By default WordPress is SEO “friendly”. Right out of the box it’s set-up so that embarking on a SEO strategy to optimize your website will not be a super-difficult task. This however doesn’t mean you click a ‘go’ button and your WP site self-automizes your marketing plan. There still is a bevy of things you must do right. And when done right you will be greatly rewarded.
I have been in the website business for over 8 years. Believe me when I tell you SEO is an important factor in getting traffic to your site. Now, if you are one of those rare birds who really don’t care about gaining traffic then move on along. If you are part of the other 98% then keep reading on.
If you do your SEO right, it outperforms most other sources of traffic. Not by just a little but by a serious amount. You need to be careful with articles you read on the web in relation to SEO practices. The majority of them are just recycled information. You need to do a bit more than that. If you are serious about getting your pages ranked then you need to feed the beast.
Content For Visitors, Not Search Engines
For the longest time I heard and read about marketing and SEO companies writing content geared towards Google and not to the reader. The idea and strategy here is that who cares what the reader thinks as long as Google crawls your site more frequently based on your content.
Well this ‘strategy’ is inherently a problem. I will tell you why. You want content that your clientele will want to read. By generating content people want to read you generate traffic. Google will see that your site is generating traffic and crawl your site at a greater rate. Google also has since updated their algorithms since I first heard this and surely they are aware of this. Don’t you think Google wants people to find content that is actually relevant to your search and not a site that ranks high based on tricks?
Write content that matters and that is relevant. Not gibberish and overladen keywords. You will have better results because of it.
Write “Better” Content
OK this one admittedly is a tough task. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be achieved. In the end you will be rewarded. Since we want to write content that people want to read we need to write it better than provided at other websites/sources. Why you might ask? Because people will click to read the better and proven articles. And as we said before Google likes this.
If you have the two top ranked web site articles about a specific topic in Google and the second ranked article out-clicks the top article what do you think will happen? That’s right it will eventually become number 1. Google didn’t achieve their world domination by being a bunch of dummies.
This can be done if you invest time and research. It also doesn’t hurt if you have experience and expertise in the topic’s particular field.
Write In-Depth, Long-Form Content
This one is a big deal. Take a look at the graph below. The graphic basically shows the word count of the top ten results for a search. What you see is that on average the top spot has 400 more words than the 10th post. Writing an article with over 2,000 words will go a long way in getting your site noticed. By default having many words in an article ensures that you cover many angles and positions. Sure to help you and your position of being an authority on your subject.
So long-form is a major player right? Well besides that why should we post content that covers something so extensively? One big answer: Backlinks. Backlinks play a huge part in having success with your site/blog. With more credible content comes more backlinks.
Be sure your long-form content is readable. As we mentioned before if Google can’t understand what your content is about then who can?
Target Keywords And Keyphrases
This one almost contradicts my notion that you shouldn’t write for search engines. However, you can’t completely escape that. Google and other search engines need to understand what your content is about. They do this through keywords and phrases. Make sure you have title tags and the ever important header tags. If your keyword is “WordPress” then it behooves you to have it surrounded in H1 and H2 tags.
Almost as important is the placement of of your keywords. You will want to have them in your first 100 words of your article and the last 100.
Images get neglected way to much. They of course aren’t as important as say your header tag, but don’t let that fool you into think they don’t play a role. All images on your site should be properly named with an ALT tag or image name.
A big disclaimer here. Don’t add keywords for the sake of adding them. Keyword density is a big deal. Write your content that ‘feels’ natural. Adding your keyword 28 times to a 700 word article isn’t normal. Don’t do it. Google is aware of such practices and will punish you accordingly.
Write Great Headlines To Drive User Reads and Clicks
Don’t underestimate this one. A great headline that includes your keywords is a big deal. Not only will you have your keyword(s) within the first 100 words but also in your H1 tag (assuming you follow that practice).
Your focus here is to create awesome headlines to article that make people want to read them. Be careful here thought. The last thing you want or need is to have articles that are considered clickbait.
Keep Your Readers Engaged
This goes without saying right? It is easy when creating long-form articles to get a little ‘stale’. But it’s very important to keep your readers interested in reading the full article. To help with this here are a few suggestions:
- Use plenty of headings and sub-headings
- Write short sentences and paragraphs
- Use bullet points when you can
- Break up the page with images
- Use videos if relevant
- Include relevant links. Google will give more credence to your content if it references similar topics
Good SEO Takes Time And A Lot Of Patience
If it was easy, everyone would be doing it with great success. But it’s not and takes persistence, a heavy effort and time.Having a strong strategy and riding it out is paramount to your site’s success. If you stick with your plan it will eventually pay off.