SEO is talked about a lot. Whether you know what WordPress Local SEO is or not, you are sure to have heard those 3 letters spoken someone by someone. Many of you will know that those letters mean, but for those who don’t they mean Search Engine Optimisation. But what exactly is SEO, and why do you need it.
Your Website And SEO
When people think of SEO, the first thing that usually comes to mind is their website, but SEO goes far beyond the constraints of your website. What you are thinking of is On-Site SEO, but there is also Off-Site SEO, which a whole other kettle of fish. In this article I will talk mostly about On-Site SEO and how you can leverage it to help get your website ranking pushing up in search engines like Google. I will touch on some off-site SEO as well because some of it can go hand-in-hand with the on-site stuff.
Starting With the Basics of WordPress Local SEO
The best place to start anything, especially if you are new to it, is with the basics.
Your WordPress website has some built in options to get you off to a good start with optimising your website for on-page SEO. The very first thing you need to do is make sure your website is named properly. To do this you open your WordPress dashboard, go to the Settings menu on the left and select General Settings.
WordPress General Settings
There are a number of options on the general settings page, but the ones we will be looking are right now is the Site Title and the Tagline.
Site Title for Local SEO
This is usually your business name, or what you would like your website to be referred as, for example, Mick Car Mechanics or Boston Car Mechanics.
Although these two names might be very similar, one of them is optimised better for local SEO. This is something many businesses don’t think about at the time of setting up their new business and registering their business name, but it can make a big difference in the number of times your website shows in search results. So, if you are still in the process of thinking of a good name for your local business, consider using the name of the town or city your business is in your business name. If you already have your business up and running, then it might be best to simply use your actual business name, especially if this is what people in your area already know you as.
Your tagline should be short and sweet, literally only a few words. The tagline isn’t really that necessary, but depending on the WordPress theme you are using, it may be shown so it’s worth adding one to give that little extra SEO to your website.
Writing a tagline shouldn’t be difficult. Think about it like this, when someone asks you what your business does in small talk, how would you answer them?
Let’s use the previous mechanics example and see what we can write about that business in just a few short words: “Transparent Affordable Auto Mechanics” or, “We Fix Cars at Affordable Prices”. Keep it short and to the point. You will have plenty of opportunity to say everything else about your business within your website pages.
Change Your Website URLs to SEO Friendly URLs
The way you set up your websites URLs is very important for SEO Luckily, WordPress makes this very easy to do.
Under the Setting menu on the left, choose the Permalinks option.
On the Permalinks settings page, simply click on the Post Name option then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.
That’s it, you have now set up your URL structure to be SEO friendly.
Before we go into other main things you need to do to SEO your website, I want to talk a little about SEO Siloing your pages. If your website is going to have, or already has a lot of pages, it can be a good idea organise your pages into silos. The best place to start this is in the planning stages of your website. Planning how your content is going to be laid out in advance can help your SEO greatly later on.
Many SEO guys will tell you many different things about page siloing, but when it comes to the basics, here is an example of SEO page siloing to get you started. Look at how the below URLs are set out, with a main landing page topic, followed by sub-topics. This are referred to as Parent Page and Child Pages.
For this example I am going to use Lawyers.
What these examples show is a main landing page (Parent) and 2 child pages with relevant/supporting topics as the parent page. Not only does this keep your content organised, but it makes it easier to search engines to understand the content on your website.
For Local SEO in particular, putting your pages in silos like this can be a huge benefit to your ranking. Let’s say you service areas outside town you live in, you can use the names of other towns to localise your content like this
Creating pages in silos like this is a great way to leverage your website in local search results. One thing to keep in mind is you can’t repeat the same content on any two pages. The content must be unique on every page.
Now, lets get back setting up your WordPress website for local SEO
Setting Up Your Meta Tags for Local SEO
Meta tags are very often forgotten about or a website owner simply never heard of them, but they are very important when it comes to local SEO for your local business website.
There are 2 basic things to start with you need to add to each page to get the best out of your SEO. These are your Meta Title and Meta Description.
Your Meta Title is the first thing people see in search results. This is usually similar to the page title and will have your main keywords in it.
Example Title Tag: Athlone Flower Shop – Delivering Quality Flowers Direct to Your Door
Not much to it, right? It’s very simple really. The Meta Title is easy to read, tells exactly what your business is, where it services, that your products are quality products, and that you do will deliver those quality flowers direct to your customers door. All this information In just a few short words.
Your Meta Description is like an extended version of your Meta Title, you get to add a little more text and give people looking at the search results a bit more info.
Example Meta Description: At Main Street Flowers in Athlone, we hand pick our selections, so you get the freshest flowers delivered direct to your door 7 days a week.
Notice how we used certain keywords in our Meta Description to further help out local SEO. As well as using the actual business name (Main Street Flowers) we also included the town name. This will help when people search for phrases like “Flower shop in Athlone”, but we have also included other keywords that will help with other searches, like “Flower shops in Athlone that delivery”, or “Where can I buy fresh flowers in Athlone”.
How to Add Meta Title and Description to Your WordPress Pages
To add meta tags to WordPress pages, we need to add a plugin. Thankfully there are many free WordPress plugins we can choose from. We will install the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress, and to do this we just need to go to the Add New Plugin page and search for it.
In your WordPress dashboard, on the left hover over Plugins and then select Add New. In the search bar on the top right, enter “Yoast SEO”.