Arguably, the most important plugin a small business can install on their WordPress website is WordPress SEO by Yoast. All websites want their content to rank highly in Google, but this is especially crucial for small businesses. And WordPress SEO does a host of things to promote your content in search engines like Google and Bing.
Install and Configure WordPress SEO
The first step is to install the WordPress SEO plugin like you would install any other plugin.
- Goto Plugins -> Add New
- Type WordPress SEO in the Search Box and Search Plugins
- Find WordPress SEO by Yoast and click Install Now
- Confirm you want to install it
- When it’s finished installing, click Activate Plugin
- WordPress SEO will ask you if you want to Allow Tracking. This is up to you.
- You may automatically be taken to Yoast WordPress SEO: General Settings or you can get to it by clicking on the new SEO link in the left side Navigation links.
- Mr. Yoast is asking if you would like to be included in his newsletter. Then you will be taken on a tour of the plugin. (It’s a good idea to see what the plugin is capable of doing, so I would take the tour.)
Here’s a video: (coming soon!)
Fine tune the WordPress SEO plugin
WordPress SEO sets quite a bit up just by installing the plugin. But we can fine tune some settings to get the most our of the the plugin.
First link Google and Bing Webmaster Tools to your site.
This will help give you extra statistics and allow you to monitor how your site is being tracked by these two search engines. Google and Bing’s databases make up about 95% of all search engine traffic. You might ask about Yahoo.com, but Yahoo is now using Bing’s search database so if you get your website onto Bing’s radar, you will also appear on Yahoo.
Clicking on the links will take you through the process of signing up for webmaster accounts and adding your website. Then you can copy the meta tag and paste it into the WordPress SEO boxes.
Next we will setup the Title and Meta
The General Settings I choose are as follows:
- Title Settings- Leave what WordPress SEO detected
- Checked– Noindex subpages of archives (We want to index content pages, not archive pages, so this isn’t our focus)
- Checked– use Meta keywords tag? (this is optional)
- Clean up the <head> section (these clean up unnecessary items)
- Checked– Hide RSD Links
- Checked– Hide WLW Manifest Links
- Checked– Hide Shortlink for posts
- Save Settings
- Meta description template- Invest some time in crafting a keyword rich statement about your business. This is what will appear under your website name in Google or Bing search results. Keep this to about 160 characters or less. Use title case. Use Keywords. Here’s my example: “Effective Small Business Websites use WordPress. Business & SEO tips, Plugin Recommendations, and FREE Resources.”
- Author Highlighting: Change this to highlight the user who will be the main author on the website.
- Google Publisher Page: Highly recommended is starting a Google+ page for your business and linking it here. Google+ and Google search results go hand in hand and we’ll talk about more strategies to use Google+ later.
- Save Settings
- Meta Description Template- You can use the statement you created for your homepage. I use the same statement for both Posts and Pages. And I adapt the statement for Media. These are default descriptions of your Posts, Pages, and Media. You will probably be adding custom descriptions of each Post, Page, and Media item, but what you put here will be a good default in case you neglect to create the customized description for a Page or Post.
- Save Settings
Taxonomies– no changes unless you want to put in a default description.
- Meta Description template- describe the author(s) of your business.
- Checked or Unchecked– You decide which is best for your situation.
That’s it for Titles and Meta.
We’re about half way done fine tuning our SEO settings for our website. Take a break, get some coffee and when you’re ready for more, come on back and we’ll tackle the rest of the plugin.