Many small businesses owners make use of WordPress to power their website – and with good reason – but often forget the basics of making their website search engine friendly.
Here are 5 SEO (search engine optimisation) basics you can review on your WordPress website today to make it easier to search engines to find, interpret, and list (known as “indexing”) your website’s content.
1. Does your WordPress website’s homepage explain what you do, and where?
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised about how many business owners take the basics of explaining their website for granted. Be sure to explain:
- What your business offers – its services or products (you can go in to more detail about individual services and products on additional pages)
- Where you serve customers – if you offer a UK-wide service, that’s fine – but it doesn’t hurt to be extra clear!
This not only helps to reassure customers who’ve found you in search engines that they’ve found a company who can do what they want in their area, but also helps search engines understand what your business offers, and where your website might fit in search results for relevant phrases.
A solicitor in Newcastle upon Tyne’s website might use the content:
“We’re a family-run law firm based in Newcastle upon Tyne offering conveyancing, commercial and private legal advice. We work with clients throughout Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham”
An accountancy firm based in Sunderland may use the following:
“123 Accounting provides book-keeping, accountancy and tax advice to businesses and individuals in Sunderland and County Durham.”
If you’re not confident with writing your own content, ask us for recommendations for copywriters who have experience of small business website content!
2. Do your contact details match your (Google) map listings?
If you’ve ever noticed map listings appear for businesses when you search for services near you? You can improve the chances of your WordPress website appearing in Google’s map listings for relevant searches (e.g., “web designers in Newcastle“) by making sure that your Google My Business account (which is free to create) displays the correct phone number, address, and postcode. You can even add your opening hours!
This helps Google to verify your business is legitimate, and also increases your of appearing in front of more potential customers.
3. Do your website’s pages have unique titles?
This is a real SEO fundamental which can often be overlooked on small business websites, even with WordPress’ sensible set up for creating page titles. Your WordPress website’s page title is a key factor for search engines such as Google and Bing.
The page title is separate to the page’s heading, which is also important, but typically visible in the page itself,
4. Have you used structured data?
Structured data provides additional information to search engines about your website, and your business. Search engines such as Google can then use this to enhance their listings of your website, such as with your business address and contact details:
WordPress plugins such as Yoast allow you to do this relatively easily, as well as providing additional features such as navigational breadcrumbs and sitemaps.
5. Register with Webmaster Tools
Finally, it’s worth registering with search engines’ webmaster tools. These can provide some valuable insight in to your website, and highlight issues you may not be aware of:
Both tools are free to register for, and can be a useful tool to maintain your website, from highlighting broken links in your content, to potential malicious/spam links that may occur if your website is breached (see our post on “how to tell if your WordPress website has been hacked“).
You can find slides from my talk at the WordPress North East meetup group in February 2019 here.
If you’d like to learn more about your WordPress website and how it is interpreted by search engines such as Google and Bing, you may find our WordPress website audits and WordPress training courses of use.