[Video] Marketing Academy Secrets: How to Use the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast
By Seth Price
In episode #8 of Marketing Academy Secrets, we show you how to optimize your WordPress website for search using the Yoast SEO plugin.
When thinking about search engine optimization (SEO), folks tend to imagine that it has something to do with “black magic” that helps people find you online. In reality, it’s really a lot more straightforward than that. SEO is about making sure that the content you have on your website is aligned with the way that people are searching and that it’s also aligned with the information that other resources have about your business. That information is known as “NAP”: name, address, phone number. Your “NAP” information needs to be consistent not only on your site, but also on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Citysearch, and all of the other citation locations that might display that information.
An SEO plugin can help you organize and control your business’s information so it is tailored to your market. At Placester, we recommend the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast. (In fact, all Placester-hosted WordPress websites come standard with the Yoast plugin). The first thing you want to do after installing the Yoast SEO plugin is to set up Google Analytics, which you can accomplish by entering your Google Analytics tracking code into the plugin. (Don’t have Google Analytics? Our eBook can help you get started!) Next, you want to make sure that you set up Google’s Webmaster Tools. It’s really easy: You just need a Gmail account, and after you sign up, you’ll get a verification code that you can enter into the Yoast plugin. The next thing you need to set up is your Bing Webmaster Tools account. You just need a Microsoft email account to set that up, and — as with Google — you’ll get a unique identifier that you can enter into your Yoast plugin. You’ll also need to take the URL of your site and enter that into both of your Webmaster Tools accounts.
The next thing that you’re going to do is take the Yoast plugin and set up your basic templates for your header, meta, and SEO tags. And what I mean by that is you’re going to determine what the URL structure is going to be. It could be the page name plus the URL, or it could be the page name plus the author plus the URL. You get to decide that and it’s very simple to set up.
Next, we’re going to set up social. Start with your Facebook Open Graph, and what that means is you’re going to connect your Facebook account — your page — to the Yoast plugin. This allows you to share posts from your site and have them formatted in a way that you like. It uses the right snippet, the right-sized photo, and the right image from your site to share on Facebook. Next, we’ll go to Twitter cards, which are new (and in beta). These allow you to connect your Twitter account so when you’re sharing via the Twitter share buttons, the format looks great on Twitter and won’t cut off any content. Lastly, you’re going to set up Google+. That’s very important because you want to make sure that authorship is acknowledged. And all I mean by that is when someone’s searching online and they find your content, that content will be associated with your Google+ account and your profile picture will appear next to it in the search results. To do this, you need a Gmail account, then you’ll need to set up a Google+ account, and then you can set up your Google authorship as well. It’s really simple and it’s certainly worthwhile. Since Google — for the most part — controls all of search online, you want to make sure you take advantage.
Once you’ve set up your site, you then want to use the Yoast plugin to generate a site map. This is really important for making sure that the search engines can crawl every page of your site and find all of your content. Once you’ve generated the site map, you’ll get a little URL that you can insert into Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. And really, it’s just an instruction to both of those entities that you have a website, it has all of these pages, and it has all of this content. Setting up a site map is super helpful. Every SEO expert in the world does it, and you can do it too.
Last but not least, you want to set up permalinks: These are the URLs for your content that are in plain English (and not a series of dates and numbers or gibberish). You do this by going to “Settings” in WordPress, then “Reading,” and from here you can change your permalinks so they’re really just the URL plus the name of the post. There are a bunch of other things you can do here, such as including the date. There’s some debate over whether or not that’s important. Depending on the type of site I’m setting up, I will or will not choose the date. So you’ll have to make that determination on your own. Finally, you want to make sure you’re optimizing not only your homepage, but every one of your pages and every one of your posts. It’s really an opportunity to use plain English and compelling calls-to-action to drive people to want to read your content after they find it.
Do you use the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast? Have any WordPress SEO insight you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!
Published on September 5, 2013
Written by Seth Price
Seth is a brand and marketing strategist with 20 years of digital marketing experience. He’s a founding team member and VP @Placester, author of the bestselling small business marketing book, The Road to Recognition and host of The Craft of Marketing and Marketing Genius podcasts. As a speaker, writer, and marketing workshop leader, Seth brings levity, mentorship, and a dose of reality to the businesses and entrepreneurs he coaches.