A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO SEO
I can hear you running from the computer screen now and I have to admit I did the same thing when I first started reading about SEO and to a certain degree I am still puzzled but learning always learning. SEO as most of you know is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization and it is a critical factor in organic searches and ranking in Google. That boils down to making sure the words you use in your blog post get searched and picked up in Google so that a stranger can find your blog post.
- Free Yoast Plugin
That makes it sound very simple but it’s not quite that easy. However you can make it easier with a plug-in for your WordPress site. The first thing you need to do right away is install the WordPress Yoast SEO plug-in this plug-in is incredibly useful and it is free. There is also a premium version for around $69.
With the free, plug-in you can take care of several issues that will great increase your SEO scores including:
- Creating an XML sitemap – What is a sitemap I can hear you ask, well according to WordPress it is:
A sitemap is simply a list of pages on a website that are accessible to users. An XML sitemap is a way for website owners to tell search engines about all the pages that exist on their website.
- You can make sure your tags and categories are web crawl able
The plug-in allows you to verify your social media accounts to link your blog posts to.
- And you can install breadcrumbs – breadcrumbs according to Webopedia are:
Breadcrumbs are hyperlinks on a webpage and refer to a specific website navigation technique. Breadcrumbs typically appear horizontally near the top of a Web page, providing links back to each previous page that the user navigates through in order to get to the current page. Basically, they provide a trail for the user to follow back to the starting/entry point of a website
- UPDATE META TILES & DESCRIPTIONS
I didn’t know what they were either until I got Yoast. So meta titles are what shows up in Google’s search results in other word when you Google a topic
The Meta title and description is what shows in Google’s search results. So as you can see on this example the description is pulled from your first few blog sentences. If there are too many words, Google will place three dots as in … at the end to signify there is more text. The highlighted words as in dog food and pet food are the key words.
Once the Yoast SEO plug-in is installed you will see on the end of every blog post and page a box which you can change and fill in as you want to see if you get the Yoast greenlight for good SEO.
- URL IMPROVEMENTS
What is an URL? According to Wikipedia an URL is:
A Uniform Resource Locator (URL), commonly informally termed a web address (a term, which is not defined identically) is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network and a mechanism for retrieving it.
It is vital to ensure that your URL is good for all your titles and content posts. The first thing you want to do is check what are called your permalinks. First, go to blog control panel and find your WordPress settings In the settings screen go to ‘Permalinks’ and there you will see a serious of what are called Common Settings. Click the button that says ‘post name’ and now all your permalinks will include the title of the post instead of a series of numbers or just a date.
Please note that if you have been blogging or using your site for a while and have sent out links to these posts before you change it you should download a plug-in such as the Redirection one so that you don’t get customers seeing a 404 errors or page not found.
- INCREASE INTERNAL LINKS
What is an internal link? Well that is a link to text, stories and even media that you have used in other blog pieces. It is a great way to keep people reading all your other blog posts that relate to the one they are on. They can click on that internal link which will open another blog post for them to read. Internal links are another great SEO point becasue they do benefit the reader and they are extremely good for your Search Engine rankings.
It is also very helpful for your reader to see external links, or links to other helpful websites and blogs. Good quality external links can help Google decide if your site is trustworthy and can increase your ranking in the search engines.
- WHAT IS AN IMAGE ALT TAG AND WHERE DO I FIND IT?
Alt Text is the text that will be picked up by the search engines. Most media images are simply a mass of colored pixels to a search engine, so you have to add the text that they can crawl so that they can be found. In an ideal world your alt text should have your keywords in the space, imagine you cannot see the photo how would you describe it to someone and that’s what you want in the box.
You will find this box on the left hand side when you view the image to edit it or add it to a post. You will see the alt text box under the caption title box.
- YOUR SITE’S SPEED
As we talked about in Best Practices for Images in WordPress site speed is critically important particularly with mobile and tablet viewers. Follow the tips in that blog post to compress your images with EWWW Image Optimizer and Smush It to enhance your upload speeds.
At the top of your blog in WordPress, you will see a black bar and in the bar, you will see a link to Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Click on the link and have Google instantly analyze your site’s uploading speeds. If you have a score of 75 or above on mobile and desktop not to worry that is a pretty good score. If however they are much lower as in below 50 you have issues.
It is possible that some of your plugins are slowing down your site you can test these with a free plug-in called a P3 Plugin Profiler. Or it may be a caching issue and in that case, you should enable browser cashing so install WP Super Cache. Your browser cache is where stuff that is duplicated over your website or blog is stored, for reasons that will remain a mystery to me occasionally caches get confused with everything in them and need to be emptied and refreshed.
- WHAT IS A BACKLINK AND HOW DOES IT HELP SEO?
Most search engines have an algorithm that searches on backlinks, which are links from your site to other sites that are relevant and of a high quality. Backlinks are important to build credibility and reputation and you want to increase them as much as you possibly can.
How do you increase your backlinks I hear you ask? A great way is to create collaborative posts with other bloggers in your field or in complementary fields. If you business is about essential oils perhaps you can create a link partnership with a company that provides packing or labeling for the customers of your oils. You can ask other businesses that relate to yours if you can write a blog piece for their website and create backlinks with this kind of collaboration. Alternatively, check with you Social Media groups as to what collaborations are going on and are there any opportunities to guest post for another website or have someone guest post for your site.
What could you do to improve your site’s SEO?
PIn it for later