WordPress is a powerful and endlessly customisable software platform, and it is used to provide the groundwork for many small business websites. The popular content management system is capable of quickly and effectively creating a professional website, and its built-in SEO capabilities are particularly resourceful for new businesses. SEO details like permalink structure, image optimisation and meta descriptions are easily tweaked using the default WordPress admin panel. However, although an out of the box WordPress installation will provide many SEO benefits, the platform can be made to be even more effective with some of these SEO plugins.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is one of the most popular SEO analysis tools available. The plugin is a definitive how-to guide for creating and structuring a website for SEO purposes. The plugin prompts users to take an in-depth review of their website’s SEO potential and automatically flags any changes that can be made. It is also one of the few plugins that tries to improve on page SEO. The focus keyword function, for example, lets website owners choose several keywords which best sum up their business or product. When these keywords have been chosen, the plugin will scan existing and pending content to see if they appear in the article heading, page URL, page content, meta description or page title. It may seem like a simple feature, but something as trivial as repeating a keyword across many different web pages can have a huge effect on the SEO of small business websites.
All in One SEO Pack
The All In One Pack is perhaps the best tool for new website owners who simply don’t have a clue where to start with SEO. The plugin can make automatic optimisation changes like altering meta tags and titles, but SEO savvy users can fine tune the little details using the plugin’s easy-to-use GUI. The All In One Pack also boasts that it is the only plugin that supports SEO integration for e-commerce websites.
Broken Link Checker
Websites with out of date links that lead to missing pages or 404 errors can negatively impact search engine rankings. Broken links make a website seem disorganised and incorrect internal links can completely disrupt a customer’s browsing experience. The Broken Link Checker plugin offers an automated way to scan all of a website’s content and prompt action for any links that don’t work or images that don’t load properly. It can be easy to overlook small details when a website grows with content, so this automated plugin is a handy, effective solution.
SEO Rank Reporter
Google rankings are a key indicator for website SEO performance, so it is very useful for small business websites to see how well or poorly they are performing with the SEO Rank Reporter plugin. The handy tool provides a comparison of website’s traffic flow against changing rankings during a historical period, and small business owners can see what keywords visitors are searching for. The plugin also lets owners compare their website with similar, competing businesses so they can see how their SEO strategies differ and what changes they can make to boost their Google ranking.
Although not strictly a small business SEO tool, social network plugins can be an effective and powerful way to increase network traffic. The ShareThis plugin lets visitors quickly share website content with just a few clicks. ShareThis embeds popular social network icons like Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus on each page so visitors can easily share web pages with friends on their network of choice.
Search engines are forever refining their methods, and tried and tested SEO techniques can easily become ineffective the next time Google rolls-out an algorithm change like Penguin or Panda. While WordPress is an excellent out of the box solution, small business SEO needs to be treated as a high priority and some of the available plugins are much more effective for optimising website structure and on page SEO.