Acquiring decent rankings in search engines doesn't just happen by osmosis. When I started on this journey over two decades ago, getting ranked was relatively simple to accomplish. Primarily because there weren't as many sites. Now there are billions.
Basic SEO practices incorporated into your site did the trick. Especially considering there was limited competition. Online was an equalizer for small businesses back then. That too has changed.
By just creating your site properly, from code to content, back in the day you had a decent chance of getting found when searched for. This is no longer the case and I am surprised at how many still believe it to be true. Wishful thinking?
Think about this…
There are billions of websites (In a January 2020 survey there were responses from 1,295,973,827 sites across 249,618,033 unique domain names and 9,576,845 web-facing computers.) That means there are possibly hundreds of thousands competing with you for that top page above-the-fold visibility.
Above-the-fold refers to the results that display after a search before having to scroll to see more. It will take lots of effort and years, if at all, to bump out the sites already enjoying those spots. Time to get to work!
SEO has not really changed all that much in two decades. The changes have been more in the technology end of the deal. For instance the addition of social media, mobile responsiveness, server and site speed performance.
Creating relevant useful well written content that your site visitors will appreciate is naturally SEO'd. Therefore, quality content will always be at the core of attaining relevant rankings.
Where Do I Start SEO'ing My WordPress Site?
Many are under the impression that WordPress has SEO built-in and there is nothing the site owner needs to do. Yes, WordPress (and premium themes) are SEO friendly, but you still have to create the content that needs to be SEO'd.
Check out my article that will help you get your feet wet
on the basics of “how to learn about SEO“.
While there are plugins that assist with this process, I use and recommend Yoast SEO. But understand that no plugin is the end all be all.
It won't miraculously “SEO” your pages to the top page of search engines. SEO plugins make recommendations based on your content.
The first thing you should do is keyword research so you know what terms to write about and incorporate into your site. Mapping out how you are going to structure and organize your information to be user-friendly is a very important part of the process too.
If you have an established site, look at your stats. You can see how you are being found and what content is most popular. Build on that.
Either way you need to have a plan.
SEO is Not Entirely About You
I always advise clients that when determining keyword phrases for their SEO efforts that they need to get into their customer's head. Determine and target the phrases that your potential customers are actually using.
- They don't know you exist to search by name.
- Do not assume they know what you know to use the phrases you would use.
- Terms they use may be entirely different.
Do not fall into the trap of optimizing only on how you want, think or prefer they find you. When you look at your SEO from this perspective you may be surprised to find that these are two sets of terms altogether.
Industry terms you use may be unknown to your target customers. Terms you want to be found by may not actually be the terms your potential market knows about. This is where doing your keyword due diligence is so critical to your online endeavor.
Guessing or thinking doesn't make the cut. Knowing exactly what folks use is imperative to your “findability!”
Being the data is available to you to figure this out means you have no excuse to not know. Determine what phrases are actually being searched for and integrate those terms throughout your site.
What are the “Right” Keywords for Your WordPress Site?
Not keywords — phrases! Keyphrases (aff). To expect to rank for one-word search terms is impossible. Instead let's go for phrases:
- Keyphrases your customers actually use.
- Terms that accurately describe what you have to offer.
- The phrases that are searched for based on available data.
Now go to my post on Bullseye Marketing that has a PDF you can download to help determine your target phrases so you can begin to actively SEO your WordPress site. Go ahead — get to work!
At your service,