One problem that many people have when starting a site is with SEO.
SEO is Search Engine Optimization or the practice of setting up a website in the most appropriate manner to rank well in search engines.
Many people struggle with the concept of SEO. They overstress the usage of keywords in their posts and pages in a manner that may be damaging to their search engine rankings.
They don’t understand the rest of what SEO encompasses. With regular websites that you code yourself, SEO can be difficult to implement.
However, setting Up SEO for WordPress is an Easy Task. Really, all you need is a single plugin and knowledge of proper SEO practices.
So, without further ado, let’s start the how-to of SEO for WordPress Blogs!
Let’s start you off with the plugins.
The first WordPress plugin you want to pick up is All In One SEO Pack. It’s very easy to set up but it has many settings, so it might get confusing.
Here’s a video to help you set it up properly.
In the video, you learned how to adjust the settings for All In One SEO Pack. You set up your site title and description. You changed the way your page titles appear in search. And you know what to avoid changing in the plugin.
As you make posts and pages in WordPress, you will see that below the text box you have the option to set up custom titles and descriptions. You don’t have to change anything in these lower boxes unless you want a short description instead of a partial summary of the page.
Adding your own short description on each page may be beneficial for bringing in new visitors. After all, it’s more pleasant to read an actual paragraph instead of bits of sentences from throughout the page.
Next is the Sitemap plugin.
When you get your WordPress site going, you’re going to want to let search engines know how to navigate your site. That’s where the sitemap plugin comes in.
The sitemap plugin I use is Google XML Sitemaps. With this plugin, you can choose to have the plugin notify search engines when you have made updates. You can also decide which kinds of pages and content you want to have posted on the sitemap.
You may also choose to exclude certain categories or posts. And one of the more important features, you can choose when you want search engine site crawlers to crawl your content as well as choose the priority for what pages to crawl.
If you want further control of what pages appear on Google, you can even sign up for Google Webmaster Tools. There, you have better control of your place in the search engines.
There are two more plugins that we need to take a look at.
Now, you want to make your WordPress site faster…
In order to make your website load faster, you’re going to need a caching plugin. One of the best plugins available is WP Fastest Cache.
WP Fastest Cache will improve your website performance by making a copy of your site on your server that it will load instead of how it loads normally. This copy contains all of the information on your site
This copy contains all of the content, links, and media and the copy only updates every once in a while according to your caching settings.
When a visitor comes to your site, the server will always load that copy instead of trying to download all of the data of your site’s pages over and over again with new visitors.
This reduces the overall strain on your server as well since it’s serving only one set of data.
There are plenty of setting options for WP Fastest Cache but most of the confusing options have little info buttons to tell you more about them.
Give the plugin a once through and make sure it’s enabled. Don’t worry too much about the settings, the default options work okay and you can always change them later.
Is it easy for people to Share your content?
The next plugin we’re going to take a look at adds social share buttons to your posts and pages. The plugin I use is called Social Share Buttons – Social Pug.
This plugin will add social share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.
You can choose to have vertical buttons, inline buttons, or both. You can choose to have buttons at the top, bottom, or on both sides of your posts and pages.
You can choose to post the share counts for each site and for the total shares as well. You can change the shape of the buttons and make a custom message to encourage shares.
You can even choose to have the buttons show on mobile devices.
Having these social share buttons on your content makes it easy for posts to be seen by a much larger audience than it would have from just search engine rankings.
That pretty much covers the SEO WordPress plugins. Now, let’s look at SEO best practices.
What are the best SEO practices?
There are quite a few SEO practices you want to follow as a website owner. While these aren’t required, they will help you rank better in search engines.
Let’s take a look at what really matters for SEO:
- Change your default permalink structure to Post Name. Having your post and page names in the URL makes a bigger difference in ranking than having page and post numbers and dates.
- Block spammy comments. Spam comments will cause search engines to penalize you due to duplicate content. Also, stopping spam comments improves your visitor’s user experience.
- As you make posts and pages, link to your other relevant posts and pages inside of your site. Creating links to other relevant pages in your content shows search engines that you think your content is worth linking to.
- Don’t put outbound links on every page. Putting too many outbound links on your site shows search engines that you think other content is more important than what you have to offer. You have to find a balance when it comes to links on your site.
- Do NOT link to irrelevant or unimportant pages for the sake of making links. Search engines want to see some relevance in your link building. If you link to pages and posts that have relatable keywords, you strengthen your keyword power for the search engines.
- Make sure you are using a responsive theme. A responsive theme makes your site look good on both desktop and mobile devices. These themes will change shape based on the size of the screen on mobile devices. It’s much more friendly for mobile users.
- Add posts regularly. Adding posts regularly encourages the search engine crawlers to stop by more often. It shows search engines that your site is still important and still growing in authority, encouraging higher search engine rankings.
- Have the targeted keywords for your posts or pages in the first paragraph. Don’t keyword stuff the first paragraph but make sure you do include your most important keywords there first. It tells the crawlers what to expect from your page and it has more weight in ranking your page.
- Make an effort to grow your site’s social media profiles. Increasing the number of followers or friends you have will increase your reach. This will bring in much more traffic and show search engines that people are enjoying your content through other links. It makes them want to get some of that traffic too.
- Write high quality, informative, and engaging posts of varying lengths. You want to aim for posts 300-1500 words long or possibly longer depending on the subject matter. If you target one article size for your website, it makes it look like you write for length instead of quality. Search engines don’t like that.
- Use common sense. Think about your content from a visitor’s point of view. Does your content provide value that visitors are looking for or is your content crappy and poorly written? If you don’t like your content your visitors won’t like your content, so improve it the best you can and make it to a quality that is worth reading.
This SEO practices list may be shorter than most but it still holds true. If you implement these SEO practices into your daily routine, you’ll see much better growth in your rankings and traffic.
Want to learn more about SEO?
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That’s all for today, folks!
If you have any questions or comments about SEO or WordPress, let me know in the comments below. I’ll try to help you out as best I can.
I love reading your responses, so keep them coming!
Thanks for reading. See you next time.