We’ll get to the details on the Scribe SEO plugin but first a short story…

My mother-in-law has been a San Francisco 49er fan since the days they played at Kezar Stadium in the 1950’s. The 49ers recently built a new state-of-the-art stadium to kick-off the 2014-15 NFL season. This will be the third stadium my mother-in-law will see her beloved 49ers play in since the Kezar days. She can count on one hand the number of games she has missed since the 50’s. Needless to say; she is an intensely loyal fan. The new stadium clearly appeals to a new, younger and more affluent Silicon Valley audience. Fans like my mother-in-law are affected. I have witnessed her struggle with the new stadium throughout the entire process. Change is hard. I am sure she will settle into her new seats as soon as she gets used to the new surroundings.

Getting SEO Right

Like my mother-in-law and the 49ers, our blog is going through changes. As we chart a new strategy for our content, one of our challenges is SEO. I discussed in a previous post simple and free ways to improve SEO. That was just the beginning. Our blog authors have varying degrees of knowledge on the subject. We needed a simple-to-use tool that would help us optimize our blog posts for search but not require an expert to manage.

Not Afraid to Ask for Help

I will be the first to admit, I am not an expert in golf or a specialist in SEO. When I want to get better at golf, I work with a pro. When I need help with SEO, I seek out experts in the field. That is why I turned to the SEO plugin called Scribe SEO. It was  created by someone with more SEO expertise than I have.

There are many popular WordPress SEO plugins available but what I like about the Scribe SEO plugin is you don’t need technical knowledge of SEO to be effective. I am sure we are not alone in our journey with our blog and level of SEO expertise. I thought it would be helpful to explain how Scribe SEO is providing the insight we need to improve our search engine ranking one blog post at a time.

Scribe SEO Plugin for WordPress

When we decided to create a new content strategy for our blog, it was important to make SEO a priority. We had three primary initiatives when looking for a SEO plugin for WordPress:

  1. Determine relevant keywords. What words and phrases will our readers use to find our blog content?
  2. Write strong meta titles and descriptions. Meta titles and descriptions tell search engines and readers what’s on the page.
  3. Balance keyword density with readability. Determine how often keywords appear within the content.

Initiative #1: Determine Relevant Keywords

As mentioned before, we are not experts in SEO. Many of you reading this are not either. We wanted to provide practical advice on the subject of SEO that doesn’t require a ton of time to implement and most importantly, written by a peer who faces the same challenges as you.

On our initial list of keywords was the phrase, “search optimization for WordPress.” It sounded reasonable and very targeted to me. Using the Scribe SEO plugin I quickly discovered that not many people search on that phrase.  As seen in the images below taken directly from the Scribe SEO Plugin:

  • Competition on the term is extremely low (indicated in the Competition Column as 4%) which is a good thing.
  • However, there is not enough search volume (as shown on the right side of the image under Google Trends).

Use Scribe SEO plugin to determine the popularity of keywords for your blog posts Scribe SEO provided a few related keywords and  phrases that have both good search volume and low competition. The search volume is on the right of the image. In this example for the keyword phrase “wordpress seo”, it would be ideal for the competition number to be lower (than the 41% shown by Scribe) but I can live with a good compromise of volume and competition. Scribe SEO can help you find related keywords to refine your focus.

Initiative #2: Write strong meta titles and descriptions

Meta titles and descriptions tell both the search engines and the reader what’s on the page. The meta title and description also display in the search results. They need to convince readers to click through to the website. The WordPress theme we use (Genesis) provides settings to enter the meta title and description. The Scribe SEO plugin helps you adjust Meta Title and Description to Optimize SEO Scribe provides feedback on the optimal settings for the meta title and description. This helps us determine if we have the following three key items:

  1. Do we have the optimal meta headline length?
  2. Are the right keywords present?
  3. Are the keywords placed in the correct location within the title and description?

For reference, a reasonable title-length limit is 55 characters with a meta-description length of 165 characters.

The Meta Headline and Meta Description will Appear in Search. Use Scribe SEO to help you format them correctly.The Scribe Page Score (see below) is directly impacted by the contents of the meta headline and description. If your score is below 100, Scribe offers tips to improve the score.

Initiative #3: Balance Keyword Density and Readability

Having just the right amount of keywords present (keyword density) in a blog post is good for both search and the reader. It’s important to keep keyword density below 5%. Any higher and you might be penalized for stuffing keywords into a blog post. Scribe determines if you are at the right level for the search engines and we (the blog post creators) can determine internally if we are at the right level for you, the reader.

The first score Scribe returns, is the Site Score. Since the phrase “WordPress SEO” is a keyword term new to our site, I am not surprised the Site Score is below 100. The Site Score tells you how your site ranks for a particular keyword you are writing for. The higher the number, the better your site ranks.

In our case, WordPress SEO has a density of 1.69%, well below the 5% threshold. It also provides feedback on the density of that keyword in your text. The four quadrants (A, B, C, and D) show a comparison of how well the keywords Scribe found in the content will perform.

A – The page and site are superbly optimized for the keyword used.

B – The page is not well optimized for the keyword, but the site is.

C – The page is optimized for the keyword, but the site is not.

D – Neither the site nor the page are optimized for the keyword.

The Scribe SEO Site Score provides feedback on how prominent a keyword appears across your site. We use Scribe as a guide. At the end of the day we write for you (our readers) first and foremost. Our blog content has to be readable and enjoyable to you and not stuffed with keywords and overrun with hyperlinks. Now it’s your turn. Improve WordPress SEO with Scribe. It only takes seconds to install! If you have a WordPress SEO tip for us, please leave them in the comments.