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 WordPress SEO Tips will help you implement a successful SEO strategy on your business website.
The majority of all small business websites are developed on the popular WordPress Content Management System (CMS). This makes it much easier for small business owners to gain better understanding and control of their SEO. Even novices can use our WordPress SEO Tips right away.
Our WordPress SEO Tips follow a step-by-step approach that is easy to understand. And while they are based on actual WordPress sites we designed and built for our clients they also work for other platforms. Some of our tips are simply good practices. For others you may have to search for the appropriate functionality.
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. You can use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find out how many people actually 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. This is 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 really don’t recommend that you use a free theme for your business website. You will find that you will quickly run into limitations. This is especially true for SEO. Instead you should focus 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. Otherwise we recommend you install a caching plugin like 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 – 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? Simply write your own custom excerpt and insert it yourself.
11 – Configure Robots.txt
You should 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:
12 – Install 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. A plugin such as the Quick Post / Page Re-Direct Plugin is a great option.
13 – 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. This can include a product, service, location, client or even a purchased stock image. 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!
14 – 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.
15 – 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 actually check your sitemap for any errors or inconsistencies.
16 – Claim and Optimize Applicable Social Channels
Your business website needs to be connected to social media pages relevant to your industry or business. At the very least you should be on Facebook and Twitter. Google+ helps for obvious reasons. LinkedIn is essential for business marketers. Pinterest and Instagram are a must for visually oriented brands. And YouTube and Vine are a must for video content.
17 – 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.
18 – 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?
19 – Share Your Site on Bookmarking Sites
Share your business website on quality social bookmarking sites to share your content with a like-minded audience. Personally we are very fond of Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Slashdot, and HackerNews.
20 – Build Quality Backlinks
All of the above should lead to same 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 are high-quality backlinks. Whenever you have spare time you should build backlinks to your quality content.
Using Our WordPress SEO Tips
In order to implement our WordPress SEO tips you should have admin level access to your WordPress business website. For the purpose of this post we are only 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 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 WordPress SEO tips as a guide. Simply check of each item on our list that is already part of your overall SEO strategy. Start working on implementing the rest. Much of it is simply getting into the habit of doing things a certain way.
Most of our 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 we mention have tutorials that provide additional details.
If you need some more help to get your small business SEO to the next level check out these posts on our ESPRESSO Shots Blog:
- The Small Business SEO Toolbox
- A Simple SEO Checklist for Small Business Websites
- Local SEO Audit Checklist for Small Business
- The On-Page Local SEO Checklist for Business
- 8 SEO basics to Grow Your Small Business
We Do Small Business SEO!
Here at ESPRESSO.digital, we offer a full range of SEO and online marketing services, including digital marketing services, content strategy and development, and search engine optimization and marketing. Contact us to learn more about our small business SEO services, and how our team can help you implement our WordPress SEO tips on your business website.
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