SEO and Site Structure

seoSEO, short for “Search Engine Optimization, is important to consider when building out a new website from scratch. As I’ve stated many times, I use the Genesis Framework by Studiopress as my WordPress theme(s) and I host on WP Engine servers. Where you host is important for SEO as speed/load times are an important consideration. A good, clean theme is important, too. The Genesis Theme Framework offers a lot of “on page” optimization options.

Pages and Posts for WordPress SEO

This post is simply a discussion about the site structure pertaining to SEO practices. Whenever I start a site, I think about pages and posts and how I am going to organize them. Generally speaking, you want to have both, unless it’s just a small site with a few pages. If you build sites that have limited, “evergreen” content designed to sell products, it’s probably best to go with just pages. If you’re doing a news or information style site, you’ll probably have more posts than pages, but you’ll still have both.

Most sites have basic pages: a home page, an “About” page, perhaps a contact page, and maybe a few more. Posts, regularly written, will show the search engines your site is being updated regularly. This is very good for SEO.

How pages and posts are linked can have an SEO benefit, too. I’ll be using the site I am building with my daughter, Suncoast Fishing Piers, as an example. We have the site set up and we have a page structure in place. The pages are: Home, Fishing Piers, Fishing Gear, How To, Bait, and About. For this discussion, I’ll use the Fishing Piers page as an example.

Setting Page Structure

The concept of the site is to provide a resource for people to find fishing piers in Florida’s “Suncoast,” a stretch of coast on the Gulf of Mexico including Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties. This is our initial target area – but we could expand well beyond that in the future. The Fishing Piers Page is the main landing page for a list of fishing piers in the area.

We go to each pier, photograph it, note any amenities (bait shacks, rest rooms, parking, etc). The piers are listed by city on the fishing piers page. This is important when we are considering our page structure for SEO. The main pier page URL is “Sitename/piers.” Here’s how it looks: http://suncoastfishingpiers.com/piers/. When complete, it will link to different cities and the URL structure will be “sitename/piers/city fishing pier.” Here’s an example of that: http://suncoastfishingpiers.com/piers/sarasota-fishing-pier/. An individual pier’s URL will be “sitename/piers/city fishing pier/pier name/. ” That looks like this: http://suncoastfishingpiers.com/piers/sarasota-fishing-pier/Causeway Fishing Pier.

Why does this matter? We want to rank for a variety of “pier and fishing related keywords.” Each page is designed to have the page title as its keyword we want to rank for and the URL structure helps accomplish that goal. Someone looking to go fishing in Sarasota might google “Sarasota Fishing Pier” in their browser and, because of our page structure, the resulting URL structure will heighten our chances of getting to page one of the search results. Of course that’s not the only reason we’ll get found – the information and content of each page needs to have relevance to a search. We’ll make sure the content is high quality and relevant.

Post Structure for SEO

Individual posts on this site will highlight trips we take to each pier. We’ll have pictures and videos of the fish we caught, the bait we used, maybe even a review of a nearby restaurant. The point is, a post will be about a single day’s trip to any given pier, not an “encyclopedic” source of information about the pier itself. The URL structure would be “sitename/post title” and looks like this: http://suncoastfishingpiers.com/Catching-Mackerel-at-the-Causeway-Pier.

The URL above is not live, I just whipped something up as an example. We might want to rank for “mackerel” or catching mackerel” or whatever. The point is, the keyword we want to rank for will be in the post title. Each post will have pertinent information to the subject and will contain a link to the corresponding pier page for wherever we happen to be fishing that day. That also helps for the SEO of the individual page, particularly if we rank well for the keyword on that post.

Does any of this matter?

Google (and the other search engines) crawl websites for information using a host of complicated algorithms. Having sound page and post structure (plus QUALITY content) makes that search easier. Think of the page structure as an outline for your site. There are many other things relevent to SEO, but having a solid foundation (page structure) in place can only help.

New WP Engine Website

wp engineMy newest WP Engine website is under construction! My daughter and I are building it together. Since we like to go fishing a lot, we decided we’d do a website about pier fishing in our area of Florida. There are more than a dozen good fishing piers within 20 miles of our house, so we are going to do what I’ve found works best when making a new website: find something you like to do and make a website about it!

In addition to making the site together, I am doing a “case study” on how we put it together. As we build it out, that information will be available on the start a website section of this site. I’ll be chronicling the entire process.

Why WP Engine?

I have the WP Engine “pro plan” for a number of my sites. I migrated from Hostgator last winter because HOSTGATOR SUCKS! Let me explain.

I had a number of my sites hosted at Hostgator, including a big earning affiliate site. Right before Christmas 2015 (December 22 to be exact), my servers got hacked with malware. When I asked Hostgator to help me out, they wanted me to DO IT MYSELF or pay someone else to clean it up for me! Now I don’t know how to get into the php or MySQL or any of that other crap on my servers; I’m a blogger and internet marketer – not a frigging programmer! Had the malware attack occurred earlier in December or in November, it could have cost me a LOT of money in lost holiday sales.

They were so obtuse dealing with me, I swear I was going to lose my mind. Here’s what they said to me (the original reply was longer but this is the gist of their attitude):

At this time, we are no longer performing cleaning of accounts for our clients. This includes any malware removal or securing of accounts which have been compromised. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

When a money-making site gets hacked, it’s not an “inconvenience,” it’s a BIG PROBLEM and they took nearly a month to rectify it! Once I was back up, I left Hostgator faster than the Roadrunner blasting down the road away from Wiley Coyote!

That’s where WP Engine came in

They offer Managed WordPress Hosting. That means they manage the back-end of my sites and I deal with what I need to do to conduct my business. I don’t need to worry about C-Panels or databases or any of that stuff; that’s their job.

I was able to migrate my sites quickly and easily using their site migration tool and everything I needed to know was easily found in their “support garage.” When I had a small security issue, they dealt with it quickly. Their hosted sites load fast, too. I couldn’t be happier.

Back to the Fishing Site….

As the summer progresses, I’ll be setting up the site with my daughter and teaching her WordPress as we go along. The fun part is, we get to fish a lot! As I said earlier, I’ll be going through the process, step by step, of how we build it on this site.

Building out a website is a job. She wanted to do it so she could learn a skill and make some money online like daddy. I wanted to do it with her because it totally rationalized fishing a lot!

Stay tuned……