by Kristal Reagan
SEO can be confusing but it doesn’t need to be. This isn’t all there is to know about SEO and optimizing your site but it’s a good start for those not optimized.
Plugins You Need:
- XML Sitemap
- All-in-One-SEO Plugin or WordPress SEO by Yoast
- Page/Post Specific Social Share Buttons
Why? A sitemap will make EVERY link in your website (page, posts, images, etc) recognizable to search engines. This plugin eliminates the need to so this manually.
Having the All-in-One-SEO or WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin will allow you to easily set Meta data for the entire website as well as individual pages and posts. Meta data is used to provide more information to search engines about the individual pieces of content. You can provide custom page names, a short description and keywords.
The Page/Post specific Social Share plugin is a great tool to have so that your visitors can like, tweet, and share a post or page directly from your website by adding share and like button above and/or below content. Make sure you only use this on pages such as your individual posts and important informational pages. For example, you don’t want to put this on your About or Contact page.
Settings you should immediately change in your dashboard:
Is your Site being indexed? In the dashboard under Settings-Reading make sure the line for Search Engine Visibility is UN-checked. If it is checked it’s likely your site is not being indexed by search engines which means you’re site is NOT showing up in search results.
Change your permalinks. A permalink is the page url and by default you’ll have some funny looking string like this http://www.yourdomain.com/?p=123 but what you want is this, http://www.yourdomain.com/sample-post/. To make the change go to Settings-Permalinks and choose the option “Post Name” and then save.
Use Categories and tags:
Think of Categories as the table of contents for your posts/pages and tags are an index. Be as concise as possible and make it simple because when search engines are indexing these items you don’t want to have so many that it gets confused. Just like your entire website, your categories should be indexed but your tags should NOT. Tags are for your visitors to help search your site for the exact subject they are looking for. An example would be that your category is Recipes-Desserts and a tag would be chocolate chip cookie and you might even add a tag oatmeal so that when searching they know it’s a chocolate chip cookie using oatmeal. You may have more than one tag but I suggest no more than 2 categories.
Using images to increase SEO
If you are blogging, your posts should have a featured image. I don’t mean one in the middle of the post (those are good too) but you should be using a featured image. How you name that featured image does matter and I’m giving you some quick tips for image optimization below.
Image optimization Tips:
- Upload images in the size you need them and set them at 72dpi. Don’t let WordPress and browsers resize iamges as this will slow down your site.
- Use descriptive text for the file names of your images (don’t leave them like this DSC-123)
- Use the Alt Text box! When adding the Alt Text think about how you would describe the image to a blind person.
- Your title tag is what shows when the image is hovered and comes in handy should the image not load for whatever reason. Search engines “read” the titles for content. Have you ever done a search for a specific image and you find a slew of them on Google images. Have you ever clicked on any of those images? It takes you to the site where they are “housed”. You want your images to do that as well!
A few more Suggestions
Internal linking will keep people in your site longer. Internal links are links within text on your website that take someone to another page on your same website. So if you reference something that you have blogged about before you can add a hyperlink to that specific article. This makes it easier for visitors to find the article if they choose to know more and that in turn keeps them on your site longer.
What is it? It makes a verified connection between the original content and your Google+ profile.
Why should you link it? It determines you are the original author and your Google profile photo will attract more attention in search engines results and may result in a higher click through rate.
*To use these steps to make the connection you need to have either the All in One SEO plugin or WordPress SEO by Yoast installed.
Step 1: Go to your Google+ profile page (logged in) and go to the About section and scroll down to the Links section then click Edit. Look for the contributor section and add Custom Link. Enter your website name and your website URL.
Step 2: Login to your WordPress dashboard and go to Users-Your Profile and scroll to the Contact Info section and look for the Google+ Box. Enter your Google+ profile URL and then update to save the settings. (You can find your Google+ profile link in the web address bar when you are on your Google+ profile page).
Step 3: Verify Google+ Authorship
Use this link-> Verify Authorship