Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a controversial and commonly misunderstood marketing tactic. SEO is a very real, and accepted tactic that bring incredible potential to many businesses.
What Really Is SEO?
SEO is not about stuffing keywords into your pages and buying links. It use to be, but if you do that now you will hurt your website. SEO is now about having a good usable website that works for all devices, and creating relevant, quality content that relates to the search terms you want to rank for. Google has an algorithm that ranks websites based on a criteria of over 200 ‘ranking factors’. These range from things like your page speed, to the use of a keyword in your page title (and 198+ in between).
SEO and WordPress
WordPress is one of the best platforms to optimize for when it comes to SEO. Much of the difficult, technical work is taken care of by default when you use WordPress. In addition, there are plugins to help you optimize for many of the important things Google looks at.
The most popular and best plugin is WordPress SEO by Yoast. We install this plugin by default on all websites we build at IdeaZone. We train our clients on how to do it, and offer additional help if they require it.
Getting Started With SEO For Your WordPress Site
So you have a WordPress website and Yoast downloaded. Now what? SEO needs to be done strategically. What is the point in trying to optimize for a certain keyword, if people aren’t looking for it?
Step 1 – Assess your current situation
The first thing I do anytime I am introduced to someone looking for help with SEO is to find out what they are currently ranking for. There is an awesome tool called SEMRush that can tell you what you (and your competitors!) are ranking for. It’s not perfect, but usually catches important keyword. All you have to do is copy/paste your home page URL into the tool, ensure you pick the right country, and go!
Step 2 – Is SEO right for you?
SEO is not right for all businesses, but it is right for many. All you have to do is think logically: would I search for this type of product, service or company on Google? Or is that not likely. Start to brainstorm a list of things you think people would search in Google. Try to build a list of 5-10 keywords at least.
Step 3 – Find out how many people are searching for these keywords!
Google has a tool, called a Keyword Planner, that allows you to find out how many people in a certain geographic location search for a particular keyword monthly. Here is the process to follow:
- Go to https://www.google.com/adwords. If you already have an Adwords account then sign in, if not you can sign up for free using a Gmail account (you don’t have to run ads unless you want to, don’t worry).
- On the top navigation bar find Tools > Keyword Planner
- Choose ‘search for new keywords and ad group ideas’
- Enter one keyword you think someone would look for (ie. web design Victoria)
- Enter your home page URL. Google will then scan your page and provide you with other keywords it thinks you could target.
- Choose the geographic location you want (we have just chosen Victoria, BC in this case)
- Click ‘Get Ideas’
- You will now be able to search through ideas Google suggests based on that one keyword and the content on your website. I suggest looking under the ‘Keyword’ tab as the results tend to be more relevant.
- Start a list/ excel document with the keyword and monthly search volume.
Step 4 – Complete an SEO audit and create a plan
The next step I would take is do a complete review on the state of your SEO, and create an actionable plan on what needs to be done. I am not going to get into explaining how to do this, as it would take a really, really, really long time. And you likely would not be able to effectively do it for the first time. I suggest hiring a professional digital marketer with experience to help you audit and create a plan, and then you can assist with the delivery.
- Receive a high level overview of the state of your SEO
- Find out the competitiveness of your specific situation
- Learn if SEO would be a good strategy to focus on for your business
- Get quick wins/ recommendations to improve your SEO