SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to the process and techniques used to optimize a website or blog so that it appears higher in search engine results. Studies show that 75% of users don’t scroll past the first page of search results. As a result, SEO has become a critical marketing strategy. SEO practices capitalize on the information that search engine providers such as Google and Bing release about their ranking algorithms.
SEO has traditionally centered on using keywords. Internet marketers and SEO professionals do keyword research to identify relevant, popular search terms. Ideally, they select ones that many people search for, but not many competitors use on their own sites. This strategy helps them cut through Internet noise and reach potential buyers.
They add the keywords they’ve identified to strategic areas of their websites. These include:
- The “H1” and “H2” section headers on a page or post
- The first and last paragraphs
- Captions and alternative text
- Meta tags – The title, description, and keywords that appear at the top of the underlying code. The description will appear in the search results list.
While keywords are still widely used, Google has shifted its focus in recent years to emphasize robust, informative content. Google’s algorithms will give more consideration to valuable content than pages that simply infuse text and code with keywords. Combining these two strategies may yield the best results.
Backlinks are another key aspect of SEO. These are links that point to your content. Backlinks can be either external (on other sites) or internal (pages on your own site that link to your content).
Search engines give greater weight to external links. The more authoritative the backlink, the more “SEO power” or “link juice” the search engine provider assigns to your page. If the New York Times links to your site, for example, that link will boost your search engine ranking more than a link from an individual’s personal blog.
Using a plugin to generate a sitemap will also make it easier for search engines to find and index your content.
There are several WordPress plugins for managing your site’s SEO. Yoast is one of the most popular SEO plugins.