This is a guest post by Shanna Mallon.
When you start learning about search engine optimization (SEO), it’s easy to be overwhelmed. But before you run the other way, take heart. Not all SEO is complicated. In fact, here are a handful of SEO-savvy strategies you can begin implementing, right now, today!
Get Search Engines to Index Your Website
The first step to promote your website in search results is getting your website indexed. This is the way search engines look over your content to know what to include in search results. Getting indexed is not a hard process—Simply sign up with and add your website to Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Webmaster Tools, and then use a tool like Simple Sitemap to create a sitemap of your blog. Submit your sitemap to the webmaster tools, and you’re all set.
Engage on Social Media
We’ve got three words for you: personalized search results. Today’s search engines are increasingly concerned with search relevancy, and social media is one of the chief ways they achieve it. Search engines take into account communities, groups, contacts, etc. When you’re connected with someone on Google+, for example, your online content is more likely to come up in that person’s search results than in a total stranger’s. What this means for you is that engaging with others on social networks is more than being friendly—It’s being smart about SEO.
Proper pagination is more than a way to make your site attractive and user-friendly (i.e. less content on main page means less clutter). It’s also valuable in terms of search results. When your content is archived in descending page numbers, it’s easier for search engines to access. Easily update the pagination on your WordPress blog by using a plugin like WP-Paginate or Simple Pagination.
Highlight Related Posts
Look around at blogs today, and you often see linked content at the bottom of posts, set beneath headlines like “Related Content” or “You Might Also Like.” This not only draws readers deeper into your content, but it also boosts the value of older content, improving PageRank across your blog. To add Related Posts to your blog, use a plugin like Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, NRelate, or LinkWithin.
Use Strategic Categories
The categories on your blog are more than organizational tools for your readers—They’re also a resource for improving search results. Your category page for a specific topic sends search engines a message of high relevance for that particular subject area. To make the most of your categories, limit them to 15 or fewer total, and designate each new post into just one of those categories rather than many.
Use an SEO Plugin
Add a plugin like All-in-One SEO Pack or Wordpress SEO by Yoast to your WordPress blog, and you have a built-in way to vary your titles to attract search engines. Every time you write a new post, you write the title in its spot above your post, in the dashboard; but, with the plugins, you also input a different title in another space, below. Vary the title tag and the article title, and you maximize your opportunities to hit specific keywords for search engines.
You don’t have to be an SEO specialist to consider keywords in your blogging efforts. Try Google’s Keyword Tool to test words or phrases you plan to use in your post, and use the results to fine-tune the terms you include. Hint: Focus on keywords with low competition and high monthly searches for the greatest chance of success. Google does plan to phase out this tool in the coming months. When it’s no longer available, however, the same research will be available through Google AdWords accounts.
Make Your Blog Easy to Share
When readers share your content, they act like referral marketers, promoting your content across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest, and to new audiences. This is obviously good for your site in terms of traffic and readership, but it’s also beneficial for SEO. The more your content is shared, the greater its chances of spreading. The more it spreads, the faster search engines index it. Plus, thanks to share buttons provided by ShareThis, Shareaholic, and AddThis, encouraging readers to share your stuff has never been easier.
As you can see from the tips in this post, working towards better SEO is mostly a matter of strategy and starting. Don’t wait to begin boosting your site in search results and driving up traffic—Begin implementing these tips today!