Monthly Archives: June 2015

How to help search engines find your WordPress posts and images with SEO

In this article, we are using the following components:

This particular article was written for our client, Susan Aaron-Taylor, who makes wonderful mixed media dream like sculptures. The article is written in a relaxed, 2nd person voice, as if it is a personal email written to Susan Aaron-Taylor, as it is intended.  If you happen to stumble upon this page while searching for help with improving your WordPress SEO and feel you could use more assistance, do not hesitate to contact us here at Purveu if you are interested in hiring us to help you become better in your online endeavors through WordPress.

Search engines, like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, all use text to index content, and that content includes the images on each web page.  The search engines have no idea what is contained within the images.  Therefore, each image must have a short description that provides  information to describe that image.  In addition, just as the images on a given page should support the text on the page, the text within that article should also support the images on the page.  In other words, when creating a blog post about a particular sculpture, don’t just put the images of the sculpture in the post, tell the story about that post.  What inspired you to create this sculpture?  What was challenging about creating it?  Write a short story for each sculpture to accompany the images in the post.  Optimally, you should try to write about 300 words per post.  If you don’t have 300 words to say, don’t sweat it too much.  Don’t write just to fill the space of 300 words, as good quality content is better than quantity and filler every time.  Also, be sure to add any links to other pages and posts on your site as well as external links to other sites whenever possible.  If you refer to another sculpture or post on your site, link to the page or post using a keyword within that sentence.  If you refer to a particular topic, Wikipedia is usually a great site to reference as a source for the definition or further information about that topic.  If you mention a gallery, author or other artist, be sure to add links to that individual or gallery.  See the following example.  “power animal” links to a page about “Neoshamonism” where there is a section about what a “power animal” is.  Sure, you summarized it, but pretend you are writing a research paper where you need to cite as many sources as you can.  Wikipedia is the fifth most popular web site on the planet as of this writing, so I encourage you to link to it at every relevant opportunity.  There are two other links in this example.  The author’s name links to her web site, and the title of her book links to the Amazon page where the book can be purchased.  I did this so that Sandra’s site is referenced, and you also provide a link to a really popular site, being Amazon (not to mention it might sell a few books for her).

Write a short story about the images in this post. Add external links to relevant content.
Write a short story about the images in this post. Add external links to relevant content.

Provide descriptions for every image

In addition to writing a short story for each post, each image should have a brief description.  No more than a sentence is necessary.  What you have done for the finished pieces where you give a title, the materials used, and the size of the sculpture is plenty. You can use the same brief description for the image caption, alt text, and description.  Click on any of the images in the Gallery and then click on the pencil that appears at the top of the gallery to edit that gallery, as shown in the following image:

Click on any of the images in the media gallery preview. At the top of the preview area, a pencil and an "X" will appear. Click on the pencil to edit the gallery.
Click on any of the images in the media gallery preview. At the top of the preview area, a pencil and an “X” will appear. Click on the pencil to edit the gallery.

Now, click on the image that you would like to add a description to.  A place to edit the title, caption, alt text and description will appear on the right side of the editor:

In the Image Gallery, select an image to edit the title, caption, alt text, and description on the right. Click "update gallery" when you are done.
In the Image Gallery, select an image to edit the title, caption, alt text, and description on the right. Click “update gallery” when you are done.

The caption is what will be displayed when someone rolls their mouse over an image.

The alt text is what is displayed if a visitor has disabled images, or is using a braille reader to read the web page.

The description is what the search engines use to index your image.

As mentioned earlier, you can enter the same brief description in all three fields.  Once you have added the description for that image, click “Update Gallery” at the bottom, just below where you entered the description.

Customize the search engine listing for SEO

Once you are done writing your content and adding image descriptions, you can use the “WordPress SEO by Yoast” plugin to improve your chances of attracting the search engines to your post, and subsequently, the images within your post.  Scroll down to the bottom of the WordPress editor.  You will find the “WordPress SEO by Yoast” panel directly below.  In the SEO panel, you will see a “snippet preview” which shows you how the search engines may show your link to this page in the search engine results.  Though there is no guarantee that the results will always look exactly like this (the search engines have minds of their own), it is likely that a few weeks after you post, this is what the search engine will try to use.

In order to analyze your content, Yoast needs to know what the topic of the post should be.  Enter a primary keyword, such as Guide for the ‘Guide’ in Progress post.

Enter a unique focus keyword and a meta description for this post.
Enter a unique focus keyword and a meta description for this post.

Note the Focus keyword usage section.  Try to fix as many items in red as possible.  If everything is green, that’s good.

You can customize the SEO Title, which is the link that appears at the beginning of the search engine listing.

To help the search engines properly index your page, you should write a concise description of what your post is about and enter that in the Meta description field.  Be sure to keep an eye on the character count below the field, as then search engines will only use the first 156 characters.  So, if you use Twitter, write this meta description as if it’s a tweet, and that will help you keep description short and to the point.

Analyze and review the page content using WordPress SEO by Yoast

Once you have provided a focus keyword, you can access the Page Analysis tab in the WordPress SEO by Yoast panel.  This will give you ideas on how you can further improve the content on your page to help the search engines index the page.  Do not try to make all of the points green, as that isn’t always possible.  Just use the colored dot in the Publish panel near the top right of the editor, which is above the Update or Publish button.  If the general SEO button is green, you have done enough search engine optimization to ensure proper search engine indexing of your post.  While reviewing the Page Analysis panel, be weary of the occasional false negative.  For example, Yoast is unaware of the many images on the ‘Guide’ In Progress page because they are loaded by the Gallery Bank plugin.  This doesn’t hurt your SEO, because when the actual page is rendered, all of the images within the attached gallery are loaded onto the page.

Try to get as many green dots as you can without creating any filler or irrelevant content.
Try to get as many green dots as you can without creating any filler or irrelevant content.

Once you have made as many changes as you can to ensure good search engine optimization, publish or update the post by clicking the Publish (or Update if the page has already been published) button.

Note the color of the dot to the left of "SEO". Green is good, yellow is OK, orange and red are bad. Try to get as many green dots as possible, but don't invent content and filler just to get to green.
Note the color of the dot to the left of “SEO”. Green is good, yellow is OK, orange and red are bad. Try to get as many green dots as possible, but don’t invent content and filler just to get to green.