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 websites. 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 correctly, from code to content, you had a decent chance of getting found when searched for back in the day. But, unfortunately, 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 changed all that much in two decades. Instead, 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, valuable, 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. Instead, SEO plugins make recommendations based on your content.
It would be best to do keyword research (aff) to know what terms to write about and incorporate into your site. In addition, mapping out how you will structure and organize your information to be user-friendly is an essential part of the process.
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 they need to get into their customer's heads when determining keyword phrases for their SEO efforts. Determine and target the terms that your potential customers are using.
Please do not fall into the trap of optimizing only 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. The terms you want to be found by may not 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!”
Having the data available to you to figure this out means you have no excuse not to know. Next, determine what phrases are 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. So instead, let's go for phrases:
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. So go ahead — get to work!
At your service,