In the previous three articles (Parts 1, 2, 3), you have selected a domain name, recreated a web site using existing pages, added functionality through WordPress plugins and set up the blogging side of WordPress. In this article we will address Search Engine Optimization and making your web site more visible to the outside world.
Let’s start with an excellent plugin for enhancing the SEO of your pages and posts – WordPress SEO by Yoast. Installing this plugin will make suggestions available to enhance the search-ability of both pages and posts. This plugin is the main focus of this final website redesign article. Let’s start with the end goal, shown below.
In this screenshot you see the SEO categorization for the previous article in this series – notice the green dot beside of the SEO label at the top of the screen. This is based on the focus keyword string “business web site redesign” and that ranking considers title, permalink, meta description, content and other factors. Many of these are all factors within your control will be covered in this article. Because there are so many search engine optimization factors, covering all of them would take many books.
The most logical starting point is creation of the page or post. Begin design with your target audience in mind. For easier reading, we will focus on a blog post.
- What are the reader’s interests?
- What points of focus would draw the reader into your page or post?
- How can you maintain interest and create interest in other posts or pages?
By designing your content with the target reader in mind, you may very well end up with a masterpiece that “goes viral.” Imagine a pyramid with your single, well designed, post at the top. You crafted this with the utmost care and attention to detail. Now it is available for the general public. Not only does it go well with your social friends (hundreds or thousands), but it is a hit with their social networks. In addition to that, the search engines contribute to the growth in popularity because the many factors that were considered when creating your post.
Enough with the viral fantasizing. You need to know how to turn this fantasy into a reality. Let’s begin that learning adventure now.
You have seen the imp0rtance of designing the content appropriately. You should use keywords and phrases liberally in the post while keeping the readability level high. What, exactly, does this mean? This means that you should write your post as if it were being graded by your English teacher. Whether this is your fifth, eighth, twelfth or college teacher is determined by the average reading level of your target audience. If you are writing an article on repairing your vehicle, the reading level will be lower than and article on the chemical makeup of spam.
I apologize if this could be considered an insult to auto mechanics, I know a highly educated computer hardware guy with a hobby of rebuilding Corvettes, but he will not be the average reader for either of the mentioned articles.
In addition to a focused and informative content, which the search engines will expect, you need to create a truly catchy title and description (see the screenshot below)In this screenshot you see all of the settings on the front page of the Yoast SEO plugin and the analysis that produced the “Good” rating previously shown. Although “Good” is the best that you can achieve, Search Engine Optimization can be improved by increasing the number shown beside each of the items. Also keep in mind that this rating is based only on the focus keyword that you have entered. If this is truly the most popular search phrase that your target audience is using, then “you are golden.” You could also use this tool to revise the text and other aspects of your post to produce well for other keywords and phrases.
Of course, the target is to see a green dot on all of your posts. That is a utopian target which, for the most part, is unachievable unless you spend an inordinate amount of time crafting your words, paragraphs and entire article. What you will normally see is a mix of “almost there” and “good,” as shown below. By the way, this shows four of the 161 articles (as of Sep 2014). Half and half, as displayed here, would not be an unacceptable SEO ranking of articles.
But what about the other three pages of SEO settings? Honestly, I am a programmer by profession, my hobby is being an author and I am still a beginner in search engine optimization. The second tab gives some analysis and suggestions that you can work on individual edits for specific areas of improvement. The third and fourth tab include some advanced and social settings that I have not really touched, although they can be of great helpfulness in improving the appeal of your article to the social networks.
I hope that you have enjoyed these four articles aimed at redesigning your business web site in eight hours. If this is your first exposure to this series, you can find the other three in order at the top of this article, they are the first hour, halfway in and hours five and six. Although a fully functioning, optimized and popular web site is never finished, the basics can be created in a committed eight hour time frame.