With the use of WordPress as a regular website and hosting services like Squarespace/Weebly, websites can be easier to work with (well sometimes… see our overview here) and that may mean you’re doing some of your own updates to your site, like posting blog posts.
At Worthy Marketing Group, we often interact with websites in various stages of build/update — some are non-responsive for mobile or tablet viewing and we recommend an update, while others just need a few tweaks. One of the tweaks we often recommend is regular blogging or vlogging. This helps establish an online presence before a book launch and helps to build a loyal following before asking them to buy a book.
When we visit the backend of a client’s website to assist with blog entries. we often find a history of three or more website editors, each, perhaps with his or her own best practices. This has meant that we had to standardize our best practices and we’re sharing those with you today.
wordpress tags vs. categories
There is a huge debate as to whether WordPress tags and categories increase the SEO of your content. In general, tags are “smaller” content areas than categories, but since both tags and categories are custom to your site, the use of each is not standardized. Having used both methods for clients, we have found that categories are helpful, while tags are not. Categories will group together related blog posts, helping you outline the broad topics of your website (helpful for new and in-depth visitors to your site). Like categories, tags group together related topics, however, they are usually much more specific and can actually hurt SEO.
our conclusion: tags = confusion.
Your blog is at risk when you add a large number of tags because search engines will view your content as not-valuable. Not valuable = your content will not be pulled by search engines. Tags may also create duplicate content, causing confusion to search engines when they cannot sort out which pages on your website should be ranked higher. Lastly, search engines may not be able to understand what your site is about when they are a large number of tags. When search engines become confused, your SEO will go down. So save yourself time and everyone else the confusion by sticking to categories (and categories alone!).
To put it simply, your content should be evergreen. No one wants to read outdated content. And if a search engine finds that content is outdated, your site will be pushed to the bottom of the search results list. Try publishing blog topics that will stay relevant over time and stay away from fads and trends that will most likely be out of date by next year. If you need to link to something or reference something current, be sure you have a task to remind yourself to check and make sure these links are still working.
Not only are long, messy URL’s unappealing to your readers, but they are also confusing to search engines. Once again, too many keywords = search engine confusion. Shortening your blog URL’s to have one or two keywords from your title will allow search engines to better understand your content and optimize your SEO. It also makes it easier for you to remember a url off the top of your head! When you’re shortening your url, try separating your keywords with hyphens to make it easier to read. In addition, readers are also more likely to share your blog if the URL provides context.
related posts and bounce rate
A great way to help readers find more of what they are looking for is to provide the links to related posts at the bottom of your blog post. This can reduce the bounce rate by keeping visitors on your site longer. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that click on your website and leave immediately. The lower your bounce rate = the longer visitors are staying on your site. Related posts encourage visitors to read more content they are interested in. This will also revive old blog posts that may be hard to find and get them more traffic. Lastly, enabling related posts increases the number of internal links on your blog, allowing search engines to find them more easily. (Note: you can make links to these posts manually, or if you’re on wordpress, there are plug-ins you can use (if you have categories set up!) that will auto pull these for you.)
While headers may seem like an obvious strategy to help you divide up the content on your blog, they can actually increase your SEO. In WordPress, H1 should be to outline the most important content on your blog. H2 should be used to break up the H1 content into easily understandable bits. And lastly, H3 should be used to break up the content of H2. When search engines scan your content for the relevant words that someone is searching, headings are one of the best ways to give a search engine an understanding of your content. It may seem simple, but headers can be powerful!
Let us know if you try these practices next time you write a blog post and how it worked for you.