Many small businesses and startups struggle to get the basics of SEO (search engine optimisation) right, especially if they are managing their website themselves. This often leaves them at a disadvantage when trying to appear in search engine results and it ultimately costs businesses crucial sales.
If you have a WordPress powered website there's a plethora of plugins you can utilise to make sure you are getting the basics of SEO right before you even think about paying an expert to help you.
This article will take you through my favourite Wordpress plugins and show how you can use them right now to make your website more search engine friendly and get you more search traffic.
1. SEO by Yoast
This plugin is a lifesaver! It allows you to easily optimise the content of every single page on your website. SEO by Yoast adds a box of options at the bottom of every page and post in your website for you to easily complete in a couple of minutes. It will then tell you how well the page is optimised for your keyword of choice and what needs changing.
This plugin allows you to concentrate on writing your website content and then provides this nifty little report to check you are doing ok with the SEO.
2. Rel Nofollow Checkbox
I know... this one's got such a catchy, memorable name.
Linking out to other sites from your blog posts and pages is a really good idea as it helps out your readers and gains their trust. Google also likes to see that you aren't a cul-de-sac of the internet and are linking out to other parts of the web and not just yourself!
However, outbound links can leak your "PageRank" which is a factor in how Google and other search engines decide where to put you in their search results.
This plugins simply adds a checkbox to switch on the rel="nofollow" attribute on a link. This tells the search engine crawler robots not to follow this link and stops your PageRank from leaking out.
You may want to check the nofollow box for most outbound links on your site and only uncheck it for webpages that you truly recommend and trust as good resources. This will protect your PageRank whilst making you look reputable.
3. Broken Link Checker
Broken links lead to Page Not Found errors (a.k.a 404's) and these are very bad for SEO. If Google sees that you are linking out to nonexistent sites it will view you as a badly maintained website and untrustworthy resource. This means your search rankings can suffer.
Broken Link checker plugin can be used to regularly check that all of your links are still working. Webpages come and go all of the time on the internet, even though a good webmaster will urge you not to delete a page, so you have to keep regular tabs on who you have linked out to.
This plugins saves you the hours it could take to trawl through all of those links manually and will ultimately help protect your search rankings; especially if you have a large blog!
4. W3 Total Cache
In recent years Google has put a lot of importance on user experience factors and this includes webpage loading speeds. WordPress websites can suffer from slow loading speeds because of the large number of requests that are made to the database in order to serve up a page.
W3 Total Cache eliminates these costly database queries by caching (saving) a copy of each page so that it can be delivered from memory rather than being built from scratch for every visitor.
This plugin is fairly easy to set up and WP Beginner have written a great guide.
Install them now and start improving your search traffic
So as you can see, there are plenty of steps that you can take right now to begin optimising your site without the help of an expensive expert.
If you are creating great content that people are interested in, you should start to see search traffic coming in based on the keywords you target. These plugins will give you a good basis to start building a website and blog that will be seen as reputable by Google and other search engines.
My name is Dan Hawkins and I work with exciting apps and startups to make them successful online. I also write weekly articles about how businesses can get their websites working for them.