About To Launch A WordPress Site? Here’s What You Need To Know About SEO

WordPress is the most widely used content management system (CMS) in the world — roughly half of sites that use a CMS use WordPress.
There is good reason for WordPress’ popularity. It’s versatile, easy to use and highly customizable, due to the numerous plugins and themes available.
Many believe that using WordPress to host a site automatically guarantees good SEO. As the belief goes, all you need to do is start a WordPress site, and your SEO will take care of itself.
It doesn’t work that way. If you’re on the cusp of launching a new WordPress site, here’s what you need to know to maximize search engine visibility. My goal in this article is to provide several overarching strategies (rather than a technical how-to) that will improve your search potential.
1. WordPress Is Not An Automatic SEO Solution
First, let me reiterate the fact that WordPress is not an SEO silver bullet. The value of WordPress for SEO is that it is simple and intuitive. The platform

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SEO Disasters: Preventing The Unthinkable

Like any SEO veteran, I can recount my share of horror stories — launching Google Analytics and noticing that sudden, sickening drop in traffic.
Sometimes, sudden drops in traffic may be the result of an algorithm changes (such as Panda). However, in many cases, they are caused by bugs, inadvertent changes or overambitious engineers with a little bit of SEO knowledge.
In this article, I will examine three real-life case studies and outline the steps necessary for SEO disaster prevention.
Case #1: “Something Bad Is Happening To My Website.”
I was at a company offsite, and my phone had been vibrating with several calls. I left my meeting and saw that my good friend (let’s call him “Tony”) had called several times and left a message: “I think something bad happening to my website. Traffic is crashing. Some sort of SEO problem.”
Tony runs iFly, an extremely successful airport information site. Like many of us, he is very dependent on Google traffic; an SEO issue would be a big

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How Important Is Click-Through Rate In An SEO Campaign?

Click-through rate (CTR) is obviously an important metric to consider in various facets of your online marketing strategy.
The CTR of your social media posts could determine how much visibility future posts get; the CTR of your ads could indicate their relevance to your target audience; and the CTR of your organic search results speaks to the value proposition of your page titles and descriptions.
The higher your CTR is, the more people will visit your site (assuming visibility remains constant), so of course it’s valuable to improve it.
Additionally, CTR has long been believed to have another benefit: increased rankings. In other words, many believe that pages with higher click-through rates for certain search queries tend to rank higher for those search queries. Essentially, CTR has been considered a significant factor that influences organic search rankings — that is, up until recently.
The History
There is extensive groundwork for the idea of CTR influencing organic search rankings. As recently as 2014, it’s been considered an important

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Amazing Content For Small Businesses: What Does It Really Look Like?

We’re often told to create amazing content because it will naturally benefit us and bring us social shares, new customers, increased visibility, links and more. However, much of the amazing content that gets noticed and mentioned in analyses is from big brands that have the money and resources to hire a pro.
While that’s definitely helpful for anyone who wants to learn more, sometimes it’s nice to look at content that’s created by someone who isn’t a professional content creator and who made it simply to create something useful, rather than for a sales or rankings-driven motive.
Content At Its Best
Let’s take a look at a local small business article that, in my opinion, is everything it should be.
Top 10 Swimming Holes Around Boone NC

I found this piece when I was looking for a nice swimming hole near Boone for my own vacation, and since I’m a jaded marketer who understands that the top results aren’t always the most relevant, I

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Search, Content & Customer Experience – Moving Prospects From Awareness To Action

The past two years have been filled with Google algorithm updates designed to improve the user experience.
The Hummingbird update’s intent was to better understand queries so that users could be directed towards more helpful pages. The Penguin and Panda updates both sought to eliminate low-quality content that managed to work its way to top-ranking positions.
Google’s main aim with these algorithm changes is to help the end user find the best content possible. Content drives online marketing efforts, and the customer experience is key to Google’s success.
The customer experience dictates how customers see a brand and how they feel about it. In fact, CMOs questioned for a February 2015 Duke University survey believed that two of consumers’ top three priorities are superior customer service and a trustworthy relationship.
Content for its own sake is out. Content to improve the experience of customers is in.
Your primary goal in developing your content strategy should be communicating with your customers. That means listening to what they have to

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Making Your Support Content More SEO Friendly

In light of Google’s recent algorithm updates, many businesses have looked hard at ways to flesh out existing pages and create new, SEO-friendly content in an effort to grow organic search traffic without running afoul of any angry animals.
Despite this increased focus on “Google-friendly” content, I still see a lot of sites neglecting some fairly easy SEO enhancements on potentially valuable content that already exists on their site: support and community content.
Building and maintaining a community is an art in and of itself, but once your company has a base of loyal users and community members, that base may be creating extremely valuable content that you’re ignoring. If you have existing support documentation and community Q&A materials, this article will walk through how you can get more SEO value out of that content.
1. Identify Your Best Performing Pages & Untapped Opportunities
As with the process of optimizing your most important pages for SEO, the first step here is to

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Google Goes After The App Interstitial: Protecting Consumers Or Its Own Search Monopoly?

In 2010, Steve Jobs made a prescient observation: When it comes to accessing information on smartphones, people strongly prefer apps over mobile browsers.

A point Jobs left unsaid — perhaps because it is so obvious — was that in order for consumers to enjoy the advantageous experience apps provide them, they need to know the app exists. In other words, those apps must be somehow discoverable.
While many users find apps by browsing inside an app store, another critical way they discover new apps is through mobile search engines, like Google. In this way, mobile search indeed serves a critical function to users: offering a bridge from the less desirable world of mobile Web browsing to a new world inside apps.
Apps Threaten Google’s Search Business
After users cross the bridge from mobile Web to apps, they likely don’t go back. This presents an existential threat to Google’s core business of search, which envisions Google as the “middleman” for all information transactions

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7 Steps To Semantic Content Excellence

Lately, I have seen more and more people write about “Semantic Content Optimization,” the practice of tuning your Web pages to satisfy a larger percentage of visitors.
I’ve written about various aspects of it, too, including my article on the 100-User Model here on Search Engine Land.
In today’s post, I am going to outline a seven-step process for Semantic Content Optimization for one target Web page.
Why Does It Matter?
As I outlined in the 100-User Model post, Google is doing its best to evaluate content quality and user engagement with pages it chooses to rank high in the search results.
Higher user satisfaction with pages that rank high in Google’s search results means that those users will be more satisfied with Google’s search engine. In short:
The quality of your page is a ranking factor.
With that in mind, it makes sense to closely examine the most important pages of your site with a laser focus on their quality. As we have

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From SEO To SXO: Search Experience Optimization

How does one win at SEO in 2015 and beyond?
Some of the directives we have been hearing for years are truer than ever:
“Just create great content!”
“Content is king!”
“Build a quality site!”
But what is “great?” How do you measure “quality?”
You can’t evaluate content quality without considering the expectations of the user. It doesn’t matter how well the content is written if it’s out of sync with the user’s expectations. Great content, in the context of search, means you have moved beyond SEO to Search Experience Optimization (SXO).
The Search Experience Starts On Google And Ends On Google
Typically, user experience (UX) optimization focuses on optimizing success metrics. Perhaps those metrics are based upon converting users into buyers, gathering email addresses, generating page views or getting users to click on ads.
These are your metrics, not Google’s — they are your customers, not Google’s. With SXO, you need to focus on Google’s customer. This experience starts and ends on Google.
We have access to all sorts of metrics

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The Importance Of Monthly Versus Rolling Average Search Volume

When it comes to optimizing your content, it is critical to monitor search volume data. Properly optimized content will naturally use keywords to best match the queries of users so that interested parties can find and interact with the brand. When you understand the search volume data for different keywords, you will able to evaluate your market opportunity, as well as the potential demand for your content.
In an attempt to reward sites creating quality content, Google no longer shows you how your site ranks for keywords. However, the fact remains that keywords are still an important part of search and content performance.
Types Of Search Volume Data
Information from Google tends to be the most useful, since the search engine giant manages to dominate the industry. Google alone receives an estimated 64.1 percent of desktop search queries. So when you receive your search volume data from Google, you can trust that this information represents the majority of search engine users.
To

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