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. Basic SEO practices incorporated into your site did the trick.
By just creating your site properly, from code to content, you had a decent chance of getting found when searched for. This is no longer the case and I am constantly surprised at how many still believe it to be true. Wishful thinking?
Think about this... There are millions of websites (expected to exceed 1 billion websites sometime from late 2015 to mid 2016) and possibly hundreds of thousands competing with you for that top page above-the-fold visibly. Above-the-fold refers to the results that display after a search before scrolling to see more. It will take lots of effort -- and years, if at all, to bump out the sites already enjoying those spots. No time like the present to get to work!
SEO has not changed all that much in two decades. The changes have been more in the technology end of the deal -- adding 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 and has always been at the core of attaining relevant rankings.
Where Do I Start SEO'ing My WordPress Site?
I get asked this every single day. 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 and have upgraded to the PRO version for some of my sites for the extra features, no plugin is the end all be all. It won't miraculously "SEO" your pages to the top page of search engines. Ever hear of the saying "Garbage in; Garbage Out"? Plugins do what they do 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. Knowing how you are going to structure and organize your information to be user-friendly for site visitors is a very important part of the process too! If you have an established site you can look at your stats and know how you are already getting found so you can build on that. Either way you need to have a plan.
SEO isn't just what you "think" or "want" to be found for...
I've always cautioned clients that when determining and choosing the keyword phrases for their SEO efforts that they need to put on their customer hat. Determine and target the phrases that your potential customers are actually using to find what you have to offer. Not how you want or think or prefer they find you. When you look at your SEO from this perspective you may be surprised to fint that these are two different lists altogether!
Industry terms you use may be unknown to your target customers. Terms you would prefer to be found by may not actually be considered as terms to search for by your potential market. This is where doing your keyword due diligence is so critical to your online endeavor. Guessing or thinking doesn't make the cut -- knowing 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. You need to determine what phrases are actually being used and how best to integrate your targeted phrases throughout your site.
What are the "Right" Keywords for Your WordPress Site?
Not keywords -- phrases! To expect to rank for one-word search terms is a very difficult hill to climb. Instead let's go for phrases:
- The phrases your customers actually use.
- The phrases that accurately describe what you have to offer.
- The phrases that are known to be 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!
An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.
~ Jack Welch
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