I’m frequently asked by clients to to help get their web sites a good search engine showing; most people would like to see their site feature at least in the first 10 returns from a search and ideally at the top. As many of my customers are using WordPress to power their sites I have compiled a quick list of tips to get the best out of your self hosted WordPress pages.
WordPress is particularly well designed for search engine optimisation so judicious use of posts, pages, categories and tags will help search engines crawl and gather efficiently the information needed to establish your site in their databases.
Once I have set up the site to make the best of its built in search optimisation tools and installed various 3rd party plugins it’s then up to the site owner to start to make the best of their site content.
Search Engines Read Your Content
Search engines love to read. They are not interested in how ‘pretty’ your site looks. They want content, the interesting and informative ‘stuff’ on your site. Do your best to develop quality written content so search engines can give you a good “score”.
Think About How People Search For Content
If you want your content to be search engine friendly, think about the kind of words and phrases someone would use if they were looking for the content you provide. Use relevant words and phrases more than once as you write, but of course not in every sentence or paragraph.
Key Words, Links, and Titles
Make sure that the words in your posts and pages compare favourably with your metatags , links and titles. The more they match the more search engines will ‘weight’ certain words and phrases.
Content in Links and Images
It may be that your site is not particularly ‘wordy’, maybe relying more on photographs or links to other pages. Make sure then that you use textual content with these elements where you can. Search engines will look for ‘alt’ and ’title’ in image and link attributes. Having good descriptions for your links and images will not only make your site more accessible for people with visual impairment but will provide more ‘juicy’ content for search engines to enjoy.
Despite your site’s rich content there is another important way in which you can give it a leg-up. Search engines give weight to the quality of the sites that link to your site. So, make sure you add your url to your signature in forum posts on other sites, submit your site relevant to directories and include your url in your profile on any social or business networks you use. In fact, do your best to get your web address out there!
Internal Navigation Links
Ensure your site’s internal navigation allows search engines (and visitors) to move through your site categories, archives and pages with ease, so reaching all parts of your site. Clean, clear and simple navigation will help this to happen.
Sites that don’t change are not search engine friendly. Keep your site content fresh.
Set aside time to check out your site. Make sure it’s all working and if not get your web administrator to fix it; that’s what they’re paid for.
Invite feedback either through forms on your site or just ask your friends and colleagues to take a look.
Try to introduce regular new content if you can and if you can’t update old content.
Ask someone in to ‘guest’ or ‘ghost’ write for you.
If your site is interesting to visitors it’ll be interesting to search engines and you will find your ranking improving.