If WordPress is your startup business platform of choice, it’s probably because WordPress is versatile, free, easy to use, people friendly, offers great flexibility in terms of what you can turn your website into and community around it is just awesome.
But, it’s a different story when it comes to WordPress and search engine optimization. Let’s see how to start a solid SEO campaign for your online business.
Decide between “WWW” and “non-WWW” version
Having your website accessible through both versions is considered a duplication, which is not a good SEO practice. You should 301 (permanent) redirect the one you don’t want to the version you prefer.
In WordPress dashboard under Settings > General, there’s a field called Site Address (URL). The URL you enter here will be your preferred domain, so you don’t need to make any redirects. WordPress does this automatically.
There’s no right or wrong answer to which version you should select. I prefer the non-www, because it looks cleaner and it’s easier to memorize a brand’s name.
Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools
Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and verify your website. The tool will help you monitor the health and state of your online business and you can quickly see how Google crawls and indexes your site.
Google Webmaster Tools also lets you see inbound links, what users type to find your business and what keywords you rank for. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t sign up. If Google detects some major issues it may even send you a notification, so you can quickly fix it and not lose potential clients.
Sign up for Google Analytics
You want to track how your website performs over time. Google Analytics is a powerful reporting tool which gathers all the data on user behavior on your website.
If you follow this guide on how to configure Google Analytics and monitor metrics that matter you may improve conversion rates significantly.
Inplementing analytics code using a plugin is a good solution, although I highly recommend you do it using Google Tag Manager manually. It’ll save you a lot of time in the future.
Think Site Design
Sit down and think about what you expect your website to do. Defining goals (conversion points) is crucial for your success. Your “sign-up”, “buy” or “share” buttons need to stand out and be prominent, but also accompanied by great content. Conversion rate optimization is much more than trying out different colors and page layouts.
Sit down and think about what you expect your website to do.
While you’re at it, you should think about categories which will cover the topic you’ll write about or categories for products you want to sell. Good information architecture goes a long way as it’s the skeleton of your website.
Great user experience is not easy to achieve and requires constant improvements. Think about your website usability. Is it easy to navigate and easy to use? Ask friends to try and find one the inner pages, you randomly selected. Is the website search functionality easily accessible?
Website speed is another big usability thing. Using a WordPress theme created with best practices in mind, your website provides an enjoyable experience for your visitors in terms of speed and ease of use.
Content creation, keywords
If you write about something and things come naturally, your keywords are bound to be in that copy. But, words you use might differ from the words people use when searching.
To get a grasp of how majority thinks and how competitive a word is, try using Google’s Keyword Tool. Don’t follow the numbers you see blindly, they’re all just estimates and very crude ones. But, they’ll give you a sense of how people think and maybe even sparkle an idea or two.
Your every page and post should be about a unique topic.
In order to follow through that uniqueness, every page and post should have a unique title (ideally, up to 70 characters), unique meta description (ideally, up to 156 characters), images should have unique descriptive filenames (lowercase and hyphen separated) and your links can have descriptive anchor text.
Each of your articles can be a landing page if you use a nice author box plugin, that will make that initial connection with your visitors.
You can read all about this in How to Make Your WordPress SEO Friendly.
Take care of duplicates and other technicalities
You’ve probably heard about Panda and Penguin algorithm updates. They’re about fighting spam and link manipulation, neither of which is making the internet a more valuable or enjoyable place.
I’ve read a lot of articles saying WordPress is great for SEO out of the box, but that just isn’t true. It’s nobody’s fault. WordPress is created so it registers all kinds of taxonomies and archives which categorize your content and make it easier for people to find what they want. But tags, categories, author and date archives also create duplicate content, which is bad for SEO.
I know you’re doing it for the people, but you’ll still care about what search engines “think” about your WordPress startup business.
To handle these SEO issues you should install WordPress SEO plugin. It solves a ton of technical SEO things for you immediately upon activation.
Setting up a WordPress SEO foundation for your start-up business isn’t too difficult.
It takes common sense to organize the website and determine what the goals are, sign up for a couple of free Google services and make sure content you create is unique and on top of a well coded WordPress theme.
If you stumble upon one of those bloated public themes that feature swiss knife functionality, I suggest you continue browsing elsewhere.
By using WordPress best practices in developing themes, you also get an SEO friendly solution for your business. People behind WordPress.org do know better than an occasional WordPress developer eager to earn money using marketing gimmicks.
Do not use themes that handle:
- SEO functionality
- Analytics code
- Titles and descriptions
- Indexation settings
Because, switching to a different theme means you lose it all.
WordPress can be a terrific ally in your online endeavors, so always try to make the most out of it. If you have any other suggestions that will help small business owners put to motion a solid search engine optimization campaign for their WordPress websites, please share it with us.