Search engine optimization (SEO) is a broad subject and can seem a little overwhelming when you are starting out as a new business or website owner. But don’t worry! In this article, we have broken down SEO into a few key areas to help make it more manageable. Let’s take a look…
Install an SEO Plugin
Using an SEO plugin to optimize the content on your WordPress website is a must. There are numerous SEO plugins available that will help to improve the position of your pages and posts in the search engines.
Yoast SEO is the most popular and well known WordPress plugin available. This free solution gives you control over your titles and metadata, XML Sitemaps, breadcrumbs, permalinks, social links, and lots more.
Yoast SEO also lets you type in the keywords you are wanting a particular piece of content to rank for. It then tells you if you have used the keywords enough times, and in the right places. It will also give advice on what to improve to help ensure that your site will rank for your particular keywords.
If you have a local business, with physical premises, then you should consider installing to Yoast’s Local SEO for WordPress premium plugin. Or equally, opt for Yoast’s Local SEO for WooCommerce if you are running an eCommerce store alongside your brick and mortar shop. This will help you rank in the search engines for local searches, as well as enable you to easily insert Google Maps, contact info, a store locator and opening times into your WordPress website.
Do Your Keyword Research
Keyword research is a must for new businesses. You need to find out what your potential clients or customers are searching for. You can then write content including these keywords, so your site ranks for these terms. Consequently, when someone searches using these keywords, they will come across your site in the search engines.
Google Keyword Planner is a popular tool that allows you to type in key words that are associated with your business. It will then inform you of the numbers of people searching for these particular words.
Importantly Google Keyword Planner will let you know of other words and phrases that are being searched for and are relevant to your original key word. You should then try and use these in your content to help your site rank for a variety of popular keywords that are compatible with your niche.
Take Link Building Seriously
Link building is an important factor in the Google algorithm for ranking websites. So make sure that that you add links to your site, both internally and externally. Over time links will organically happen, but as a new business you should also plan for how to initially gain links for your WordPress site.
Adding internal links to your site is an easy way to help improve your position in the search engines. Internal links make it easy for Google to search your site, and find and rank content. Internal links also make it easy for your visitors to find content and help increase the time that they spend on your site.
Within articles, link to other relevant blog posts. From your homepage, link to pages where you want your visitors to go next. Wherever makes sense to link pages and posts, take advantage of this opportunity to add internal links to your WordPress website.
External links are more difficult to create. It is important to get links back to your website from large, reputable sites. By link association, Google will recognize that your site is important and this will help it rank in the search engines.
A great way to generate links to your site is to guest post on other sites. Contact other sites in your niche, similar businesses, industry online magazine and news sites, and any other relevant websites you can find. By writing guest posts for these sites you can leave a link back to your own site.
Add a Blog
Adding a blog can have numerous advantages. Search engines like to see that a website is being constantly added to and updated. Posting daily or weekly blog articles help you tick this box.
A blog also allows your site to grow. Add interesting and valuable content that will attract new visitors and encourage recurring users. Consider using different types of media, like video, podcasts, and webinars to appeal to different audiences. Traffic to the blog will not only be good for your business, but the increasing visitor numbers will help with your rankings.
Lastly, you can write each blog post around a different keyword. This will enable your site to rank for a selection of varied keywords, and consequently reach a wider audience. The more interesting and diverse content you posts, the more likely you are to connect with new users.
Optimize Your Site Performance
Making sure your WordPress website is performing to the highest level possible is another way you can optimize your site for the search engines.
Monitor Your Site’s Speed
Google smiles on sites that load quickly and provide a seamless user experience. So if your site doesn’t have fast load times then this could greatly affect your position in the search engines.
If you are unsure how well your site is performing, you may want to use Pingdom. The free version of this premium website performance management service will, amongst other uses, allow you to quickly test how fast your site is loading. It will also produce detailed reports to help you understand what type of content is slowing your site down and what you can do to improve load times. Premium users can monitor your page speed on an ongoing basis.
Improve Your Site’s Speed
There are a couple of easy ways to improve your site’s speed. Firstly, look carefully at the theme and hosting service you are using. A modern, fast loading theme, like our own theme WP Total, will immediately impress the search engines and help your site rank.
Using a high-quality web host is equally important. With hosting the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’, definitely rings true. If you can afford it, always opt for a high end hosting company like WP Engine. This WordPress specific hosting service has an impressive track record, providing fast loading times for the numerous websites they host.
Other top tips for improving your site’s speed include installing a few different plugins to your WordPress website. Consider using a caching plugin, an image optimization plugin, and a lazy load plugin. These will all improve your site’s performance and help you gain favor with the search engines.
Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
Having a mobile responsive theme is another crucial factor if you want your WordPress website to rank well in the search engines. It is near impossible nowadays to buy a theme that isn’t mobile ready. However, for those using an older theme, and are not yet ready to upgrade, then you should install a plugin to help you optimize your site for mobile use.
WPtouch is a free and extremely popular WordPress plugin. It will automatically and instantly enable a mobile-friendly version of your website when it is accessed by smartphone or tablet users. A Pro version of this plugin is also available offering a variety of enhanced themes and giving you further control over the features and functionalities used and displayed.
To check how well your site is performing on mobiles, check out Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. Simply type in your website and Google will give you a score out of 10 for your site’s mobile performance, and recommendations on what to improve.
Many businesses, especially when just starting out, don’t have the time needed to dedicate to SEO. If this is the case, and you have the budget for it, then it makes sense to bring in an SEO professional to help optimize your website.
When trying to find a suitable SEO businesses or individual, ask around for recommendations. Always try to speak to previous clients that they have worked with, don’t just read the testimonials. And avoid any over the top claims. If they are promising something that is too good to be true then it probably is!
Hiring an SEO expert can be a great way for a new business to jumpstart their way into the search engines. Just make sure you do your research carefully before hiring.
What area of SEO does your WordPress website need to improve or focus on? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…