Optimizing your content to increase search results is a vital part of good content creation practices. It’s sort of like getting the best ingredients for a dish that you’re cooking. If the recipe calls for Copper River salmon and you substitute ratfish, people won’t be flocking to your new seafood bistro. But finding good keywords that get lots of search is just part of the strategy; you also need to know where to use the keywords. For instance, did you know that a keyword used in a link provides more SEO value than a keyword that is part of the content? In this article, we’ll share some of the ways we pump up the SEO value of content at AIM. All of the tactics we discuss should be available to any WordPress user. To make things easier, you should install a reliable SEO plugin such as All-In-One SEO Pack, which is easy to use and adds necessary metatags to all of your content.

About keyword research–know which keywords will draw the most search results for your content. Use the Google AdWords Keyword tool for quick research. Once you know the appropriate keywords, apply them within the following elements of your page or post.

Where to use keywords most effectively

1. Title Metatag

Include a relevant title metatag for each post or page. The title metatag should include the most relevant and powerful keyword for that page, and that keyword should be placed first if possible within the metatag. The title metatag should not exceed 60 characters. If you’ve installed an SEO plugin, you’ll find the panel below the main editor on pages, posts and custom post types. AIM client websites will be able to use the SEO panel to add metatags to custom post types such as product, special post, portfolio and member posts.

All-in-one-SEO Pack plugin for WordPress

Adding the title metatag using All In One SEO Pack.

2. Post or Page Title

Include a keyword in the page or post title. This is the title that visitors see above the content. In WordPress posts and pages, the title field is the top field on the editor page. Titles should be engaging, but they will gain search power if they include a keyword.

Title and permalink fields in WordPress posts and pages

3. URL

The permalink or URL address of the post or page can be edited in WordPress. In fact, you should always use a relevant permalink as opposed to the default, which means a permalink that contains the post name and possibly the category name, as well. Include a keyword if it makes sense. Keywords in links are particularly powerful. The permalink field is the second field on the page—right beneath the title field. Click “edit” to edit the permalink.

4. Content

Include the keyword at least once within the content of the page or post. Don’t overdo it, however. Restrict your use of the keyword to no more than 3% of the total word count. The reason for this is that Google may penalize a page that seems to over-use a keyword. Content is normally entered in the page or post main editor, but in some cases content might be entered in a secondary content field.

5. Subheads

Create subheads as paragraph headings and give them the H3 heading tag from the paragraph dropdown menu in the toolbar. Heading tags help search engines understand the hierarchy of the page content—what’s most important, next most important, and so on. Since the H2 tag on most WordPress sites is used for blog page titles, which might be styled overly large for use as a subhead, try the H3. Remember, even though you need to optimize content for search, you must also present readers with a great experience. Subheads help in that regard, as well, since many visitors will scan a page before reading it and the subheads you use can help them get the gist quickly.

added H3 subhead tags for added SEO in WordPress posts and pages

Add a heading tag to your subheads to create a hierarchy of importance within the content.

6. Alt Image Tags

Use a keyword in the alternate text for each image. When you upload an image to use in a page or post or within a page or post gallery, you have the option to add a title, alternate text and caption. You should always add an appropriate title and a descriptive alternate text tag. The alt text is indexed by search engines, so using your relevant keywords within the alt tag is a good idea. Since the purpose of the alt tag is to describe the image, you should use your keyword within the context of the description.

Alternate Tag Editor in WordPress for adding keywords

Be sure to add alternate text to improve accessibility and use a keyword to add SEO punch.

7. In content links

Use a keyword as part of the anchor text for links in your page that are linked to related content. The anchor text is the same thing as the hyperlink—it’s the text that a visitor clicks to activate the link. Once again, links rule, and related content is the ultimate value booster when it comes to search engines.

8. WordPress Tags

Use tags that include keywords to cross-reference your post to other posts with related content. This is a great way to include an extra keyword link. Tags are commonly included after a post to help visitors find related content so why not make the most of them.

WordPress tags with keywords for improved SEO

Tags are links to related content, so using keywords as tags adds lots of SEO value.

9. Description Metatag

Create a reader-friendly summary of the page/post content in 160 characters or less. You’ll find the SEO panel below the main editor. The description metatag is not indexed, but it is used by Google, and since it is what searchers will read on the search results page it’s a good idea to craft a nice sentence to help them click the link.

10. Include keywords as part of your author nickname.

In WordPress, the author tag that appears as your byline on each post is a link to a page displaying a list of all your posts. In the User tab, you can edit your nickname to include a title or description of what you do, and that description can include keywords.

There you have it. If you follow these content optimization tips, use relevant, high-traffic keywords and produce fresh content frequently, you’ll be able to increase your website’s visibility over time. Furthermore, you’ll be adding more search value than most websites have, which will help you gain a higher search engine result position than your competitors. If you liked this post, be sure to share it with friends or leave a comment. And if you have other content-related SEO tips, be sure to share them, as well.