WordPress is probably one of the best – if not THE best – content management systems to construct an SEO-friendly website. Not only is the platform simple to use, there are also thousands of plug-ins designed for WordPress. Another misconception about WordPress is that it’s only “Blog Management” software. Even though it is primarily designed as software for blogging, you can build excellent “non-blogging” websites with it – websites for your business, corporate websites, or even general information websites.
For this article, let’s assume we run a service business, such as a hair salon. WordPress is a great solution for any business to have a website, and also blog. So, let’s look at five simple, specific ways to boost your SEO using WordPress:
1) Use the “Pages” functionality of WordPress to build static pages to inform customers about your business.
Unlike “Articles,” Pages are displayed permanently in your navigation. Use the “Pages” functionality to build static pages about your business, such as “About Us,”,”Hours of Operation,” “Location”, etc. The reason for this is, any information that’s truly important to your customers should be in a prominent location. A potential customer should not have to dig deep into your website to find your location or your hours of operation. Search engines want to provide users with the best information, so they’re very appreciative of an effective website design.
2) Write blog articles that build “authority” and “trust,” two things that search engines look for most.
In order to build “authority” and “trust,” it’s important to blog frequently. My recommendation is to blog daily, but we know that’s virtually impossible when you run a business, so try to blog at least twice a month. But the more frequently you blog, the better it is for SEO. Remember, “authority” and “trust.”Think of one person whom you consider a trusted authority figure. I bet you’ve listened to what they have to say, and I bet you just didn’t trust them after you met them for the first time. Your blog is no different, readers must be interested in what you have to say.
3) Connect your blog to your personal Facebook page or your business page on Facebook.
Then every blog post will be shared with your Facebook fans. The hope is that they will like what you’re writing, and share it with their friends. This helps build authority and trust. This functionality is built into the plugin called <LINK> “Jetpack by WordPress.” It’s by the makers of WordPress, and is a “must have” plugin. When enabled, it creates a “Sharing” setting, in your “Settings.” I recommend connecting your WordPress blog to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr. It’s important to get the most social exposure you can when blogging. When readers share your articles, it shows search engines that you’re a trusted authority.
4) Configure Permalinks – Right out of the box, WordPress is very SEO friendly.
There are a few settings that you should enable to make it even more SEO friendly. As you configure your WordPress software, make sure the “Permalink Structure” (which is located in “Settings”) is set for “Post Name.” As you post, this will create URL’s that are based on the titles of your posts, instead of the default URL, which would look something like http://www.mydomain.com/?=123. As you write, make the titles of your articles somewhat descriptive without overdoing it. When titling your posts, think about how someone who is reading your article would title your article. Don’t just create a keyword-based title. Make it easy to read and remember.. For example, an article on a new hair care product should be something like, “Brand X Conditioner is Incredible for Body and Shine,” NOT “32oz Brand X Conditioner for Dry Hair, Normal Hair, Oily Hair, and Color Treated Hair is Incredible for Increased Body, Shine, Luster and More.” Nobody wants to read that, and trust me, Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other search engines are smart enough to know that normal people don’t write that way.
5) Take advantage of Bing Webmaster Tools, and Google Webmaster tools.
In the Plugins area,Select a “Sitemap” generator (there are thousands of them). I use a simple one called “Google Sitemap XML,” and for authenticating your websites easily, a plugin called “Webmaster Extensions.”Register your website with both webmaster tools products, and submit your sitemap. Sitemaps make it easier for search engines to find all pages and blog posts on your website. In addition, Webmaster Tools help you identify potential problem areas on your website, and will even send email notifications with items of interest.
Once you master these basic techniques, move on to more advanced optimizations, such as crafting custom meta tags, and meta descriptions, and even using rich snippets…but that’s for later. The good news is that WordPress is so robust, and popular, that there are thousands of plugins for everything you want to do. WordPress is available in your DreamHost Control Panel in the one-click-installs area.
About the Author:
Joe Palko is the Chief Marketing Officer at www.3dcart.com. You can follow Joe at his blog, www.josephpalko.com, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/joe.palko.