Want Customized SEO Advice per Keyword? There’s a Plugin for That!
SEO best practices are great. But there’s more to landing on Page 1 of the search results than just best practices.
You need to understand the top-ranked pages in the search results for your keywords. What do they have in common? That’s how you compete.
Wouldn’t it be great to bypass those general on-page SEO recommendations and get customized data? Well, there’s a plugin for that! The Bruce Clay SEO WP plugin, in fact.
Let’s take a quick tour of how you can get customized SEO advice for each web page so you can take on-page SEO to the next level.
Get Custom Meta Data for Your Webpage
Title tags are still important for signaling to the search engine what the page is about. In fact, data from 2020 shows that title tags still matter in ranking. That’s because they are a key signal to Google that your webpage is relevant for a query.
For that reason and more, we’re careful to craft title tags. We go so far as to deliberate on exactly how many words and characters should be in them.
We want to be sure that the title tag content doesn’t get cut off in the search results.
Moz’s title tag preview tool shows how Google search results can cut off a long title tag.
Of course, there are best practices backed by data on how long your title tag should be. This type of research is usually based on an analysis of a large number of search results.
Our general SEO recommendation is that title tags should be about 9 words (within the range of 6 to 12). But why guess?
It’s more useful to know how long the title tags are for the top-ranked pages for your keywords. Yes, your keywords, not an analysis of millions of random search results. That’s because there will usually be a normal range among the top-ranked pages in the search results.
Our WordPress SEO plugin analyzes the top-ranked pages in real-time for your keywords. It then recommends the exact range you should target. You’ll be able to see how many words your title tag is, and how many words it should be.
Summary tab in the Bruce Clay SEO WP plugin showing meta information targets.
The same goes for meta descriptions. We know that 24 words or 160 characters with spaces is about what Google will display in a meta description.
But is that the optimal word count?
You can see in our example above that the meta description for this sample webpage started out as 29 words. But after an analysis of the top-ranked webpages, the goal was no more than nine words. If you didn’t have the data, you might think that would be too short.
You may already use a WordPress SEO plugin that helps you tweak your meta info based on best practices. Yoast SEO is one of them (and we love Yoast), but our plugin kicks it up a notch with custom advice.
(BTW, if you’re a die-hard Yoast SEO fan, you can use our plugin right alongside it and get even more data. Learn more about plugging in the Yoast SEO gaps.)
Get a Custom Word Count for Your Webpage
You may have seen the studies and advice that say long-form content performs better in the search results. And that may be true in many cases. But if you always follow that guidance, you could be wasting your time.
Every search query has a different set of algorithmic signals. And those algorithmic signals carry different weight depending on the query, as well. So there are endless combinations of what Google deems important for a query.
Informational content designed for learning about a subject will likely need longer webpages. Many queries will need shorter answers.
But it doesn’t make sense to use a general best practice here; that’s just shooting in the dark. If all the top-ranked pages are coming in at 1,500 words, why write 3,000?
In the example below from our WordPress SEO plugin, you can see that the webpage analyzed was too short compared to the top-ranked pages. This is another pitfall website publishers succumb to when creating content.
Summary tab in the Bruce Clay SEO WP plugin shows word count targets.
Our WordPress SEO plugin uses patented technology to analyze the top-ranked pages for your keywords in real-time. It then averages the top competitors and produces target word count ranges right in WordPress. That’s customized SEO advice!
Do this before you write so you can be as efficient as possible with your content creation.
Get Your Custom Readability Score
Another area where SEO advice would vary widely is the readability score. A readability score at what grade level the content is written.
This matters for a couple of reasons:
- You want to write to your audience’s reading level.
- You want to know what Google thinks is an appropriate reading level for the topic.
This ties into Google’s concept of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Google performs webpage-level assessments to grade the “expertness” of the content.
One of the ways that Google might determine if your content is “expert” is how similar or different that content is to other webpages on the same topic. Its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines says the following about the main content (MC) of a page:
Very high quality MC is original, accurate, comprehensive, clearly communicated, professionally presented, and should reflect expert consensus as appropriate. Expectations for different types of information may vary. For example, scientific papers have a different set of standards than information about a hobby such as stamp collecting. However, all types of very high quality informational content share common attributes of accuracy, comprehensiveness, and clear communication, in addition to meeting standards appropriate to the topic or field.
So, for example, a scientific topic might be written at a higher grade level than a hobby topic.
Our WordPress SEO plugin calculates the target word count range based on the top-ranked pages for a search query. This tells you what readability or grade level Google thinks is right for the topic.
Summary tab in the Bruce Clay SEO WP plugin analyzes target readability scores.
To help edit your content to the right grade level, I like to use the Hemingway app. More often than not, authors need to simplify their writing (get the grade level down) rather than making it more complex.
But it could be the other way around. If the content is too simple compared to top-ranked webpages, you might assess who is writing the content. Do they have the expertise? Regardless, checking the content reading level is useful for polishing any written article.