SEO. Just hearing the acronym for search engine optimization can make the most web-savvy person cringe. There is so much conflicting, ill-advised, and out of date information out there that making good decisions can feel impossible. There are dozens of predatory companies, often contacting you through your own website’s contact form, offering to help get your site’s ranking on page one. What’s the right way to go with SEO?
While Pixel Jar doesn’t offer SEO services to our customers, we do have partners that we work with who can help you address your specific needs. In addition, we keep ourselves educated on the intricacies of the process. We think that the issue is important to focus in on. We’re going to talk about what we mean when we say “SEO-ready.”
First, let’s get a definition in place. Search engine optimization is basically the science of sending signals from your website to the search engines that say, “look over here!” These signals are based on both the technical setup of your website and pages as well as the content; text, images, videos, etc. on those pages. These signals are interpreted by some VERY complex algorithms search engines employ as they review your pages. These algorithms change over time and are often what lead to changes in page rankings.
WordPress alone does a great job of being SEO-ready. It has an easy to edit URL structure, gives you great, flexible control over adding content to pages and posts, has readily accessible alt tags and descriptions for images, and it facilitates the easy addition of more URLs to the site. All of these pieces play into creating an SEO-ready environment. One more feature, the expandability via plugins is where we get to the heart of it. The plugin that we recommend for nearly every site we build is Yoast SEO.
Joost de Valk is the founder and CEO of Yoast (named for the phonetic pronunciation of his name), a company that specializes in optimizing websites for SEO. The free version of Yoast SEO is packed with a ton of great features that will hold your hand through the process of writing great content, breaking your content up appropriately, and using your keywords effectively. That’s just scratching the surface. There is a premium version of the plugin that adds even more features and a series of additional plugins for sites with specific needs like WooCommerce optimizations. With this plugin installed and some basic configurations set, your site is truly SEO-ready.
While being SEO-ready is an important step, we’re just scratching the surface of the SEO discussion. If you’d like to learn more about SEO, Moz, has a great ten part introduction to How Search Engines Operate. In addition, you can visit Yoast.com where you can read blog posts, purchase training or ebooks, and buy licenses for any of their premium plugins.