I’ve been blogging since 2007. It was several years later in 2011 that I started the Deja Reviewer website. You can search online and probably find a lot of my old writings on real estate, search engine optimization, inventory management, and many other subjects before I got around to analyzing movies in new and unique ways. In all that time, I’ve learned quite a few things that I’d like to share with my fellow writers.
If you have a WordPress blog, you will likely benefit quite a bit from what I’m about to share. Over the course of putting together thousands of blog posts, I’ve figured out how to get perfect SEO scores on them every single time. It’s almost a formula at this point. That doesn’t stop me from having fun in my writing. It’s just good to know the rules before you decide whether or not you want to break them.
Achieving a High AIOSEO Score
If you have the AIOSEO plugin in WordPress, you’ve probably seen a score from 0-100 for each of your blog posts. This score rates your blog posts on the following criteria. Unfortunately, it only tells you when you’re messing up. And it doesn’t really give you much guidance on what you’re aiming for or how to make improvements. Especially if you’ve already hit the arbitrary limits it sets. So I’m going to spell it all out. That way, there won’t be any confusion.
Here are the three categories you’re rated on:
- Meta description length should be 121-160 characters, including spaces.
- Content length should be at least 300 words for the entire blog post.
- You should have at least one internal link and one external link.
- Title length should be 41-60 characters, including spaces.
- 120 words is the maximum number before a paragraph is considered too long.
- No more than 25 percent of sentences should be longer than 20 words.
- No more than 10 percent of sentences should use passive voice.
- At least 30 percent of your sentences should have transition words.
- You shouldn’t use the same word at the start of more than two consecutive sentences.
- 300 words is the maximum number before a subheading section is considered too long.
- 60.0 is the minimum acceptable Flesch reading ease score. Anything lower than that will ding you, but anything above won’t help your overall AIOSEO rating.
One more thing I’ll mention is that you may be able to add a Focus Keyphrase. That can come in handy for improving your SEO. If you do create one, it’ll add other criteria to the ones above. These include if that exact keyphrase is in your headline, introductory paragraph, meta description, URL, and subheadings. It can hurt your AIOSEO score if it’s not in those places. Except the subheadings. It’s okay if you don’t have it there.
If you want to achieve a perfect Focus Keyphrase score, though, be sure to have it in about 30-75 percent of your subheadings. Those are any text that you make H2 or H3 size.
Getting a High Flesch Reading Ease Score
Achieving a good Flesch reading ease score (60.0 and above) depends mostly on the types of words you use. I’ve found that its formula doesn’t care much about the length of your sentences or your passive voice. It mostly depends on how many words there are that are more than one syllable in length. So you really have to dumb things down if you want a good score. I’ve never managed to get higher than the 70s.
In addition, it responds to images and videos. Each one boosts your score a little. It’s a good idea to use more than one, when appropriate. Also, transition words help a lot. That score loves transition words, so I recommend you use quite a few of them. In fact, if you were to put a whole bunch of them in a row, you’d get an incredibly high score… which is what I’m about to do, actually. Normally that would be nonsensical, but in this case it serves an important purpose.
There is no written guide I have ever found to identify what words count as transition words. In WordPress, that is. I’m not one to simply give up, though, so I created my own guide. You see, I’ve learned quite a few of them through trial and error.
Quirks of Transition Words
Below is my current list of all the words and phrases that will help both your transition word percentage and your Flesch reading ease score. When I originally wrote this, I said that I wasn’t totally sure if they have to be right at the start or end of sentences to count. I knew that they worked perfectly well at the start of a sentence. However, I learned something new just now!
My signoff is pretty much always the same at the end of each article: “This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.” When I accidentally removed that line, I noticed that my transition word percentage went down. As it turns out, “until” counts as a transition word, although it’s near the end of the sentence. So I figured out that transition words do count even in the middle of a sentence.
You can use the same transition word more than once and have it be counted separately from the previous instance(s). But I’m not sure how many times you can get away with that in a single blog post. At least three times, it seems. And that might change based on the total word count of the article.
This is a huge work in progress. For instance, while putting my list together, I came up with more than a half-dozen new transition words I had never thought of before: a while ago, chiefly, even more, in order to, in summary, owing to, and previously. So I’m sure I’ll come up with many others after publishing this article.
List of Transition Words
I’ve categorized and alphabetized all of these transition words as best as I can. Some could fit into multiple categories, like “that is.” Plus, just about any adverb followed by “so” works as a transition word. I’ve included some examples in the “Affirmative” section below.
This list includes more than 120 transition words/phrases:
Before and After
A while ago
A while back
Last of all
In the meantime
As a matter of fact
Without a doubt
Be that as it may
In spite of
On the other hand
In that case
In this case
Just in case
In other words
As a result
As long as
In order to
To that end
To this end
At this point
In the long run
In the short run
With this in mind
Crafting the Ideal Headline
Headline scores are similar to AIOSEO scores in that they have a rating from 0-100. But their criteria are much different. To receive the highest rating, you need to meet the following criteria:
- 20 percent or more Common Words
- 10 percent or more Uncommon Words
- 10 percent or more Emotional Words
- At least one Power Word
I’ve never been able to get a headline score higher than 93. That seems to be the upper limit, even though it says it goes to 100. Anything over 70 is considered great, but I always aim for somewhere from 85-93.
If possible, I recommend keeping the word count to 10. Because when you do that, you only need to have two Common Words and one of each of the others. You can go higher than the minimum, no problem. But you don’t want to dip below the minimum. Not every headline has to have every type of word. But it’s helpful to know what your options are so you can include each type, if you want.
Sometimes the same word falls into multiple categories, like new, now, better, and best. Using those words helps you be more concise while still hitting the target. Try to stay at 60 characters or under, including spaces.
List of Headline Words
I bolded the words (other than Common Words) that fall under more than one category. On with the list:
For the first time
How to make
In the world
Is what happens when
It looks like a
Looks like a
That will make
This is the
This is what
This is what happens
Turn the tables
What happens when
You need to
You need to know
You see what
The truth about
Creating the Perfect Blog Post
Now you know exactly how to craft a perfect blog post that will receive a 100/100 AIOSEO score, a 60.0+ Flesch score, and a 93/100 headline rating. What are you going to do with this knowledge? Once you see these patterns, you can keep pumping out flawless blog posts. Feel free to take note of which words you’d like to put in your headlines. And use a variety of transition words to keep your sentences flowing nicely.
This article won’t get a perfect AIOSEO score because I used the same word three or more times in a row in multiple instances. But it couldn’t be helped. The headline I crafted is as good as it gets. Because it uses both Common and Power Words in “How to,” and it has a Common, Uncommon, and Emotional Word in “the Best.” Also, it is nine words and 50 characters long. Perfectly within parameters.
Not only that, but I used plenty of transition words in the article itself. Maybe the 400 headline words will wipe away the advantage of listing 125 transition words earlier. However, I hope I’m safely covered. In any case, the point of this article isn’t achieving a perfect AIOSEO score. It’s to give you all the tools you need to become a master blogger yourself.
This is the summation of a decade and a half of my professional life. At least in the blogging sphere. And it has been a labor of love.
If you do take advantage of what I’ve shared above, please let me know your results at some point in the future. I’d love to hear if it helped you become a better writer, find more success online, and improve your SEO.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.