Part 3 of a 3-part series on Search Engine Optimization for WordPress Users. This tutorial seeks to cover the broad picture of SEO practices and some specific application for WordPress users and developers. Start here.
Keyword Strategy: Keywords as a strategy, not just meta…
Most search engines have stopped basing search engine results on meta keywords. This is bad news for people hoping to gain a search engine benefit from including popular keywords that may not be relevant to their content. But don’t jettison your keyword practices altogether. Starting with a strong emphasis on keywords can serve to organize and inform the rest of your search engine optimization practices. Below are a collection of concepts to strengthen your overall SEO practices by starting with a strong keyword strategy.
Agreement: The strongest pages from an SEO perspective are those that can coordinate between all of the above elements to create agreement in relationship to the targeted keywords. If you have an existing business name and url, this may be difficult, so you may need to focus your efforts on sub-pages of your site to get your keywords into URL’s and page titles.
Focus: A well organized site allows each page to focus on a given topic. If you optimize each page, you have a stronger website made up of strong pages. Also, don’t try to make your website ‘more interesting’ by adding material extraneous to your focus. It will dilute the relevancy of your page for search engines AND humans.
Keep It Natural: Search engines know how to spot sites attempting to work the system by analyzing page structure and keyword density. Your website should appear as natural as a magazine article on a given subject. Natural keyword density is estimated around 10% compared to other words on the page.
SEO Concerns When Setting Up Your WordPress Website
Themes (Site Templates)
You will need to select a Theme for your site that takes search engine optimization into consideration. The big question is: Does the theme handle Meta Descriptions, Keywords, Page Titles and H1 tags for you? Or does it leave those factors in your control? You will want to review your source code any time you activate a new theme to confirm where your SEO elements appear (or don’t!).
There are plugins that seek to help you manage your Meta Descriptions, Keywords, and Page Titles. This is desirable because of the fine control these plugins give you over each page and post. The most popular plugin All In One SEO Pack, does an excellent job at managing these factors, but can slow down your site compared to managing this data at the theme level.
After you have your theme and plugins figured out, that will dictate how you manage SEO factors on the content level. A theme that leaves you to set the H1 tag in your content provides more opportunities for control, but you must remember to place your H1 text at the top of your content. Then use H2 and H3 for subheadings. This is managed with the Format dropdown in the content editor for each page and post.
Two Scenarios for WordPress Users
It is helpful to provide these two scenarios as case studies for how one might manage SEO for their WordPress site.
#1 Plugin Magic
So you’ve loaded up your plugins including All In One SEO Pack… now you need to remember to set those sitewide options and on each page and post that you desire distinct information. Review your source code to confirm you are not repeating any SEO elements unnecessarily due to theme functions.
Another complimentary plugin method would be to utilize an auto-tagging plugin which All In One SEO Pack would then set as your keywords.
#2 Optimized Theme
A well optimized theme can take care of the majority of your On-Page elements by utilizing WordPress data. Examples include: purposing the site description as a meta description, using custom fields to define keywords per-page, wrapping page titles in h1 tags and structuring page titles out of a combination of page title and site name.
Any SEO strategy for WordPress can be hybridized by active management of your data and customization of your WordPress theme. The key is to choose a strategy that fits your workflow and automate as much as possible to make your strategy sustainable. An unmaintained complicated SEO method will produce less results than a well maintained, simplified method. This is no surprise!
If you master these SEO practices, you should see a marked increase in your SERP position as well as site traffic. Then you can move on to complimentary strategies like a Google Adwords campaign and Google Local Business listing to fill out your SERP visibility.