Back in version 1.7 Thesis introduced the ability to set custom META titles, descriptions and keywords for each post and page.
As I wrote here, this enabled me to drop the SEO plugins I was previously using on this site.
So for those Thesis users who are thinking of dropping your SEO plugins, or for new users who want to maximize your on-site SEO without adding plugins, here’s how:
How to add meta titles, descriptions and keywords in Thesis
When you activate Thesis you’ll find a new section added to your Add New Post (and Edit Post) screen. It’s also added to the Page screens.
It looks like this and will be at or near the bottom:
The first thing I do is drag this section to the top so it sits right under my post writing/editing window.
Just hover your cursor over the section title bar and drag it to the top when the crossed arrows appear
The top 3 areas of this section are the same as those in the All-in-One-SEO-Pack plugin.
When you’re ready to add the SEO META data for your article fill out the first 3 fields in this section like this:
Custom Title Tag
This is an important SEO tag. It’s what will be displaid as the blue link on the search results pages of the search engines.
Of all the individual things you can do to improve your on-page SEO this currently seems to have the most effect.
Try to get your keywords as close to the beginning of the title as possible, and make it as clear as possible.
For example, the title tag of this page is: Thesis Tips: How to Add Post and Page META Tags
Those are all terms Thesis users are searching for when they want to learn how to add SEO META tags to an article, so having that title maximizes the chances of this page appearing well in the search results.
Remember to keep your title tags to less than 70 characters, including your site name if that’s set to appear in your titles.
The META description is the text that appears underneath the blue link for each item in the search results.
You can’t always guarantee that the description you define will be displaid every time your page appears in the search results, but you can maxmise the chances of it doing so by completing this field thoughtfully.
This section should amplify what you’ve written in the title tag by describing more fully what searchers will find on the page.
However, I also like to think of this section as a PPC advertisement.
It should accurately describe the content, but also encourage people to click through to your page, by including a call to action.
In addition to making sure my keywords figure in the Description field, I use the AIDA formula to structure it:
A = Attention: Catch searchers’ attention. (This is most likely to be done with the Title tag).
I = Interest. Generate some interest in your searchers, so they continue reading.
D = Desire. Use an emotional hook to get your searchers to want to click through to your page.
A = Action. Include some form of call to action: ‘more info here’ or something similar.
A good combination of Title and Description tags will maximize the chances of your page appearing well in the search results and getting people to click through to your site.
Remember to keep your Description tag to 150 characters or less.
Although keywords are used less and less by the search engines (some don’t use them at all) it is still worth adding a few here.
The META keywords are the terms people who are searching for what’s on your page might type in to a search engine.
They’re quite distinct from tags, which are part of WordPress’ filing system.
Many people (including me when I first started out) assume keywords and tags are the same thing – they’re not. (More on that here).
So I usually enter 2 or 3 search terms in the META Keywords field. A search term is a combination of keywords (e.g. ‘how to add meta tags’), and each term is separated by a comma.
Don’t add more than 5 – 8 search terms – I usually only add 2 or 3 at the most.
Completing those 3 fields for each post and page you write will improve their on-page SEO, and help them to appear well in the search results.
But, of course, your article must contain good, original content. That’s always the most important bit of on-site SEO.
Site-Wide SEO with Thesis
When Thesis 1.7 was released I created a video to show you around the new, site-wide SEO controls.
It’s worth reviewing that video and making sure your site-wide settings are optimized.
You can find it here. (It’s the first video on that page).
OK, that’s it. Leave a comment if you have a question.