As you can see, you’re inching closer and closer to having your WordPress site ready to launch. Now that you have the basics set up and configured, it’s time to move to a brief consideration of search engine optimization, or as it’s commonly known, SEO.
SEO is important regardless of what kind of affiliate site you’re creating. By creating content and building your site in a manner that’s optimized for search engines, you’re going to be more likely to get more traffic, which means you’ll have more potential buyers for your affiliate products.
And if you’re feeling like there’s too much to learn about SEO, don’t worry. This post won’t be the only post in this series that covers SEO. In future posts, we’ll go into additional detail related to SEO and content creation, as well as how you can get traffic by promoting your site through other sites, later in this series.
For today, we’re going to focus on a few basic elements of SEO, and what you need to think about as you look at other affiliate sites (so you can learn from your competition), plan your business strategy, and start creating content for your site.
First, we’ll need to get an important distinction out of the way. That’s the difference between two kinds of SEO, on-page and off-page. Here’s how each term is defined:
On-page — On-page SEO refers to the modifications you can make on your own site. These are the kinds of modifications we’ll be discussing in this post today.
Off-page – Off-page SEO refers the actions you can take outside of your site, such as getting backlinks or generating interest in your site through Social Media tools such as Facebook and Twitter.
Today, we’re going to focus on what it takes for great on-page SEO. And while we won’t have enough time to cover everything related to on-page SEO and WordPress, you’ll certainly learn enough to have a great foundation as you get started.
Where to start?
The first step toward getting great SEO on your WordPress site is setting your permalinks correctly. We covered that in a previous post.
The next step is to install a WordPress SEO plugin. Of the several WordPress plugins for SEO, there are two that stand out from the crowd:
All-in-one SEO – This is a longstanding, popular choice for WordPress SEO. Among its many features, this plugin makes it easy to optimize your page titles, an important tactic we’ll discuss below.
WordPress SEO – Created by WordPress guru Joost de Valk. This plugin, while still in beta mode, threatens to challenge the dominance of All-in-One SEO. In addition to matching many of the SEO features of All-in-One SEO, it adds functionality for creating XML sitemaps and testing keywords.
Both plugins are great, and while it’s a close call, we lean toward recommending the extended functionality of WordPress SEO. While you won’t take full advantage of this plugin right away, you can definitely grow into it as you build your business.
For help installing and configuring these plugins, use the resources available through the WordPress plugin directory. Instead of walking you through installation, I’m going to list a few tactics that will help you get the biggest return for your SEO efforts.
And to help you organize your actions, I’ve broken them down into levels of importance.
What’s most important for your SEO
Page Title – The page title can be easily set once you’ve installed All-in-One SEO or WordPress SEO. As you’re starting off, you’ll want to make sure that your primary site keyword is in your title tag for the first 20 pages you add to your site. Most experts recommend placing your keyword at the beginning of your title tag.
Check the documentation for your SEO plugin on how to customize your page title. You’ll want to do this for your homepage as well as your posts and pages. Below you’ll see how to customize your page title using WordPress SEO.
Permalinks – Changing your default permalink structure will help you get the keywords from your headlines into your site’s URL. Go back to this post about permalinks to learn how to make this change on your site.
Make it easy to share – Since you’re going to be creating great content for your site, make it easy for your visitors to share it with other potential visitors. Install a sharing plugin such as Add This to make it easy for visitors to “Like” your content on Facebook or “tweet” it on Twitter.
What you should pay attention to
Keyword Density – Use your keywords in your headlines, body content, and in the ALT tags for every image on your page. Recommendations vary, but current consensus suggests that your keyword should appear in your content at a frequency of approximately 2 percent. Any more than that, and you risk being flagged as spam.
Frequency of Publishing – Publish to your site on a regular basis. As you’re starting off, try to keep a schedule of 2-3 posts per week. Once you start making money, consider hiring a freelancer to increase your frequency.
Write for readers, not search engines – Don’t get obsessed with the technical aspects of SEO. Stay focused on creating great content for readers. Once you start getting links to your content, your audience will find you.
Meta Description – The meta description tag is what shows up in the search engines when the results for your site surface. Make it easy to read and write the copy in a way that will draw in readers.
What you shouldn’t worry about
Meta Keywords – For years, the meta keywords tag was abused and spammed in order to manipulate search engine results. Google and the other search engines now largely ignore it.
As you continue to work on your site, please keep in mind that building an affiliate business with SEO is not a get-rich-quick proposition. You’re going to have to dedicate a significant amount of time and energy creating great content and adding value for your visitors. Do this, and the traffic will come.
Great content, combined with a solid keyword strategy, makes SEO very easy!
ViperChill – This page is defined as “the only guide you’ll need” for WordPress SEO. While much of this information is not beginner-friendly, it is very useful and practical.
WP Candy – Good tutorial on getting started with WordPress SEO.
Yoast.com – Many acknowledge that Joost de Valk, creator of the WordPress SEO plugin, knows more about WordPress and SEO than anyone else. His blog is a great place to start
Here’s a list of the various tasks you’ll need to complete to get up to speed for tomorrow.
• Make sure you have your target keyword for your site
• Customize your permalink structure
• Install an SEO plugin for WordPress
• Set the title tag for your homepage
• Set the default title tag for your posts and pages
• Start creating great content for your site
Tomorrow we’ll be looking at selecting a great WordPress theme for your site. Any thoughts on SEO and WordPress? Please leave a note in the comments.