Understanding SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is important for anyone running an online business. Knowing how to optimise your content helps you to get better results when it comes to your online presence. It drives free, organic traffic to your content by allowing search engines to index it correctly.
So, today’s post will be a tutorial for all you beginners out there, especially for those of you who use WordPress.
Now I want to make something very clear before we move forward. I’ve seen countless tutorials on YouTube and other sites that are just thinly disguised sales pitches for products. There is no pitch here, it’s completely free. The methods I’m going to share with you work. In the complementing YouTube video, you can clearly see and verify this, as I used my own website. I’m going to give you a simple, step-by-step lesson in SEO, without trying to sell you a product, program, or training course.
Step 1- Website Speed
The first step you’ll need to take is to figure out exactly how fast your website is running so far. There are a few tools you can utilize for this process, including:
2. GT Metrics
3. PageSpeed, by Google Developers
For this tutorial, I used PageSpeed first. I took one of my websites; a dormant domain that I own but haven’t yet put to good use called marketingoracle dot com, and typed it into the corresponding area in PageSpeed. Once the tool was finished analyzing, it showed me that the site had very low scores for both mobile and desktop speeds.
The results were the same when using both Pingdom and GT Metrics; the website received a low performance score. These tools use a grading scale, so you’ll want to aim for either A or B. Anything below this, and your website is running too slowly.
Generally speaking, seeing low results this way means that you need to look deeper into your website and optimize it more effectively. You’ll need to make some changes. So why was my
website showing such a low score? I’m using the default theme, which is lightning fast, but the server I’m using to host my site isn’t high quality, and therefore very slow.
So, if your WordPress website has low speed grades, you may need to change your theme to a faster one or switch over to a new hosting provider (assuming your server response is still below average). Were I using a site in this tutorial that I wanted to monetize or use for professional purposes, I’d need to make some massive changed in order to have an acceptable performance grade.
This step is very important, and you don’t want to move past it without thoroughly checking out your website speed. It will affect your ability to optimise your site overall.
Step 2- URLs and Custom Structure
Next, you’ll want to log into your WordPress admin dashboard where you’ll start working on some actual hands on SEO. In case you’re wondering, you won’t need to know any serious coding to work on this step; its all very simple point-and-click methods.
First, head to the plugins section and search for Yoast SEO. Installing this plugin will be very useful for optimising your site in the future, as it gives you tips and corrections for each piece of content and page. There are other options and similar plugins such as All-In-One SEO, but Yoast is the best in my opinion. Be sure to activate it after install.
From the WordPress dashboard, you’ll want to find the settings option on the left tab and select Reading. Here you’ll see ‘Search Engine Visibility ‘. This option should be unchecked you allow search engines to index the site and it’s content.
After you’ve done this, you should see a tab titled Permalinks. Select and erase the content inside of that field and make sure the Custom Content option is checked.
Now you can move on to the next step and head over to your posts! Step 3- Keywords and Headlines
When you click on a post on your site, and look at the title, you’ll see a forward slash.
Delete that forward slash and replace it with a dot HTML, HTM or PHP. Based on my own experience while working in the SEO industry, dot HTML tends to perform better than just a forward slash, but you can choose what to replace it with. You should save this change after you’re finished.
Now your Permalinks will have changed and the URL will contain the post name. You’ll also want to add keywords to this URL as well. For example, I added a new post titled 90 Day Content Marketing Challenge; so the whole title was the keyphrase with my established keywords in it.
When writing these posts, the first paragraph should contain those same keywords. For example, my article’s first paragraph included the line “Today I’m going to show you the results of a ninety day content marketing challenge”. I also changed this line to a heading.
When choosing headings, you have several options titled as H1, H2, H3, and so on, (with importance decreasing with each tag). This will apply a heading tag to your article, telling Google that it has an important keyword within that line.
You can add multiple keywords by using these heading tags. After writing the actual copy itself, try to add the keywords or keyphrase to the last paragraph or two, as well. This way, they are found in several places throughout the post, but it is not overdone and doesn’t compromise readability by cramming the keyword in places where it might not seem natural.
A big question many people have during this part of SEO is “how many keywords do I need?” And the answer is; the more, the merrier! So long as they stay relevant. For instance, if you’re writing a 1,000 to 2,000 word post, the keyword should run frequently (at least every couple of paragraphs). This is a very efficient way to optimise your post or article.
Step 3- Images and SEO
When done correctly, adding images to your post is an excellent way to increase the SEO aspect of your site.
In order to do this, you’ll need to add a ‘featured image’ first. Be sure to rename the image file in its settings/attributes, using the keywords or key phrase used in the article itself, and do the same with the alt text section of the image. You can also add other images and throughout the article with relevant tags.
Now the keywords can be found many times through the article and in the media itself. You can apply these same techniques to other content as well, and in order to be seen by search engines and in turn viewed by visitors, you’ll need to optimise every piece of content you share online.
SEO is much more simple than it may seem at first, and now you have the tools to better optimise your WordPress content in just a few easy steps.
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