SEO can seem like a mystery. Those three letters, which stand for search engine optimization, often get thrown around on the internet, confusing most small business owners. Simply put, SEO encompasses both the technical and creative ingredients required to drive traffic to your website and improve your ranking in search engines. The SEO tips featured below are designed to help you improve your digital marketing efforts and boost your rankings.
For the typical small business, the process of SEO can be challenging specifically because it requires an investment of time and money. When competing with large companies for traction, those investments can increase substantially. Also, SEO is forever changing and keeping up with new trends can seem overwhelming.
Luckily, content management systems such as WordPress allow small business owners, entrepreneurs, and startups to easily follow many best practices for SEO. Below are some things you can do to your website that require little to no effort and will help improve your rankings. It’s time to up your game. Let’s do this!
1. Improve performance. In 2010, Google announced that page speed would become a new signal for rankings. However, this only referred to the desktop experience. Then just last month, they released what they refer to as the “speed update.” Basically, this update states that on mobile searches, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.
They go on to say that this speed update will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal; so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.
What can small businesses do to help improve website page speed? Over at WebDevStudios, our parent company, Support Technician, Russell Aaron, wrote a fantastic blog post on “Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Website.” In this article, he highlights the following:
Optimize your images
Minify your styles and scripts
Use a page caching plugin
Integrate a CDN
While this can all seem a little complicated, once you spend some time understanding the basics, it will become second nature. If you require the assistance of an expert, don’t hesitate to reach out. Getting this right will improve the experience for your user and help them find you easier!
2. Pay attention to your permalinks. Creating SEO-friendly permalinks in WordPress is a breeze. First of all, a permalink is simply the hyperlink to a particular page or blog post. By default, WordPress does not create SEO-friendly permalinks. In fact, if you have installed a WordPress website and clicked around, you may have noticed your permalinks look something like this:
By going to the permalink section of your WordPress dashboard, you can simply update this URL structure to something more appealing. You have some options, too, but as Yoast points out, using the page’s name or blog post title is probably the best method.
3. Use Yoast SEO. Speaking of YOAST, go ahead and install this plugin. Yoast is a leader in SEO for WordPress. Its SEO plugin is packed with features that allow even an SEO beginner to optimize their site for search engines. Once you have installed the plugin, spend some time watching the Yoast tutorials. They provide a ton of helpful information and will have you optimizing each page or post for keywords in no time.
4. Create content. You have all heard it a million times, “content is king.” If you have a WordPress website, then adding a blog will maximize it. WordPress was originally created as a blogging platform even though now it used for many different types of websites. WordPress at its core is a content management system or a CMS. This allows the owner of website to add new content effortlessly. By adding content at regular intervals, you allow search engines to reindex your website, or in other words, search engines stop by your site more often to scan it for new content. Therefore, you are increasing the number of keywords or key phrases you can rank for. Not only are your keeping search engines happy with fresh content, you are more likely to engage your users as they are finding new and exciting information with each visit.
5. Make headway with good headings. Now that you have content, tell everyone what it is about in a clear concise way by picking a great title or page name with relevant keywords or key phrases. Your title is the first thing search engines will see and will determine the relevancy of your content. Make it short, clear, and informative. The title will also become the base of your permalink, and we already know how important they are to SEO results.
These are a few short and quick ways to help your ranking and will set you on your way to being favorable with search engines. There are, of course, many other things you can do, but start here. Soon, you will be well on your way to a successful, SEO-friendly, and user-engaging website.
Need help creating a small business website with great SEO? Contact us.