21 Essential WordPress SEO Tips for Small Business Websites
Getting Noticed, the Right Way!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential part of any diversified Internet marketing strategy. Without an effective search strategy in place, your brand is less likely to show up in search results. These essential WordPress SEO tips will help you implement a successful SEO strategy on your business website.
The majority of all small business websites use the popular WordPress Content Management System (CMS). WordPress makes it much easier for small business owners to gain a better understanding and control of their SEO. Even novices can use our essential WordPress SEO tips right away.
Our essential WordPress SEO tips follow a step-by-step approach that is easy to understand. Based on actual WordPress sites we designed and built for our clients, these tips also work for other platforms. Some of our suggestions are good practices. For others, you may have to search for the appropriate functionality.
21 Essential WordPress SEO Tips
1 – Do Your Keyword Research
Before you do anything else, you should start with keyword research. Find out how people would search Google for what your business has to offer. The best place to start is the Google Search Console. You can also use an online tool like Soovle to find relevant keywords. Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find out how many people search for specific terms.
2 – Select A Keyword Rich Domain
Once you determine what people are looking for, try to get a similar or related web address, also known as your domain. A .Com domain is still the preferred domain extension. Ideally, you want your web address to look like this: www.mygreatbusinessidea.com.
3 – Use WordPress
Yes, you can build your small business website on other platforms. But if you are looking for something that both users and Google love, you should choose WordPress. The range of plugins, general ease of use, and search engine optimization options are a clear advantage.
4 – Choose an Adequate WordPress Theme
While that may be tempting, I don’t recommend that you use a free theme for your business website. You will find that you will quickly run into limitations. This fact is especially true for SEO. Instead, it would help if you focused on a premium theme that will give you more options. We recommend ThemeForest as a theme and plugin repository.
5 – Stay Up-to-Date
Be sure that you have the latest WordPress install (as of this writing 4.4.2) and that all of your plugins are the latest available version. The same goes for your theme; make sure that you have properly downloaded and installed the latest available version.
6 – Install and Configure Caching Plugins
Page Speed is important when it comes to Google rankings. If a service provider such as WPEngine hosts, you are all set. Optimizing your site for speed is one of their services. Even better, WPEngine works extremely well with WP Rocket, one of the best caching plugins by far. And it is effortless and straightforward to set-up. But it is a premium plugin, at $49.00 for a single site. We also recommend W3 Total Cache or Auto Optimize. But be careful when you configure them to avoid any conflicts. Try one setting at a time!
7 – Install and Configure SEO Plugins
Once you confirm that your WordPress theme and plugins are up-to-date, you can install and configure your preferred SEO plugins. We recommend one of the following: Yoast SEO (formerly WordPress SEO by Yoast) or All-in-One SEO Pack. Install and activate the plugin. You will be asked to connect it to your Google account if applicable.
8 – Set Permalinks
Make sure to change your Permalinks in your WordPress settings. You always want to use the real post title in your permalinks.
9 – Create Quality Content
While there are always short-term ways to trick Google, the only way to consistently rank on search engines is quality original content. Remember, you are creating content for your audience, not necessarily yourself. Make sure your content is something your readers will want to pass around.
10 – Keep a Blog
Search engines such as Google, and your target audience, require fresh and relevant content to keep them interested in your business or product brand. The most efficient way to satisfy this requirement is to keep an active blog. Write about topics of interest to your audience, and you will establish yourself as a trusted resource and expert in your field.
11 – Configure Post Excerpts
Long-form blog content is great. Long-form blog content on your blog landing page is not. Be sure to enable post excerpts in your blog. Want more control? Instead, write your custom excerpt and insert it yourself.
12 – Configure Robots.txt
Always disallow search bots and spiders from crawling category and tags pages on your site. You can easily do this by adding two lines of code to your robots.txt file:
13 – Install a Re-Direct Plugin
Sooner or later, it will become necessary to delete a page or post from your business website. But instead of your readers ending on the dreaded “Page Not Found” dump, they should be redirected to a better option. The paid versions of Yoast SEO and Smart Crawl provide this functionality. A plugin such as Redirection is another great option.
14 – Use Images Correctly
For each page or post, you need to use an appropriate image. The image should clearly illustrate the page or post content. Images can include a product, service, location, client, or you can use a purchased stock image if you don’t have one of your own. Make sure the image is high quality, and don’t forget to write proper Alt Tags and image descriptions. Doing those gives you extra points!
15 – Install and Configure Google Analytics
You absolutely must install Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools on your business website if you have not already done so. Be sure to add the actual Google Analytics Code and verify the code with Google Webmaster Tools.
16 – Create an XML Sitemap
Be sure to create an XML Sitemap of your business website and upload it to Webmaster Tools. Yoast SEO does this for you, but you may also want to install the Google XML Sitemap Plugin and run it as well. Make sure you check your sitemap for any errors or inconsistencies.
17 – Claim and Optimize Applicable Social Channels
Connect your business website to social media pages relevant to your industry or business. At the very least, you should be on Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is essential for business marketers. Pinterest and Instagram are essential for visually oriented brands. And YouTube and Vimeo are a must for video content.
18 – Promote on Social Media
For every page or post you create on your business website or blog, be sure to promote it on your social media channels. Social activity is considered to be a key ranking signal. It will not only improve your SEO; it can directly boost site traffic as well.
19 – Submit Your Site to Directories
Submit your business website to open directories in your industry or business, as well as any other directory site with a high Google Page Rank. Not sure where to check page rank? Why not use the Google Page Rank Checker?
20 – Share Your Site on Bookmarking Sites
21 – Build Quality Backlinks
All of the above should lead to some solid on-page and on-site results. Keep in mind that this is an ongoing effort, and you will have to keep up. Constantly changing algorithms and directives can be challenging for small business owners. The one thing that provides lasting value is high-quality backlinks. Whenever you have spare time, you should build backlinks to your quality content.
Implementing these Essential WordPress SEO tips
To use our essential WordPress SEO tips, you should have admin-level access to your WordPress business website. For this post, we are mainly evaluating free SEO and other plugins and extensions. In many cases, there are premium or upgrade versions available for a fee. I recommend you start with the free versions first.
If you don’t already have a WordPress business website, you really should get one. The majority of small business websites run on WordPress, and for a good reason. Especially for SEO, you have advantages right out of the box. And additional SEO enhancements can easily be added.
Once you have your WordPress business website up and running, you can use our essential WordPress SEO tips as a guide. Check off each item on our list that is already part of your overall SEO strategy. Start working on implementing the rest. Much of it is merely getting into the habit of doing things a certain way.
Most of our essential WordPress SEO tips are pretty straightforward. If you already do some or all of your small business digital marketing, you should have no problem implementing them. If you get stuck, many of the extensions and plugins I mention have tutorials that provide additional details.
We Help Businesses with WordPress SEO
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of WordPress SEO services, including mobile-first WordPress web design and search engine optimization. Contact us to learn more about our small business SEO services. Our team can help you implement our essential WordPress SEO tips on your business website.
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