WordPress SEO Tutorial updated February 2014
Continuing on from WordPress SEO Tutorial Naming Your Site for Better Search Engine Rankings that touched on how important the title element (title tag to illiterate SEO experts :)) is, in this part of my WordPress SEO Tutorial I’ll cover title tag/element optimization.
When it comes to on page search engine optimization there is no other single area of a web page more important than the title tag. For this reason we have to make sure our title elements are search engine optimized when using WordPress.
The title element is so important I’ve written two other SEO articles on optimizing title tags:
Both of these SEO articles are to cover all websites, not WordPress specific, this SEO tutorial article will be WordPress specific.
Why Page Titles Should be Optimized for Search Engines
When using the Stallion Responsive Theme for sale on this site if you create a post, static page (like this one), category, tag and even search result pages the SEO theme will add a lot less irrelevant text to the title element than most (used to be all) other WordPress themes I’ve looked at.
Most WordPress themes will have this title element structure for various types of pages:
Home page title > Blog Name Single pages title > Blog Name : Title of Page Single posts title > Blog Name : Title of Post Categories title > Blog Name : Category Name Tags title > Blog Name : Tag Name Search result title > Blog Name Monthly archive title > Blog Name : Date Archives
Some of these are terrible for SEO reasons. As discussed in the last WordPress SEO tutorial article if your blog name is keyword rich your home page title tag should be OK, but having the blog name in ALL page title tags is terrible from a search engine optimization perspective. We should only add keywords to the title element that adds search engine and/or user value.
This page is about Title Element/Tag Optimization for WordPress users and so I don’t want to use all the keywords I used to name this WordPress blog as the title element for this webpage! This is what the title element of this page might look like in another non-SEO WordPress theme:
Stallion Responsive Theme : WordPress Title Tag SEO 2014
WordPress Title Tag SEO 2014 : Stallion Responsive Theme
Why would I want to use the keywords “Stallion” and “Responsive” in the title of this page? I wouldn’t since they add little/no SEO value to content that’s about title tag optimization, even the keyword “Theme” isn’t that relevant to this pages content. About the only time I’d consider adding the name of a site in all titles is for branding reasons, if I worked on Amazon or Ebays sites it makes sense from a branding perspective to add the name of the site to their titles because there’s a lot of trust in those brands that WILL increase the click thru rate from Google etc… Well worth the SEO loss in having an extra word (I’d only add Amazon or Ebay in these examples).
Since branding is not an issue with this site (and most sites that will use my SEO themes) I changed the template code of my SEO WordPress themes to only use the name of the post/page and not include the name of the WordPress blog at all for those pages (there’s an option to use the site title as well, but not recommended) and use similar SEO concepts when creating the title elements of other WordPress page types:
Home page title > Blog Name Single pages title > Title of Page Single posts title > Title of Post Categories title > Category Name Tags title > Tag Name Search result title > Keywords Searched For Monthly archive title > Blog Name : Date Archives
You can see other than the monthly archive pages (which I recommend you don’t use) the title elements of all blog pages are keyword focused as long as you name your posts, pages, categories and tags with search engines in mind (WordPress search results pages are automated): if you call your posts “I had a great morning” when it was about and should have been titled “How I Won at Poker” you are never going to maximize the search engine traffic to your WordPress blog even if you are using my awesome WordPress SEO theme like Stallion Responsive :)
SEO Your Post Title Tags
If you are reading this and thinking, damn all my 3,000 WordPress posts are along the lines of “I had a great morning” and my SERPs suck, don’t worry, you can spend the next 6 months editing them one at a time :) to search engine optimize the titles without harming current search engine rankings.
For a WordPress post with a terrible SEO title edit it and change the title to something relevant. What WordPress will do is change the title of your posts, but not the URL’s of those posts (I do it all the time). So if you had a post “I had a great morning” and changed the title to “How I Won at Poker” all that would happen is the title would change, but the URL would remain www.domain.com/i-had-a-great-morning/ (assuming you use the URL format I recommend at SEO Friendly WordPress Permalinks).
Since I sell a WordPress SEO theme on this site and when WordPress updates I have to check the SEO theme still works fine in the latest version of WordPress I use the ability to rename a page title without renaming the URL to gain the latest WordPress SERPs.
I changed the title of this article to reflect it was updated in 2014: new title Tag is “WordPress Title Tag SEO 2014”. you can see the URL structure (the WordPress Slug) of this page is still: “wordpress-title-element-tag-optimization” (because the page was originally called “WordPress Title Element/Tag Optimization”, had I created this page today (as I edit this article) the slug would be “wordpress-title-tag-seo-2014” to match the new title “WordPress Title Tag SEO 2014”. So it’s OK to rename an old post, page, category etc… WordPress doesn’t automatically change the URL/slug.
Did similar with the main WordPress SEO Tutorial page, you can see in the screenshot above the title and the WordPress slug are different: originally called the page “SEO Tutorial for WordPress”.
The Stallion Responsive Theme goes further than this, on post and page edit screens you’ll find a form to add an SEO title tag, so you can set the standard WordPress title and set an SEO version. In practice they both should be SEO’d, but the Stallion version will be used as the title tag. There’s a lot more to this Stallion Responsive feature, there’s 5 additional boxes for adding titles and related keyphrases that are used as title tags on various scenarios, see the screenshot to the right.
You can see a taste of what those Stallion Responsive Related Keyphrases are used for in the videos on the Stallion SEO Posts Widget Tutorial. It’s not discussed in the video, the related keyphrases are used as the title tag of posts and pages with paged comments: rather than have all paged comments using the same title tag they are unique (cool SEO feature unique to Stallion Responsive).
You can do similar with category and tag names. Edit the category name or tag name, but not the category slug or tag slug value (the slug value is for the permalinks) and like with renaming page/post titles the search engines won’t have any problems finding the URL of the page since it’s not changed.
So don’t panic if you’ve named your categories and tags poorly, rename them taking SEO in mind.
When you’ve got your page titles, category names, tag names etc… Stallion Responsive is designed to use that information in various parts of the SEO template to improve search engine rankings.