[SLURP]Hello and welcome to Southwest Cyberport's WP Coffee Break, WordPressanswers in the time it takes to have a cup of coffee.
Today I'm going to show you how to do basicSEO for your WordPress site.
I'm not an SEO expert but I've learneda couple of things about it over the years.
In this video I'llgive you a basic understanding of SEO and show you how to useone particular WordPress plugin to help your site rise above the noisein search results, without having to become an SEO expert yourself.
First, what is SEO? It stands for Search EngineOptimization, and it's a way to get better placement in searchresults at Google and other search engines.
The Internet is a huge place.
Unless yourproduct or concern is extremely unique, when you search for it theremight be millions of pages in Google's database that match thesearch.
To illustrate, I'll search Google for "Children'sHats".
That's a fairly specific query, but you can see thatGoogle found 173 *million* possible answer! And at the top are these"Sponsored" results.
A sponsored result means someone paid Googleto be shown when people search for these keywords.
Below that we see the other answers for thissearch.
And down here we see some which are flagged as ADs.
Therewere only about 10 results here on the first page.
You can clickthrough to other pages, but the accepted wisdom is that ifyour site doesn't come up in the first few pages, nobody will findit through Google.
So how does Google decide which links go onthe first few pages of the results? That is a closely guarded secretat Google.
When you hear people in SEO refer to "the Algorithm",they are talking about the process Google uses to display searchanswers.
Our job is to set up our site in such a way that Googlelikes it more than others, and will prefer it.
This is not an easy taskin general, but there are WordPress plugins that will do a lot ofthe work for us.
We're just going to use one plugin in thisvideo, called All In One SEO.
There are many others, and every webdesigner has their own favorite, but we've had good experiences withthis one.
In particular, this one works pretty well even if you mostlyjust accept the defaults out of the box.
Our goal here isto get some decent SEO results without having to learn all the insand outs of SEO.
We'll go to the dashboard, plugins, add new,then search for All In One SEO Pack, click install, then activate,and we are ready to go! This plugin adds an item to the dashboardsidebar, All in One SEO.
We'll go there to set it up.
The first thingyou'll notice when you install an SEO plugin is there is a wholebunch of new terminology being thrown at you.
For example at the tophere we have a "Cononical URLs" checkbox.
Thankfully, All in One SEOhas these little question marks sprinkled throughout so you can geta quick definition of any of these new terms.
So we get this definition, which helps a littlebut frankly I still don't feel like I understand the issue.
Butnotice there is a "click here" link which promises more detailedinfo.
Now we have a slightly more involved explanationabout the issue.
It basically says, "this setting is the default,trust us, it is going to help your site.
" But if you *really*want to know what's going on, they've provided a link to a GoogleWebmaster post which describes the issue.
The world of SEO is an arms race between unethicalscammers on one side, trying to game Google's algorithm todrive traffic to their sites, and Google on the other side, tryingto provide relevant search results to users and not send themto spam sites.
Google is constantly tweaking the algorithm, andthe scammers are forever trying to dream up new ways to beat it.
Andyou are stuck in the middle, trying to make your site attractiveto Google, while the rules change around you every 6 months.
The Google Webmaster Blog is our primary viewinto Google's thinking.
They post updates here when the algorithmchanges, giving advice for how to make your site rank higher, withoutgiving away too many details for the scammers to use.
All in One has helpfully provided links fromtheir settings, through the help links, all the way back to the GoogleWebmaster Blog post with detailed information about the issuethat setting affects.
In this case, the problem was scammers postingthe same info on a ton of pages with different URLs, to make it seemlike they had a large site full of information.
The Google responsewas to notice when they did that and penalize sites which hadthe same info under a lot of different names.
That accidentally hurt some legitimate sites,like the Swedish Fish seller in this example, which has multipleURLs that lead to the same item in their shop.
The solution, whichGoogle outlines in this post, is for the site owner to add atag to the URLs on the site which indicates which ones contain thesame content, thus signaling to Google that you are not tryingto game the system.
So, it sounds like All in One SEO is right,and we do want that setting to be turned on.
I drilled down all the way on this item justto show that it can be done.
You can spend as much time as youwant learning about Google's algorithm and how you can interactwith it.
Or, you can just trust that the plugin has figured itout for you and stop after reading the first description of the setting.
This is a pretty good example of an issuethat a smart person might never think of, but could really hurt an e-commercesite.
This shows the power of a WordPress plugin to encapsulatethat expertise and make it available for your site withouta huge cost or learning curve.
I'm going to leave all of these General Settingsat their default values.
The next thing we want to look atis the Home Page settings.
This site is set up as a blog.
If it werean informational site with a static home page, we would check thatbutton here.
If you're not sure about your site, you can check itunder Settings, Reading, Home Page Displays.
Now back to the All in One Settings.
I willenter the title of our web site, and a description.
I'm using thetagline of our site here, but you can type whatever descriptionmakes sense for you.
If there are unique words to describe yoursite, which someone looking for you might search for, use themhere.
I'm going to leave all these other title settingsalone.
It's interesting to see what it's doing though.
For example, this item sets the page title to be the title of thepost followed by the title of your blog.
That's going to providea few extra keywords for each of your pages to be found under,something it would not have occurred to me to do on my own.
Under Content Type Settings, this controlswhat types of items will have SEO tags added to them.
It defaults toPosts and Pages, which is fine for most sites.
If you have a lotof media on your site, for example a photo blog or video collection,then adding tags to your photos or videos might make sense.
I'm going to skip a few of these sections,down to the NOINDEX settings.
These are interesting because theyare a way for you to ask the search engines NOT to index certaincontent.
For example if you hold an annual conference, you mightwant to have the pages for past years stop being indexed.
That waywhen someone searches for your conference they are less likely toland on an old page with outdated information.
NOINDEX tells Google not to put the page inits database.
NOFOLLOW says it's OK to grab this page, but don'tfollow the links it contains to other pages.
The settings here are global, so we won'tchange them here.
We'll see in a moment how to apply these to individualposts and pages.
And finally there are some advanced settings,all of which I'm going to leave at their defaults for now.
You canread through these and decide if any of them will be helpful foryou.
But for now I'm going to look at what new SEO settings wehave available on our content pages.
From the list of posts, I select one to edit.
If we scroll down below the content editor, we see that thereis a new All In One SEO section.
Here we can set many of the samethings we saw in the All In One settings, but these will apply to onlyTHIS post.
For example, this is where we would turn on NOINDEXfor specific things that we don't want to be indexed.
Note that the Title is set automatically,but not the description.
We can add a description here to give searchersa better chance of finding us when looking for this topic.
Take note of the Preview Snippet, where Allin One shows you what this search result will look like in Google.
See that when we type in the description field it automaticallyupdates the Preview.
When we are done, we click the Update button, justlike we would when editing the content of the post.
Our changes here won't have any affect onwhat the post looks like on the site.
It only change the invisibletags that humans don't see, but search engines know to look for.
Let's look at a Page real quick.
You can seethat it has the same options as a Post.
So your main task whenyou first install an SEO plugin is to visit all of your pages andposts and add descriptions to them.
When you add new content to the site,you'll fill in that description field as you go.
If your site has a lot of Posts, you mightwant to generate the descriptions automatically.
To do that, goback to the All in One Settings, scroll down to Advanced, and turnon Autogenerate Descriptions.
Now if we go back to look ata different post from the one we added our own description to before,we see that it has filled in the description field with the firstfew words from the Post itself.
In a lot of cases, that is goingto be adequate.
If it's not, you can type in your own descriptionhere, and it will override the auto generated one.
Here's a little tip.
Once you start typingin this field, all the text is replaced by what you type.
I justwant to change a couple words from what it generated.
So I'm goingto copy it from the post, paste it in the Description field, thenmake my changes.
I hope this has helped you understand thebasics of SEO, and how to quickly get WordPress to handle it foryou.
There are a lot of SEO plugins out there.
I use All in One becausethe defaults are sensible, so I can install it, tweak 2 or3 things, and then leave it alone.
My goal is to get some SEO benefitwith as little work as possible, and this plugin does that forme.
If it doesn't do what you want, just remember there are manyother plugins out there.
Pick one with a good star rating, and giveit a try.
On a final note, I've been asked whether anSEO plugin is "good enough" or If you should hire an SEO professional.
The answer depends on what your goals are and how deeplyyou want to personally wade into SEO details.
If you are spendingto advertise to drive traffic to your site, it makes sense to hirea professional to make sure you're taking full advantage of the searchengines.
Just make sure it's a reputable company and they shouldbe able to demonstrate specific traffic increases after their changes.
It's kind of like car maintenance: I can change my battery andmaybe the oil, but if it needs brakes or a transmission service,I'm gonna take it to a pro.
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