Tag: Ready

How to Make Your WordPress Site SEO Ready

Hi there.

Thanks for joining us.

Todaywe're going to talk about how to make your WordPress website search engine friendlyand web marketing ready.

We're specifically focusing on WordPress itself,looking at some of the details, functionality of WordPress.

But a lot ofthe issues here you can take and apply over into other sites on other CMSs, oreven an HTML platform.

Your settings will be different and the functionality, butoverall, in general, you're going to get a sense of what you do need to do in orderto be search friendly and ready for a site that can be marketed to the searchengines.

Real quick, this is me.

I'm Stoney deGeyter.

I do web presenceoptimization.

I've got a team of people with me.

And this is kind of my version ofsearch engine optimization or web marketing, where really, everything comesdown to the web presence.

And that is what we focus on, not just one area, but all ofthem.

You can follow me on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter, and here is thelocations.

You can also check out my book, "The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist.

"And, of course, there's my company, Pole Position Marketing.

We can help you outwith any of your web marketing needs.

All right, so let's jump into this and talkabout setting up your blog.

And again, we're kind of focusing on WordPress here,but overall, we're going to take a step back and look at, what you need to makeyour blog, or even your website, search engine friendly and ready to be marketed?First of all, you've got to choose a blogging platform.

There's a lot ofdifferent platforms, a lot of different options.

Really, what you've got to do islook at what you need.

Do you need something easy? Do you need something lowcost, or is cost not an issue for you? Do you want something that's more robust, andmaybe you have to pay for, or a little bit less robust, but you get that at a minimalexpense? You also want something that's search engine friendly.

And overall, if you are planning to engage in web marketing, youwant to make sure you have ownership, and that is crucial.

You don't want to be on ablogging platform that doesn't give you that ownership.

And there are a number offree blogging platforms that are very good for people who just want to get out thereand start blogging, and ownership isn't a critical issue.

You've got Blogger,LiveJournal, tumblr, posterous, all of these are free platforms that you can justjump on, create an account and start blogging.

Now, the content, it's yourcontent, but the platform, because of the way it's set up, it's on their domain nameand they own it.

They can shut you down at any time and you lose all of your content.

They can decide if they go out of business, you lose all of your content.

Sothere's some setbacks to having these free platforms.

They can be very good, butagain, depending on your needs, if you're looking for long term web marketingability, you really want to look beyond these free platforms and go with somethingthat is hosted, which means you buy your own domain name.

You pay for web hostingand then you install these platforms on your server space.

And again, there are anumber of options here.

You've got Squarespace, Joomla, Drupal, concrete5,TypePad, Movable Type and, of course, WordPress.

And that'spersonally my favorite.

But you have a lot of different options, so you want to lookat these and figure out what's going to work best with the platform that you're onor with your web host company or whatever your needs are.

Let's look at a few of thedifferences between the two.

Free platform, obviously, it's free.

Hey,that's great.

The hosted platforms, not so much.

You do have to pay for the hosting.

You got to pay for the domain name, but other than that, some of themare free beyond that.

Some of them, you might have to subscribe to, pay something.

But again, you just got to look into those variables and those differences.

Thefree platforms, like I said, you just go in, create an account and it's done.

Thehosted require a little bit of technical set up.

You might have to do someinstallations.

Some web hosts do easy installs for WordPress and some ofthese other platforms – kind of a click of a button.

So it can be very easy, butagain, it is going to be a little bit more technical than the create-account-and-gotype.

The free versions, easy templates, but you're going to get a lot ofsimilarities.

The hosted platforms, you have a lot of customizability, but youhave a lot of options to customize what you're trying to do, the look and feel of your site.

And you can really own it.

The free versions, you get a genericURL versus the hosted versions.

You can buy the URL of your choice as long as it'savailable.

So you have a lot of options there.

The free version, very fastindexing in the search engines because they host those, free versions havea lot of different blogs on there.

There's regular content going out, so the searchengines are aware of that and they're regularly going out and indexing thatcontent.

On the hosted versions, you're going to have to do some promotion on yourown.

And that's where the web marketing aspect comes in and whatnot.

The freeversions, as I mentioned, you can be censored.

You do not own that content.

Youdo not have the freedom to say and do whatever you want.

They can shut you downwithout any notice whatsoever.

The hosted version, you own the content.

Even if yourweb host shuts you down, you can take your content and move it to another web host,again, provided you have backups, which I highly recommend you always back up yourdata.

But if your web host shuts you down because they don't like you, you can takeyour content and you can move it somewhere else, get it set up and you're good to go.

So, you got to look at these and decide what is the direction that you want to go.

And of course, that decision is entirely yours to make.

I'm not going to try and influence that decision in any way.

However, what I willdo is just continue on this presentation with the idea of focusing on WordPress,not because it's any better than anybody else, but, you know, because it is.

So,let's look at setting up a hosted blog.

First thing you got to do is buy yourdomain name.

Look for the domain name that you want.

There's a lot ofoptions still out there, and of course, everybody thinks the good domain names aretaken, especially all the good dot coms.

And that may be true for the most obviousthings that you're looking for.

But that just causes you to get a little creativeand maybe look for something a little less obvious.

And just look around and do somedigging until you find something that really works for you.

You want to findstellar hosting.

It's really important.

Hosting can make or break a website.

Ifthe hosting's bad and it slows your server down, or you have a slow server, you'regoing to have trouble connecting with people.

They're not going to want to waitaround for your site to load.

And then, you want to make sure that you installyour blogging software.

And if you got platforms such as WordPress, you can usethat for a blog.

You can use that for your main site, or you can use your main site,you know, do that separate and just install WordPress for your blog.

Buteither way, you do have to install that platform if you're going the hosted route.

So you might want to get a developer involved to help you install that, and, ofcourse, customize it to your liking.

WordPress used to offer a five minuteinstall, and I'm not sure if they do that anymore, only because I haven't gotten inand installed WordPress in a long time.

But a lot of them are one click installs,whether it's through WordPress, or whether it's through your web host company.

Theymake it very easy now to install.

It requires very little technical capability.

I'm not a programmer, but I have installed a number of WordPress sites using thatfive minute install option.

Just make sure you install it in thecorrect place, and then you got to find a theme.

Find something that fits yourpersonality, that's going to work for what you're trying to do.

Or get a designer whocan customize, a designer and a programmer, who can manipulate.

Maybestart with a basic theme and manipulate that for you into something a little bitdifferent and something a little more fitting for what your needs are.

Okay, sonext we're going to move on to optimizing your WordPress site for search.

And thisis where we're going to get into the settings for WordPress.

And this will bespecific for WordPress, but whatever platform you're using, you might look forsimilar settings and see what are the options, what are some of the things thatyou can do.

The first thing you want to do is set the default address to use www.

,or set it to use without.

You want to just put in your domain name and put that inthere.

And right here under general settings, site address, make sure you getyour full URL in there in the way that you want it to, whether you want to go https,if you're going with or without the www.

Make sure you put it in here and then usethat consistently throughout the website when you're doing any linking or anythingelse that you're using that format.

Allow search engines to index your site, andthat's very, very important if you want to get out there and let the search enginesfind you and let other people find you through the search engines.

So find thesetting that allows you to turn on search engine visibility.

This is a great featureto click and say, no, I don't want anybody to come to the site when you're indevelopment.

When you're setting up a domain name and you don't want anybody togo there, if you don't have a separate development server, you can click thishere.

It says, hey, you know what, search engines, don't come to my site.

Leave me alone.

Just make sure when you roll your siteout, you're ready to go live, you come back and you uncheck this.

Otherwise,you're going to have trouble and wonder why people aren't coming to your site.

Onelittle thing, one little check box can make a world of difference.

Next, you wantto set your URL structure.

And this is setting the structure of all of your postsand pages and posts going forward, how do you want them to read? And WordPress has afew different options.

You got the default, where does a parameter pageequals whatever.

You can do it date and time.

You can do it month.

You can do anumeric number.

My preference is to have the post name be used in the URL.

And youcan usually edit the post name and tweak these in the settings or when you're doingindividual posts using some plugins or whatever.

But this is the best thing thatyou can do is just, very simply, just say, you know what, by default, use the postname.

And that way, it creates a more readable URL, not just for search engines,but for visitors who are looking.

They can look at the URL and go, "Oh, I know whatthis is about.

" And that's, you know, kind of a SEO thing that we try to do.

It's notjust for getting keywords in the URLs for search engines, but just making sure thatthe URL is something that can be read and understood by somebody looking at that.

And configure your meta information.

We have a tool, or there's a tool calledYoast SEO plugin.

And that has a lot of great functionality and features.

And inhere, there's titles and metas.

And you just want to make sure that you set somesettings here that will help the search engines get to the pages that they needand they leave alone the pages that you don't want them to get to.

And in thiscase, we're telling them, "Hey, you know what, stay out of archives.

" Archives arejust kind of a way to go back through.

And, you know, you got several differentways.

You know, here I'm going to go to 2012.

I'm going to go to 2017, January.

And they create extra pages by going through these archives and the searchengines don't need that.

It's creating a lot of additional URLs if you allow themto index that versus if they don't index that, they can still get the posts byfollowing page two, page three of the normal feed line.

But with the archives,you're creating a lot of additional URLs that you just don't need.

And it's justgoing to slow things down.

You want to get the search engines to focus on the contentthat matters.

You also want to make sure that you add the no ODP, meta robots tag,site wide.

And this just tells the search engines to not use the open directoryproject directory as your title and description.

And it gives you more controlof your title and description, rather than another directory that Google willsometimes spider and transfer that information over into their results whenyou see your site come up in the search results.

So this gives you the option toshow what you want to show, rather than what somebody else titled your websitefrom a third party directory.

You also want to clean up your head code as much aspossible.

There's a lot of junk that goes into your heading code and Yoast gives youa good way to, you know, just get a few things out of there.

One of the big onesis the short links.

And here, you can hide short links for posts.

That is a prettybig deal because WordPress puts in, by default, a short link URL.

And that URLcan be spidered, and it creates a secondary URL that can end up in thesearch results competing for space.

So you just want to get rid of that.

There's nopurpose, no value in that overall.

I'm sure somebody, somewhere has a needfor that, but for marketing purposes, it's good just to get rid of that and pull thatout.

You also want to optimize your pages and again, this is where the Yoast plugincomes in handy.

It gives you some options for optimizing your title and your metadescription.

Use this for every post and every page on your site so you cancustomize the title tag, customize your meta descriptions.

Now, again, we're notlooking just at keywords here, and what keywords can we get into the title andmeta description.

But how can we make those things compelling? How can we writea compelling title that makes somebody say, "Yeah, that's what I'm looking for.

I'm going to click in there, and they're going to deliver the results I want.

" Samewith the meta description, you know, use that to draw people in and encourage themto click on to your website.

Set up redirects.

If you have any URLs that areredirecting, there's some tools that you can use to automatically redirect if youchange a page, you change your URL from one thing to another.

The redirect willautomatically go into this, but you also want to look at, if you are deletingpages, URLs from your site, make sure you redirect those to the next closestcounterpart.

And this is very important because search engines come and they finda lot of dead pages.

They're going to have a hard time filtering through your site.

It provides some kind of signal that says, "Hey, you know what, your site's notreally being kept up a lot because you've got all of these dead URLs.

" And the worstthing about that is if those URLs have any kind of link value and they're suddenlygone, that link value will not stay on your site.

It'll just be lost.

If you putin the redirects from any page that has changed and the URL that has changed,you're able to maintain a good chunk of that value that that nowdeleted page, has, and you're transferring that value to another page altogether.

Okay, so let's talk now about optimizing WordPress for your visitors.

There's oneaspect of optimization, which is optimizing for search engines.

And theother aspect is your visitors.

You want to make sure that you deliver a good visitorexperience for everybody who comes to your site.

One of the things you want to lookat is if people are reading your blog through a feed, do you want to give them asummary of the post, or do you want to give them the full text of the post? Now,this is a personal decision for you.

Now, there's pros and cons either way.

If yougive the full text, then when somebody reads your, or pulls in your site throughtheir feed reader, they can read the entire post right there, and they can geteverything they want.

Some people say, "Look I want to do a summary because Iwant to encourage them to click into my site and then read the full post.

" Prosand cons of that, fewer people will read your content if they have to click to yoursite in order to read it.

But at the same time, you are getting that traffic, andyou are giving people an experience beyond just the post or that particular bit ofcontent in their RSS feed.

They are able then to move on and see other things anddo other things on your site that you might want them to do, such as downloadeBooks or buy some products.

So you just got to weigh the pros and cons and decidewhat it is you want to do there.

You also want to offer related posts.

At the end ofevery post, don't just end there.

Give people some place to go.

Now, there's alot of different things you can do.

You can put advertisements at the bottom ofyour posts.

Say, "Hey, look, download this eBook.

Here's some comments.

" You want toput that in.

But a great thing to do to keep people engaged on the site is, here'smore content that's similar to what you're reading that you alsomight be interested in.

So look for opportunities or pluginsthat'll add these things in there.

Make sure it's styled well so it doesn't justlook like, hey, you just throw this crap on there, but it looks like a good part ofthe site.

And it really draws people in, gives them the opportunity to say, "Youknow what, I'm going to go from here.

There's something else I want to read.

Let's keep reading.

Let's keep exploring this site.

" Allow comments, and a lot ofpeople now are not allowing comments.

They figure, hey, social media is where peopleare commenting now.

They're putting all their comments on Twitter or Facebook orwhat have you.

And you can go that route.

I still think having discussions on theblog is important and it is valuable, even if it's not a lot of discussions.

But justuse that.

Decide if you want to allow those comments, and if you can really useit to engage with your audience, I suggest that you do that.

If you shut downcomments, especially if you're new, you're going to have a hard time interacting withpeople and really building an audience, because people will read the post andthey'll go away.

And unless you're really monitoring your social streams, and peopleare out there commenting on the posts, on the social feeds, then you're going tolose an opportunity to have to build that back and forth engagement with yourreaders, because most people won't go from your blog post to socializing it with acomment.

They might socialize a post, but what you're looking for is feedback.

Andthe comments on the site do help you get that feedback from them.

Allow visitors tosubscribe to the comment threads, and this is important.

You know, if somebody postsa comment, give them a chance to say, yeah, you know what, let me know ifsomebody follows up.

I know when I go to a post and I put a comment, I want toremember, you know, to stay engaged with the conversation.

But I'll forget to goback to that post.

So when you allow people to subscribe, they get notifiedanytime a new comment is made.

And it allows me to read those comments throughmy email, and then I can go click back into the post, continue the conversationessentially, from there.

But if you don't have this option, then alot of times, once a comment is made, it's out of sight, it's out of mind, and youdon't get any further engagement, even if somebody is trying to engage with them, oryou are trying to engage with them on the comments.

You want to make sure youprevent spam.

CAPTCHA is a great way to prevent spam.

There's also a plugin calledWP-SpamFree that does the same thing, a little bit, just more behind the scenes offiltering the spam out.

But you want to make sure that you only get valid people,and these plugins, they'll do a great job.

They're not perfect, and they certainlywon't weed out human spammers.

But it will weed out most of the computer generatedstuff.

So this is a good way.

If you don't prevent the spam comments, you just getinundated with comments, and then you got to sort through them and delete, delete.

And you just want to focus on what's valuable and what you can engage with.

And, you know, speaking of engagement, you want to engage with your readers, andhere's another way, you know, using some of the discussion settings is get an emailfrom the system, from WordPress, anytime somebody posts a comment or a comment isheld from moderation.

This is so you know somebody's commenting.

A lot of times,unless you're in your settings, you're in WordPress every day, you don't know thatsomebody left a comment.

So you set these setting to say, "Hey, notify me,WordPress, if somebody comes and engages with my site.

Notify me if somebody postsa comment, so I can get in there and reply to that comment as quickly as possible.

"If you don't have these settings, like I said, then the comments can just come andgo, and you'll miss an opportunity to engage with your audience.

And, you know,that's not what you want to do when you're building a blog.

You really do want to stay engaged.

Prep your site for social media.

Another optionin the Yoast SEO plugin is to add open graph meta data, and this is like metatags, but it's specifically for social, where you can customize titles anddescriptions different for social media than you do for search.

So make sure youadd that information there so it is social friendly.

Append custom message on the endof a post.

This is a great way to keep people engaged or to move them into otherareas of your site.

You can create a message, a sales message.

We often use itfor advertisements for eBooks or downloads or other things such as that, where wefeel like, "Hey, this post is about this.

You'll be interested in this next thing.

"Maybe it's an advertisement for our services.

A lot of times, it's justkeeping people engaged with the content itself.

You want to set up social sharingspecifically.

On each post, every person should have the ability to socialize thatpost, at least on the main social platforms, whether it be Twitter,Facebook, Google+.

Give an option that people say, you know what? I like thisarticle.

This is good information.

I'm going to share that.

One click of thebutton, it goes to their platform.

The link goes out.

Make sure you have that.

Ifyou don't have social sharing set up, there's just a good chance people aren'tgoing to socialize it, because that makes it easy for them.

And it's a reminder.

They see that and go, okay, yeah, I do want to share this.

If they don't seethat, they don't have that option, they're just going to keep going with theirreading and forget all about it, even if it is a good article that they findvaluable.

The social sharing icons just prompt them to do those things.

Okay, sowe're going to go and look at a couple housekeeping things, overall, things youwant to keep in mind for your site as you build this up and build an audience andbuild a destination for people to come to.

First thing, back up your database.

On aregular basis, get a plugin that allows you to back everything up.

Now, your webhost should have a backup of your database.

They should be doing that, butas we know, sometimes bad things happen.

I'm a believer in backing up my backups,so what you want to do is take the opportunity on a weekly or a monthly basisto go in, back up your databases and move them to a hard drive somewhere or put themon your computer somewhere, where if something happens with the server, if theserver crashes, or somebody does something and everything's lost, you still have yourinformation and you can easily, again, take that somewhere else, reinstall it,get all your stuff back and working again.

You want to find and fix broken links.

There's a broken link tool for WordPress.

Now, some platforms don't allow everyplugin for whatever reason, so these may not all work with you.

But there's a greatplugin that will just constantly monitor your links on your site, and anytime itfinds a broken link, it'll put this in this dashboard.

And with one click of abutton, you can fix any one of these broken links, or you can fix dozens ofthem at the same time.

So this is a great tool just to keep your site tidy and up todate, especially blogs, when you're linking off-site to other third partysites.

Over the years, those sites come and go, and you're building up a host ofbroken links, which isn't a big deal because those are old posts.

But ifsomebody does find that post, they click on a link, you know, it's better just toremove the link entirely than to have them click on something and go nowhere.

So usethis just to keep your site nice and tidy.

And you also want to install GoogleAnalytics.

This is a site wide issue.

You need analytics if you want to know howyour site is doing, what your visitors are doing.

So install the code there and makesure it's working.

Do a few tests.

Make sure you'recollecting the right data, because you do want to be able to use that, even ifyou're not digging into analytics on a regular basis, now, you want the abilityand the opportunity to do it down the road.

Cache your site for faster loadspeed.

This is one of the things (page speed) that is very important now, andit's becoming more important for search engine rankings, especially for mobiledevices.

So, use plugins that allow you to cache the site, so it can be loadedfaster.

And once somebody comes to the site, it basically takes a snapshot ofthat, so the next time they come, it doesn't have to reload the entire site.

It's just got to pull from that cache, and it goes quick.

It only needs to load newinformation that wasn't there before.

So this is a great tool just to speed thingsup a little bit for you.

All right, finally, we're going to talk aboutestablishing your message.

And this is all about just being who you are and finding away to connect with your audience.

The first thing to do is find your targetaudience.

Who are they? Are they other bloggers? Are they executives? Are theyhobbyists, professionals, DIY'ers? Who is it that you are trying to reach? And itmay be more than one of these, and it may be somebody completely different.

But theaudience that you're going after will determine what your message is going tobe.

It'll be used to determine what kind of posts you write, what kind of tutorialsyou write.

The information that you put out there is going to be vastly influencedby who you are really trying to speak to with your blog.

And what is it you wantthem to learn? Once you know who it is, what are they coming for? Or what do youwant them to get out of your site? And this is very important, because a lot ofpeople, they just blog and they don't think these things through.

And therefore,they never really resonate with their audience.

They know who they're targeting,but they don't know what they want their audience to do with that information.

But, you know, you need to know, what are they coming to you for? What are you goingto provide that's unique and of value to them? Because the truth is, everybody'slooking for something.

Every search starts on the basis of somebody is looking forsome type of knowledge.

They have a question, who, what, when, where, why?They're looking for education.

How to-, ways to-, ideas for-, and they're tryingto build knowledge by news, events, opinion.

All of these things areimportant, and there's all kinds of different ways to really connect with youraudience.

But you got to figure out what they're looking for, who it is that'slooking and what you want them to learn and to leave with from your site that's ofvalue.

And then use keywords.

You know, you got every searcher that's a differentsearcher, they have a different interest, and they have a different need.

And yougot to put these pieces together to figure out what is the message that you want thatis needed to hit that particular searcher with that particular interest, with thatparticular need.

And now you have a piece of content.

And then you've got adifferent searcher, with a different interest, and a different need.

And thatwill produce a specific piece of content.

So be thinking about these things.

Witheverything that you write, who are you trying to reach? What is their interest?What is their need? And how do you craft the content specifically for that thing?And you have to always understand the intent of the searcher.

Just becausesomebody types in a keyword, and you say, "Hey, you know what, my keyword isrelevant to that.

" Well, maybe it's relevant to that, but that may not be theintent.

You might produce a piece of content that's relevant to that search orto that keyword, but it's not relevant to the intent of the searcher.

And there'sfour basic categories of searcher intent.

There's research, shop, buy and then theinformation seekers.

The first three are part of the sales cycle.

And this is forsites that sell a product or a service.

People are looking for a TV, or they'relooking for a wide-screen TV, or they're looking for a Sony wide-screen TV.

Thoseare three different types of searches, search intents.

And you want to land thosepeople on very different pages based on each of those intents.

For bloggers, theinformation, that's the category that's most relevant for you.

And if people aresearching for, you know, TVs, well, that's a bit broad for information.

That'ssomebody that's just kind of starting the search.

They don't know what they want.

Soyou want to dig a little deeper and look for the how to's, the what to's.

Look forthe information that teaches somebody something, not just about a product or,you know, "Hey, I'm trying to get you to buy a product.

" But it really goes beyondthat and educates them.

That's the information, those people seekingknowledge.

And you really got to know your searcher intent, so whenever you'retargeting and going after, "Hey, I want to get people who are searching for thesekeywords, " make sure you deliver the content that they're looking for based onthe intent of their search and where they are in that whole search cycle.

Well,thank you very much.

I hope you got something of value from this.

And, ofcourse, you can check out my book at WebMarketingChecklist.


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