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12. Easy SEO improvements

This last month I have been working away in the background to test out a variety of plugins and tools that can be used to improve the reach of your old blog posts. I won’t post too much detail here but feel free to ask me any questions about each element and I will be very happy to help.

No index or draft old content

Did you know that having a lot of irrelevant content can be a bad thing when it comes to search engines. They look at the quality of your site so if you have an old site like mine that have nearly 4000 posts on there spanning over a decade there is a good chance that it could be harming your reach. There are two ways that you can deal with this and I am sorry to say that it can be quite a manual process at times. I opted for the quicker of the two and that was to place a lot of posts into draft. I then went through them and republished ones that I deemed to be good content or that get good search traffic. Placing posts within a set date frame is easy to do if you are confident using WP-CLI which is the WordPress command-line tool. You can find the details here under Advanced Post Management. If you are hosted with feel free to drop them a message as they will be happy to help you do this (they can also pull off a list of posts without featured images or Yoast keywords. If you are hosted elsewhere it’s worth asking the question to see if they will do this for you.

Yoast – bulk update

If you use the Yoast plugin then you may be familiar with having nominated keywords. Yoast uses the information you enter to create some meta data that is visible in your page source and read by search engines.

Although the search engines don’t use the meta description like they used to do it is always a good idea to ensure you have titles specified. Luckily there is a fairly easy way to do this using the Yoast Bulk Update. In the Yoast plugin go to tools and then click on Bulk Editor. You will be able to see if you have an existing Yoast SEO title.

In the image above you can see these posts do not have an SEO title and that is because they are draft posts but if they were published posts and there was no title you will want to fix that. You can either manually create a title for each post or add this into the New Yoast SEO Title field %%title%% That will set the Yoast SEO title to match the title of the post. Fill that in all of the blank fields for that page and click save all. You can then move on to the next page. I had over 1400 posts to go through (149 pages!) but it was quick enough using this method.

Add Internal Links

There are a few ways to add internal links, you can do this manually each time you create content, you can set internal link keywords for posts using the Internal Link Juicer plugin or if you are looking for some automatic internal links then the following plugin can be useful –

The only thing I will say is it can be a bit spammy. That said you can add posts to the blacklist which means that it won’t put additional links on those posts and there are other settings you can play with. It is definitely the quickest option though and I like having lots of internal links so as long as your keywords are good then this should work great.

Update image information based on content title

One of the issues I had is that my images didn’t have great image titles or alt tags. So I tackled this in two ways. The first was to rename all of my images using the title of the blog post. Not necessarily the best way but it does make it easy to find images in my media library. I used the Meow Apps Media file Renamer which was about $30. You can rename files based on various options but I chose to rename based on the attached post title. When I went to the dashboard page I went through all of my images and locked the ones that already had decent names and then ran – rename all. It got stuck a few times as I was processing so many but I stopped it, refreshed and ran it again when this happened. Eventually, I went through all 14k image files!

The other thing I did was used the ‘Update ALT attribute’ plugin by Maui Marketing. Although an ALT attribute should describe the image I don’t have time to go back through them all so instead of having blank ones I updated all of the blank ones to use the page or post title instead. This was really quick to run and it was free so a great plugin to use.

Content based SEO

If you are looking for other ways to improve your SEO then make sure you update your most popular content frequently (every 6 months or so), create evergreen content that will be popular all year round and look at creating cornerstone content for your key topics that can link to other posts on your site.

If you have any questions, want some help configuring plugins or more information about any of the above give me a shout as I will be very happy to help.

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