At my new job I’m working on the SEO for two different sites. I’m starting the process from beginning since I just finished building the sites a few weeks ago so I thought it would be helpful for me to walk others through my process.
If you’ve always wanted to make your WordPress site search engine friendly but didn’t know where to start, this series is perfect for you. I only work on SEO a few hours a week and I’ll be writing the posts as I go, so everything will be broken down into easy to manage chunks. I hope this will make it a lot less overwhelming since you won’t have to do 60 hours of work at once. I’ll be pacing you so you can do an hour here, two hours there and still start to see results!
Let’s get started shall we?
Step 1 – Getting Ready
This is what needs to get done first in no particular order.
1. Install Yoast WordPress SEO plugin
2. Open a Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics account
3. Install Google Analytics tracking code
4. Open a Bing Webmaster Tools account
5. Get a real domain
Your blog must be a self-hosted WordPress for this to work. To install the plugin, go to the plug icon in the toolbar column on the left and click on the ADD NEW menu option. Search for WORDPRESS SEO BY YOAST and click on the install now link. If it asks if you’re sure you want to install this plugin, hit YES. Then hit the ACTIVATE PLUGIN link.
There are several other SEO plugins out there such as the All-in-One SEO pack, but WordPress SEO by Yoast is by far the best. Even the SEO options that come with the Genesis framework aren’t as awesome as what comes with WordPress SEO by Yoast.
If you’re using any other SEO plugins deactivate them or you might have some clashing. If you have Genesis you don’t have to worry about deactivating anyway since it was designed to disable the built-in SEO options should you decide to install a plugin, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.
Opening a Google Webmaster Tools account it pretty straightforward. It’s like opening up a Gmail account. If you already have a Gmail account or a Google account for anything, you can use the same name and email.
Google Analytics is pretty straightforward too, except you’re going to need to install the tracking code on your site. Lucky for you, I wrote a step-by-step tutorial on how to install the Google Analytics tracking code already, with pictures!
When you’re done with Google, do the same with Bing. There are a few other search engines that have Webmaster Tools, but they have a much smaller market share so you can ignore them for now. If you have a lot of competition, then it might make sense for you to target smaller search engines like Ask later.
This might be easy or tricky depending on what you currently have set up. If you already have a domain name, like www.mysite.com, you’re ahead of the game. All you need to decide now is if you want it to officially have the www or not. We’ll talk about that more in the next post.
If you don’t have your own domain, you really need to get one. I’m assuming you’re reading this because you have your own self-hosted WordPress with a domain, but if your blog is on Blogger or WordPress.com and you’re trying to see if there is anything you can take away from this post, then it’s this. Please please get your own domain. If you’re starting to do SEO on your site now and then decide to move away from Blogger or WordPress.com, you won’t be able to take your rankings with you. If you plan on growing your site into a full-time gig, then you’ll seriously be limiting your earning potential, so get your own domain as soon as you can.
That was pretty painless right? The next steps will be equally as bite sized. Next we’ll start submitting your site using Webmaster Tools, submitting sitemaps and telling search engines which one is your canonical URL. You know, fun stuff!