SEO Standards for WordPress Copy Projects

The Marketing Team’s recommended SEO Standards for internal WordPress posts and pages factors in key criteria to optimize results for Google SERPs and Facebook’s Open Graph data. This standard is for on page, off page, and best practices for both content marketing and findability.

All pages and posts should have a unique featured image that is sized for Open Graph best practices (1200 x 628). In addition, the site should have a set image as its default.

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Image Alt Tags and Descriptions Image Alt Tags and Descriptions

To comply with web accessibility guidelines and SEO best practices, all images should make use of an appropriate alt tag. The alt tag should describe what is in the image for screen readers.

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Minimum Word Count Minimum Word Count

Each post or page should have a minimum word count of 300. If possible, and to maintain consistent tone and messaging, longer word counts are preferred. The opening paragraph should contain the primary keyword, though other related keywords and keyword phrases can and should be used throughout the copy.

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Page Title Page Title

Primary keyword should be included in the first half of the page title and the title length should be under 60 characters. Titles over 60 characters can be subject to rewrite by search engines and/or truncated.

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Readability Readability

The page should aim for a 5th – 8th grade readability score and should be persuasive not passive. Please avoid excessive jargon and repeated phrasing, but the use of industry terms to maintain consistency in messaging is acceptable. Yoast SEO and Hemingwayapp.com have readability tools for reference.

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Use of H1 Tags Use of H1 Tags

Most search engines consider the HTML heading tag (h1) as the main heading of the web page. SEO best practices recommend that there should be only 1 h1 tag on each web page as using more than one h1 Tag can confuse search engine crawlers.

The h1 tag must be correlated to the Title of that page and use the primary keyword. The h1 tag should focus on the intent of why the user should access the page. H1 tags should only be used for the Title and should never be used in the body of the copy. Secondary keywords and phrases may be added as well, provided they flow naturally.

H1 tag length should be from 20-70 characters (about one sentence).

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Use of H2-H6 Tags Use of H2-H6 Tags

Include h2-h6 subheads in copy and verify that title is h1. H2-h6 tags should utilize primary and secondary keywords, as appropriate. They shouldn’t be used to enlarge text, rather to provide a logical outline to the body copy.

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Meta Descriptions Meta Descriptions

As of December 2017, Google confirmed that they are now showing the first 320 characters of a meta description in search engine result pages (SERPs). It’s still recommended to use a length of 155 characters in a meta description as Open Graph data is shown on social networks as the shorter length.

Meta descriptions should be under 155 characters, be descriptive enough to engage users, and include a CTA (call to action).

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Internal Linking Internal Linking

Linking to additional pages within the site will help create a path (think behavior flow) throughout the web property and it is important to ensure the anchor text for the link is descriptive and on-topic.

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Is this page ready? – Checklist Is this page ready? – Checklist

  • The primary keyword I have selected is relevant for the content;
  • This post contains at least 300 words;
  • My primary keyword is in the first half of the title;
  • The title contains a maximum of 60 characters;
  • I have confirmed the title is a <h1> tag;
  • I have included my primary keyword in the first paragraph and it fits in a natural way;
  • This post includes several sub headers, all marked with <h2>-<h6> tags;
  • This post includes internal links where appropriate;
  • This post contains a featured image;
  • I have added a relevant alt description for the image so that those who are not able to see the image still understand its context;
  • I have added a meta description under 155 characters that contains the primary keyword and a clear call to action.