Editor’s Note: This is always a difficult topic. For starters it is a constantly moving target. There are also an un-ending stream of theories about what is or is not important that impacts your web site performance. Not to mention, it is difficult to be “right” with so many experts in the space. However, we are addressing those who come to us frequently and whisper “I am really afraid to ask – but how can I just get started – the ABCs?”. We asked Blane to address this with a starting point. You will find the initial building blocks here.
Quite a bit of fuss has been made over search engine optimization (SEO) during the past three years. Perhaps more specifically related to Google during the past twelve months. While it is not gospel, what Google does when adjusting their own standards for search will generally influence how Bing and Yahoo evolve over time.
Four key areas around SEO have been impacted during that time.
- The quality, relevance and consistency of your content matters more than the keywords and links on your web site(s)
- Connectivity to valid and accurate social media profiles for your business do impact how search results are displayed
- Search results are different based both on a user’s geographic location and if they are logged into an account with the search engine they are using
- Web sites are being penalized and losing search rank for not being mobile ready natively (i.e. a responsive web site or at minimum configured to properly display on a mobile device)
There have been literally millions of words and hours devoted to SEO. The volume and depth of material and resources available to consume about SEO and your web sites can be daunting. Outlined here are the very basic fundamentals to insure you have the basic building blocks in place.
The ABC Basics on Your Web Sites
There are some steps you can take to insure the basic SEO health of your web site. It starts with choosing an efficient content management system (CMS). WordPress is one of the most popular options today – and for this discussion it is being included where you are using WordPress.org, the ability to install it on your own leased or owned web server.
- Using WordPress, insure your basic site settings (found under Settings) are filled completed,
- Also insure you have selected Permalinks that include the title of your posts and pages in the URL to those posts and pages
- Take advantage of a free SEO plugin from Yoast called WordPress SEO. It provides invaluable guidance and handles the important sitemap file search engines use as well as connectivity to social media profiles.
- For each post and page, insure you completely fill in the available fields from WordPress SEO to define your primary keyword, title and description. The plugin offers tools for grading the relevance of your content as well as how it will work on social networks.
Tip: Using the Featured Image in a post on WordPress allows you to insure a visual element is available for social shares of your posts and pages.
Tools to Help You Measure and Monitor
Alongside the settings on your web site, you should also connect your site to Bing and Google’s webmaster tools. These monitor the search engine health of your site, monitor your sitemap and provide insight into search keywords related to those you utilize on your site.
Keeping the Bots Informed
By taking these very basic steps, while just scratching the surface of SEO activities, you are setting a healthy foundation for your web site. More importantly, as the search engine bots (Bing, Google, Yahoo and others) visit your site, they will receive and display the proper information from your content, and potentially reward your efforts with a higher ranking in results.
- the primary web site
- popular individual links from within the site (popular articles, pages, et al)
- LinkedIn profile (again, company or individual)
- Other social profiles such as Twitter and Facebook
- Press releases
You see where this is going. In addition to those very basic steps on your web site – insure you have claimed your name and properly updated and branded the social profiles that represent your business online. They will be in the initial results along with that web site.
As a bonus, if you are properly submitting your site map, you should also see the nicely formatted result for your web site with individual site sections. See the result for The DigitalFA.