Getting More Visitors with Search Engine Optimization

When you sit down to find something on the internet, you rely on a search engine.  This means if you want to get your website noticed, you’ll need to ensure that it appears in searches on Google and similar sites.  Most importantly, you’ll want your site to appear as close as possible to the top of the list.

The best way to do this is through search engine optimization (SEO).  SEO covers a wide range of strategies and activities based off what we know about how search engines determine their rankings. There are many benefits to optimizing your site for search engines including…

  • A site that ranks highly in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) has greater visibility and the best chance at increased traffic. (Remember, more traffic = more revenue from advertisers.)
  • A highly ranked website appears more credible and trustworthy.

If you’re new to SEO, don’t worry.  If you have a WordPress website, you’ve already taken a big step since the platform is well-optimized for search engines.

Here are some 10 beginner-friendly ways to give your site a push-up in the search rankings.

1) Build Your Content Around Keywords

Keywords are short phrases that describe your content’s topic. For example, you might choose the keyword “beltway accident” for a news post about an accident during the morning commute. By doing this, you’re predicting that a lot of people will type the phrase into a search engine when looking for information.

Choose a keyword for each post or page and use it in several places — such as the title, the headings, and the content itself, and even image metadata.  All of these are common ways to communicate your topic to search engine crawlers and increase the chances of showing your content in relevant searches.

Of course, you want to be smart about the way you use keywords.  Filling a page full of the same keyword (known as ‘keyword stuffing) will appear unnatural or spammy and get your page penalized and push much lower in the search results.

2) Use Clean SEO-Friendly Permalinks

Permalinks are the URL of your post or page and they’re what people use to link back to your site.  Their appearance matters to people as well as search engines.  By default, WordPress uses a numeric URL structure, which doesn’t help SEO as much as descriptive URLs do.  The best is one that includes the post category and the post name.

If your post title has several words, the permalink can become too long.  So, customize it in the post editor to include the chosen keyword phrase and other relevant words.

3) Incorporate Useful Internal and External Links

Google and other search engines look to see how well your website is connected, both internally and to other sites. Using plenty of links throughout your posts and pages tells crawlers how they relate to similar content.  It also encourages other people to link back to your site — which in turn communicates to search engines that your content is valuable!

As with keywords, this is a strategy you’ll want to use carefully. If you cram too many links into your content or use a lot of links that point to irrelevant pages then your rankings will suffer.

4) Optimize Your Images:

Images provide visual appeal and context, plus they help break up text and make it more readable. They can also have an impact on your SEO.

The quality and size of your images can affect your pages’ loading speed, which is a ranking factor. Large images can degrade your overall score and push your listing lower in the results. Also, crawlers will look at certain information attached to images (metadata) such as filenames and ‘alt text’ — when trying to index and understand your site.

Give each image a descriptive filename, alt text, and descriptions.  You get bonus points if you use a keyword in one or more places. (ALL IMAGES SHOULD HAVE ALT TEXT & DESCRIPTIONS.)

5) Write Long-Form Content When Possible

When search engine algorithms are deciding how to rank content, they pay special attention to its length. That doesn’t mean shorter content never ranks highly. However, longer content has an advantage, because search engines consider it more likely to be more comprehensive and better in communicating its topic.

Longer content is also valuable to readers because it can increase your perceived credibility.  It also encourages visitors to spend more time on your site.  So, when creating content, try to make it as in-depth as possible.

6) Add New Posts Frequently

Along with length, Google’s algorithms consider the frequency of new content when deciding how to rank your pages. Older, high-quality content will do well, of course, but a boost is given to newer, ‘fresh’ content that’s more likely to be relevant to searchers.

Therefore, if you want your site to do consistently well over time, you’ll want to add new content regularly. Try creating a posting schedule to keep yourself on track and varying up the types of content you create to keep yourself and your visitors interested. Also, don’t neglect older posts and pages. Updating your existing content prompts crawlers to re-evaluate it and to give it higher prominence than pages that never change.

7) Avoid Duplicate Content

Another big mark for confusion is if you cover the exact same issue, or keywords, on multiple posts or pages. There’s a common misconception that targeting the same topic on multiple pages will improve your rankings in the search results for that topic. Well, it doesn’t. In fact, it does the exact opposite.

Known as keyword cannibalization, you’re essentially competing with yourself on a given topic, and by doing so, are diminishing the quality and authority of your website. This often results in your site being pushed further down the rankings.

A better strategy is to choose a single post, and then update that post as required. For example, if you have a post called “The Best Local Restaurants,” treat that as an “evergreen” post – meaning the topic is never really out of date. Evergreen content can be updated and rewritten. This approach is much better than creating new posts that rehash the same topic.

8) Share Your Articles with Everybody You Can

Once you’ve created your article, be sure to promote it on-air and over social channels.  The combination of the mass amount of traffic and social sharing causes Google to deem these posts as very relevant, therefore bumping them up in the rankings.  Creating a buzz around a piece of content helps to get it in front of more people, which also often leads to more links, as others reference your content from their own content. We recommend sharing posts as much as you can.

9) Conduct Regular SEO Audits

A great way to instantly check on how well your WordPress site is optimized is to do a quick WordPress SEO audit. There are many great free and premium tools out there to help you. SeoSiteCheckup is a free tool that has over 50 checks to let you basically know how you’re doing.

10) Delete Old Content

This one is a new one for me.  I’ve always had the mindset that more content was better, even if it was old.  Turns out that’s not the case and it’s understandable.  Chances are that nobody will search for a lost dog article that you published four years ago. It’s better to have less content that is more relative than to have a lot of posts that aren’t valuable to visitors. I’m not suggesting delete half of your website, but it could benefit you to take a look at this.

Hubspot CRM recently deleted 3000 posts from their blog and their SEO improved dramatically. Here’s what they did to improve their SEO.

Extra tip: Install an SEO plugin (Yoast SEO or Rankmath) to help to identify areas to improve in your pages/posts. 

While these tips are good for your news and blog posts for your listeners to consume, consider how these tips could make advertisers find your station advertising opportunities.

10 ways to improve SEO on your website.  I hope these tips help you.  If they do, we’d love to hear about it.

Jim Sherwood serves as chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects.