I get asked about my search engine rankings often. You can hear the surprise in their voice when I mention I don't even know where or how I rank. I gave up on that years ago! What I do is write about what I do, what I get asked about, what I see clients struggle with. I spread it on social (but I'm not doing all I can do there either and I know it).
But here's the kicker... I've been doing this process for 23 years. Rankings are not an overnight accomplishment nor it is one that I rest on my laurels. I know that if I'm "ranking well" today -- that could be gone tomorrow with one arbitrary algorithm change. That's why I stopped chasing algos a long time ago.
First the Technical SEO Basics
Your content is the heartbeat of your site. What you choose to write about -- and how you go about that, will make a difference as to whether you content is read or shared. But before we get to that, there are technical site-wide boxes that need to be checked as well. Surprisingly the following three items are not addressed as they need to be on many sites I review.
- Site Speed
- Moblie Responsiveness
You need to have the above covered and properly addressed as they are part of ranking well overall. Can't do so without them.
SEO is NOT Rocket Science
Do a search for your top keyword phrase on Google. How may sites are noted at the top of the page on Google's results? Rare is that number under seven or eight figures. So, Search Engine Optimization is a necessary consideration that all site owners need to be aware of when creating content for their sites. But how can you possibly get to the top of that mountain? By working at it -- forever.
Contrary to popular belief, SEO in of itself is something every site owner can easily integrate in their posts with just a little time and forethought. It's common sense actually. And to be honest hasn't changed all that much in decades. SEO really is what it is.
If you hope to rank for any particular phrase, your site has to be relevant and authoritative for that phrase. You rank for a term by being more about that phrase, as determined by the search engines, than other sites.
The problem comes in when folks think that by simply using phrases (or keywords) alone -- that's the ticket to the top page of Google. Well, wash that right out of your hair!
Most sites will not hit the top page of Google -- ever -- without a Pay Per Click Program. To have any chance to rank in the organics (for free) you need to have a consistent proactive approach -- for the long haul. Most folks are not up to that challenge and that's why I warn to not have free organic rankings being the core of your business visibility plan.
Niche, Niche, Niche -- Niche!
If you have a tightly focused niche and if you provide information, articles, tips, white papers and resources on your topic, your site is naturally SEO'd simply by virtue of your content. The problem comes in when you have a broader focus which requires you having to work harder to rank for a more diverse list of phrases.
You also must consider the competitiveness for a particular term or site. The less competition the better your chances. The reality is you would be fooling yourself to not realize you have your work cut out for you.
That's not to say that broader focused sites cannot rank well -- it's just those site owners have to be aware of how search engines work, be better organized and focused and take these issues into consideration when determining their strategy to attain rankings.
What is Required to SEO Your WordPress Posts?
Developing great content takes time -- generally several hours, days or even weeks. This means we have the opportunity to get some planning and strategy in place when deciding what type of content we are going include. When developing your WordPress post and pages, here are issues to keep front that can help naturally SEO your content:
- At least once a month, use the various free keyword research tools to find out what those who are looking for your product or service are actually using in their searches. You can rank #1 for a term but if no one is searching using that term, they won't see that first place position to click on your link. Listen to your customers and your market and make note of the phraseology and terminology they use to discuss what they need and what you do.
- Think of ways to segment your niche. If your niche requires you cover a broader range of topics you then will have to plan on concentrating on and organizing by the core topics so that you have a chance of ranking well for your desired terms. This means concentrated topical and correctly created category and tag organization.
- Once you pair things down and categorize your site tightly, create a list of the top 15 two-three word keyword phrases your research has shown searchers are actually using for each topic you want to write about. Then create a list of long tail keyword phrases. Long tail keyword phrases are 3-4 words and are very, very, specific! Long tails are less competitive and those who use them tend to know what they want and are easier to convert if they find you. Have that list available to you so you can blend those very terms -- naturally -- into your post. Check out my Bullseye Marketing PDF for help. Of course having your primary term in your title makes sense for SEO but more importantly searchers are drawn to titles that incorporate what information they are looking for!
- One thought, point or issue per post. Keep It Super Simple! Paragraphs no longer than a two to three sentences that are less than 15-20 words. Throw in bulleted lists with a dash of a headline here or there. All help to keep your posts easy to read, focused and more concentrated -- and more relevant. Yoast SEO is the plugin I use and has an outstanding readability tool to help guide you on creating properly optimized and structured content.
- Use your targeted phrase in your post title, in one subheading and in the first and last paragraph. You want to pepper your post with the variations of your targeted terms that your searchers would use on that post's topic.
- Your post should read naturally without using one or even a handful of terms repetitively. Read your post out loud before publishing so you can see if your post sounds natural or if it becomes clear that you are overusing a phrase or two. Remember write for your visitors not search engines! As soon as you become too repetitive or choppy your post will not read smoothly and will, well, suck.
- Link to a couple of your previously published posts that are relevant within the content. This is called internal linking and helps search engines find related content on your site.
- Post should be no less that 500 words. 1000 is better!
"But part of SEO is getting links to your site."
I know; easier said that done. Back in the day everyone linked around -- not so much anymore. Having a linking strategy is important and an entire article all by itself. The only chance that you have that your posts will garner links is if they are well-written, helpful and get exposure.
By creating posts that are substantive and useful you increase the odds that they will get linked to and shared on social media sites. Posts written solely for SEO purposes without consideration to your reader's needs, desires and what they will consider of value will not enjoy any viral benefits.
Write About What You Know and What Your Readers Want to Know
So as you can see SEO really isn't rocket science. It's about learning how to create well written interesting and purposeful topic targeted posts and then making sure the world knows about them.
And here's the most important tip of all... When you write about something you know a lot about, have a bunch of experience in, enjoy and that you have a passion about, SEO almost becomes an after-thought.
At your service,