Part 1 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.
SEO Basics – Part 1 PageRank
What makes your website more likely to be found by search engines? Search engine results are driven by a collection of factors including incoming links and content relevance, site traffic and past search performance. WordPress makes it easy to manage SEO factors through a combination of Themes, Plugins and Content.
The goals when engaging in Search Engine Optimizaton (for the purpose of this tutorial) are to
1. Get Found – You website should be easily found when people search by your business name, url, your name, or a description of your services and locality.
2. Compete – There are likely other websites in your field or community competing for the same audience as you. SEO seeks to help you raise the visibility of your site above others in Search Engine Results.
3. Deliver Organized and Relevant Content – Websites with organized, relevant content have better results in search engines and are more likely to attract links and repeat visitors.
We will discuss three SEO topics and how they relate to your WordPress powered website: PageRank, On-Page Elements, and Keyword Strategy.
PageRank: Google thinks you’re cool…
PageRank is a number expressed as a percentage, decimal or numeral 1-10 that reflects the perceived authority of your website in relationship to other pages on the internet. Google employs an algorithm to establish a web page’s comparative value to all other web pages on the internet based on how many pages are linking to it. Each link to a website is considered a vote. A vote from a website with a high PageRank translates to a link with more weight. See example at Wikipedia for more info.
The best way to build PageRank is through natural backlinks. Great ways to build backlinks are to ask people in your community to link to you, add yourself to free, relevant directories such as DMOZ, and to connect to your website from personal profiles in the various social networks you belong to.
It is important to remember that PageRank is not the only factor that determines your search results position. Therefore, attaining a higher PageRank should not be the goal of Search Engine Optimization Projects of Web Design in general.
Things to consider when designing your WordPress website are; Who are you lending link support to? And which pages on your site do you want people to be more likely to find? When you create a link to another website, you give a vote (and a bit of your PageRank) to that website. If you wish to link to another site without leaking PageRank, utilize the rel=”nofollow” attribute. You can add this to any link you create by switching to the HTML view and adding the attribute after the a tag. See image below. You can also use plugins like Tiny MCE Advance to enable the advanced link panel with the option to set No Follow on your links.
When structuring your website, also be aware of where all of your menu link are driving people on your site. Consider adding ‘nofollow’ to links within your site that lead to pages of less importance. The ensures that PageRank within your site stays with your desired pages.
Fun fact: PageRank is named after Google co-founder Larry Page.