SEO is a term that I am sure most people have heard tossed around in discussions and articles about business websites, but what exactly is SEO? First off, SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and if you consider the term, it is a fairly direct phrase. With SEO, a web page is being optimized for search engines, ensuring they can properly inspect a website and gather accurate information about the web pages. But that is just a generalization of SEO, there is much more to it, and using a website platform, such as WordPress, can streamline and improve the process of optimizing a website for search engines. Learn more about how search engine optimization is crucial to getting noticed online and how WordPress can help.
Using SEO to Increase Search Engine Rankings
The primary goal of SEO is to increase web page rankings on SERPs (yes, I am throwing another term at you), which stands for “search engine results pages”. When an internet user performs a search, the search engine provides a list of pages that they have determined will be most relevant and most helpful to the user’s search query. In order to determine the relevance of web pages, search engines employ a number of techniques and complicated algorithms, but first, they must look at a variety of criteria on the millions of web pages out there.
Search engines “crawl” web sites and create a record of what they find. They will follow the links on the pages, scroll through the content, and add information to their databases. While search engines use hundreds of pieces of specific information to determine SERP rankings, there is a handful of areas that every website owner should pay attention to. This includes the content of the web page, the use of a keyword phrase or phrases to focus on, the number of back-links to the page, the amount of social media sharing that links to the page, structure and layout of the page, as well as page load time. Ensuring a web page is setup with this criteria in mind in order to increase rankings on SERPs is the main focus of SEO.
The more often a website appears towards the top of SERPs, the more visitors that page will get. If you want to increase your online exposure, your website needs to include proper SEO techniques.If you want to increase your online exposure, your website needs to include proper SEO techniques. Click To Tweet
Using WordPress Can Improve SEO
Okay, now that we covered the basics of what SEO is and why it is important, we should discuss how WordPress can help. With WordPress, a website is built from a theme and then edited and re-designed to meet the needs of each business. Once the site is built, a template is in place that each web page on the website will use. The web pages get added using the WordPress dashboard, which includes many enhancements that can help improve SEO, such as:
- The ability to add custom Meta titles and descriptions
- Using categories and tags for structured internal linking
- Ensuring proper SEO is used when adding images
- Offering an array of useful WordPress plugins
The WordPress dashboard makes it easy to ensure each new page has a custom title and description that is specific to that page and not auto-generated by search engines using the first sentence from the web page. Focus keyword phrases can easily be added to the title and description as the page is created.
Taxonomy is another area where WordPress helps improve SEO – namely the use of categories and tags, which are a useful function provided by WordPress. As a web page is created, categories and tags are chosen to help relate similar content from the website. If you think of your website as a large book full of useful information, the categories are individual chapters and the tags are like the index. This helps user navigation and search engine optimization. WordPress actually creates an additional web page each time a category or tag is added. The additional internal links generated by these pages increases a website’s overall SEO.
Whenever adding an image to a webpage, both the TITLE and “ALT” tags should be filled out to include brief descriptions of the image. The purpose of the ALT tag is to help those that are visually impaired and relying on a program to read them the content of a webpage or if the image fails to load; though, over time, the use of ALT tags has become a determining factor in SERP rankings and offers an additional opportunity to use focus keyword phrases. WordPress has made it simple to add images and has included a spot for entering text for both the TITLE and ALT tags each time an image gets added to a page.
WordPress SEO Plugins
WordPress itself can provide numerous SEO benefits, but one of the largest advantages is through the use of quality plugins. By adding an XML sitemap plugin, the sitemap automatically gets updated each time a new web page is added. Some of these sitemap plugins will even resubmit the updated sitemaps directly to the top search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Other than sitemap plugins, there are a variety of useful plugins that focus on good SEO techniques, such as WordPress SEO by Yoast. These plugins will allow a user to choose a specific keyword phrase for each web page and then keep track of how often it gets used throughout the page as well as verify that all search engine optimization techniques are followed before the page gets published. Best of all, many of these WordPress SEO plugins are free to use and updated on a regular basis.WordPress itself can provide numerous SEO benefits Click To Tweet
Search engine optimization does not have to be an overly complicated process; though, the amount of competition and the number of people working to make sure their own websites, or websites belonging to their clients, achieve the highest search rankings does increase the stakes. By using WordPress, and possibly a helpful WordPress plugin, anyone can ensure their website is using quality SEO. If you want to learn more about the benefits of good SEO and using WordPress for the design of your own custom website, then please take a look at some of my other articles or send me a message.