One of the most important factors in developing a good digital marketing and web presence is making sure your SEO is on point.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or unpaid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. (Definition of SEO)
WordPress makes SEO a little less daunting than other web platforms. Many premium WordPress themes come with their own SEO functionality, but there are also many very good WordPress SEO plugins. All In One SEO Pack, WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast are probably the most popular SEO plugins. Both are pretty simple to use once you get learn what is important factors for SEO.
Marketing Press’ SEO Checklist For WordPress
- SEO Functionality: Set yourself up for success and use one either one of the plugins recommended or a WordPress theme that has the functionality built in. Our Marketing Press site runs on the Genesis Theme which uses Genesis’ SEO functions. Either way this makes SEO painless. (click to see screenshot of Genesis’ SEO fields.)
- Keyword Research: How do people find the topic your writing about? Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and do your research. Best case scenario you bridge the common problem of being disconnected between what you think your audience searches for and what they actually search for. Keyword information and knowledge is power when it comes to publishing content on the web.
- Develop Keyword Latent Content: Now that you know how your topic is being found, there’s nothing left to do but write. Develop great content with your specific keywords in mind, but make sure you write for your audience not bots and spiders. (Remember, great gets read and shared, while mediocre content rusts away on page 10 of google.) Old school SEO methods say write for search engines, but no longer. Make sure you construct your content for readers. TMC Interactive developed a great tool for content development – Download the Content Construction Worksheet FREE from Scribd.
- Link Your Content: Link keywords within your content to other relevant articles and sites. Whenever we develop content for clients we always make sure we link out to other sites that have a high degree of authority on the subject matter. Also, it’s important to build your internal links by linking to some of your older posts and pages. Google (and other search engines) place a high priority on links when their algorithm decides where your page/post should rank. When linking to other posts and pages it’s important to use your keywords in the linked text (anchor text.) Linking to words like ‘click here’ or ‘click to read about…’ will not help your search rank, but linking to something like ‘WordPress SEO‘ will provide more value. (The WordPress plugin SEO Smart Links is also a pretty useful tool.)
- Generate and Submit Sitemaps:You need to tell the search engines where you are by submitting a site map for their bots & spiders to access. This is extremely easy with WordPress, install XML Sitemap Generator for WordPress, get set up on Google Webmaster Tools and it’s done for you. (Also, very helpful with broken 404 links and keyword analysis.)
- Optimizing Images: Many people ignore alt-txt and image tags when it comes to photos and other site images. That is a huge mistake. Since search engines can’t recognize images, they rely solely on the text associated with the image. A properly named file that described the image plus the alt-txt of the image help SEO efforts greatly.
- Permalinks: Extract all the junk out of your page and post urls. It’s very easy to do. From the WordPress Dashboard go to Settings > Permalinks and select the custom options and enter ‘/%postname%/’ (minus the apostrophe of course.) Use one of your associated keywords with the post or page in the title and the url will provide a great deal of SEO value. Ex. notice the title of this SEO article and check out the url – they’re in congruence.
More SEO Tips From The Pros
Do you have any WordPress SEO tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss.
Thanks for reading – and if you’re in the Los Angeles area be sure to attend WordCamp LA on September 10th, on the Loyola Marymount Campus. I’ll be giving a presentation entitled: “Winning the Search War With Content.”
[Update: Thanks to everyone's great response to our WordPress SEO Checklistarticle, we've developed it into a white paper available on the sidebar for your download.]