The #1 WordPress SEO Tactic Every Blogger Should Implement

by Derek Halpern · 45 comments

WordPress SEO Tutorial

No joke. In the sea of information about getting higher search engine rankings, this is the ONE tip you can’t skip.

And when you get in the habit of using it day in, and day out, for each one of your articles, you can start seeing some exponential traffic growth over the long term.

What’s the tip? It’s much easier to implement than you think, and you don’t need to know anything about “technology” to pull it off.

How to Optimize Your WordPress Blog for High Search Engine Rankings

This is going to sound so simple, but seriously, it’s one of the best things you can do for your blog.

When you write content, make each one of your articles target one specific keyword.

Now I’m not telling you to create content for the sake of ranking for specific keywords. That’s a horrible strategy.

What I mean is, after you write blog reader focused content, make sure you have a “dream keyword” that you’d like to rank for on your new article.

For example, the video I shared with you last week on the blog post “How to increase blog conversion rates.

It was helpful content, tailored directly towards you, the blog reader, but eventually, I’m hoping that article will rank for Blog Conversion Rates.

What If You’re Dealing With Highly Competitive Keywords?

That takes a lot more work, for sure, but that’s where resource pages come into play.

I’ll explain.

Instead of having a dream keyword for one article, you come up with a dream keyword for a group of articles.

And then you group those articles on a resource page.

For example, look at our resource page about WordPress SEO. Yes, we’re putting high quality content out about search engine optimization, but ideally, we’d also like to pick up some rankings for WordPress SEO.

And instead of trying to do it with one single article, we’re doing it with a group of articles because we know search engines like content that’s complete, and exhaustive.

One Word of Warning about This Simple Tip

I’ve got to say this because many people make this huge mistake.

When you start using this strategy, do not begin stuffing your content with keywords that you’d like to rank for.

The goal is to take your regular content, and just keep a keyword in the back of your mind while you’re writing it.

Don’t use the keywords for the sake of using the keywords. Remember, you want to put your reader first… always.

Because, even though the search engines can be gamed, they’re actively trying to combat “cheating.”

And while you may get away with some shady tactics for a short while, it’s not worth risking your blog… your blog that you’ve poured your time and effort into… because you tried to take a shortcut.

Then, of course, there’s Thesis…

Here’s a dirty secret about WordPress SEO:

There’s only so much you can do to your blog… on your own site… that can help you rank higher in search engines.

Aside from this simple tip, the other thing that you can do is sport rock-solid code that will supercharge your SEO.

For example, small changes like having h2 tags surrounding your headlines on your home page… and h1 tags surrounding your headlines on your single post pages.

Or, as another example, if you’re using a left sidebar, right content layout, you’ll want your content loading “before” your sidebar… even though it looks like it comes “after it.”

Things like this matter when it comes to optimizing your blog for search, and Thesis does all of that for you… right out of the box.

So, if you don’t have Thesis, pick it up today. If you do, take comfort in knowing that we’ve got your back when it comes to optimal SEO settings for your WordPress site.

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.

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Sean Davis

You’ve given me this tip once before. I loved it then and I love it now.

I hadn’t thought about control the order in which a page loads, regardless of the layout structure. My blogs have the traditional left content, right sidebar… but that’s good to know.

Nice read.


“People who sweat the details trust Thesis.

Sometimes we don’t even know what those details are, or what they do. We just ‘trust Thesis’.

Erich Senft, CTA - Traders Helping Traders

Thank you for another helpful article, Derek. I get so much email and most has to be rushed through for the sake of time and expedience …but your tips I always take the time to read. Absolutely LOVE Thesis too!


Good tip, Derek. I wish someone told me this when I started 5 years ago.

I’ve been doing this for a couple of years, and while I’m not the best at writing SEO’d content, I always do a little keyword research before each article to find the best keyword to target for the article I’m writing, and then I use that in the title and url.

The actual body of my content could be more optimised, though.


Derek, this I think is actually a wonderful strategy. I had to write couple of articles (5-6) regarding marketing and lead generation for startups and this would help me rank my website much better for that terms.

Mohd Isa

Nice tips Derek, I will always remember that “readers first”. Its true, sometimes I will write the content and more focus on keyword. But forgot about readers. Thanks again Derek, keep share more tips about SEO. Its very help me. πŸ™‚

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

Very good stuff. I’ve got a page dedicated to each KW.

Donovan Owens

Another kick ass article from you Derek. Resource pages are in my blog plans and I look forward to building them according to you guide here. Thank you man!

Trung Nguyen

I will check the video you share on diythemes, Derek πŸ™‚ nice post


Well good idea but then its risky as you are taking so much efforts for just one keyword.


I’ll bet this is really helpful info to those who know what a “key word” is. Why not give examples while you’re giving out tips. Not all of us are geeks. Just struggling wannabes!

Brian Bennis

I’ve implemented your Wordpress SEO dream keyword strategy on relevant pages of my blog and I’m certain I’ll benefit from higher rankings as a result. Thanks.

Jeremiah Brown

Very good info, fortunately, that is what I am doing already, but didn’t know that was the best thing to be doing, now I know WHY I do it. I love the idea about a series and a resource page.


Didn’t know this strategy existed. I’ll put it to test and see how it turns out.

Thanks for revealing this.

Samrath Gupta

Great Strategy Derek…

I’ll make sure I implement your strategy on my next posts πŸ˜‰


Great tactics to optimize wordpress…Derek!
and i see that thesis does have most seo optimization framework inbuilt by default so there is not much optimization needed.


Derek your articles are amazing. I am not a regular blog reader but try to never miss your article. I own thesis but could not configure the layout which was in my mind.


Thanks so much! This is absolutely true. I’ve found what you said to work really well as I build websites.

You always supply excellent, doable tips and I appreciate that.

Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Thesis. If anyone is interested in starting a blog, this theme is worth it.

Gen A

Thanks for all these great tips! I always enjoy reading, then implementing them.


Great tip Derek. I knew about using one keyword per article, but didn’t know about a resource page. That is a new SEO tip I will employ asap.

I have a plugin that lists related 5 related articles to the topic of my article, but I have one keyword I can’t seem to rank well for. I will create a resource page to get better ranking.





Thank you for the information and great strategy. The one thing that all your readers will have to understand though is that they have to actually do the work! πŸ˜‰ No one is going to do it for them.

Keep up the great work!



Thanks for the informative post! Thesis is by far my favorite WP theme and use it for nearly every site!

One thing I want to ask is how you make sure the content loads before the sidebar does on the homepage?


thanks Derek once again for valuable help with our blogs. I already use Thesis and I am sure that has helped me when I didn’t know anything about SEO. I will keep in mind focusing on one keyword for each article I write from now on.


Glad I have Thesis then.

Laura Wallis

Hi Derek- novice here, so assuming the content loads first with thesis? Is it formatted for mobile use?


Wait, i don’t get it. Why would I want my site to show up on google and/or bing?

Don’t we all have robots.txt disallowing all search traffic??

#proguy #guru #LMAO

Neil Smith

Okay, Chase, you skunk!

I had to go to your site. I mean, how can you not go to find out what on earth is that fella talking about! And yes, blog comments are another SEO tactic!

And yes your site is incredibly different! I mean, unbelievable.

But I don’t drink…

(Now EVERYONE is going to go to your site!)


Cynthia LaLuna

Hi Derek,

Could you please elaborate why having H2 on your home page is a benefit over having H1 there? I’m always having a battle with third party SEO consultants (sic) on that one.


Derek Halpern

While this isn’t expressly stated, and there are some SEOs who disagree with this, in general, it was an accepted best practice that you didn’t want more than one H1 on a page. That’s why you put the post titles in H2 tags on the home page. But chances are you can’t get all SEOs to agree with that πŸ™‚


Wow! I bought Thesis back in 2008 when I didn’t know what I was doing or how to build a website. Now that I’ve learned about SEO (and am still learning it), I’m SO glad I learned on Thesis. It has saved me a ton of headaches.

Then, I come along and I read a post like this one and I think….’huh, I didn’t know about the page loading sidebar content vs page content thing.” But, lucky for me, I don’t have to because Thesis does it for me. Thesis just becomes more and more valuable to me everyday! I love learning about new things that it does, that I didn’t know about already.

Thank you! πŸ™‚

Sean Mal

I didn’t know Thesis does that automatically. How about telling us other SEO benefits of Thesis? πŸ™‚
The keyword advise was a fantastic one, thanks.


Slightly off topic but quite relevant. What in your opinion are the top 10 best resources for SEO globally? Would like your unbiased and fair opinion. Thanks Robert

Sergio Felix

Hey Derek,

No wonder why Thesis ranks so freaking high on search sites.

I’ve never thought about placing the content above the sidebar on the HTML information.


PS. DIYThemes is already #2,435 on Alexa, dang!


Nice article, Derek. We always forget about the importance of keywords sometimes but at the end of the day all our efforts go back to it. Choosing the right keywords for your articles is always key to being able to rank high in search engines results pages. Shared this article to my facebook and twitter followers.

Pat Bloomfield

Great tip Derek!

Excellent point you raised about Thesis sequencing the loading of columns and content for SEO. It’s just crazy for anyone not to be using it IMHO πŸ™‚


Good tip Derek, I love thesis because of the inbuild SEO functions…and it does amazing work. I was able to remove many plugins because of this…Its one of valuable investment I have made… πŸ™‚

Clint Butler

There are a lot of people who are trying to use SEO for traffic. I see a lot of them trying to rank single pages for multiple keywords and I work pretty hard with my team so they understand the single keyword/single post concept. I do however also teach them to implement LSI keywords into their posts as well. Thanks for the valuable information here, I wasn’t coming to this site but lately the value has been incredible and looking forward to future information.


This is one of the best strategy that works and I have got the results.. the same stratgey is earlier shared in Smart Passive Income blog and he suggested to rank for the keywords with the help of pillar artciles (just like the one you have mentioned in the above example)…


Thanks for the tips! I love getting these in my inbox and I absolutely love using Thesis! I have been working on increasing my SEO settings lately and have been having difficulties. When I Google search my website and it pops up, it doesn’t recognize my page names (try it and you will see). Do you know why this is? I would love a few tips on how to get my entire website (including page names and brief intro to each page) into search results of my website.


Good tip Derek! Always remember to write for human first then secondly make sure include the keyword that we want to rank.

Daniel Dessinger

Great point, Derek. Although I think I’d take it a step further and say “Try to fit your keyword phrase into a header tag and the first paragraph of the blog post. If you can do that and rock the flow of your content, you’ll be much better positioned to have a chance to rank for that phrase.

Of course, it all depends on the blog post being interesting enough for people to share it, link to it, etc. Without links, the post will likely just be another page among five million competitors.

Jonny Rowntree

Hi Derek,

Thanks for this tip! I already try and do this on my blog and I’m finding more and more traffic is coming my way seeing as I rank #2 or #3 on the first page for a small search term which has 2 million+ results.

I must admit though – its not just through your knowledge or advice but Thesis too!

Thanks again

Gregory Ciotti

Remember not to get too excited about search results though, check in the Google Keyword Tool what the [exact] match of searches is per month, that’s a much better assessment.

Jennifer Todd

I guess now i wouldn’t have to go through all those big bulky ebooks, i have some great info on wordpress seo from rie here! Thanks Derek!

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