When thinking about my web presence, I imagine Agent Smith speaking to me. He says, “What good is a website … if you are unable to be found?” I know enough about search engine optimization (SEO) to hurt myself. My dangerous amount of knowledge tells me, “get your site on the first page of search results for major search engines Sloane!”
Search engines look for specific page elements, external links to your site, and natural use of keywords. A large industry surrounds optimizing web presence for search engines, but most of us starting out don’t have deep pockets to pay for technical or marketing wizards.
What does natural use of keywords mean? It means the way you use words needs to make sense for the content of your page and sites. If the word author is on a page ten times because I want search engines to identify me as an author, search engines might lower my page’s ranking because of keyword stuffing.
Backlinks are links from other sites to your site. They tell search engines, hey; other people care about this page too, maybe it’s important!
Link all of your sites together. Link your social sites to your main site and your main site to all of your social sites. Imagine your social sites are siblings that will only talk to the parent instead of each other.
Get other sites to link to yours. As with keywords, links to your site should make sense. Gratuitous directory listings can lower your sites search rankings. Don’t submit to the great, big, old list of all science fiction and fantasy writers for example.
Consider getting a Twitter account if you don’t already have one. Twitter has an agreement with Google. My Twitter page showed up on Google well before they finished processing my request to have my primary site added. Conversely, my Twitter page didn’t show up on Bing until after Bing indexed and crawled my primary site.
The WordPress Business Plan allows you to configure elements that search engines scan. At $25 a month, the price is out of reach for some of us. The settings below offer some customization for search engine optimization.
- Select Settings.
- Put words in Site Title and Tagline with search engines in mind.
- Click on the Writing tab
- Add Categories that make sense for your content.
- Add Tags that make sense for your content.
- Click on the SEO tab.
- Note the XML Sitemap link at the bottom. You will need this later for submitting to search engines.
When writing blog posts, use Categories & Tags from the left to add categories and tags that match your post.
Facebook populates most page elements with your page username. One of the elements does take the first 85 characters from your page’s About field. Make those first 85 characters be able to stand on their own. My Facebook page didn’t start showing on results until after search engines indexed my main site. If you can’t afford to spend money on ads and SEO, don’t use Facebook as your only web presence.
Submit URL to Search Engines
If you have an active site or a lot of links to your site, you don’t need to submit your site to search engines. They will find you eventually. For small, new sites with few links to the site, I still like submitting my URLs. Submitting is free, but does require a login account.