Disclaimer – These tips are not just for beginners, they are also for everyone who has over looked SEO on the count of a lack of education, fear of the the Optimization monster or pure laziness.
WORDPRESS: THE POOR MANS CMS
WordPress is a powerful online tool being utilized by folks of all niches. It’s rich features and easy to use interface have turned millions of novices into savvy, over night content managers. Even the professional world has dabbled into WordPress for certain areas of their websites, and some have completely submerged themselves into the complex functionality that it has to offer. With a tool like WordPress being so freely accessible, it’s not hard for anyone Joe Blow to create an solid online presence. And with our current state of fast paced communication, having that online identity is almost manditory if you expect to survive in just about any industry. Unfotunately simply putting yourself on the web is not nearly enough to get you noticed. You’ve only chosen your game piece, you haven’t actually started playing just yet.
WHAT IS SEO?
If you’re new to this scene, “SEO” is probably a term that you’ve heard tossed around but haven’t yet found a definition. I’m actually surprised at how many well round web folks either don’t know what SEO is or don’t find it important enough to apply. There are many web acronyms that you will come across but this is by far one of the most important. It is also one of the biggest things over looked by rookies, and in my book, is one of the worst downfalls of any starter website. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is the process of improving the volume and/or quantity of “natural” or un-paid tracffic to your website via search engine inquiries. In a simpler language, when people Google you, it helps your chances of being found first. One must keep in mind however, that ranking high on search engines is still very much a popularity contest, and just like high school you have to dress cool and let the popular kids know you exist before you can become a cool kid yourself. That’s the job of SEO.
BREAKING IT ALL DOWN
Enough talk — let’s get started. Let me just say right away that everything you are about to attempt does not require you to have any pre-existing knowledge of programing languages. It is merely a matter of checking the right boxes, creating the right files and applying the right plugins. Nuff said, here we go!
SEO Plugin – If you don’t do any of the other five steps, at the very least download and install the following plugin: All in one SEO Pack. This simple plugin will take care of the vast majority of the backend SEO work. All that code that you didn’t want to write, is written for you.
- Download the plugin, or, do a search for “All in One SEO Pack in the [Plugins] section of your admin panel.
- Install and activate the plugin. Follow the direction given.
- Select [All in One SEO] form the [Settings] section of your admin panel and customize the settings to how you see fit.
Indexing With Google – By indexing your website with Google you are letting them know that you exist and you want to be added to their infinite list. Google sends out search spiders or “robots” that scan every website they get their hands on. Adding yourself to their list gives you a little priority boost. Click here to index with Google. Every little bit counts.
Create A Robots.txt File – When search engines send their robots out to scan your web content they will immediately be told by the Robots.txt file what to scan first. It’s Basically a priority check list for the search spiders. Don’t worry your don’t actually have to create this file if you don’t want to. I have provided one for you. It’s actually the one I use. Edit it as you wish.
- Download the Robots.txt file
- Access your C-Panel or FTP server through your hosting service and place the file in the root of your public_html folder.
Permalinks – The permalink is the extra bit of information after the domain snippet of your URL (i.e. http://www.squareinchdesign.com/5-seo-tips-for-beginner-wordpressers/). By default this permalink is very obscure and seriously weakens your SEO. This can be changed very easily by going customizing the permalinks structure so whenever you create a new blog entry, your permalink will be the title of post. This will help others find you when they search for topics related to your site. This should also be a clue to start naming your posts cleverly so they are easily searchable.
- Go to [Permalinks] in the [Settings] section of your admin panel.
- Under “Common Settings” select “Custom Structure” and copy/paste the this bit of code: /%postname%/
- Save your Changes.
Pingbacks & Trackbacks – You get better rankings when other websites link to your website. Say you post write a great post on — I don’t know — 5 SEO Tips For Beginner WordPressers. If someone else shares a link on their website linking their followers to your post, you get a boost. Search engines will favor you when others do. How is this managed? Well, there are several site update services that you need to report to when someone links to your site. The more you report to the better. Normally this would be a cumbersome task, but not for you, because you use WordPress. Click on [Writing] in the [Settings] section of your admin panel. At the bottom you will see an area that says “Update Services” with a big text field. Now simply type the URLs to all of the update services you would like to report to… What? You don’t know where to find them? Well you are in luck. I’ve actually created a big list for your. By applying this list WordPress will automatically notify all of the update services whenever anyone links to anywhere on your website. If you do happen to get linked, you will be notified in the form of a “pingback” that will appear in the comments section of your admin panel. The pingback will tell you who is linking to your site what page they are linking to, along with other meta data like the date and time. IMPORTANT: In order for this to work properly you must make sure that you allow trackbacks and pingbacks on every page and post. You will find this check box toward the bottom of every page when you create a new page or post.
- Simply download the update services rtf file.
- Open it in a text editor like Note Pad or Text Edit, then copy and paste everything “as is” into said text field.
- Save your changes.
Need more help?
If you have other questions about operating WordPress, check out my DIY WordPress Guide for beginners. It absolutely free, and will have you managing your WordPress site like a pro.