Occasionally I talk to small business owners that just built their wordpress site and aren’t really sure how to get started with SEO. Often they can’t even find themselves by name in Google and don’t appear to be in the results at all.
All in One SEO Plugin:
I will use this as an example with my images, but there are other plugins that do similar things. I actually would recommend Yoast or All in One. I have All in One on my own site, but if I were to build it today, I would probably use Yoast. They are similar. It is always a better idea to have your developer install plugins for you to make sure that nothing bad happens that causes issues with the site, but I know many of you are DIYers and will do it on your own. You can find both Yoast and All in One if you search for them in the Plugins section in your WordPress site.
You Should Create a Google Analytics Account for your site:
If you don’t have a Google account already, go create one for the business. You will get a gmail address. You don’t have to use it, or you can forward to your other email address. This is where notifications will go for your “Google relationship”, which will include Google analytics and Google search console.
Go to Analytics at analytics.google.com and follow the steps to set up an analytics code for your site. They will give you an analytics ID, which is in the format UA-###### with a number of numbers. Keep that number handy. You will want to go place that in your analytics plugin on your site. The All in One will allow you to place it in the “Google Settings” in the main settings for the plugin. Just scroll down in the main settings for the plugin and you will find it. Paste your number in there and you will be able to track all of the traffic that comes in. It is free.
You Should Set Your Site Title Tags
The most basic form of SEO is to create title tags for each page on your site. Though they are decreasing in importance, and it is only the first step, it is still an important one. You should create 55 character or less title tags for each page of your site, including your home page. The home page title tag settings are often located in a different place. In the All in One plugin, you set these in the SEO settings section of the plugin. The individual page and post titles are set at the bottom of each page or post as you write it.
You will also want to set the format of the title tags in the settings. In the All in One plugin, under SEO settings, there is a box that includes Title Settings. You will want to make sure yours are set to only say %page_title% for pages and %post_title% for blog posts. You will also want to make sure that “Rewrite Titles” is Enabled.
Think of the title tag as the little tab that sticks up on a folder in a filing cabinet to tell you what is inside. The title tag tells Google what that page is about. It at least helps you get in the conversation for search. You should create a page on your site for every individual service you offer. For example, if you are a photographer, you would want to create a page for each type you do. Maybe wedding photography, nature photography, family portraits, etc. Each page is another opportunity to show up in search. Each of those pages should have a distinct title tag. The weddings page might say “Wedding Photographer, Freehold, NJ” or something similar. Combine the service with the basic geography you are targeting with the town name, and then maybe include the state as well, in case you are able to show up for state level searches.
Of course you need to write good content on each of those pages explaining why someone would pick you for that particular service and maybe provide an image or images to help show the concept as well. With a photographer, you would probably have a number of examples. The title tag can typically be added at the bottom of the page as you are writing it. Just scroll to the bottom and you will typically find an area with Title, Description, and Keywords. That is where you add that information.
Home Page Title
For the home page, stay more broad, and try to target the most common broad term for what you do. The photographer may make “Photographer, Photography: Town, State” as their home page title tag. The home page title and description are set in a different place. For the All in One tool, you find it in the SEO settings. Many people struggle to find this. It is also important to note that the title tag is the text that shows up in the tab at the top of the page in your browser. You can hover over it with your mouse to see what is showing up in there. If the title you think is there isn’t showing up, you have done something wrong.
Google Search Console
Lastly, You have set up all of your title tags and created all of your pages. You have also set your site up with Google analytics. You now want to set up an account with Google search console. Make sure you are still logged in to that Google account that you used to set up analytics, and go to google search console. This is basically your website relationship with google. Go here to set it up. They will take you through the process, but if you have set up analytics, you will be able to verify your site ownership with the analytics option. This is sometimes the default option, but sometimes you will have to choose other methods to verify ownership, and choose Google analytics.
Once you have set up Google Search Console, which used to be known as Webmaster Tools, and you may still hear people refer to it as that, you can use the “Fetch” option to tell Google to come index your site. Search for this in the options on the side menu. You will find it in there under “Crawl”. It is under “Fetch as Google”. Hit the Fetch and Render button. This is sort of like knocking on Google’s door and saying, “Please come visit my site”. It doesn’t guarantee it will happen, but it should speed things up.
Then you wait. Check every day or so and do a search for your business name and see if you show up. If you are worried about your business name, you should dedicate a page to that. Fore example, your about or Contact page may want to have a title tag that includes the name of your business and your town, to capture those that search for you by name.
This is only the absolute basics for SEO. There is so much more to do on the SEO journey, but this should at least get you indexed by Google and get you some basic placement. Links to your site from other sites are a huge part of how strong your site is, and therefore your ability to rank. This is where a professional SEO like me can come in to help you rank better for all of these important keywords. There are a lot of technical and on-page factors that we didn’t even touch on with this. All of these things should be considered, but this will at least get you moving in the right direction.
I hope this proves helpful to many. I have included a few screenshots during the process as helpful images here. Please call us when you are ready to take it to the next level. We have over 10 years of experience and are A+ in the BBB. We have done it right for years, which is why we are still around.