SEO 101 – Getting Started With Search Engines

UPDATE: Adding Yoast SEO over the Google Sitemap XML Plugin will cause a problem with sitemap. It takes a couple of extra steps to resolve, the steps are covered here:Fix Yoast SEO Sitemap Error

Start SEO slowly. Consider this SEO 101. This post to ease into getting your site ready for search engines. I recommend trying WordPress SEO/Yoast SEO. It is widely used and well regarded. This post more learn by doing, less what is SEO. It will become clearer after you work with it, and make more sense when you go back and read up on what you are doing.

Before we get going I want to make two notes:

  • Per Google – Still 0 Clicks, no structured data, no real data from the Webmasters tools
  • I updated my first  post to be more SEO friendly. Check out the results: the WordPress – Hello World

Lets go ahead and jump into getting Yoast SEO installed:

Note: Google Site XML will get disabled in favor of the Yoast SEO equivalent. The Yoast SEO will warn you as soon as you install it, so no need to deactivate it ahead of installing/configuring the Plugin.

  1. Logged in/Dashboard up, go to Plugins > Add New
  2. Search WordPress SEO, Select what should be the first-ish result and click Install
  3. Make sure the Plugin is activated upon installation
  4. Confirm disabling the Google Sitemap XML Plugin
  5. Take the tour, if you miss the tour link go to the Left Hand Menu > SEO > General. A button for the tour will be there

Configuring your SEO Plugin:

You should only need to take a couple of steps to get started. There is more to do and play with at some point, but this should get you started.

  1. Update your search console: Go to SEO > Search Console > Get Authentication, follow the steps. NOTE: Not sure if this conflicts with: SEO > General > [ Tab ]  Webmaster Tools – Google Search Console
  2. Update your information: Go to SEO > General > [ Tab ]  Your Info – Select if you are a company or a person, save changes
  3. If you have some settings or did not want Yoast to do your sitemap.xml, edit options at: SEO > Sitemap XML

Creating a Post with SEO Data:

A lot of the benefit from making your site ready for search engines is making sure each Post is updated per the instructions below:

  1. Create a post, set the title to start with a keyword
  2. Write most of the Post
  3. Go to the bottom of the draft page, then review and update the Yoast SEO data
    1. Check the snippet preview and make sure your title is not to long
    2. Being careful in the previous step and depending on how you configured WordPress will have the site URL include your title/keyword
    3. Set your first keyword, try to align it with your title and post. Try to move the keyword to the beginning of your title.
    4. Add a meta-description,  it is what someone who is searching. Include keywords, they will come out if a searcher used them
    5. Go to the Page Analysis Tab, review the data and update to improve your Page Analysis results. The results will tell you exactly what to do.

Focus on repeating this for each post, and less on dumping meta data and keywords of old. This completes a SEO 101 Walk Through. If you want some more information, check out: Yoast SEO General Guide

Now that we have Yoast SEO installed and done the basics, its time for you to start playing around. The plugin tools are pretty helpful at helping you get your WordPress site and Posts SEO ready.

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