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Blog SEO: 11 Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO (like a Pro)

Many of our readers have asked us to share tips on how to optimize blogs posts for SEO, so they can get better search rankings.

The best time to optimize your blog content for SEO is when you are creating it, but you can always go back and improve your old articles as well.

Blog SEO is important because it helps you consistently get more traffic to your website. There are many things you can do to optimize your blog posts for SEO.

In this article, we will share our best blog SEO tips to help you optimize your blog posts for SEO like a pro. These are the tips that we use on our own blogs, which gets millions of visitors from search engines.

Tips to optimize your blog posts for SEO

1. Plan Your Content with Proper Keyword Research

Many beginners just use their best guesses to write about topics they feel that their users would be interested in.

You don’t need to rely on blind guesses, especially when you can do keyword research to find out exactly what your users are looking for.

Keyword research is a technique used by content creators and SEO experts. It helps you discover topics your users are interested in based on the search engine data.

Plan your content with keyword research

You can then use these keywords to plan your content strategy. This will ensure that you write about topics that people are actually looking for, and it’s a great way to find new blog post ideas.

We recommend using keyword research tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs. They offer in-depth keyword data, competition analysis, keyword position tracking, and tons of other useful features.

For detailed instructions, see our article on how to do keyword research for your blog posts.

2. Find Semantic Keywords for Your Focus Keyword

After you have done your keyword research and discovered keyword ideas, it is time to pick one that has the highest search volume and low competition.

This will be your focus keyword. It is the search phrase that your users are most likely to look for.

If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, then you can set the focus keyword in your article’s SEO settings. This would allow you to see how effectively you have used it in your article.

Setting focus keyword in Yoast SEO

Next, you need to find out the Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords. These are the searches related to your focus keyword.

The easiest way to find them is to simply enter your focus keyword in Google Search and scroll down to the bottom of results. There you’ll find them listed as ‘related searches’.

Related keywords

You need to incorporate as many of these keywords in your content, so you can have the most complete content for users.

It’s very important that you don’t try to stuff them in your content. This would look odd to your users and search engines are pretty good at detecting keyword stuffing.

3. Write an Effective Blog Post Title

The title of your blog post is extremely important for search rankings.

A good blog post title makes your article more relevant to the search query. More importantly, it motivates users to actually click on your article when they see it in search results.

You can make your blog post title more SEO friendly by using your focus keyword in the title.

Focus keyword in blog post title

Aside from adding your focus keyword, we also recommend making your headline catchy and click-worthy. That’s because click through rate (CTR) plays an important role in SEO.

There are several formulas to write effective headlines. The one that still works is called EMV or emotional marketing value.

This formula recommends using power words that trigger specific emotional responses in your audience. There are online tools like EMV headline Analyzer which help you calculate your title’s EMV score.

For more tips, see this article on headlines that went viral and how to copy their success in your own articles.

4. Make Internal Linking a Habit

Once you have blogged for a while, you will have enough content that you would want users to read. With internal linking, you can send new readers to check out your older relevant posts.

Internal linking is a great way to develop a contextual relationship between your new and old posts. It also allows you to pass relevant link juice to your older articles.

WordPress makes it easy to search for your old posts right inside the post editor. Simply select the text that you want to link and then click on the link button.

Internal linking

A text pop-up will appear below your selected words. You can start typing to search for the older articles that you want to link here.

Making internal linking a habit will make sure that your on-page SEO is good, and that your older articles continue to get new links.

Often beginners make the mistake of doing 1-way internal linking where they link to older posts from new articles. You can and should also go back to edit older posts to link to your new articles for maximum benefits.

5. Add Images and Videos to Your Blog Posts

Add images and videos to your blog posts

Search engines often rank engaging content higher in search results. Images and videos are far more engaging than plain text.

You want to make sure that your blog posts contain images between paragraphs.

When adding images, you want to be careful about image copyrights. Often beginners copy images from other sites to use on their site, and this can get you in legal trouble if you do so without proper permissions.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of places where you can find royalty free images to use in your blog posts. You can also use your own original photographs or use websites like Canva to create engaging graphics.

Make sure that you optimize your images for SEO. See our tutorial on how to optimize images for search engines for detailed instructions.

Videos are even more engaging than images. You can convert your blog posts into videos by creating slideshows, vlogs, or experiment with other formats.

However, you should never directly upload videos to your blog posts. WordPress is not optimized to serve videos, and your shared hosting service can’t handle them.

We recommend uploading your videos to YouTube. It is the second most popular search engine, and the second largest social media platform right after Facebook.

See our article on how to embed videos in WordPress for more details.

6. Add a Meta Description to Your Blog Post

The meta description is an HTML meta tag that you can add to any page. Its purpose is to provide a short description of your article for search engines and other crawlers.

Some SEO experts believe that the meta description tag on a page has become irrelevant. However, many others would disagree. At WPBeginner, we recommend using the meta description for all of your posts.

A good meta description can explain a lot more about an article. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also display it when your articles are shared on those platforms.

Meta description shown on Twitter

Since now you know that people are going to be reading your meta descriptions, you want to make sure that it’s helpful.

You also want to make sure that you at least mention your focus keyword once in the meta description for search purposes. The character limit for Meta Description is 155 characters.

Try to stay within that limit or your meta description will be truncated after 155 characters. You also want to make sure that you use the focus keyword earlier in the meta description rather than later.

To add meta description, you need to scroll down to the Yoast SEO meta box on your post edit screen.

Adding meta description for your blog posts in Yoast SEO

7. Make Your Articles Easier to Read

Readability is an important factor considered by search engines. Articles that are easier to read often rank higher than articles that are not user friendly.

Computer and mobile screens are still not an optimal platform for reading.

This is why most users just scan through articles. In fact, studies found that users spend less than a second to decide whether they want to stay on a page or leave.

That’s a very short time for you to convince the user to stay and scroll through. By improving readability, you can make it possible for your users to quickly scan an article.

You can improve readability by using shorter sentences, smaller paragraphs, punctuation, headings, and bulleted lists. We recommend adding white space around text and use images to make your text look easier on eyes.

You can use tools like Grammarly, which allows you to check grammar, punctuation, and spelling on the fly. It also gives suggestions to improve the readability of your articles.

Yoast SEO plugin also comes with a built-in readability checker. It shows the flesch reading score of your article under ‘Readability analysis’ tab.

Readability score

For more on this topic, see our article on how to improve the readability score of your blog posts.

8. Use Categories and Tags to Organize Content

Categories and tags help you sort your content not only for yourself, but for the readers and search engines.

The problem is that many WordPress beginners often end up using them incorrectly.

If you think about your website as a book, then categories would be the table of contents and tags will be the index part of the book.

Categories are used to divide your content into major topics discussed on your blog. Tags, on the other hand, are the topics discussed in an individual blog post.

To learn more, see our beginner’s guide on using categories and tags for maximum SEO benefit.

9. Aim to Be The Featured Snippet in The Search Result

Google has been trying to answer user questions as quickly as possible. As part of this effort, they have introduced the featured result or answer box.

Answer box in search results

This is the highlighted search result that appears on the top. Google generates a custom snippet from the article’s content highlighting the part that their algorithms believe to be the answer of user’s query.

According to research conducted by Advanced Web Ranking, Answer boxes secure almost 32.3% CTR. This makes them immensely important for your SEO strategy.

There is no specific set of instructions provided by Google regarding how they would pick the featured snippet. Their recommendation is to improve your content and make sure that it offers the information users are seeking.

However at WPBeginner, we have created helpful tips based on our research that will help you appear in Google answer boxes with your blog posts.

10. Make Your Blog Posts Comprehensive

Search engines love articles that cover a topic with great detail. This is why we asked you to gather the semantically related keywords (LSI Keywords) as part of your content planning step.

These related keywords give you an idea of different variations of user searches regarding that particular topic. By covering those keywords in your article, you would be able to make it more comprehensive, informative, and useful.

You should use headings and subheadings to include those keywords and try to cover as much ground as you could.

Aside from LSI keywords, another tip to create complete content is to type your desired keyword and then switch to Image Search. You will see topic bubbles with a variety of keywords.

Blog SEO - Image Search Complete Content Tip

We recommend including these when creating your content, so you can have the most comprehensive content.

11. Optimize Older Blog Posts

Many beginners tend to forget about a blog post after they have published it. In fact, you are not done optimizing your blog post for SEO once it is published.

Here are some things that you need to do after publishing your blog post:

  • Promote it on social media – Promote your blog post across your social media profiles. You can even automate this task by using IFTTT to share your content.
  • Add internal links – Once you have published a post, you can go back to relevant old articles and add a link to your new blog post. This gives your new articles link juice while also allowing users to discover it more easily.
  • Track search rankings – You have optimized a post for SEO, but how do you keep track of its search rankings? See our guide on how to track search rankings for your blog posts for instructions.

We recommend optimizing old posts on a regular basis, so you can continue to improve your rankings.

We hope this article helped you optimize your blog posts for SEO like a pro. Need more tips to promote your content? See our article on how to get more traffic to your blog posts.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Blog SEO: 11 Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO (like a Pro) appeared first on WPBeginner.

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How to Make a Niche Review Site in WordPress Like a Pro

Do you want to create a reviews website and make money blogging?

Online reviews help others make a buying decision while allowing you to earn referral fees, known as affiliate commissions. You can build a reviews website dedicated to a specific niche, or you can add a reviews section to your existing blog.

In this article, we will show you how to easily create a niche review site in WordPress and make money from it.

Making a review site with WordPress

Here are the steps we will cover in this guide.

  • Why create a reviews site
  • Before you start
  • Chosing a theme for your reviews website
  • Installing WordPress reviews plugin
  • Adding a review in WordPress
  • Displaying reviews in sidebars
  • Making money from your reviews site
  • Taking your reviews site to the next level
  • Mastering WordPress skills

Why Create a Reviews Site?

What’s the first thing that you do when you’re looking to buy something online?

If you’re like most of us, then you check the online reviews of that product to see what others are saying about it.

This is why a popular online review site, TripAdvisor, is worth roughly $8.5 billion dollars.

While everyone cannot be as big as TripAdvisor, we know several folks that are earning anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month from running a niche review site.

There are two popular ways to create a review website. The first is to add a reviews section on your existing WordPress blog. The second is to create a completely independent online reviews site.

Regardless of the direction you choose, it’s important that you don’t pick a highly competitive niche.

For example, there are tons of sites talking about digital camera reviews, but not as many that are talking about camera accessory reviews.

The secret to building a successful review site is to find the right niche. A perfect niche has low competition, and it should be something that you’re passionate about.

Here are a few factors to think about:

  • What resources can you offer to build traffic?
  • Can you easily attract advertisers? (i.e are there people selling paid products)
  • Are there affiliate programs available?
  • Are other people making money in this niche?
  • What is the competition like?

You can use tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Google Keyword Planner to help with research. See our beginner’s guide on how to do keyword research for step by step instructions.

Once you have picked your niche, let’s take a look at how you can create a reviews site.

Step 0. Before You Start

Before you start your website, you need to choose the right blogging platform. Ofcourse WordPress is #1, but there are actually two different types of WordPress.

First, there is WordPress.com which is a limited hosted platform. Second, you have the popular WordPress.org, also known as self-hosted WordPress. When you hear WordPress, people are typically talking about WordPress.org. To understand the difference, see our comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.

We recommend using WordPress.org because it gives you full freedom to create any kind of website. It also gives you full access to all WordPress features out of the box.

To get started with WordPress, you’ll need a good WordPress hosting company and your own domain name.

We highly recommend Bluehost because they are an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider, and one of the largest hosting companies in the world.

Not to mention, they are giving our users a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and 63% off their hosting plan (special for WPBeginner users).

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

If you want a Bluehost alternative, then take a look at Siteground who also offer an exclusive discount to WPBeginner readers.

Once you have signed up for hosting and set up your domain name, the next step is to install WordPress. With Bluehost, WordPress comes pre-installed. Most other hosting companies offer 1-click WordPress install option. We have created a step by step guide on how to install WordPress which covers every major hosting platform.

Once you have your WordPress site setup, you will reach the WordPress dashboard.

WordPress dashboard

Step 1. Choosing the Perfect WordPress “Review” Theme

The first step after setting up your WordPress site is to select a perfect WordPress theme.

When you’re searching for best WordPress review themes, you will likely come across several themes that offer complete review-site functionality baked into the theme. You need to avoid those at all cost.

You don’t need a WordPress review site template. Most of those WordPress review themes are bloated and will lock you into using them forever.

That’s why it’s better to use a WordPress reviews plugin because plugins will work with any theme/design that you choose.

You will have the flexibility to change your themes in the future without having to hire a developer.

We have an article that will help you find the perfect theme. Basically, pick a theme that you like in terms of look and feel. We will show you how to add the reviews functionality in the next step.

Once you have found the theme you like, you can go ahead and install it. Need help installing theme? See our guide on how to install a WordPress theme for step by step instructions.

Step 2. Installing the best WordPress Reviews Plugin

Now that your website is ready, it is time to add reviews functionality to your website. We will be using a plugin to add SEO friendly reviews that make your website more easily discoverable by search engines and users.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the WP Product Review Lite plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

This base plugin is available for free and comes with all essential features. However, you may need to upgrade to the premium version of the plugin to unlock advanced features like product comparison table, Amazon Affiliate integration, multiple templates, and more.

WP Product Review plugin is easy to use, and it helps you stand out in search engines by adding schema markup or rich snippets for your reviews.

In plain English, it adds those star ratings next to your reviews in Google to help you stand out.

Rich snippets in Google search

Upon activation, you will notice a new menu item labeled ‘Product Review’ in your WordPress admin menu. Clicking on it will take you to the plugin’s settings page.

WP Product Review settings

The settings page is divided into different sections. First, you need to set up the general settings.

Start by selecting where you want to display the review box. There are three options to choose from. You can show the review box after the content, before the content, or you can manually add it using the shortcode.

The next option is to choose whether you want to allow users to add their reviews as comments. If you allow this, then you also need to select how much influence user reviews will have on the actual review.

After that, you need to choose the numbers of options, pros, and cons that you want to be displayed. By default, the plugin will allow you to add 5 of each. You can adjust that as needed.

Another important option on this page is to enable the ‘Review’ post type. Basically, the plugin allows you to convert any WordPress blog post or page into a review.

However, some users may want to keep reviews separate from their blog posts and pages. The default option is ‘No’, and if you are unsure, then you can leave it as is.

Now move on to the rating colors tab in settings. This is where you can define the default colors used by the plugin for ratings. WP Product review uses different colors for excellent, good, not bad, and weak ratings.

Choose rating colors

You can change the rating colors to match with your theme design.

Next, click on the ‘Typography’ tab in the settings. This is where you can choose the default text for pros and cons columns. You can also change the text colors for different sections.


The final tab on the settings page is the buy button. On this tab, you can select the colors you want to use for the buy button.

Buy button will also have your affiliate link, so it is important that you choose a color that’s likely to stand out, so more users can click on it.

Buy button

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save All Changes’ button to store your settings.

Step 3: Adding a Review in WordPress

Adding a review using WP Product Review plugin is quite easy. There are basically two ways you can add product reviews in WordPress using WP Product Review plugin.

  • Add reviews to the reviews post type
  • Add review to any WordPress post or page

Regardless of how you choose to publish reviews, adding reviews in WordPress will be the same.

The plugin allows you to convert any WordPress post or page into a review. Simply edit or create a new post in WordPress.

If you have enabled the reviews post type, then you will need to visit Reviews » Add New page to add your review.

You will write your main review like you would write any other post in WordPress.

Under the ‘Document’ meta box in the right column, you will find the option labeled ‘Is this post a review’. Turning it on will display the options to add your product review.

Enable product review features

First, you need to provide product details like images, buy now button text, product or affiliate link, and product price.

Product review details

After that, you need to add specific product features and your grade score for that respective feature. Click on the Add option button to add more features if needed.

Product features and grading

Next, you will add the pros and cons lists. You need to add the best features of the product in the pros list and the features it lacked in the cons list.

Pros and cons

Once you are done, simply save or publish your post.

You can now visit the post to see the review box in action.

Review box

Note: If you are still using the old Classic Editor, then you will find the product review meta box below the post editor.

Product review box in classic editor

Step 4. Displaying Your Reviews in Sidebar

WP Product Review allows you to show your review posts in the sidebar and other widget-ready areas.

Visit Appearance » Widgets page, and you will find the top products and the latest products widgets.

Latest product reviews widget

Simply add the widget to a sidebar and configure its options. You can select the number of products you want to display, product title and image display settings. Once you are done, click on the save button.

Next, go ahead and visit your website to see the reviews widget in action. It will show the latest reviews with ratings and product image.

Reviews in sidebar widget

Step 5. Making Money From Your Reviews Site

Reviews site are a great way to generate passive income on the side. There are multiple ways to make money from your niche review site.

Following are some of the most common ways used by reviews websites to generate revenue.

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to make money from your reviews by recommending products on your website. You earn a commission when users click on your referral link and buy the product.

You will need to find products that have an affiliate program. The easiest way to find awesome products in every niche is by joining a large affiliate network like ShareAsale or Amazon Associates.

To learn more, see our beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing with detailed instructions and tools/plugins you’ll need to grow your business.

2. Advertisements

Most websites on the internet generate their revenue by displaying ads. You get paid either for impressions or when a user clicks on the ad from your website.

The easiest way to displays ads on your reviews site is by using Google AdSense. This gives you access to thousands of advertisers who are looking for targetted audiences.

To learn more, see our guide on how to properly add Google AdSense to your WordPress site.

Apart from Google AdSense, you can join other advertising networks like Media.net or sell ads directly to advertisers. This allows you to diversify and maximize advertising revenue on your reviews website.

3. Paid Reviews

This direct approach allows you to cut the middleman and directly reach out to businesses that want their products to be reviewed.

You get paid for testing and writing your honest opinion of the product. This approach requires a lot of outreach and can influence the quality of your reviews.

For more ways to make money from your reviews site, see our list of proven ways to make money online.

Step 6. Taking Your Reviews Site to The Next Level

WordPress is a powerful platform, and it gives you access to thousands of awesome plugins that you can use to grow your reviews site.

Following are just some of the essential plugins that you can install right away.

Pretty Links – It allows you to cloak affiliate links and easily add, manage, and edit affiliate links in WordPress.

WPForms – It is the best WordPress contact form plugin and allows you to quickly create beautiful forms using simple drag and drop form builder.

Yoast SEO – It is the most comprehensive WordPress SEO plugin on the market and will help you get more visitors from search engines.

MonsterInsights – It allows you to easily install Google Analytics in WordPress and shows human-readable reports to understand where your visitors are coming from and which reviews on your website are popular. It also allows you to easily track outbound affiliate links which helps you improve your marketing strategy overtime.

For more plugin recommendations, see our list of the essential WordPress plugins for all websites.

Step 7. Improving Your WordPress Skills

WordPress is quite easy to use even for the beginners. However, occasionally you’ll need help in learning new things as your website grows. This is where WPBeginner can help.

WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site for beginners. We have lots of helpful content which is created specifically for beginners, business owners, and bloggers.

Following are a few of the helpful resources you will find on WPBeginner (all of them are completely free).

  • WPBeginner Blog – The central place for all our WordPress tutorials and guides.
  • WPBeginner Dictionary – Our WordPress glossary is the best place to familiarize yourself with the WordPress lingo
  • WPBeginner Videos – New WordPress users can start with these 23 videos to master WordPress.
  • WPBeginner on YouTube – Need more video instructions? Subscribe to our YouTube channel with more than 130,000 subscribers and 12 Million+ views.
  • WPBeginner Blueprint – Check out plugins, tools, and services we use on WPBeginner.
  • WPBeginner Deals – Exclusive discounts on WordPress products and services for WPBeginner users.

We hope this article helped you learn how to create a niche review site in WordPress like a pro. You may also want to see these practical tips get more traffic to your reviews website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Make a Niche Review Site in WordPress Like a Pro appeared first on WPBeginner.

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