Say you have a local business that serves your community. You’ve grown quite fond of the business you’re building and believe it could be so much more. You have a WordPress website that might be able to use some work, but it gets the job done.
So what’s the problem? No one can find you online unless they look specifically for you by business name. If they already know about you, they don’t need to search for you, now do they?
You’ve asked other business owners in your networking groups and nearby, but they all have little input. So you go to Google and search for something like “WordPress SEO” or “WordPress SEO Plugins” that leads you to a couple of great plugins we think do awesome things.
Here’s the issue: WordPress SEO Plugins are just the start. They do a great job of helping with on-page SEO measures. However, they don’t do diddly for everything else that goes into ranking a site.
What Plugins Do
There are multiple things that affect your site’s ability to rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs). On-page search engine optimization is only the start. Things like your Google My Business page, social media pages, and links from others help you rank also. That said, all of our in-house SEO efforts start with the on-page optimization.
This is the area where WordPress SEO Plugins shine. I mean, there are definitely some we don’t recommend, but if you find a good one (it’s not hard to do, just search the plugin repository for SEO), it will help you in amazing ways.
So what does it mean for them to shine? They offer you the ability to set sitewide options for Title tags, Meta Descriptions, image alt tags, and the like. They also allow you the ability to connect with the search engines by creating sitemaps for the engines to crawl.
If that’s not enough, the good ones will look at each individual page and post. They’ll tell you what should change based on the keyword for which you want to rank. The suggestions include things like having a featured image that contains an alt tag containing the keyword you are using, leaving stop words out of your keyword, title, and page slug, length of the article, and the list goes on.
Like I said, these plugins do great things!
What WordPress SEO Plugins Don’t Do
They don’t make you a sandwich or get you that cold beer from the fridge (that would be awesome, though!). They also don’t do everything required for your WordPress site to rank organically in the SERPs. What kinds of things should be done outside of the page, also called off-page SEO?
First and foremost, let’s cover what it takes off-page to rank on the search engines. The first is something called citations which include your Google My Business listing. This is important in local SEO and I mean, really really important. Google, et al want to see your business listings on their directories so really – start there.
Once you’ve got those setup make sure your business listing is on all the directories they look to, and there are hundreds. If you don’t feel like doing your own, you can use an outside service (like we offer here) to get them done for you.
You’ve now got your on-page optimization done and your citations sent in. Now comes the part that everybody seems to love to hate, content. The search engines want you to be helpful to your audience. This means having the content to actually do something for your visitors.
There’s some disagreement on how much content and when to release it. Here’s our gold standard: Release enough content that you’re helping, but not so much that you’re repeating yourself. Nobody wants that.
Catching on yet? Search Engine Optimization isn’t a science. There’s no way to say “release one article three times a day and call me in the morning.” You want to make sure you’re releasing enough content without overdoing it. Find a happy place where you think you’re being helpful, but not so much that you have duplicate content.
For some businesses that don’t ever really change (like companies that make labels), that may mean once a week. If you want to be up-to-the-minute, you may post one every half hour – one size does not fit all.
The trick to SEO content? Release stuff that’s so good, people want to share it. Once you start getting links to your content you’ll make the search engines see you over there. Across the room. Just waiting for them to notice you.
And on that note, feel like sharing this?