It is a rule in the web world — you want your website listed on the first page of any search engine site. The reason is simple: The first listed result from an internet search gets about a third of all clicks resulting from that search. After the top 10 results, the percentages of clicks are miniscule. If your site comes up on page two — much less page 37 — chances are you won’t be seen.
There is both an art and a science to getting a website listed on the first page of a search engine website, and that is why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts make such good money. But you don’t necessarily need a high-priced consultant (or worse, some black-hat hacker who will end up getting your site banned from Google) to improve your search rankings. The good news is that WordPress is already search-engine friendly, and there are a few simple things you can do to help improve the search engine rankings of any WordPress-based site.
Content, content, content
Start a blog already, for crying out loud! I know I sound like a broken record on this point, but the best way to get your site noticed is by posting relevant content on a regular basis. Make your posts interesting and germane to what your audience wants to read. Include videos and links to other sites. But the most important thing here is to keep the content coming!
Relevant URLs that include keywords
The URL is the web address that points to a particular page or post on your site, and having a relevant URL can positively affect your search rankings. For example, the URL for this post is “http://deluxedelivers.com/2013/01/simple-seo-tips-for-business/”. In WordPress, you have the capability to create a unique URL for each and every post and page on your site. Use that ability to create URLs that include keywords and are relevant to the subject of the post or page.
There are a couple of things to remember here. First, make certain your WP site is set up to handle named permalinks. Having actual words for your links will help improve your search rankings. The default WordPress setting is to use a numeric URL; that should be changed before the site goes live. From the WordPress dashboard, click Settings > Permalinks, and be certain that your site is using either the day and name, month and name, or post name permalink structure (Quick note: If your site is established and you have been using numerical permalinks, changing them to named permalinks now could create problems, as any incoming links will be broken). Second, WordPress automatically uses the title of your post as the permalink. Depending on your title, you may want to edit your permalink before you publish your post.
Use great titles
Speaking of titles, a clever headline is great for printed material, but search engines just don’t get “clever”. Write the title of your post or page so that people will want to click on it when it appears in a search! Include relevant keywords in your title, and put them near the front. Also, be certain to keep your titles fewer than 60 characters; any more than that, and search engines will cut them off!
Use the All in One SEO Pack plugin
There are all kinds of plugins for WordPress, and one I heartily recommend is the All in One SEO Pack plugin from Semper Fi web design. It works with Google Analytics, is all kinds of handy for pages and posts, and it’s free. What’s not to love? If you haven’t done so already, download it, install it, and use it. You won’t regret it.
Add social media links to your content
Once you’ve written the Great American Blog Post, your work is not done. Get into the world of social media and start promoting that puppy! Links pointing to your site from Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and all the rest of the social media world will do nothing but good for your search rankings.
I admit I was a little sheepish about writing a post on SEO tips, because we’ve just begun following these best practices ourselves. At present, we are going back through all our pages and posts to fill in keywords, descriptions, and so on, with the expectation that our work will pay off in the future. Remember, improving your search ranking will not happen overnight, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either a liar or a crook (and possibly both). Following these best practices will, over time, organically improve your presence with search engines. And that is the best way to get noticed!