If your business hasn’t developed the recognition to draw in brand name searches in Google, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is going to be your best opportunity to draw in organic traffic to your site. For Kansas City SEO services, we’ve got you covered. This post will cover quick ways to adjust your WordPress site for optimal ranking and the Google updates that affect how your website performs in a SERP.
Set Your Time Zone
To ensure your posts get published at the proper time, make sure that your site is set for the correct time zone. Go to settings, then general, and select time zone from there. Since there’s an optimal time to update your blog for maximum exposure, scheduling posts is a great feature. This may not affect SEO directly, but it ensures you bring in more traffic to your site. More traffic means higher ranking!
One way to track the conversions you receive through your Kansas City SEO efforts is to redirect buyers to a congratulations page after they complete a desired action (joining an email list, making a purchase, etc.). From there, you can see how many people landed on that page and where they came from to access your website. This can be done through Google Analytics. You might also use contact forms as a sign of conversions if you offer a service online rather than a product. Conversions are more difficult to track than ever since users sometimes call the number that pops up in their organic search via Google’s listing rather than from your site itself. This means that these conversions are difficult to attribute to any SEO efforts, since they can’t be tracked.
Submit XML Sitemap to GSC
By submitting your XML sitemap to Google Search Console, you ensure every piece of media, post, and page on your site gets indexed. Sitemaps can be created through a Yoast SEO plugin, or by going to SEO, then XML Sitemaps. Sitemaps provide metadata as well, letting crawlers know when the page was last updated, how frequently the page is changed, and the importance of the page relative to other URLS in the site. Metadata might also identify video and image content. For example, a video entry can detail the run time, category, and age appropriateness rating. For Kansas City SEO, XML Sitemap submission is essential to get your ranking started.
Permalinks can also affect your SEO ranking. If you look under settings, you’ll see an option for permalinks. Be sure your permalinks include the keywords that you’re trying to rank for in your post (usually in the H1 tag). You might also include the day or month in permalinks, as this can affect how Google views your site.
Internal linking is CRAZY important for SEO. If you write a blog post about a service you offer, include a link to the contact form! Or better yet, link to your homepage from your footer. This also helps Google recognize your site through branded anchor text. Besides including internal links, you’ll also need to make sure that you don’t have any broken links. This can be checked through a site audit via SEMrush or by going through each link manually. By updating your content regularly and utilizing internal and external linking throughout, you’ll see your SEO soar.
Schema markups help improve your click-through rates in Google search. Schema markup is code that you put on your website to help search engines return more informative results. Even if you just add a star rating schema markup to a product page, you’re giving searchers a lot more to go off. The markup tells the search engine what the content means, distinguishing between titles, authors, images, etc. Currently, a third of Google’s search results utilize rich snippets (including schema markup).
You can easily add schema markups by going to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper and selecting the type of data that you’ll be marking up (ie: an article). Then, paste in the URL of the page you want to markup. Highlight and select the type of components to be marked up, then click ‘create HTML’ when you’re finished. Off to the side, you’ll see the relevant microdata inserted in the spots that you selected. From there, you can add the scheme markups to your page through your CMS or source code. The changes will be highlighted, so you’ll know exactly where changes need to be made. If you’re looking for an easier alternative though, you can download the automatically-generated HTML file and copy/paste it into your CMS or source code. Finally, you can hit previews in the testing tool to see what the article will look like in Google search results. For more details on how rich snippets and schema markups can benefit your click-through-rate, check out this blog post.
SEO is all about tracking Google’s changing algorithms. With each new update, you need to assess:
- How this change might affect your ranking
- What you can do to better accommodate the new algorithm
On of the more recent algorithm updates, Google Panda, assigns a content quality score to webpages and down-ranks sites with low-quality/thin content. An example of this would be articles that, inadvertently or advertently, contain duplicate content, plagiarism, user-generated spam, keyword stuffing, or poor user experience (ie: multiple misspellings and grammatical errors). A Kansas City SEO agency will know how to check for thin content through a site audit system.
There are some quick fixes that will ensure your content ranks higher than your competitor’s. For one, you can take down any duplicate pages. SEMrush has a program that checks for duplicate pages, or you can go through and do this manually. Another option is to use a 301 redirect or canonical tag if you’re unable to take down the pages. If all else fails, block the pages from indexing with robots.txt or a noindex meta tag. Thin content can be a little trickier to identify. Essentially, thin content is when pages have a very small amount of unique content on the page. Signs that you’re guilty of thin content might be low word count, several ads, and affiliate links that don’t provide any value to your users.
‘Desirable’ word count depends on the purpose of the page and the keywords that the page is targeting. If the query implies only a quick answer is necessary (ie: Who was the first president of the United States?), pages with only a hundred words of content can still rank high. This also applies to users who are searching for videos and pictures. As a good rule of thumb, you should try to include at least 300 words on each page. For outgoing links, you should keep your link number below 100, especially if there isn’t a high word count.
The Penguin update checks for links coming from poor quality sites, links coming from sites created solely for SEO link building, links coming from topically irrelevant sites, links with overly optimized anchor text, and paid links. No big deal if you have a couple spammy links, but Google will notice if you experience dozens of suspicious backlinks all at once. Always look into the new backlinks that pop up for your site, and disavow any links that appear toxic. Most Kansas City SEO Services have programs that can go through and check the quality of your backlinks.
Google Hummingbird aims to match user’s search intent instead of the individual keywords within the search term. By interpreting longer, conversational searches, this update gives users more helpful results for what they’re looking for. This algorithm also optimizes synonyms, so Google can bring up more theme-related results in the SERPS. You can accommodate this update by expanding your keyword research to include related searches, synonyms and co-occurring terms. Keep in mind that Google AdWords offers a limited number of short-tail keywords that aren’t the best tool to deal with this update. An alternative is to check Google Related searches, Google Trends, and Google Autocomplete. This update means you can stop trying to exact match awkward terms like ‘Volvo dealership Kansas City’. Since search engines can now process natural language, there’s no need for robot language!
Google Pigeon is an update that currently only affects searches in English. It creates closer ties between the local algorithm and the core algorithm, so the same SEO factors are being used to rank both local and non-local Google results. On top of that, location and distance are an even larger component to the ranking algorithm. This update made local directory sites even more important, since it created a 50% decline in the number of queries local packs returned for. This update targets poorly optimized sites, improper use of Google My Business page, NAP inconsistency and lack of citations in local directories. If your name, address, and phone number have several variations in different directories, that’s going to lower your ranking. A Kansas City SEO agency can help you go through and check whether these listings are up to date.
Last on our list, though certainly not the last of all the algorithm updates that Google has been through, is Google’s Mobile Friendly Update. This update ensures that all pages are optimized for mobile devices to accommodate the growing trend of mobile searching. In fact, more Google searches are done on a mobile device than a desktop. The good thing about this update is that it is a page-level factor, meaning one non-optimized page won’t bring down the rankings of all your other site pages. You need to look out for illegible content, improper viewer configuration, lack of mobile version of the page, and plugin use. Adapting a responsive website design will ensure your site is mobile-friendly.
If you’re interested in Kansas City SEO or any internet marketing in Kansas City, contact us so we can get started on your search engine optimization strategy. Check out our other blog post or our SEO services page to learn more about what we can do for you.