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November 26, 2017

How to set up your WordPress Blog SEO

Have you set up your WordPress Blog SEO yet? Is your blog getting found in Google search? You might wonder how other blogs come up top in the search results and yours doesn’t – what you need is some SEO for your blog.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. To get it right really takes a lot of work – people don’t get ranked well in search results by accident! It is the product of knowing what to do and getting it done right. It’s a huge field to cover, so we’ll just give a quick overview here and focus on the three main things you need to do to set up your blog SEO.

If you’re interested in learning more and really taking your blog SEO to the next level, then you might like to download our SEO 101 checklist, or join our SEO Bootcamp.

WordPress SEO basics

Now WordPress as a blogging platform is already set up well for SEO. But there are technical things that need to be in place and all themes are unfortunately not built the same from an SEO point of view. Here are a few things to start with:

  • Site Title (Go to Settings > General > Site Title) needs to contain your keywords, not just the name of your business.  But it can’t be too long or spammy – make sure it is readable and makes sense to people, as well as containing one or two keywords about what you do.
  • Permalinks (Go to Settings > Permalinks) should use Post name or even better, use this custom structure: /%category%/%postname%/, make sure you save and check that everything is working well after doing this.
  • Search Engine Visibility (Go to Settings > Reading) make sure this box is NOT CHECKED – otherwise it will discourage Google from ranking your website.
  • An <h1> tag on the home page that uses your keywords.  This may come with your theme, but if not – you might be able to add an <h1> tag using the page editor.  If you’re not sure how to check for tags, right click on your home page and choose ‘View source’.  Look through the code for a title with the code <h1> </h1> around it.  There should be only one on the page and it should be the main title AND use your keywords.
  • There are hundreds of other items to check in a full SEO audit of your website, but these will get you started!

WordPress SEO Plugin

While there are many SEO plugins out there for WordPress, the best one to choose is by Yoast.  Are you using it yet? (Go to  Plugins > Installed Plugins and look for Yoast SEO).

Go through the set up steps and then use the traffic light system to check EVERY blog post and page on your website and improve as many of the items as you can.  Sometimes it’s just about ensuring that you have the right keywords in the right places, other times it might be that you’ve forgotten to add alt text to each of your images.  Yoast SEO plugin will find them all!

Also – make sure that you set up the Meta description for each post.  This doesn’t influence SEO, but it is the FIRST THING people see when they see your site in a Google search result.  So make sure it’s something that tells them about the page or post and why they need to read it!  To find it, scroll to the bottom of the post, click “Edit snippet” in the SEO section and write a custom Meta Description.  You can also edit the SEO title here – make sure it includes your keywords!

Using the right keywords in your blog posts

I’ve already mentioned keywords a few times and chances are, you’ll already know how important they are.  But you may not have had the chance to think them through or to make sure that they’re appearing int he right places on your website or blog.

Keywords are the words that describe what you do – this mean the words that you want people to use when they search to find YOU!  Sometimes this includes your brand name, but often it will include more generic words that tell people about what your website is about.

The trick with keywords is not to make them too broad.  If you sell kids clothes, think about how many thousands of website in the world that also sell kids clothes!  So using the keywords ‘kids clothes’ might see you lost in a sea of other websites, never to make it to page one.  What you need is to think specifically about the terms your customers will be using and try to build those into your keywords.  So you might choose ‘kids clothes nz’ or ‘hand made kids clothes’ to distinguish what you’re offering.

Start with a list of AT LEAST 20 keywords. See what comes up when you search for them.  Can you find your website?  You might need to go back a few pages…  If they’re too generic, cross them off the list and start with some more.

Now you have a list, you need to make sure that you have one page or post on your website or blog that focuses on EACH of your keywords. Focus on one keyword per page or post. This might mean that you need to write new pages or posts just to accommodate a keyword. Go ahead and do it!  Use the Yoast SEO plugin to grade each page and post for it’s keyword and make the suggested changes – see if you can get all the traffic lights to go green!

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