Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website or blog so that you can achieve a high page rank in the search engine results page (SERP).SEO is done via various on page, and off page, strategies and techniques. Now if you talk to ten people about WordPress SEO it’s quite possible that you’ll get ten different answers as to the best way to properly optimize a WordPress website.
The term S.E.O is thrown around so often its enough to make your head spin. And, rightly so because its imperative you understand its importance if you want to give your website the best possible chance of rising in the search engines for organic search results.
Organic search results are those websites you get after you enter a “keyword“, word or phrase, into the search bar. If your website has been setup and optimized properly you have a greater chance of being found on page one of those search results.
There are many factors and variables which determine your websites ranking. Some are controllable-some are uncontrollable. I will focus on the variables which you “can” control to enhance your websites visibility.
The essence of proper S.E.O
- 1. Setting your website up properly so that you rank well in the search engines.
- 2. Getting free, organic traffic.
The two main types of website S.E.O are commonly referred to as “on page” and “off page” optimization. I will be focusing on the on page tweaks every web builder should be implementing to produce a highly efficient website.
Quality Content is King
Content, content, content. Competing websites have made it a bit more difficult nowadays to get first page ranking so you must make your website stand out, and that means providing original quality content for your readers.
You can’t trick or game the system. Back in the day people discovered they could use shortcut SEO gimmicks to help boost their rankings, such as article farms and back-link farms; but no longer. Times have changed and it’s not easy to rank nowadays by simply throwing up a site and filling it with content from other peoples websites, or having hundreds of sites linking to your site
Great SEO Starts With Great Content
Content is by far the most important S.E.O element of your website. If nothing else-get this-because it doesn’t matter if you create your website with WordPress or some other piece of software; content rules. If you’re not providing quality content you’ve already lost your audience and your attempt to get the attention of the search engines will be decreased as well.
What one deems as quality content is another arguable discussion but lets look at the obvious.
Quality content serves a purpose which jumps right out at you. Quality content is helpful, informative, accurate, insightful, engaging, answers a question or solves a problem. Add your own adjectives to this list and you will come up with more answers as to what constitutes great content.
This would seem obvious to most of us but the fact is, there are plenty of horrible websites out there with poor content. Don’t stress or over think the issue of how to write great content. Just put yourself in the shoes of your readers. Think about the last time you landed on a website looking for something. How was the content? Did you find what you wanted? Was the information helpful and informative?
Place yourself in the readers seat
Keep this in mind and you’ll be fine. Remember, your goal should always attempt to do the following.
- 1. Provide accurate information
- 2. Solve a problem
- 3. Answer a question
- 4. Provide resources
- 5. Entertain
- 6. Educate
The list can go on and on but you get the point-the user’s experience is most important. After you write your best possible content its time to optimize it in WordPress.
Write Proper Titles For Your Website
Do keyword research and use long tail titles.
Every piece of content for a page or post starts with a title and this is where S.E.O starts. Your title is important because it is the first gateway to your website. Your title is the first meta-data descriptor that the search engines pick up. Lets start with your home page title. If you have website on how to learn WordPress, then your home page should be titled as such. Your titles for various pages or posts should be keyword related words or phrases when possible.
Titles that give your pages the best chance of discovery through organic search are known as long tail keywords-three words or more. Three word title phrases are more narrow, definitive and have less competition so its easier for the search engines to find your page or post. Do keyword research to find narrow search terms related to your niche and use them as titles for your pages.
Tip: Find three to five targeted long tail keywords and use them as titles for your “pages” within your website. Use secondary keywords for your posts.
Optimize Your Websites Headings
When you sit down to author a page you need to have a topic line or heading. Headings are a way to “tag” a subject line at the top of your article and they range from H1, H2 and so forth. Here is another chance for you to optimize your content. Again, use a long tail keyword for your heading and give it the appropriate headings tag.
You should have a least three additional topic headings on each page. They should be well researched keywords which relate to your overall websites topic. Also, make sure the topic lines descend accordingly by using H2, H3 and so on down the line. Never make each topic line on a page an H1 heading. Again, start with your main H1 heading at the top and work your way down your page creating related content and using descending headings for each topic line.
Optimize your images.
Everybody uses images on their websites but many times fail to optimize them for search. The search engines will index your images too so always optimize them. Give them a keyword related name, preferably the same name as the headline for that particular section.
You should always fill in the alternative (alt) and image description or (caption) portion of your images as well. This is easy to do within WordPress-once you insert your image just click on it to open up these option fields. These are oftentimes overlooked. Fill them in because its more meta data descriptions which will help get your site ranked higher.
Use an S.E.O Plugin
An S.E.O pack, such as ALL in One, is a WordPress plugin that allows you to add additional information to your website which gets picked up by the search engines. These include a space for titles, descriptions and keywords.
The two most popular S.E.O plugins are the All in one S.E.O pack and the Yoast S.E.O plugin. When you load the All in one S.E.O pack plugin you are presented with a page where you can enter this additional information. You can also optimize pages and posts as well with this plugin.
These WordPress S.E.O tips are what I consider the bare minimum, which everyone should be doing to help enhance your websites visibility.
Proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) matters if you want your website to get noticed. You don’t need a fancy or expensive website to have an effective web presence, you just need to understand how Google works and remain focused on the content you’re providing.