SEO is talked about a lot in the web world, and for good reason. Optimizing your site is key for keeping new traffic flowing through regularly. But being an SEO pro isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are 9 basics to you started.
Use an SEO Plugin
The easiest way to start optimizing your site is to install a respected SEO plugin. Our favorite at Melted Iceberg is Yoast SEO. It’s one of the most frequently installed WP plugins, and for good reason.
The plugin allows you to input a focus keyword for each page, and provides an analysis on how well you used the keyword. It even offers simple instructions on how to improve your score.
The plugin also allows you to write title tags, meta descriptions, create a sitemap, and more.
Add Your Site to Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free service that has a ton of tools available to help website owners optimize their site for Google.
You can use GSC to submit a sitemap, see 404 errors found on your site, get information on your website security, or even see what websites are linking to yours.
It’s very simple to add your website to GSC. And did we mention it’s free?
Use the Correct Permalink Structure
Although there are a few different permalink structure options in WordPress, it is commonly understood that the best permalink structure is yourdomain.com/page-title. This keeps your URL shorter and containing only relevant information. (WordPress commonly defaults to the /year/month/date/title structure)
Individual words should be hyphenated so they can be indexed by search engines. It’s also a good idea to include your focus keyword somewhere in the page URL.
Set Alt Text for Your Images
While images can help create a positive user experience on your site, Google’s crawlers can’t see the images on your pages.
If you want to add a little more SEO juice to your page, adding alt text to your images is something that Google’s crawlers can read. With alt text, crawlers can have a pretty good idea of what your image is, instead of just knowing that some kind of image is added to your page.
Proper alt text should inform Google on what the image is about. It should not be vague or lengthy.
Alt text is also helpful for visitors using screen readers – descriptive alt text can help them visualize the images that they cannot see.
Set up a www/non-www Redirect
To see if your website has a www/non-www redirect in place, try navigating to both versions of your site, once with www and once without. For example, www.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com. Are you able to successfully view both versions, or does one redirect to the other?
If you are able to access both versions of your website, you should add a redirect from one to the other.
Without a redirect in place, Google may view each version of your pages as duplicate content, which could harm your search rankings.
Using Internal Linking
Internal linking (adding links within your own website to other pages on your website) helps establish informational hierarchy and adds ranking power to your website.
When you’re adding new content, keep in mind your existing pages and look for places where you can link them.
Create Fresh Content Regularly
“Content is king” is the motto of all content marketers, and one that you have probably heard before. This is because content can add value to your site and help attract new visitors.
Adding high-quality, fresh content to your site on a regular basis will help you rank above an competition who is not dedicating efforts to new content.
Blogging is a great way prevent your site from becoming static. Blogs can also attract new visitors and increase conversions.
Use schema markup
The hottest tool in optimization right now is schema markup, and luck for you, it’s wickedly simple.
Schema markup is code that you add to information on your website, to help search engines better relay that information to your users.
Essentially, schema markup tells search engines what your content means. For example, if you add schema markup to an FAQ page you can tell search engines which part is the question, and which part is the answer – helping your site appear in search results like this:
Guest post/external linking
Having links to your website from other reputable websites is a huge SEO advantage. But links to your site aren’t always easy to get.
One of the easier ways to get a link back to your site is through guest blogging. Find someone who has a reputable blog, and offer to write a guest post that includes a link back to your site.
You can also try offering a link exchange, where two website owners create posts for each other’s websites and get links back to their own. Everyone wins!