Welcome back to the second part of our Do It Yourself SEO Guide! If you missed the first article, make sure to give it a glance as it outlines some of the main search engine optimization concepts and some of the easier ways to improve your site’s SEO. As promised, in this section we are going to be covering some of the best WordPress plugins for SEO, opportunities to optimize your site, and how to become a triple threat.
- Rank Math – Personally, this is my favorite tool. This plugin takes care of Schema markup. It lets you set your keywords and gives you a score from 0-100 on how well you optimized your on-page SEO. It also creates an indexable sitemap so Google can easily read and structure your pages. I like this plugin because you get more control with the free version and it includes few extra options when compared to Yoast SEO.
- Yoast SEO – This is another popular plugin that does pretty much all of the same things as Rank Math. It scores your content, let’s you create meta data, and does schema markup for you.
- Monster Insights – Lets you see your Google Analytics data from within the WordPress dashboard.
Ways to optimize your site
Make sure your website loads fast
Your website loading speed has a direct impact on where Google ranks you, because it’s looking to give its users the best overall experience. You can check out how fast your site loads by heading over to GTMetrix and typing in your domain. Slow websites are most commonly a result of poorly optimized images or bad hosting.
Create an indexable sitemap
This helps Google crawl your page easier because it gives the crawler an idea of how the site is structured. Rank Math automatically creates this for you once you install their plugin. Simply submit the sitemap URL to Google search console to ensure this data is picked up.
Heading tags + keyword usage
Once you have your pages set up, you’ll want to make sure you’re using your keywords occasionally throughout your content. You should use your keyword in your meta title and meta description. As well as in the h2 and h3 tags throughout your website. You should also use it once in the first 10% of your content. The Rank Math plugin makes it very easy and guides this entire process.
Optimize for mobile
This is pretty straightforward, Google understands that many users are now using their mobile devices to browse websites so it’s critical to make sure your site is easy to use on all devices.
Secure sockets layer and security
Installing a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate on your website is important as it encrypts data transmitted between servers. If your website has the little lock icon in the URL bar you are good to go. Otherwise check in with your hosting provider to make sure they get that set up for you.
Create a blog
Creating a blog is a great way to obtain backlinks to your website. You can use your blog posts to help rank your website higher in Google’s search results. First and foremost, it’s important to understand that the goal of a blog should be to provide really great information that is relevant and valuable to the reader. Not only will people love it, but they are also more likely to share your post.
When your post is getting distributed across the web, you are obtaining backlinks and building authority for your domain. If you do post a great article, consider posting it to your social media accounts or find other ways to promote it, such as paid promotions on Facebook.
Becoming a triple threat and getting more traffic
While the goal of SEO is obvious (to rank number one on search engines) you may want to also consider becoming a triple threat to really reap the benefits of SEO. What is the SEO Triple Threat? It’s when your business is ranked in the number one spot for the three most common search queries: Google’s paid AdWords, Local Business Listing, and organic search results
While, SEO is becoming more and more competitive, and it’s becoming harder to rank for each of these spots, this is ideally where you want to be to really get maximum SEO benefits.
Things you should avoid
Keyword stuffing – This is the act of over-using a keyword in your content. There is something called “keyword density” which is how often your keyword is used throughout a page. Google can detect whether a keyword is overused. If it is, you may get penalized which in-turn, negatively affects your efforts.
Bad backlinks – You want to get backlinks that are from relevant and high DA websites. There are options online to buy backlinks, however it’s probably not a good idea as many of these links are low-quality and could have a negative impact.
Black-hat SEO companies – If you do decide to outsource SEO services, try to find a company that is reputable. Some companies partake in black-hat SEO strategies. These strategies can provide fast results, but can also create more damage than good in the long-term.
Tracking your results
There are a few tools that you can use to track the progress of your SEO efforts. Some popular ones include:
- RankTrackr – A tool that keeps track of your rank progress and SEO efforts by displaying graphical results.
- Nightwatch – Like the tool above, Nightwatch offers progress tracking as well as a few other tools for SEO tracking.
- Google Search Console – Google’s tool for keeping track of user queries and other data pertaining to your website.
Go forth and SEO
As you were reading these articles, you may have felt overwhelmed with all of the new concepts. And that’s fine! There is a lot of work that goes into improving search rankings, especially as it gets more and more competitive as time goes on. The goal of this article was to give a broad educational overview of the steps you can take to improve your website rankings without handing the work over to an SEO company.
Hopefully you learned how Google determines rankings and some of the vocabulary that SEO companies use, how to do keyword research and how to make sure you’re choosing the best keywords for your campaign, and how to do on-page SEO to ensure Google can read your data in the most efficient way. Now it’s up to you to start implementing some of these concepts.
To summarize, you want to write content that people are likely to share so you can acquire high-quality backlinks. By using the plugins that I’ve laid out, you can give yourself a better chance of writing web pages that Google can easily interpret. You just want to make sure you’re avoiding some things like keyword stuffing and other black hat SEO strategies. Once you start publishing content, make sure you are tracking your results using tools like ranktrackr or nightwatch.