9 Smart Ways To Improve SEO on WordPress

Intro

My EPIC Blogging quest continues. This time I thrust into the battle of SEO domination! Enjoy 9 Smart Ways To Improve SEO on WordPress.

seo

 

What the F**k is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO, in simple terms, means that you optimize your site so it’s listed by the major Search Engines. 
Search engines don’t give a shit what your blog looks like.  They care about focus keywords, metatag, image tags and more.
 
In my previous post 10 Epic Ways To Increase Blog Traffic. I wrote about the importance of SEO.
 
Well-organised SEO friendly sites have the following advantages.
  • Higher chances of appearing on the first page of search results.
  • Generating on-going traffic to your blog.
 SEO can be geeky but exercise patience and take your time.  With the help of real examples, I will show you how to set up SEO on your site.
 
Let’s be BADASS at SEO together!

#1 Check Your Site Visibility Settings

WordPress provides a feature to hide your site from search engines. (God knows why?)

Log into the admin area.

You can check this by clicking on Settings > Reading Settings > Search Engine Visibility (Make sure the box is not ticked)

seo master

 

#2 Check your Permalink Settings

SEO friendly addresses contain words that explain the content of the page. They are easy to read by both search engines and us humans.

Here are some examples of SEO friendly links:

https://thistheday.org/howtoblog

Note these links are simple to read and a user can guess what is on the page just by looking at the link text.

A non-SEO friendly link looks like this:

https://thisistheday.org/?p=10332

Note that these links use numbers that are not related to the content, not easy for users to read.

Using the correct SEO friendly permalink structure greatly improves your chances of getting better positions in the search results.

Here is how you can check and update your WordPress site’s permalink structure.  Click on Settings > Permalink Settings.

permalink

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:  It’s recommended that you select Post Name BUT if you have been using WordPress for longer than 6 months it’s not recommended changing the Permalink Settings as this can affect your existing SEO ranking.

 

#3 – Choose between WWW or Not

This choice is completely optional and has no real impact on SEO but its best to choose one option and stick with it.  On the example below, I have chosen for both the WordPress and Site Address URL to use WWW. You can also use thisistheday.org.uk without WWW.

Click on Settings then enter the relevant address.

www

 

#4 – WordPress SEO Plug-In

There are 2 major SEO plugins.  This is one of the advantages of using a hosted version of WordPress as you have full access to a variety of plugins.  The most popular SEO plugin for WordPress is Yoast SEO and All in One SEO.  It’s advised to choose one or the other.

For this post, I will be using Yoast SEO for my examples.

#5 – Google Master

You need to become a Google Jedi.    I am joking of course. But, I would try to brush up on your Google skills. To begin with, you need a Gmail account to log in to Google Plus.  Watch some YouTube videos. Learn.
 
Most importantly, you will need this to access Google Analytics and Google Trends. You will use these tools more often as your blog evolves.  That’s why it’s important to do this sooner rather than later.
 
Google Analytics really is kind of a big deal.  
You will be able to find out, the following:
  • Who is visiting your website. 
  • What people do on your website.
  • The bounce rate, the lower the bounce rate the better! 
  • It’s useful for scheduling your posts.
  • How are people access your site?  Is it via Google, Facebook, Pinterest, etc?
Treat it like a lover and become familiar with each other.

#6 – Google Analytics

Sign up https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/

Once you sign in, you will need to enter your Google Analytics profile name, Website Name, URL etc.

google analytics

 

#7 – Add Google Analytics Tracking Id

GEEK ALERT! When you enter your information you will get your Google Analytics tracking code.

Think of the tracking code as being unique to your site.  This is how Google Analytics tracks your site.  We need to add this code to your blog.

tracking id

I used this plugin to add my Tracking ID because it’s was easy to use.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-global-site-tag/

Once you install the plugin you should see a screen like below.

wptag

Copy and paste the Tracking ID in the box and Save Settings.

Once you have saved the Tracking ID that’s all you need to do.  I would return to Google Analytics and try to verify that you can see your site.  This takes a few minutes to update so refresh the page and try again.

You can also use Yoast SEO to add the code as well.

Using Yoast SEO

Start by clicking here to get your verification code for your site from Google Analytics.

webmasterIn my example, the part of the code we need to copy is between the quotation marks following content=”

The code starts with “prl” and ends with “v580”

Remember this code is unique.

We need to copy and paste the code into Yoast SEO.

Start by clicking on Yoast on your Dashboard > select the Webmaster Tools tab.

Paste the verification code into the relevant box as detailed below.  Save the changes.

yoast seo

 

Adding the verification code can be difficult. Once done, you don’t have to do it again and this will enable Google Analytics to work

If you get stuck more information can be found here

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35179?hl=en

You can also try some troubleshooting steps here.

https://support.google.com/analytics/troubleshooter/7400465

 

#8 – XML Sitemap

Before your head explodes with GEEK speak.  Take a breather.  The next step we want to complete is to upload our XML sitemap to Google.

What is an XML Sitemap?

An XML Sitemap is like an index for a book.  The Sitemap file tells search engines about all the pages within your site.  It has no impact on your search rankings, but it does allow search engines to crawl your site.

How to create an XML Sitemap

Using Yoast SEO plugin.

Go to your WordPress dashboard > Select SEO > Click on the Features Tab > Make sure the button for XML Sitemap is on.

yoast seo general

 

View the Sitemap

You can view the sitemap by

Going to WordPress dashboard > Select SEO > Click on the Features Tab > Click on the ? next to the XML sitemap toggle.

You can also type in your web address followed by /sitemap_index.xml in my case, I would type this

http://www.thisistheday.org.uk/sitemap_index.xml

 

Upload your Sitemap to Google

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/sitemap-list?pli=1

Open Google Search Console > Click on Sitemaps > type the name of your index file then submit.

sitemap

Once you have uploaded your sitemap it should say pending. Leave Google to crawl your site for a few hours.

That’s the boring but necessary stuff out the way.

Now to the FUN stuff your Blog posts.

#9 – Using Yoast SEO for Your Blog Post

Just because you have Yoast SEO installed doesn’t mean that it works automatically. You need to learn how to use Yoast.
 
Perfecting SEO takes time and patienc. You will improve the more you use.

Below is a bad example of a blog post that I created a few weeks back as you can see from the screenshot you can see that I don’t have a Focus keyword, no meta description and no SEO score at all. Its SHIT!

SEO

 

I want to change the title because I don’t think it conveys what the post is about, and it’s not very good.  The original title was called “Goodbye AutoCAD?”.

My first port of call will be Google.

I search for, “Free AutoCAD” but decide that it’s not AutoCAD my post relates too. My post is an alternative to AutoCAD.  I search for “Free alternatives to AutoCAD”

 

At the end of the first page on Google, it displays Searches related to my search term.

google search

 

Next, I head over to Google Trends.

https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US

I want to check out a few ideas.

google trends

I compare my original title “Goodbye Autocad” with “Free Autocad alternative” and “Free Alternative to Autocad”.

“Goodbye Autocad” barely registers which in hindsight is an awful title.  I decide to retitle my article, “Free AutoCAD Alternative”.

yoast seo close

Let’s work down the list of issues that Yoast SEO has highlighted.

Step A – Click on Edit Snippet

edit snippet

We can change how the title appears within the search engine.  You get a Snippet Preview which is useful.

You also get the chance to change the Slug. This is the information that displays under the title of your site result on google.  On the post above I still have the line www.thisistheday.org.uk > goodbye-AutoCAD.  I will change this to make it more relevant.

seo snippet

On the example, I have left the Title and Page title, and added some free text “Free AutoCAD Alternative”

More info about Slugs can be found here.

https://yoast.com/slug/

Step B – Meta Description

The next box is the Meta Description.

The Meta Description box is important, think of it as a billboard for your post. 
 
Out of the millions of links retrieved. You want to entice the reader to click on YOUR link.   You can type up to 155 characters. Summarize what your post involves.  Make it actionable and written in an active voice.  Call to action examples such as find out more, learn more, try this for free. If you are selling something you could include the price or the catalogue number.  Try and make it unique so that it stands out.  It’s also recommended that it contains your Focus Keyword.
 
I have updated my Meta Description.

 

meta

I have included a call for action by asking the reader to “Click here for a FREE alternative.” Hopefully, this should attract visitors to click on the link.

STEP C – The Focus Keyword

This step is probably the most difficult to master and put in place.

There are entire blog posts that surround focus keywords.  It’s definitely a fine-art and something that you get better at the more you use.

There are some excellent resources and blogs posts available around Focus Keywords.   Here is a good starting point.

Keyword research for SEO: the ultimate guide

If you have an established business name on the internet you have a slight advantage. The same applies for blogs that specialise in a niche.

In my example, there are 7.5 million listings for “Free AutoCAD alternative.” This is a lot of competition.
 
If I search for, “Free AutoCAD alternative simmianbob.” This returns 6 results – The problem for me is that “simmianbob” (my username) is not well known.
 
I need to think of a better tactic. This is where Long Tail Keywords come into the picture.
 
Long Tail Keywords are less common search phrases. The difficult part is thinking about what people might type when they search for your topic.  Long Tail Keyword contain at least 3 words. 
You can look for ideas by checking on Google Ads Keyword Planner.

https://ads.google.com/intl/en_uk/home/tools/keyword-planner/

Log in and click on Tools then select Keyword Planner.

keyword planner

I tried a variety of phrases some of which came from suggestions on Google.  I compared “Free AutoCAD alternative” and “Edit DWG files” to see how they compare.

 
Notice on the screenshot below you can see
 
“best free AutoCAD alternative” rates the highest. The term has a monthly average of around 10 to 100 thousand searches. It also has low competition which is important.

 

keyword plan

 

I have now updated the Title and Yoast SEO settings on my post which now get a nice smiley face 😊 which indicates that the SEO settings are correct.

 

There are further improvements, which are not major.

Keyword Density  – Working down the list. It suggests that the Keyword density is too low. For a short blog post this would be difficult to accommodate but achievable in longer posts.
 
No Internal Links – as your blog grows, you can start to link between other blog posts which is good practice.  I plan on revising some old blogs and adding internal links to fresh blog posts that relate to each other.
 
The Meta Descriptionis under 120 characters with more characters available.  I am happy with my Meta Description but might alter it which is optional.
 
Image Attributes – it’s suggested that you should add the keyword to the images within the post. I have done this here.

SEO Title – There are 2 suggestions. 
Click on Edit snippet, that’s where SEO title appears.
 
The focus keyword does not appear at the beginning of the title.  I have switched things around to fix this. 
 
The second suggestion is saying that the SEO title is too short.  I have corrected this as well.
 
I check my analysis results and I almost get a clean sheet!

yoast seo good

 

Conclusion

SEO can be quiet daunting.  It’s definitely worth trying to learn and improve.  I hope this post 9 Smart Ways to Improve SEO on WordPress has been useful.

If you like my post please share and all comments are welcome.

Goodbye and good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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55 thoughts to “9 Smart Ways To Improve SEO on WordPress”

  1. I have been blogging for 2 months now and am just starting to work on my SEO. I cannot believe that I did not know about this at first. Better late than never! Thanks for the tips. Very useful!

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  2. It’s a shame to say this. I have been blogging for almost a year and I still don’t know how to improve my SEO. Thanks for sharing

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  3. Haha I love your style of writing! Thanks for this informational post. I haven’t came acrossed half the tips you mention so I’m definitely going to bookmark this for later.

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  4. Wonderful sharing! Thank you very much for this amazing article. What a good post and I love your good written I will show this to my friends. Glad that you share this

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  5. Def going to start doing everything! I was wondering what SEO was, I’m new to blogging and I kept seeing people talk about it. I love how you have pictures and everything, really helps!

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  6. All but Greek to me but I need to learn SEO so bad as I have started blogging and SEO comes in handy for bloggers.Your post is so informative by the way, thank you so much.

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  7. Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess
    I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying
    your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything.
    Do you have any suggestions for novice blog writers?
    I’d really appreciate it.

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