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WordPress is the perfect solution for small and medium sized businesses, especially when it comes to e-commerce. It’s affordable and user friendly however, WordPress is not optimized for search engines when it’s initially installed on a domain. We will go over the steps we use to setup a website that abide by SEO best practices.

By our estimates, about fifty percent of all websites today use WordPress because it function as a simplistic content management system. Small businesses lean toward WordPress over other content management systems because of the vast customizations, themes, and plugins that are available from active developers

The misconception that many businesses have when deciding on WordPress is that SEO is an added feature out-of-the-box.  What many people don’t understand is that WordPress was not built to work this way.  With online design, you can no longer hope your site is designed well visually. Now, you must design your site textually and take site structure into account. Rankings and site traffic share a symbiotic relationship with how well a site is formed.

1. Step 1: Keyword Research

Its important you understand that WordPress will not do SEO for you and it is not an automated solution for a very important reason. Google rankings are not automatic, they are algorithmic.  Just like the algorithm, when it fluctuates so may your rankings.  Now you may have a site or may not, but the first step to optimizing your site for SEO is by evaluating the keywords you should target within your site’s niche.  This kind of research involves conducting competitive analysis for other websites so you can discover the keywords they’re targeting as well. By doing this, you can optimize your site for them, integrate their keywords with yours, or decide ones that are better that they might be missing out on.

Now, you might be wondering why are keywords important? What do I do with them now that I have them? WordPress was built for designers and around themes/plugins that improve it visually and technically.  Yet, WordPress support documents are seriously lacking in how to improve onsite SEO. In fact, SEO is usually not even a concern for the average developer even though it should be considering Google is now considering specific aspects of the user experience to be ranking factors.

2. Page Level Optimizations

The title tag of a site is undoubtedly the most crucial website optimization component you can make. A title tag should be short but descriptive to identify your company or yourself(whatever the page represents). So naturally it’s given a very high relevance within search results with regard to click through rate – out of thousands results that a searcher sees, the title of your website must be appealing enough for him to desire to find out more info.  Although it’s not considered a direct ranking factor, your title also has to be appealing enough to the search engine in order to rank you above a large number of other similar sites like yours.

Meta tags might not be as important as they used to be 5 years ago, but the page’s Meta Description cannot go overlooked. The Meta description of a site should include a simple description of your page. This little piece of text could be considered as a selling snippet, if a searcher finds it appealing he is likely to click and be directed to your page to learn more. However, if your Meta Description is too generic and is not written too well, then there is a good chance that your site will simply be ignored.

If your site has a variety of images, you should be optimizing them as well so search engines can index them. It is important to consider that web crawlers can solely read html texts.  They cannot (yet) rank based on image files and image relevancy alone.  You can help web crawlers rank your content by setting ‘alt’ tags for your images which textually identify them and allow web crawlers to index them. 

3. SEO plugins: What’s the best one?

Here’s the thing you should keep in mind: Simply because you are using a Search Engine Optimization plugin does not mean that your website will be optimized.  Why not? Because a plugin enables you to do Search Engine Optimization. It does not optimize the website for you. Typically, a plugin enables you to customize, modify or improve upon some part of your website. With a plugin, you don’t have to possess development knowledge to do so nor do you have to dive into the code.   With that in mind, we suggest that you use a Search Engine Optimization plugin for most of your on-page SEO needs. Now the question is, which one?

What you should be looking for with an SEO plugin is one that offers a clean interface, simplistic optimization tools, and one that is also user friendly. The one we recommend and use for our clients is SEO Yoast.  It allows you to optimize your pages for meta description/title tags, check your content for keyword density, and even generates an XML sitemap for you to submit to Google Search Console.

4. Content Creation and Amplification

At the end of the day, if you would like a website that is truly optimized, it’s up to you to make it that way.

Search engine optimization is not just about deciding the correct topic or installing the correct plugins. That is merely the beginning. You must take control of your site’s presence in search results by making your site search-friendly and you do this by creating content. Your first step should be adding content to each page of your website. Evergreen pages, website posts, videos, guides, tutorials — it doesn’t matter the type.  All it needs to be is engaging and unique and just create as many high quality pages as you reasonably can.  Longer content tends to perform better than short content, but this can depend on a variety of variables within Search algorithms. 


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