Many website owners struggle with how to optimize content for SEO to get noticed on Google. RankMath is my new favorite WordPress tool, making it easy and fun for non-SEOs to apply on-page SEO best practices to optimize their content.
In this article, we’ll cover:
Table of Contents
Why Should You Optimize Content for SEO?
Optimizing your content helps Google (and other search engines) better match your content to the people who are searching for the information you have to share. Google ranks high-quality, optimized content higher in its organic (free) search results. Google also features optimized content in other parts of the search result page, such as People Also Ask, Featured Snippets, and Knowledge Panel. Appearing in these high-visibility sections can bring more traffic to your website.
Best Practices for Optimizing Content
The first step is to write high-quality content (helpful, comprehensive, accurate, etc.), which is an entirely different subject. Ideally, you’ve selected a keyword or phrase that appears throughout your content. To optimize content for SEO, pay attention to how and where you use keywords and how you add content to your website. Your keyword should appear in:
- The page title that is contained within an H1 HTML heading tag on your web page
- The first sentence or two of your content, as well as periodically throughout the rest of the content
- Subheadings within your content
- The meta-description for your page
- The URL of your page
- The filename of an image displayed on your page
- The alt text for the image
In addition to featuring a keyword, you’ll want to include links within your content. Your content should contain a mix of links to other pages on your site and pages on external sites.
Depending on your content and where you are trying to get it featured on a search results page, you may want to organize the information in a structure other than just standard paragraphs. Content for jobs, FAQs, recipes, events, and e-commerce products all have different attributes associated with them. To help Google understand your content and how and where to display it, you want to apply what’s known as a schema to each page of content on your site. The more accurate your schema selection, the more optimized your content will be. Available schemas include Article, News, Event, Book, Author, Job, Recipe, and FAQ.
Applying these best practices to optimize each of your content pages can feel overwhelming. Luckily there are plenty of tools to help you optimize content for SEO.
What is RankMath?
Rank Math is a free plugin for WordPress that provides visual cues for applying best practices to your website content and provides a numeric score that dynamically updates as you improve the page. The free version provides many of the common schemas used for website content and easy options to apply them to individual pages or all pages for a given post type. The PRO version provides an even more robust set of schema options. RankMath provides many other great SEO-related tools, but for this article, I’m only focusing on the individual page tools. To learn more about RankMath, watch their “mega tutorial” video.
For those who are familiar with using Yoast for WordPress, there are plenty of articles that compare RankMath vs. Yoast, so I won’t rehash that here. I’ve used both and much prefer RankMath for the extensive configuration options and ease of use. Additionally, RankMath has less of an impact on your Core Web Vital scores.
Using RankMath to Optimize Content for SEO
I recently worked on a tourism website where we used RankMath. As part of the project, we migrated unoptimized content into the new site. All of the content authors were able to easily update the migrated page content to apply best practices and optimize the content.
The process starts by installing the RankMath plugin and walking through the setup wizard. From there, you can update existing content or create new pages and posts. Using your well-written content, add your page title and body content to your WordPress page/post. In the RankMath settings area, enter the keyword you’ve identified for your content. RankMath will generate a score and a list of suggestions to improve your page. As you work through these suggestions, your score will increase. Through the RankMath settings area, you can also choose the Schema for the page.
A few words about the score:
- It is unlikely you will achieve a score of 100, and that’s ok! The score is meant to be a guide. Not all best practices can be achieved or make sense for every page. Do the best you can, but don’t unnecessarily manipulate your content to get a higher score (for example, this post ended with a score of 81, partly because I didn’t include a number in the title, and I’m ok with that!).
- The score does not directly equate to any specific ranking within Google. Again, it is meant to be a guide.