An old (and kind of scary) joke among folks who know a thing or two about digital marketing goes like this: where’s the best place to hide a dead body? Answer: page two of Google.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that digital marketing types are, well, hiding dead bodies. Obviously, it means that on today’s search landscape, if a business doesn’t show up on page one — or even better, within the first three results — then it might as well be invisible (at least search engine-wise).
As such, if you’re running a WordPress blog (which is likely, since you’re here!) then it’s definitely in your best interest — it may even be a matter of business survival — to improve your SEO, so that you’re being seen for your keywords; or at least, your most important keywords. To that end, here are 7 practical and proven tips:
- Choose a fast and secure web host. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. Not only do visitors (i.e. customers) expect sites to load within 2-5 seconds, but search engines pay close attention to speed. All else being equal, a business that has faster-loading pages will rank higher than one with slower-loading pages.
- Choose an SEO-friendly template, which is one that loads quickly (as noted above), and has a mobile responsive layout.
- Use an SEO plugin to optimize your content. There are many plugins available, and most of them use the same basic formula: you input a target keyword for a page (or post), and then follow the recommendations. As you optimize, your score will increase. It’s kind of like a video game, but for SEO.
- Change the WordPress default permalink structure. There are a few different options, but many SEO experts recommend going with the Post Name structure, since it tells search engines (and human visitors) what a page is about.
- Use an .xlm sitemap plugin. This is much easier and less technical than manually creating a sitemap (which is what web designers had to do in the old days). There are many good plugins available.
- Implement a solid linking strategy, which includes relevant backlinks and internal links. For example, if you’re creating a blog post about car and truck wraps and cite research from a credible source such as a well-known market research study, then linking to it is a smart SEO move.
- Optimize your images and use your keywords in your alt-text. This is an often overlooked piece of the SEO puzzle. What’s more, an increasing number of people are relying on image searches to find products, services and solutions. You want your images to show up vs. your competitors.
SEO Is A Long-Term Strategy
Before wrapping up, it’s important to highlight something that many businesses struggle with: SEO is not a short-term tactic. Rather, it’s a long-term strategy. Yes, you can see some significant gains in a relatively short period of time; especially if your site is currently not optimized (or not well optimized) for SEO. However, you need to be committed and committed.
It’s like becoming healthy. If you go to the gym every now and then for a couple of months, you aren’t going to see many (or probably any) big results. But if you diligently go to the gym a few times a week over a long period of time, and follow a carefully laid out fitness program, then you’ll see and experience major gains. Heck, you might even start on one of those late-night infomercials!