We know the thought of SEO (optimizing your website for search engines) can be a bit intimidating for beginners, especially if you’re not a techy. No worries! It’s easier than you might think, especially if you stick with the basics. I have lots of clients who have had great success, just by incorporating the simple strategies below. Keep it simple.
Check Your Visibility Settings
There’s a little known setting within your wordpress dashboard that can hide your site from search engines. This is great if you’re still building your site, but not so great when you’re trying to be seen. To check, simply log in to the admin area of your site and visit Settings » Reading page. Scroll down to the ‘Search Engine Visibility’ section and make sure that the box next to ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site’ is unchecked. Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your changes.
Using SEO Friendly URLs
SEO friendly URLs contain words that clearly explain the content of the page (usually the title), and they’re easy to read by both humans and search engines. An example of an SEO friendly URL would be:
Seems simple enough. But you would be surprised how many site urls look like this:
What? It’s impossible to tell what this page is about. This is a big no-no when it comes to SEO. So, how can I fix this you ask. Easy. You can check and update your wordpress site’s permalink structure by going to the Settings » Permalinks page. Select the post name option and then click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings. Wow, that was easy.
The Yoast SEO Plugin Can Make Your Life Easier
There are a gazillion wordpress SEO plugins, which can be extremely overwhelming for beginners. Well, I’m going to narrow it down for you. Way down. There’s only one I recommend – Yoast SEO.
It has tons of built-in tools and features. Here is a quick rundown of everything included in the free version:
- Change an individual post or page SEO title and meta description on the fly.
- Title and meta description support for category and tags.
- Preview how your search result snippit will look in Google and change if necessary.
- Keyword testing.
- Easily add meta tags.
- Easily hide pages from search engines (only if you want to).
- Permalink clean ups, while still allowing for Google Custom Search.
- Breadcrumbs support, with configurable breadcrumbs titles.
- Automatically creates a sitemap for you.
- Helps add and verify your site in Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo Site Explorer, and Bing Webmaster Tools.
To install this plugin, log into your wordpress dashboard and go to Plugins » Add New. In the search bar type Yoast SEO. Find the Yoast SEO listing within the search results and click the Install Now button. Once the plugin has been installed click the blue Activate button.
Once the plugin is activated, you should see an SEO button in the lefthand dashboard menu. To configure the plugin using their handy-dandy configuration wizard, just go to SEO » Dashboard and click the First-Time SEO configuration wizard link.
Optimizing Your Page/Post Content
Even though the Yoast SEO plugin will get you far, there’s still a bit of ongoing housekeeping that you must keep up with if you want to see maximum results. The Yoast SEO plugin allows you to add a title, description, and focus keyword to every blog post and page. It also shows you a preview of what users will see when they Google your website. So, it’s super important to optimize your title and description to get maximum clicks. When writing your blog post, simply scroll down to the Yoast SEO section and take full advantage of it.
Here are a few additional tips to remember when writing those blog posts or adding content to your website pages:
- Figure out your keywords for each page and use those words in the title.
- Section a page out with subtitles so it doesn’t look like one giant block of text, using your chosen keywords in the subtitles.
- Use your keywords in the first sentence on the page and the last sentence on the page.
- Use your keywords as naturally as possible in the body of the text. Aim for 3 times each. You can use more depending on how much text they have.
- Add the city and location of your business whenever possible in a sentence to help Google narrow down to your local customers.
- Create a call-to-action at the end of each page.
- Find a way to list the keywords on the home page.
- Link to other pages within your website.Make it a habit to interlink your own posts or pages whenever possible. This will help boost your pageviews, increase the time users spend on your site, and ultimately improve the SEO score of your individual blog posts and pages.
- Optimize your images for search engines by adding a descriptive title and alt tags. These tags help search engines understand what your image is about. They also help users with visual impairment as their screen readers can read the alt and title tags to them. Wordpress allows you to add title and alt tags when you upload an image.
Optimize Your Site’s Speed and Performance
No one likes a slow site… especially a search engine. There are 2 major contributors of slow websites. The first is large image file sizes. Be sure all photos you upload to your site are optimized for web. Transferring photos directly off your camera or iphone will most likely result in large image files and slow load times. Not sure how to optimize those pics? I recommend this free tool.
The second contributor is too many plugins. Yes, we all love plugins. For good reason. They provide additional functionality and give special features to our website. In a nutshell, they can be awesome. But too many plugins can slow down your site considerably. My recommendation? Deactivate and delete any plugins that are not in use. You’d be surprised how many you’re not actually using.
Hopefully these tips helped you learn how to properly optimize your wordpress site for SEO. If you’ve managed to complete all of the steps above, congratulations! You should see an increase in your traffic within a few months as the search engines process your changes. You are well on your way!
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I hope you enjoyed this article – SEO Tips For Your Website or Blog