The key to driving traffic to your website is where you rank on search engines such as Google. If you are appearing on page 10, you will have a lot less traffic than a website appearing on page 1 or 2. Your service might be better than those sites appearing on the first couples of pages but if you aren’t up there your website won’t be seen by users. This is down to the fact that us humans are too lazy to search through pages of pages of search results. So what can you do to improve your ranking on Google?
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation or SEO for short, is the best way to improve your ranking on Google. It uses a series of tactics and techniques that will improve your website’s ranking thus driving more traffic to your site. The average owner of a website isn’t going to know what these techniques are or where to begin but luckily for them there is help out there.
WordPress is one of the most popular platforms used for websites so no wonder there is so many SEO plugins available for them to download and use to improve their website. It can be quite daunting looking through the endless list of SEO plugins trying to find one that is good and simple to use.
WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast
Here at SketchCode Studio our SEO philosophy doesn’t revolve around any dark arts you may have heard of but instead revolves your content. We use an SEO plugin called WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast and we recommend it to all of our clients due to its methodical approach and in particular its user friendly interface that helps users organise and optimise their content. If you look at the image above you can see its simplicity in action and this is vitally important since clients often get worried when hearing the term Search Engine Optimisation and start thinking they are going to need to spend hours of their time becoming masters at SEO; with this SEO plugin it is quite the opposite.
As you can see from the above image you can see four sections starting with Snippet Preview. This allows you to see how your page or post will appear in Google search results. It takes the information from the SEO Title and Meta description boxes to produce your snippet preview and usefully it will automatically generate a SEO Title for you based on the title of your page.
Once you have decided what you would like your focus keyword or phrase to be, it will show you where and how often it appears in each key section like so:
So as you can see it shows you the five key sections that will improve your SEO score. The idea with this SEO plugin is to make sure that each section is appearing with a green yes beside it. The number to the right of it is how often your keyword appears in each section. So you’re probably thinking that it is a good idea to repeat your keyword or phrase as much as possible but there is a fine line between spam and not spam. If Google thinks a page is just spamming keywords it will rank you down so the best way to avoid this is to write naturally whilst remembering to include your keyword or phrase.
So as you can see I only have four green yeses not five so what I need to do is specify a meta description within the SEO plugin. Google will automatically generate a meta description for you but will use just the first few lines of the page or post for this, so this is your opportunity to improve your SEO score and make your meta description targeted.
Now we have five green yeses in each of the key sections. If you look at the Snippet Preview you can get a feel for what your post or page will look like on Google search results. You could include your keyword or phrase more often in your meta description but make sure it doesn’t feel forced. Keep it natural. With Article Heading, Page Title and Page URL I recommend making the keyword or phrase appear once or twice; again you want to make it feel natural for the reader. With the Content section you are free to use your keyword or phrase as much as you like but remember there is a fine line between your page or post being considered as spam or not.
You’re probably worrying that you might over do it with your keyword but luckily this SEO plugin is here to help you out. If you look carefully you will see a section called Page Analysis and this is why the SEO plugin by Yoast is a favourite with us.
This SEO plugin’s Page Analysis gives you a checklist for you to try and complete to achieve a good SEO score. The aim is to make all of them green but this might not be possible so if you can achieve a combination of greens and oranges then your page or post will rank far better than a combination of reds and oranges. If you look carefully amongst the greens there is one that says ‘The keyword density is 1.22%…’; this is the one that will help you avoid spamming your page or post. So if I was to spam this article with the keyword it will change like so:
As you can see it has immediately gone from green to red and it also tells us the upper limit of how much of the content should be the keyword or phrase. If you want to rank higher on Google it is important not to spam your pages or posts with keywords and this SEO plugin will stop you from doing that.
Keep your content natural and you won’t have a problem with achieving a green on the keyword density. However you don’t need to get every single point to be green; obviously it is the best possible score if all of them are green but sometimes it isn’t possible without rewriting all of content multiple times. The aim is to achieve a good score overall. This SEO plugin gives you an overall score which is determined by the checklist and it is important for this score to be green.
That is, ladies and gentlemen, why the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast is a personal favourite of ours at SketchCode Studio. It gives you ways to further improve your SEO score for your pages and posts whilst keeping it easy to use and jargon free. And of course improving your ranking on Google to drive traffic to your website!
If you want to download or read more about the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast then check it out here.
If you would like to discuss a WordPress website project with us please feel to drop us a line via our contact form or either call our Bristol office on 01761 690019 or our Taunton office on 01823 765171.