Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Changing your writing style for better SEO

Someone's parked a TARDIS in Bradford City Centre...

It’s been a few months since I installed the WordPress SEO plugin, with the aim of trying to improve my blog’s flagging visitor numbers. To some extent, once installed and configured, you can forget about it. But to make the most of it, you should take notice of its ‘page analysis’ feature when writing new blog posts.

When you save a new post – and it’s best to save a draft version before publishing – the plugin analyses what you’ve written and makes suggestions. Give it a ‘focus keyword’ – a word or phrase which the article is about – and it’ll tell you how often you’ve used it. For this post, I’ve used the keyword ‘SEO’, so it’ll tell me how much I’ve used it, and whether I need to mention it more. It will also have told me off for not putting it at the start of the title for this post, but, whatever.

A traffic light system tells you whether something is good (green), needs improving (yellow or orange) or bad (red). Generally my problems are that my blog posts score low in the ‘Fleish Reading Ease Test‘, in that they’re a bit difficult to read, so I usually get called out on that. I also tend not to use many sub-headings.

Some of the other problems that I come up against are that my images lack relevant alternate attributes – like this article, which has a picture of a TARDIS rather than anything to do with SEO. And sometimes my titles are too short – they should be between 40 and 70 characters, apparently.

What you may have noticed is that some of my recent longer articles have generally tried to follow these suggestions, but more casual articles don’t. Sometimes I try to write articles in a way that means that they’ll hopefully pop up regularly in searches, bringing in traffic, although I don’t make major changes. But sometimes I just ignore its suggestions.

Of course, if this article from Forbes from July is correct, writing content like this may be one of the only ways of improving your site’s search engine rankings, with the likes of Google growing wise to the darker ways of SEO manipulation. I hope so – there’s a lot of content on this site from the past ten and a half years.

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