> tags across the site. Often times, the logo or phone number can be wrapped in an <h1> tag. Make sure to double check that you have one <h1> tag for every page, and make sure that these tags are all unique.

8.A dding alt tags to images is fairly simple with WordPress. There are various ways to do this, but it all comes down to whether you’re using the visual editor or the text editor.

Visual: 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. Make sure to click on “Update” after.

Text: Simply add the alt=“” snippet of code inside the image tag. It should look something like this:

<img src="" alt="keyword goes here">

In general, alt tags should describe the photo. So, if I was writing a blog post about central vacuum systems and I had an image of a man using a central vacuum system, the ideal alt tag would be “Man Using Central Vacuum System” or “Man Cleaning With Central Vacuum System.”

9. It’s important to take a look at your internal links within your post. Are they topically relevant? Try to include at least 3–4 links that point to your internal pages and don’t be scared to throw in good external links as well.

10. Does your post have a clear CTA? Oftentimes this can be a “Read more posts like this” callout or a “Sign up for our newsletter” button; however, it could also look like a “buy now” CTA for sites that write about products.

11. After following the above steps, take a second glance at everything before hitting “publish.” If you publish your post and realize that something doesn’t look right later on, just head back to the editor, make your changes, and click “update.”


Optimization checklist

As promised, please download and distribute this checklist as you please. My hope is that after going through it multiple times, posting and optimizing your blog posts on WordPress will come as second nature to you (or your team).

I want the checklist!

3 more essential WordPress plugins for marketers

  1. Broken Link Checker – Essential plugin that monitors all of your internal links and regularly reports on where they are. Easily one of the most simple yet helpful plugins out there.
  2. W3 Total Cache – This plugin helps increase the speed of your site by leveraging caching, and minifying code. Highly recommended!
  3. Gravity Forms – While there are some decent options for contact form plugins on WordPress, Gravity Forms beats them all because of the customization options, continued plugin support, and add-ons..

If you’re interested, I wrote an all-around guide to using Yoast SEO on the Distilled blog earlier this year. Also, please visit the good people at Yoast, as their blog is full of great advice and tutorials.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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What should be there on clothing tag? – Essential Steps To Gain

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Birthday Reminder Box (…with FREE printable calendars!)

Today’s contributor is Tiffany from Making the World Cuter. All posts written by Tiffany for Make It and Love It, can be found here.

. . . . .

Hi everyone, it’s Tiffany again from Making the World Cuter!

A little something that my friends and family know about me…I LOVE giving gifts. I love planning for them, shopping for them, wrapping them and most of all, giving them. I also LOVE sending birthday cards in the mail to family that is far away. The problem? I don’t remember anyone’s birthday until Facebook sends me a reminder the day of, ha!

Birthday Reminder Box (...with FREE printable calendars!) | via Make It and Love It


I made this cute and easy DIY Birthday reminder box to help me remember in advance and keep everything together. I also added some fun “favorite things” cards to keep track of gift ideas for those important people in my life that I purchase gifts for on a regular basis.

Birthday Reminder Box (...with FREE printable calendars!) | via Make It and Love It


The box is big enough to hold cards too! So I counted out how many cards I would need for each month and put them behind the month cards.

Birthday Reminder Box (...with FREE printable calendars!) | via Make It and Love It


Then, each month I can pull out the month card and all the cards behind it and write them out right then. I can address them all and they’ll be ready to put out in the mail in time for their birthdays!

Birthday Reminder Box (...with FREE printable calendars!) | via Make It and Love It


I think this would make a great mother’s day gift, a fun birthday gift, or if you’re like me…a gift for yourself to get you more organized!

Birthday Reminder Box (...with FREE printable calendars!) | via Make It and Love It


Let’s make it!

DIY Birthday Reminder Box


First things first we need to make the box. Cut the 1×4 into your 4 pieces. 2 need to be 6 inches, the other 2 need to be 4 1/4 inches.

favorite things birthday box (6)


Then measure and cut your scrap piece of plywood to a square that is 5 3/4 x 5 3/4.

favorite things birthday box (7)


Sand edges of all pieces of wood to get off the rough edges.

favorite things birthday box (8)


Using the wood glue, glue edges together, putting the shorter pieces inside the longer pieces. Then use the glue around the bottom and attach the plywood piece.

favorite things birthday box (9)


Now, use the nail gun (or hammer and nails) to attach the bottom in each corner.

favorite things birthday box (10)


Then attach the sides with the nail gun, and you have a box!

favorite things birthday box (11)


After the box is put together, it’s time to paint! I went with white…because that’s what I do, I paint everything white.

favorite things birthday box (12)


Let it dry and move onto making the cute things for the inside!

First, print the free printable calendars.

favorite things birthday box (1)


Then cut each month 4 inches wide.

favorite things birthday box (2)


And then cut them 6 inches long.

favorite things birthday box (3)


Then you’ll have a cute little stack of calendars ready to add birthdays to!

favorite things birthday box (4)


I just write the first name of each person (unless there are multiple people with the same name obviously), and if there are two or more birthdays on the same day, I just put a good space between them.

favorite things birthday box (14)


To separate the months, I used washi tape to make tabs, I put about a 2 inch piece on the corner of each month.

favorite things birthday box (15)


Then I folded it over to make a tab.

favorite things birthday box (16)


I did this on opposite sides for every other month in coordinating tapes. You could make this in your favorite color, or make it totally rainbow if you wanted.

favorite things birthday box (17)


Now for the favorite things cards. I LOVE having these! I cut all of them to 4×6 as well and I didn’t add any washi, but you totally could. I just put these behind the month card that their birthday belongs in. Lots of gift ideas can come from knowing their favorite things, and there is lots of room at the bottom to add notes.

favorite things birthday box (5)


You can either send out an email and ask your favorite friends and family members these questions, or have them fill them out themselves at the the next gathering. It would be a great idea to do at a favorite things party!

To finish decorating the box, I cut out the word birthdays on my Cameo in a silver vinyl.

favorite things birthday box (13)


Then I used a little washi that I used on the cards to decorate the box a bit.

favorite things birthday box (18)


Then to make sure I’m always prepared with a card, I purchased a box of fun blank cards at Michaels in cute colors.

favorite things birthday box (19)


It looks super cute sitting near my gift wrapping station.

Who do you know that needs a birthday reminder box?

Birthday Reminder Box (...with FREE printable calendars!) | via Make It and Love It



blog contributor Tiffany


. . . . .

Now that you have your birthday reminder box – add a few of these fabulous DIY gift ideas to your list and you’ll be ready for each and every birthday of the people you love:

60 Handmade GIFT IDEAS…you’ll be PROUD to give!

60 Handmade GIFT'll be PROUD to give! | via Make It and Love It

20+ Handmade Baby Gift Ideas

handmade baby gift ideas

50+ Great Homemade Kid Gift Ideas


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The Local SEO Agency’s Complete Guide to Client Discovery and Onboarding

Posted by MiriamEllis

Why proper onboarding matters

Imagine getting three months in on a Local SEO contract before realizing that your client’s storefront is really his cousin’s garage. From which he runs two other “legit” businesses he never mentioned. Or that he neglected to mention the reviews he bought last year. Worse yet, he doesn’t even know that buying reviews is a bad thing.

The story is equally bad if you’re diligently working to build quality unique content around a Chicago client’s business in Wicker Park but then realize their address (and customer base) is actually in neighboring Avondale.

What you don’t know will hurt you. And your clients.

A hallmark of the professional Local SEO department or agency is its dedication to getting off on the right foot with a new client by getting their data beautifully documented for the whole team from the start. At various times throughout the life of the contract, your teammates and staff from complementary departments will be needing to access different aspects of a client’s core NAP, known challenges, company history, and goals.

Having this information clearly recorded in shareable media is the key to both organization and collaboration, as well as being the best preventative measure against costly data-oriented mistakes. Clear and consistent data play vital roles in Local SEO. Information must not only be gathered, but carefully verified with the client.

This article will offer you a working Client Discovery Questionnaire, an Initial Discovery Phone Call Script, and a useful Location Data Spreadsheet that will be easy for any customer to fill out and for you to then use to get those listings up to date. You’re about to take your client discovery process to awesome new heights!

Why agencies don’t always get onboarding right

Lack of a clearly delineated, step-by-step onboarding process increases the potential for human error. Your agency’s Local SEO manager may be having allergies on Monday and simply forget to ask your new client if they have more than one website, if they’ve ever purchased reviews, or if they have direct access to their Google My Business listings. Or they could have that information and forget to share it when they jump to a new agency.

The outcomes of disorganized onboarding can range from minor hassles to disastrous mistakes.

Minor hassles would include having to make a number of follow-up phone calls to fill in holes in a spreadsheet that could have been taken care of in a single outreach. It’s inconvenient for all teammates when they have to scramble for missing data that should have been available at the outset of the project.

Disastrous mistakes can stem from a failure to fully gauge the details and scope of a client’s holdings. Suddenly, a medium-sized project can take on gigantic proportions when the agency learns that the client actually has 10 mini-sites with duplicate content on them, or 10 duplicate GMB listings, or a series of call tracking numbers around the web.

It’s extremely disheartening to discover a mountain of work you didn’t realize would need to be undertaken, and the agency can end up having to put in extra uncompensated time or return to the client to renegotiate the contract. It also leads to client dissatisfaction.

Setting correct client expectations is completely dependent on being able to properly gauge the scope of a project, so that you can provide an appropriate timeline, quote, and projected benchmarks. In Local, that comes down to documenting core business information, identifying past and present problems, and understanding which client goals are achievable. With the right tools and effective communication, your agency will be making a very successful start to what you want to be a very successful project.

Professional client discovery made simple

There’s a lot you want to learn about a new client up front, but asking (and answering) all those questions right away can be grueling. Not to mention information fatigue, which can make your client give shorter and shorter answers when they feel like they’ve spent enough time already. Meanwhile your brain reaches max capacity and you can’t use all that valuable information because you can’t remember it.

To prevent such a disaster, we recommend dividing your Local SEO discovery process into a questionnaire to nail down the basics, a follow-up phone call to help you feel out some trickier issues, and a CSV to gather the location data. And we’ve created templates to get you started…

Client Discovery Questionnaire

Use our Local SEO Client Discovery Questionnaire to understand your client’s history, current organization, and what other consultants they might also be working with. We’ve annotated each question in the Google Doc template to help you understand what you can learn and potential pitfalls to look out for.

If you want to make collecting and preserving your clients’ answers extra easy, use Google Forms to turn that questionnaire into a form like this:

You can even personalize the graphic, questions, and workflow to suit your brand.

Client Discovery Phone Script

Once you’ve received your client’s completed questionnaire and have had time to process the responses and do any necessary due diligence (like using our Check Listings tool to check how aggregators currently display their information), it’s time to follow up on the phone. Use our annotated Local SEO Client Discovery Phone Script to get you started.

local seo client discovery phone script

No form necessary this time, because you’ll be asking the client verbally. Be sure to pay attention to the client’s tone of voice as they answer and refer to the notes under each question to see what you might be in for.

Location Data CSV

Sometimes the hardest part of Local SEO is getting all the location info letter-perfect. Make that easier by having the client input all those details into your copy of the Location Data Spreadsheet.

local seo location data csv

Then use the File menu to download that document as a CSV.

You’ll want to proof this before uploading it to any data aggregators. If you’re working with Moz Local, the next step is an easy upload of your CSV. If you’re working with other services, you can always customize your data collection spreadsheet to meet their standards.

Keep up to date on any business moves or changes in hours by designing a data update form like this one from SEER and periodically reminding your client contact to use it.

Why mutual signals of commitment really matter

There are two sides to every successful client project: one half belongs to the agency and the other to the company it serves. The attention to detail your agency displays via clean, user-friendly forms and good phone sessions will signal your professionalism and commitment to doing quality work. At the same time, the willingness of the client to take the necessary time to fill out these documents and have these conversations signals their commitment to receiving value from their investment.

It’s not unusual for a new client to express some initial surprise when they realize how many questions you’re asking them to answer. Past experience may even have led them to expect half-hearted, sloppy work from other SEO agencies. But, what you want to see is a willingness on their part to share everything they can about their company with you so that you can do your best work.

Anecdotally, I’ve fully refunded the down payments of a few incoming clients who claimed they couldn’t take the time to fill out my forms, because I detected in their unwillingness a lack of genuine commitment to success. These companies have, fortunately, been the exception rather than the rule for me, and likely will be for your agency, too.

It’s my hope that, with the right forms and a commitment to having important conversations with incoming clients at the outset, the work you undertake will make your Local team top agency and client heroes!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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