Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is simply a name for the things you can do to help improve your chances of ranking well. While this generally take some time, there are three very easy things you can do within WordPress that help immensely right from the start. These alone will not get you to the coveted page 1, but they will give you the framework you need to get started.
1. Change the structure of your permalinks to something descriptive
Permalinks are the links to each of the specific posts and pages on your site.
Imagine you want to post a fashion-inspired senior portraits that you recently took and your target market is Madison.
By default, WordPress creates an arbitrary link to your site using the post id number. Because search engines give weight to the words in your links, you’ll want to change this to something that tells the search engines what your post is about. I prefer to have my links contain both the category of the post (Portraits) and the name of the post (Madison Fashion-Inspired Senior Portraits.)
You can easily do this in WordPress by going to Settings and then Permalinks. Click on “Custom Structure” and set it to “/%postname%” (without any quotes). Now instead of your links looking like “www.yoururl.com/?p=382” you’ll get something that looks like “www.yoururl.com/madison-fashion-inspired-senior-portraits”. This is much more descriptive and helpful for search engines in determining what your post is about.
2. Install the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin
I highly suggest using WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. This allows you to tell the search engines what your post is about and preview what your post will look like in the search results. It will take about 10 minutes to install and configure your plugin settings and then take about 5 extra minutes each time you write a post, but the advantage you’ll gain is worth it.
Each time you write a post, you’ll see settings below the window that allow you to write the title, description, and focus keywords. These are often what Google shows to people when they are searching, so make sure it is engaging, calls people to click your link, and accurately reflects the content of your post.
3. Choose your blog title carefully
Search engines give a lot of weight to the words you use on the title of your blog. So instead of something generic such as “Bob’s Photography Blog”, I suggest using the following format for the title of your blog:
Adjective + Location + Type of Photography + Business Name
Using the example above, a better blog title would be “Amazing Chicago Portrait Photography by Bob’s Photography”.
If you’re unsure about how to do any of this or run into problems, I highly suggest contacting William Bay of Flaunt Your Site. He is a pro at all these things and would love to help you out if you’re not comfortable doing these things yourself.
That’s it! Now that you’ve got your running shoes, it’s time to start putting in the miles that will help you win the race.