How NOT to be totally invisible on the internet.
If you’re not sure what that acronym stands for, read on my lovely, this is for you.
To many people who have a web presence, search engine optimization (‘SEO’) tends to be an afterthought. SEO means the difference between whether someone searching on the internet will find you, or not. It’s literally that simple – if you’re not SEO’ing stuff, you might as well be blowing a trumpet in the desert.
And by desert, I mean that your content is on page 98 of Google’s search engine results pages (‘SERP’s)– AND NOBODY GOES THERE, UNLESS THEY’RE DRUNK OR STALKING THE EX
For Life Coaches and similar compassionate career professionals, I’m naughtily assuming that this kind of tech stuff is not even on your radar. I get it. Because of the tight deadlines that #TheZenTen had to launch this very website, SEO work went out of the window.
Sorry darling, but it HAS to be top of your list, I’m afraid. The good news is that there are some relatively easy tips that you can do right away to remedy this. If you have a LOT of content that hasn’t been SEO’d, I’d seriously recommend hiring a professional. (Ahem, me).
From a WordPress perspective (although this would apply to just about any website) the quickest area for wins are literally while you are writing your content – if you get that part right and make it a habit – you’re peachy.
So, here we are then.
Here is my Top 10 list of things you can do NOW to improve your SEO Score** your percentage-chance for a high ranking
WordPress SEO for Complete Beginners
1: Your title (aka ‘H1’) – 75 Characters
This is top of the list because it’s so easy. Limit the title of your content to 75 characters. Wasn’t that one easy? The title appears in the search results – and the 75 characters keeps your title on one line. There you go! and you were worried this was going to be complicated. So your title might be something like:
“The Techie Tens: WordPress SEO for Complete Beginners”
That’s 53 with spaces. You don’t have to fill it up.
2: Your ‘permalink’ (aka ‘URL’) – Must include your keyword
A URL is basically the web address that you see in your internet browser, and this should contain the keyword, too. In WordPress, it’s called a ‘permalink’ and it will look something like this:
3: At least one sub-heading (aka ‘H2’) should include keyword
Google will look for sub-headings to further explain your content and subsequently decide how to rank you (I know, it makes you feel dirty doesn’t it). So, an example of a title and sub-heading would be:
Sub-Heading: 10 Things to do now to improve your score
4: Your excerpt – 320 characters
Your excerpt is the short description of what your post is all about that will appear in the search engines under your title. 320 character limit otherwise these tend to be cut off with a ‘…’
p.s. there are three ways to add an except – either add to the right-hand excerpt box in WordPress, or add a “more” line. for this article, I’ve added something ‘snappy’ from the content:
If you’re not SEO’ing stuff, you might as well be blowing a trumpet in the desert. And by desert, I mean that your content is on page 98 of Google’s search engine results pages (‘SERP’s) AND NOBODY GOES THERE, UNLESS THEY’RE DRUNK OR STALKING THE EX – 249 characters with spaces. Close enough.
5: Put an image in your post
There should be at least one image in your post. Once you’ve added it to your WordPress Media Library, edit it and adjust the fields to include the title of your blog post. This includes the ALT Tag. An ALT tag also serves those with limited vision to use ‘speak aloud’ software and get a good idea of what the image is about. So describe it simply and plainly. And include your keyword.
6: Use stock images, or make them yourself
Floating round the internet to find an image for your blog is dangerous, especially if you run a business. You might use an image you like that belongs to someone else and could end up in all sorts of hot water. These days it’s a common courtesy to credit the author of an image.
Pixabay is awesome for stock images. Not only are the images mostly free downloads, but it also gives you some code to past into your caption, to credit the author. Readers these days don’t mind seeing this – so don’t be so precious. Give credit where it’s due. (post edit: I don’t use the caption credit code because half the time its broken, add your own caption like ‘Image from Pixabay’ or something).
Alternatively you can make your own images, and this is covered in my Tech 201 course.
7: Get an SEO plugin, like Squirrly
I’m a massive fan of Squirrly – a free plugin (that of course has pro version). Once properly set up, it will literally take you step by step towards a high score while you are writing. There are tons of SEO plugins in WordPress. Again, if you can’t face all that – get a pro to do it for you. (again, Ahem)
8: Using bold text for emphasis
Somewhere in the text, search engines will look for some emphasized text (bold) to confirm you’re still talking about what you say the page is about. So, make one of the keywords bold. One.
9: Keyword distribution – spread out
This goes back to the old days in the nineties where people would cram a ton of keywords at the bottom of a page and be done with SEO. Well, firstly yes, I am that old. Secondly doing this these days will get you nowhere. In fact, you will lose any and all ranking that you gained from doing everything else right.
So, if you have a long block of text, make sure your content is is still relevant by the time you get to the end. Re-read your stuff. If you’ve got 1500 words or more, then keywords should, roughly be at the beginning, middle and end.
This is not a RULE-rule, but ya know, it shows consideration.
10: Do not cram keywords!
If you cram keywords at every possible opportunity, you’re finished, basically. If Googles algorithm sniffs that you’re doing this, you’ll get a “Spam score” and your ranking will be affected over and above the chance to rank score. (which will also be penalized).
Keep WordPress tags relevant, also. Instead of writing sixty, write four. There’s a reason for this and I will be covering it in my TECH 301 Advanced course.
So, to Close,
Whilst some of this may sounds serious, I really don’t want you to go away feeling that you’re lacking at all. I totally get it. If you find this is all a bit overwhelming, you could try my course (below). Once owned, you can replay it to your hearts content – and what’s more I’ll be personally available to you to answer any questions you may have!