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October 18, 2017

5 More WordPress SEO Enhancements You Wish You Had – Part 2

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Read the whole series: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Are there certain things you wish you could accomplish with your SEO in WordPress, but the functionality is just not there? Me, too.

Last time I wrote about WordPress SEO enhancements, I talked about the popularity of WordPress as a platform for some of the world’s best-known websites. I also discussed the challenges that WordPress presents for doing SEO effectively, further challenged by the gap in functionality of SEO plugins out there today, even with 52,000 WordPress plugins in the marketplace.

WordPress.org has 52000 plugins

So I created a list of WordPress SEO enhancements we wish we had, including:

  • A plugin that allows you to focus on optimizing for more than one keyword
  • A plugin that clearly shows where the keywords are in the content
  • A plugin that shows the content creator how their content and their site are performing
  • A plugin that alerts you to problems with mobile usability and performance

At the end of the last post I asked for your vote. We wanted to know what functionality you would like to see in WordPress SEO, and here are the results:

Which of these WordPress enhancements do you want from an SEO plugin?
wordpres enhancements survey

Today, I’ll outline five more WordPress SEO enhancements you wish you had and why.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 5: You Can’t View Customized Keyword Recommendations

Existing WordPress SEO plugins make recommendations for keywords based on fixed SEO best practices, rather than customized guidance per keyword. The problem with that is best practices are good to know, but experienced SEOs realize that each keyword creates its own playing field in the search engine results pages.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 5: You Can’t View Customized Keyword Recommendations

We know that content is one of the top ranking factors, and so search engines will analyze all the top pages about a topic as a population to determine what attributes they share in their content.

This includes things like the total word count, title tag length, meta description length, the number of times keyword is used, the reading level and other factors.

The search engines will evaluate a newly published web page against the top competitors for a query to see how many of those top attributes it shares before the page is ranked among them.

Wouldn’t it be nice if an SEO plugin could size-up the competitors and tell you, for example, how long your page needs to be before you publish? Or, how many times a given keyword should appear?

The gap: A plugin that evaluates the top-ranked pages for your keywords in real-time, and then gives actual recommendations for keyword usage in tags and content, even word count, based upon these competitors. Just reporting usage is easy, but recommendations is what is needed.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 6: You Can’t See Content History per Keyword

As your website ages, you add more and more content. And, more people author those pages and posts, leaving it hard to know how many times you’ve written about a topic in the past at-a-glance, and how those posts are performing.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 6: You Can’t See Content History per Keyword

Today’s WordPress SEO plugins don’t address those challenges. For example, when choosing what keyword to focus on when creating content, it would be helpful to see:

  • The keywords you’ve already used in previous posts
  • How many posts or pages you’ve written for each keyword
  • How well those pages or posts are doing, for example, average rank, page views, clicks, impressions and click-through rates

There are ways to stitch this information together outside of WordPress by looking at Google Search Console and Google Analytics, but this takes time and resources away from the goal: creating more targeted content.

The gap: A plugin that shows how much content has been written on your site per keyword, and how each of those pages or posts are actually performing using Google Analytics data.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 7: You Can’t Gamify Publishing

Are you able to quickly tell who the top-performing authors are on your website? Within WordPress today, you can see a list of all your pages or posts, but you can’t tell which pages are your top performers and who authored those, and that can change daily or weekly.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 7: You Can’t Gamify Publishing

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about the need to see top-performing posts and pages to influence your plan for new content:

When you don’t know which posts are resonating in organic search, it can hinder planning for future posts and social media campaigns. You’re basically flying blind.

Knowing which posts and topics are succeeding allows you to create more winning content. It also helps you avoid wasting time promoting content with high bounce rates or which generates little interest and little traffic to your site.

What you want is “unicorn” content — your very best, standout content. You want to be able to find your best content, amplify it, and then make more like it. You can only do this with analytics data informing you of the unicorns in the herd.

But what if you could also easily see how many posts an author has on the website, and how many of those posts are top performers? Things like page views and time on page could be useful metrics to gauge this by.

How could an organization use this data? Let’s say you’re a news publisher with hundreds of contributors, and you want to incentivize authors to properly optimize their posts so they gain more traffic.

With access to data that shows top-performing posts per author, you can stir up some healthy competition amongst contributors, and in turn, reward those top authors with recognition or goodies.

The gap: A plugin that shows the top performing posts or pages per author/contributor to the website as measured by actual visitors over a selectable period of time.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 8: You Don’t Know if You Have Duplicate Content

Google may not have an official penalty for duplicate content on your site, but when pages are too similar, the search engines filter out the “duplicates” from the search results. That equals less real estate for your website. If it happens a lot, your site might appear low quality. These outcomes make duplicate content an SEO concern.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 8: You Don’t Know if You Have Duplicate Content

Today, publishers can gather data about duplicate titles and meta descriptions in Google Search Console. If you’re on top of it, you’ll check regularly and fix those issues — but it’s easy to neglect.

That’s why website publishers using WordPress don’t have an easy way to know if they’re inadvertently creating duplicate content. This can happen, for example, when someone copies an existing title tag or meta description, or if someone mistakenly publishes the same page under two different URLs. Using canonical tags can prevent the auto-generated types of URLs from being indexed as duplicates — and your SEO plugin should add a canonical tag automatically, if your settings are right — but this is no cure for the inadvertent duplication of content in newly created pages.

The gap: A plugin that easily notifies website publishers when there is a possibility of duplicate content, like meta information or the content on a page.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 9: You Don’t Understand Your Content’s Reading Level Score

Reading level is just one of the many criteria that search engine algorithms may take into account when evaluating web pages against one another.

Coffee Break Reading Travel Book Lifestyle Concept

SEO Plugin Gap No. 9: You Don’t Understand Your Content’s Reading Level Score

Knowing a page’s or post’s reading level score, such as that generated by the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests can help you ensure your content is on par with the competition in the search results. The Yoast SEO plugin today does offer readability guidance that gives general recommendations on how to improve the overall ease of reading of your content, but there isn’t a plugin today that tailors reading level to the keyword.

As I mentioned earlier, each keyword query can have its own set of signals when it comes to the search engine algorithms, so readability scores can vary based on the type of query, for example, a medical query versus a shopping query.

The gap: A plugin that presents a readability goal based on your keywords and assesses the reading level on your pages and posts so the author can instantly know if the new content is on par with the competition at the top of the search results.

What WordPress Is Missing

Let’s face it, WordPress is in the business of WordPress, not the business of SEO.

WordPress is not exactly SEO enabled by default and finding the right plugins to help you accomplish everything you want in SEO can be a challenge. Consider my wish list and ask yourself if your job would be easier or goals closer to accomplishing with the right tool.

If you like this post or want to commiserate with a friend or colleague about the gap in the WordPress SEO plugin marketplace, please share.

If you have friends that could benefit from improved WordPress SEO guidance, then share this post series with them. And if you just like how we think, then tell everyone.

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13 responses to “5 More WordPress SEO Enhancements You Wish You Had – Part 2”

  1. Mahesh writes:

    Thanks for sharing this information, i came to know much more about yoast SEO. Keep posting.

  2. Virginia writes:

    Great post as usual Bruce, I’m using SEO Yoast and I find it pretty useful but hadn’t been paying much attention to readability scores till now that you mentioned it here. I’m still new to the SEO details so posts like these are certainly helpful. Thanks a lot!

  3. Dharshini writes:

    Awesome post! A very good step-by-step guide especially for a beginner like me. It’s overwhelming with information, thank you for making it easy and very detailed.. I’ll pop some questions here, if I need help, hope that’s okay.

  4. Aasha writes:

    I am also using Yoast SEO. But most of my contents is getting readability score except SEO score. I checked it twice with inserting internal links and without. But i didn’t get much SEO score. What i have to do?

  5. deepa writes:

    Thanks for sharing this nice post. I also using Yoast SEO for my website and it’s really good for seo optimization.

  6. Mestar Digital writes:

    I think yoast seo premium will help to solve some of the problems because you can use multiple keywords for each page. in regards to duplicate content, best advise is to have quality unique content on each page. great article Bruce. thanks

  7. David writes:

    I am using Yoast Seo and in my opinion, it can help you solve most problem that you mentions :)

  8. Rik Flaxman writes:

    I think To Avoid duplicate content we should noindex the tags and categories. Thanks

  9. Arya writes:

    Duplicate content has been an issue and Yoast SEO plugin readability & SEO factors aren’t that good.

    Though we have issues but the best CMS out there is WordPress, so we need to adjust with these.

  10. CJ writes:

    Great ideas in here, and I hope some developers are paying attention! Your idea for “Wouldn’t it be nice if an SEO plugin could size-up the competitors and tell you, for example, how long your page needs to be before you publish?” would be great for reverse engineering top ranking pages of competitors and adding on another 500-1000 more words (within the post) to potentially outrank them.

  11. Chris Bryant writes:

    Thanks @BruceClay,

    I learn so much from your articles.

    Yes. It would be great to be able to flag duplicate content. I recently wrote a two dozen pages about related services, including some index pages with service summaries. I kept wishing I had a tool to help me check for duplicates.

    As for readability. Yoast SEO does have readability tools. It’s there to measure passive vs. active voice usage, transitional phrase usage, sentence and paragraph lengths, and scores your text using the Flesch Reading Ease score. I use it all the time. I find it keeps my writing leaner, and more focused.

  12. Mitch Rezman writes:

    Yoast (premium) now allows for multiple focus keywords

    Why readability scores are a bunch of crap:

    https://superezsystems.com/2017/10/18/yoast-seo-readability-score-bunch-cow-dung-2/

  13. Andy Kuiper writes:

    The dup content issue within a WP site is interesting :-)



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