I wrote a blog post not too long ago titled “A Beginner’s Guide to Keywords” which hopefully illuminated some of the aspects that go into choosing the most profitable keywords to target for your next marketing campaign. After I posted this article, I received a number of questions, comments, and messages asking what the process should be for optimizing a website for these keywords once they have been chosen. Though I can’t not go through all of the elements that go into on-page and off-page optimization for a website, I thought I would take a minute and lay out some of the most important steps. These are the basic elements of SEO that you can easily implement on your own sites. If you take the time to follow these few simple steps, I guarantee that you will see an increase in your search rankings and website user experience (UX). So, without further adieu, let’s get into it…
MAIN GOAL = Optimize your meta-content: There are countless articles that tell you to do this to your site, but I am actually going to show you how (In WordPress at least; if you need help doing this with your site and it’s not on WordPress, let me know in a message or comments. I’m here to help. It’s an easy process for any site, I am just using WordPress as an example because it is so widely used)
Step 1 – Log into WordPress. You do have your login information, right? If not, get it from your webmaster. Never let someone else completely control your site information. If you do, this could cause major issues if you ever part from your developer, and even if you don’t, it’s important to have. There are things you should be able to do to your site without the assistance of your developer.
Step 2 – ADD AN SEO PLUGIN – If you have not yet, click on “Plugins” on the left-hand side of your screen. (note, there are a few different reasons why you may not see this link on the side of your admin screen. If this is the case, let me know and I will help you figure out why it is not showing).
Once you click “Plugins” at the top of the page click “Add New” and add an SEO plugin. There are many different SEO plugins available for WordPress, but the two I feel are the best are “All In One SEO” and “SEO Yoast”
For purposes of this post, I think you should add “SEO Yoast” as it is my personal favorite (if you disagree, let me know why in the comments, I’m always interested in hearing differing points on this).
Just type “SEO Yoast” into the plugin search bar and scan down until you see it. It will be listed as “WordPress SEO by Yoast”
Once you find it click “Install Now” once it is installed, click “Activate” and you will be all set.
Step 3 – SETTING UP YOUR PAGES – Now that your plugin is installed, you need to start adding your Meta-content for each page on your site. Simply go to the left-hand side of your screen and click “Pages”
Once you do this, find the main pages you would like to optimize and click whichever page you would like to start with. Once you enter the page’s edit window scan down the page and you will see a section that looks like this:
This is where you will be adding all the unique information about each page on your site. Here is a specific breakdown of the sections:
“Snippet Preview” – This is what your page will look like on the Google Search Results Page. It should look familiar to you if you have used Google search in the past.
“Focus Keyword” – This allows you to pick one specific keyword/phrase that you want to optimize for on your page. (Important Note* This section does nothing for your SEO value, it is simply a way for you to track how many times you are using a particular Keyword, and where you are using it at on your page. Only put one keyword here, don’t stuff a bunch in, it will do nothing but confuse you)
To get the most SEO value out of your site, you need to use Cornerstone Content in your page development. There is a lot that goes into this, but in it’s simplest form, Cornerstoning your content deals with focusing on ONE specific keyword for each page of your site.
If you just optimize for “Real Estate” on every page of your site, that will hinder the amount of times you can effectively use the keyword without it becoming redundant. It is better to focus each page around one unique keyword and optimize that page specifically for it. For instance, you could create a whole page around “Luxury Condiminiums” and make sure you include that specific keyword multiple times all on that one page. This gets pretty complicated, but hopefully this basic idea makes enough sense. If not, let me know.
“SEO Title” – This is by far the most important part of all these sections. Your title is a major factor that Google and other search engines use when ranking your pages. Make sure your title is descriptive, unique, includes keywords, and is under 70 characters (anything over 70 characters will get cut by Google; sometimes it’s even closer to 60)
For your title, avoid stop words such as “And, or, but” as these words are useless to the search engines. Also, put your keywords at the front of your title, a location if applicable, and your company name (if you include it at all) at the end of your title. For instance, try:
Luxury Condiminiums Long Beach, CA | Keeler Real Estate
(One thing to note about Yoast: Sometimes it can be weird about letting you edit the title section. If this happens, click in the box and hit Spacebar and this should take care of the issue.)
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR TITLES – This gets a little technical, but don’t worry, you can do it.
You need to go to the left side of wordpress and click on “Appearance”
Once you do this, a set of options will appear below “Appearance” you want to click the one that says “Editor”
When you do this, you will be taken to a page that has a text box with a bunch of code gibberish that you may or may not understand. This doesn’t matter (just don’t delete anything here)
What you need to do is look at the right side of the page and find the link that says “Header” and click on it.
This will bring up another code gibberish box. Now for the technicals:
Look inside of the box for something that says “head” with a greater than/less than sign on both sides of it.
When you find the Head, click just to the right of the “>” sign and then hit enter. This will create a new blank line. Once you are on a new line, copy and paste this EXACT code into that line. Here is the process:
SORRY, I HAD TO USE AN IMAGE SO ACTIVE RAIN DIDN’T RESPOND TO THIS CODE. JUST MAKE SURE TO TYPE EVERYTHING EXACTLY.
Once you do that, click “update file” and you are all set.
(Disclaimer: Messing with the code of your site can have repurcussions. I can’t be held responsible for user error in this step, but so long as you do exactly what I laid out, you should be fine. Practice caution though)
“Meta Description” – This is another section that does almost nothing for raising your search ranking; however, this is the text that shows up in Google search directly below your title (see “snippet preview”) and for that reason, your description is important. Make sure your descriptions are unique for every page, and follow the length requirements that Yoast lays out. Also, just to make Yoast happy, try to include your main keyword in your description at least one time (but don’t over do it or you will be penalized). Also, try to include a call to action in each page’s description.
These are the main elements for optimizing your meta content using Yoast on WordPress. Another cool thing about Yoast is if you click “Page Analysis” at the top of this section, it will take you to a full analysis of your page’s SEO value. Follow their suggestions and you will have a well-optimized page.
It is important to note that there are countless other things you can do with Yoast, and many of these things require a great deal of technical proficiency, so leave those up to your webmaster. But these simple steps, you should be able to accomplish on your own. Good Luck!!
If you need help with any of this or have comments/questions, just let me know. I will be happy to answer them. If you want this done, but are not sure how to do it yourself, FRINGE Digital Marketing Agency specializes in all aspects of web design and SEO, and we would be happy to help you out. Happy Optimizing!!