In our last post, we spoke about setting up a blog using our new SmartTheme. You’re now going to learn some ways to optimize your blog for search engines.
This is part-2 in a 2-part series:
- Part-1 – How To Setup A WordPress Blog Using OptimizePress
- Part-2 – How To SEO Your OptimizePress Blog And Landing Pages [You Are Here]
If you’ve been following along with us in this series, you will have learned how to correctly set up a blog using our OptimizePress theme, how to theme your site, set up the styling and widgets. You should now be at the stage of posting articles ready for your visitors to consume and take action.
It is unfortunately at this stage where many websites and business owners stop…
It’s typically at this stage where the common question gets asked. And that is: “How do I get visitors to my website without paying for ads?”
Many of us when starting out make the mistake of assuming that simply having a website alone will be enough to get eyeballs and visitors; often spending thousands for a web designer, with no knowledge and understanding of how the internet and search engines actually work.
It’s also at this stage of my explanation where the confusion arises. The challenge of describing how to get natural traffic to a website coupled with technical lingo such as ‘Latent Semantic Indexing’, ‘Silo Building’ and ‘Off-Site Factors’ becomes all the more frustrating.
The aim of this article is to explain the concept of structuring your site using SEO in a way that is not only simple to understand, but allows for anyone to then go and apply to their own business.
We can’t emphasise enough how crucial this part of the process is; it will set you apart from many beginning website owners and will provide you with a solid framework.
Once you’ve structured your site the correct way, you will no longer have to go back and make changes moving forward. You will have complete confidence that your site is set to have the highest chance of appearing in the Google search results and allow you to gain the type of visitors you want.
So, What is SEO?
“Search Engine Optimization is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.”
The term SEO or ‘Search Engine Optimization’ is a broad topic that often leads to technical and theoretical discussions and approaches, often by incredibly smart experts with vast amounts of knowledge and insights.
You will find huge directories of articles and large industries focused exclusively on it. As a result, many people starting out become overwhelmed and have no clue as to what SEO actually is or how it can even apply to their business.
General misconceptions have been made by experienced marketers that SEO is a ‘spammy tactic’ that no longer works… This is a huge mistake!
We will briefly discuss why later in this article, but for now, what we want to make clear is the following:
Google will always rely on the same fundamentals to determine where they place website listings on their search results.
This is generally measured by the quality of links that are referred back to your website. The more reputable and authoritative the sources, the stronger the link will be and increase the likelihood of your site appearing high in the search results.
As long as Google continues to exist and their general architecture hasn’t changed, SEO will always continue to be just as important as it once was when it was first introduced.
Why It’s Important?
The general aim of this process is to serve 2 purposes:
- Help Google scan your website and understand exactly what it’s about in order to have a better chance of placing your posts and pages correctly for specific keywords that your prospective visitors are searching for. We will get into keyword selection later in this article.
- To provide a better user experience for your visitors. A good website structure that’s clearly laid out will improve engagement, conversions and reduce the likelihood of your visitors leaving your website.
Two Types Of SEO
SEO is split into 2 types:
- On-Page SEO
On-Page SEO is essentially the things you do inside your website. So, things like site structure, keyword selection, page titles, meta descriptions and content creation. You have full control over On-Page SEO whether crafting beautiful blog post or optimizing your landing page.
- Off-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO involves any form of link building from other websites. As I briefly touched on earlier, this can result in a lot of spam being generated due to many experts learning Google’s ranking algorithm and constructing ways to manipulate it. This has resulted in many marketers and webmasters alike abandoning SEO altogether.
Link building, however, still continues to work, but has to be built using ethical strategies in the form of networking, guest/host blogging, PR, interviews and collaborations.
Due to the breadth and depth of the types of SEO, you can delve into, and for the sake of keeping things targeted and simple to understand, we will primarily focus on on-page factors.
Page Titles, Meta Descriptions And Keywords
In short, everything starts with your website –
What articles are you going to write?
How does it benefit your reader?
How do you create awareness for Google and your visitors?
These questions are the perfect starting point for deciding how you’re going to do it. Fortunately, this is now made easy inside your WordPress Dashboard and the various SEO plugins available.
There are generally 2 types of titles and descriptions to consider:
Global: What your general site is about, the description of it and the keywords it targets.
Specific: Each unique page and post.
To set up your global settings, go to WordPress >> Dashboard >> Settings >> General
Here, you’ll be able to set the sitewide title and tagline/description of your website.
You can also set this using third-party SEO plugins like Yoast:
The Yoast SEO Setup Wizard
For specific SEO pages and posts. This can be set inside the page/post editor.
Here’s what it looks like with the Yoast SEO settings:
Here’s what the SEO settings look like inside the LiveEditor:
The Silo: The Key To Good Site Structure
As was first highlighted at the start of this article, a good site structure is key to getting listed quickly in the search engines. In the world of SEO, the term that’s most often used is called a Silo Structure.
In short, a Silo Structure is the flow in which your internal pages move throughout your website. This essentially increases the linking power of your site by distributing incoming links across all of your pages. The key thing to note here is to make sure that all of your categories and corresponding posts and pages are directly relevant so as to avoid confusion.
Below is an example of a Silo structure, which is most commonly used by SEOs:
As you can see by the illustration above, each silo will have its own dedicated keyword, with a list of semantically related keywords underneath it.
We will walk you through how to set this up on your own site, which will begin to make more sense as you go through the steps.
We will also list various sources at the end of this article for further and more advanced reading.
Silo Structures can get very technical, so for the purpose of this article, we have kept its explanation simple and concise to the extent of structuring your keywords correctly. If you would like to learn more about Silos, please refer to the resource section at the end of this article.
Getting Set Up
Now that you understand what SEO is and why it’s important, we will now walk you through the process of setting this up step-by-step.
Prerequisites – Set your Permalink Structure.
The first thing we need to do is head on over to your WordPress dashboard and change your permalinks to one that makes it easier to read and scan. To do this, go to the following destination:
Dashboard >> Settings >> Permalinks
In the Permalinks menu, under the common settings area, select the ‘Post Name’ option.
Once done, save your changes. Your permalinks should now be correctly set.
Step #1 – Keyword Research
As part of your site structure set up, one of the most crucial elements is to select a set of keywords that will serve as the general theme of your website.
This will help Google with allowing them to scan and decide what keywords to list your site for in the search results.
For this process, we will be using a SEO tool called SEMRush.
SEMRush is a paid tool but you will be able to use a limited version by signing up for a free account.
You can also use Google’s Keyword Planner for this if you require. But since they have removed the exact search numbers in their database, you are no longer able to select keywords with an estimated search volume figure.
What we want to do here is decide on a ‘seed keyword’, which in essence is a keyword that is relevant to your target market.
So for this example, we will use the ‘dog training’ market with the seed keyword ‘dog training’.
Insert your keyword into SEMRush and click on the search button.
SEMRush will now go ahead and list all of the relevant keywords related to your seed keyword.
What we want to do here is to select 2-3 ‘broad keywords’ from this list that has a fairly high search volume. These will serve as the categories and main pages for your website.
For this example, we’ve selected the following keywords:
The next step is to now take each of your selected broad keywords and do another round of keyword research. Again, entering each keyword in SEMRush and clicking ‘search’. These will serve as your ‘keyword relevant posts’ or ‘semantic keywords’:
For this example, we’ve selected the following list of keywords:
[Keyword] How to train your dog
– how to train your dog to sit
– how to train your dog to bark
– how to train your dog to stay
– how to train your dog not to bite
[Keyword] Dog training tips
– dog training tips for puppies
– dog house training tips
– stubborn dog training tips
– aggressive dog training tips
[Keyword] Dog training collars
– electric training collar for dogs
– remote dog training collar
– small dog training collar
– best dog training collars
It’s also good practice to check each of your keywords for competition to see which websites are being listed in the top 10 in the Google search results.
This should provide you with a general indicator of how easy it will be to rank your website on the first page.
These are the things to look for in a low competition keyword:
– No high authority sites (buzzfeed.com, amazon.com etc..)
– Small startup blogs with a few articles.
– Youtube videos.
– Non-branded websites.
– Wikipedia articles.
– No infoboxes on top of the search results.
To check for competition and competition stats, we use a tool like Market Samurai.
With your list of broad and semantic related keywords selected, you should now have a solid foundation for a great silo structure to form the basis of your website.
This is what it looks like in silo form:
Step #2 – Build Your Silo
By this point, you should now be ready to start structuring your site skeleton inside WordPress.
– Set your Categories
Firstly, we want to set up our main categories for your website. To do this, go to Dashboard >> Posts >> Categories
In the Categories menu, add the three broad keywords that you added in your keyword research and set them as a category.
– Create Your Main Pages
Next, head on over to Dashboard >> Pages and create three draft pages for each of your broad keywords, making sure the keyword is included in the URL slug:
– Create Your Main Posts
With your pages added, we now want to create a list of blank posts as a skeleton and assign them to their relevant categories.
To do this, go to Dashboard >> Posts and add a new post. Use your list of semantic keywords to then go through and add each of them in turn, making sure they’re assigned to the relevant category.
Once they’ve all been added, you should now have your silo structure built on your site that serves as a skeleton, which will allow you to then go and edit each page and post.
Step #3 – Create Keyword Driven Content
You’re now ready to start adding content to your site. If you’ve followed the steps up to this point, you should now have all of your main pages and posts added. The next step is to edit each one in turn and start filling them with high-quality content.
As a general guideline, focus on quality content with as much helpful information as possible that helps your target readers.
We suggest adding a ‘related posts’ widget to each page to link out to your individual-related posts.
It’s also important that you give each of your posts and pages a compelling headline.
Include your other semantic keywords somewhere in your content, do so in a way that looks natural and grammatically correct and interlinks to your other related posts. This will ensure that your pages/posts begin to get listed for your chosen keywords.
Lastly, for your posts, ensure that you use the ‘relevant posts’ widget that OptimizePress will automatically add to each of your Posts/Pages. You can activate this by going to:
OptimizePress >> Blog Settings >> Modules >> Related Posts
Please check the resources section at the bottom for a list of free and paid services to help with content research.
Step #4 – Optimize Your Page/Post
The final step of the process is to optimize your posts/pages by adding your keywords in the ‘meta title and description’. To do this, we recommend using either the free Yoast SEO plugin or the All-In-One SEO pack.
For this example, we’ve chosen to use the Yoast SEO plugin.
To get started, simply go to the ‘edit’ area for each of your pages/posts and scroll down until you see the Yoast SEO options. You will be shown a list of options to fill in.
One final tip: Use our headlines article as a resource to help fill in your meta description; making sure that you include your chosen keyword.
Please Note: There is NO SEO Module in the SmartTheme and you will be required to install either the Yoast SEO, All-In-One SEO Plugins or another SEO plugin.
How To Optimize Your Landing Page Using OptimizePress Theme
To take advantage of the SEO features in OptimizePress you must first turn them on. To do this, go to: OptimizePress >> Dashboard >> Global Settings.
Ensure that the module is switched on.
Once switched on, you will then be able to optimize your pages by launching the LiveEditor for the page you would like to optimize, then going to the following location:
LiveEditor >> Page Settings >> SEO Options
You will be given the options to insert your Meta Title, Description, Meta Keywords as well as options for setting how your content gets displayed on Facebook.
Once you’ve written and published all of your Page and Post content, all that’s left is to simply rinse and repeat; adding in new keywords; more related content, and eventually increasing the traffic and number of visitors to your site.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this series of articles. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below or to drop us a message in the official group.
SEMRush – www.semrush.com
Market Samurai – www.marketsamurai.com
Yoast SEO – https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo
All-In-One SEO – https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack
Beginner’s Guide To SEO – moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo
Silos – themezoom-neuroeconomics.com/SEO_Website_Silo_Architecture
Link Building – www.linkresearchtools.com/case-studies/link-building-techniques
Search Engine Optimization is big topic and one that can be very confusing and frustrating as it’s a long process. Don’t fall into the trap of buying cheap SEO services.
In most cases the best SEO links come from you producing quality content that people want to link to.