Search Marketing, WordPress

What is Search Engine Optimization?

I just read it on Inc.com, WordPress is Optimized for SEO. Ugh. It’s upsetting that a site of that quality passes on misinformation like this.

WordPress is Optimized for Search Engine Optimization.

I don’t know how you optimize for optimization or what that even might mean. As a content management platform, WordPress enables optimization, but it’s largely up to you, your WordPress theme and your WordPress plugins to fully optimize your WordPress site or blog.

In my humble opinion, there are four elements to outstanding search engine optimization:

  1. Enabling SEO best practices with your platform, like robots.txt, pings, and XML sitemaps. WordPress actually doesn’t do any of this out of the box… you’ll need to create your robots.txt file, enable pinging to the appropriate sources, and add a sitemap generator.
  2. Optimizing your theme, ensuring page elements are properly placed and the site is organized hierarchically, ensuring that pages are promoted correctly internally. Many theme designers ignore the importance of elements like page titles and headings. Some construct the page and put the sidebar content before the page content in the layout. A well-designed theme can substantially improve how search engines view your content and what terms they index your content for. Most businesses also start up a blog and don’t give thought to how to organize their content categorically and through their navigation. This can cause issues, especially if you have a wide selection of keywords to target.
  3. Optimizing your content through the use of keywords that you know will both attract and convert visitors into customers on your site. This is done as part of an overall blogging package by companies like Compendium, but WordPress lacks any service or tools to do this. You will still need to do the analysis by yourself and use a tool like Scribe to help (Scribe for WordPress demo video).
  4. The overall irony of SEO is that most of what you do on the site doesn’t really impact your ranking as much as what you do off-site. Writing fantastic, relevant content that gets the attention (and backlinks) of other sites can subsequently get you ranked well. But that doesn’t have anything to do with WordPress and more to do with how well you promote your blog posts, syndicate your blog in social media, and promote it through comments and other mechanisms. Understanding where to promote your blog and promoting it effectively will do more for your search engine ranking than your platform!

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Lastly, SEO is not a single event, a checklist or a project. Since your competitors (and the entire Internet) is constantly changing and Google continues to adjust its algorithms daily, your ranking will continue to change. Registering your site with Google Webmasters, Bing Webmasters and Yahoo! Site Explorer, monitoring rank with tools like Authority Labs and SEMRush is an ongoing process that you need to incorporate to ensure you’re truly optimized.

SEO is the process of monitoring your ranking and making the necessary adjustments to ensure your content is being found and ranked well for the terms that help your business grow.

That’s my definition!

4 Comments

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    Commenting on known industry leader blogs is a great way to extend your blogs’ reach. Syndication through Twitter (with hashtags), Facebook and Facebook pages (invite your friends and even start a Facebook Ad), and updating statuses on LinkedIn with a link back to posts are great methods of promotion.

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    Douglas-

    Excellent overview. If I hear or see “SEO optimization” one more time, I’m gonna lose it! I’ve been with Thesis on my personal blog for a while, and it does its job (but I haven’t compared it to competing themes). Heard a lot of great things about Scribe, so I’ll have to check it out now that you’ve recommended it, too. I just started using Raven for SERP tracking (that’s another pet peeve, come to mention it: When people write “SERP results”) and I’m loving it.

    None of this stuff is SEO gold on its own. There is no easy solution, as you point out. We need to stay on top of it, help each other out when possible, and ask for tools that address issues we point out.

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