My EPIC Blogging quest continues. This time I thrust into the battle of SEO domination! Enjoy 9 Smart Ways To Improve SEO on WordPress.
What the F**k is Search Engine Optimization?
- Higher chances of appearing on the first page of search results.
- Generating on-going traffic to your blog.
#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)
#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:
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:
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.
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.
#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
- 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?
#6 – Google Analytics
Once you sign in, you will need to enter your Google Analytics profile name, Website Name, URL etc.
#7 – Add Google Analytics Tracking Id
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.
I used this plugin to add my Tracking ID because it’s was easy to use.
Once you install the plugin you should see a screen like below.
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.
In 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.
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
You can also try some troubleshooting steps here.
#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.
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
Upload your Sitemap to Google
Open Google Search Console > Click on Sitemaps > type the name of your index file then submit.
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
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!
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.
At the end of the first page on Google, it displays Searches related to my search term.
Next, I head over to Google Trends.
I want to check out a few ideas.
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”.
Let’s work down the list of issues that Yoast SEO has highlighted.
Step A – Click on Edit Snippet
We can change how the title appears within the search engine. You get a Snippet Preview which is useful.
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.
Step B – Meta Description
The next box is the Meta Description.
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.
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.
Log in and click on Tools then select 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.
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.
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!