Optimizing your website and blog for search engines can benefit you in a way that is as simple as garnering more website visitors and pageviews or as significant as the ability to stay competitive in the marketplace and drive incoming leads to your small business.
But what exactly is SEO? And what do you need to know in order to incorporate it on your website so you can begin ranking well organically in search?
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, as defined by Wikipedia, “is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.” People use search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo to find products, services, and information to better their lives. Websites that have been optimized for search will show up at the top of the list once a search has been run. This also means that those small businesses on Page 1 of search results have the highest likelihood of getting the business, which is why savvy small businesses and website owners put a great deal of time (and money) into quality, white hat SEO.
To get started with your website’s SEO, it’s important to first learn about the 4 essential SEO elements you can add to every website page or blog post. This information you’ll be adding via your website’s dashboard and in the Page Edit or Post Edit view is sort of the “missing link” that Google looks for to help pair your content with the queries a website searcher enters into the search bar.
SEO Terminology to Know
There are 4 main terms to know when it comes to search engine optimization of your website: Title tags, Meta descriptions, Meta keywords, and Permalinks.
Running a search engine search returns pages full of entries that look like this:
In this example, the title tag is the top line, in the largest font, and reads, “Moving a Facebook Business Page & Ads Account to…” The meta description is the section underneath the title tag and starts, “Moving your Ads Manager Account to Business Manager. Start by clicking.” The portions of the permalink are also visible, and it is the web address for the specific website page: www.elirose.com/2018/10/moving-facebook-page-ads-account-to-business-manager/.
Note #1: Meta keywords are not visible in search engine results, and it is widely understood that meta keywords add no value.
Note #2: Google will take liberties with your entered data. If it feels there’s a different section of text from your blog post, for example, that better addresses the question a searcher just asked, it may modify the meta description you added to that blog post to include the added text.
WordPress is an Excellent CMS for SEO
Just one of the reasons WordPress is a highly desirable website and blogging platform is due to its SEO capabilities. For your home page, as well as each post and page, WordPress provides you fields to add your title tags, meta descriptions, meta keywords, and custom permalinks. You also can easily add ALT tags to images, install a sitemap, and add social media meta data to all your images. Premium themes like Divi and Genesis have SEO fields integrated into their design.
If you don’t have an SEO-integrated theme, don’t despair; adding a plugin like All In One SEO Pack will provide you with the same capabilities. In fact, I often recommend using an SEO plugin even with built-in SEO capabilities because it’s far easier to transfer your SEO if you switch WordPress themes.
Learn more about how to choose the right SEO tags for any given page or blog post in our How to Choose the Right SEO Tags blog post.
Google logs billions of searches each day. With those kinds of numbers, small businesses can and will benefit from improving their website’s search engine visibility.
Are you interested in optimizing your website for search engines? Are you a WordPress user who chose that platform in part because of its SEO capabilities?
When I was at WordCamp last year, Vanessa Fox (from Google) spoke about SEO. She said that Google no longer looks at keywords in metadata. Keyword density in content and titles were the biggies, as was picture description.
So I think y’all are right.
Thanks, Lori! That’s what we’ve been hearing a lot about, so it’s so great to hear that Google themselves said so.
We have a couple more posts planned, including tools to use to find strong keywords (for title tag/permalink purposes) as well as using your keywords in the body of the post. There is so much to SEO, it needs to be taken in short bursts.