5 WordPress SEO Tips for Small Businesses

Small businesses don’t always have huge budgets for SEO, but that doesn’t mean they should ignore SEO either.

WordPress offers numerous ways to optimize your website with little effort. And by doing so, you can significantly improve your ranking in search engines like Google.

Here are 5 simple WordPress SEO tips that can go a long way to ensuring that your business can be found online.

1) Use SEO plugins

A good WordPress SEO plugin can do a lot of the heavy lifting for your on-site optimizations. And you don’t need to be an SEO guru to figure it out, either.

Yoast is widely considered one of the best free plugins, but there are plenty of others. If you’re evaluating options, here are some key features to look for:

  • Ability to quickly edit your page titles, meta descriptions and permalinks, which help Google (and searchers) better understand what’s on the page.

  • Built-in SEO scoring that evaluates your page content for the most important optimization factors, including keyword density, title width, outbound and inbound links, page word count and so on.

  • Readability scoring that tells you how easily your page can be read, based on factors that Google looks for too, such as sentence length and subheading distribution.

  • Advanced stats on your keyword rankings, backlinks, duplicate site content and other visibility into your overall SEO results.

Most WordPress SEO plugins enable these capabilities on every new post or page you create, so that you can properly optimize everything before you publish.

2) Change your default permalink structure

Even without an SEO plugin, small businesses should make some important changes to their default WordPress settings, which can help their pages rank higher.

One big one is the permalink structure. You can access this setting in your WordPress dashboard by going to:

  • Settings > Permalinks

By default, WordPress uses generic URL structure for every page or post you create. It looks something like this:

  • http://www.yourwebsite.com/?p=123

But that URL says nothing about what’s on the page. Typically, it’s far better for SEO and usability to use the “Post name” option, which will insert the actual post title into the URL:

  • http://www.yourwebsite.com/sample-post/

Important note: If you have a lot of existing content, changing your permalink structure might not be a good idea. Here’s why.

3) Choose an SEO-friendly theme

Your WordPress theme can play a big role in how search engines rank the value of your site. Particularly, search engines are looking at factors such as:

  • Design structure and layout
  • Navigation
  • Technical structure / code
  • Page load speed
  • Responsive design for viewing on different devices

Using a bloated WordPress theme that’s slow to load and difficult for visitors to navigate will absolutely hurt your search ranking. Look for themes that are lightweight and designed with clean code that’s already been optimized according to the latest SEO practices.

4) Optimize your images

Images on your website can hurt your SEO efforts in several ways:

  • Large image files make pages slow to load, which is a red flag to Google.
  • Poorly named & tagged images send a signal that your page content isn’t as uniform or logical as it could be.

Image-optimization plugins, like Imagify and Optimole, help to automatically compress your images, so that the file size is reduced and they load faster, without hurting quality. Additional plugins for caching can boost page speed even further.

WordPress also makes it easy to edit image file names and ALT tags when you upload them, so that you can insert your relevant keywords where necessary.

5) Track your progress with Google Analytics

Don’t optimize in the dark!

Google Analytics makes it easy to track the results of your SEO efforts. It’s free to use, and WordPress makes it easy to add to your site.

After you’ve created an account in Google Analytics, you’ll simply need to add the tags to your website. Your WordPress theme may allow you to do this easily within the settings, or you can choose from a number of plugins that do it for you.

Need some help?

If you need help implementing these SEO strategies or others, WP Tangerine is here for you. Choose a plan that’s right for your needs, and leave the rest to our WordPress experts.