Best Configuration Guide for WordPress SEO by Yoast

Everyone these days tries to rank their site’s content higher in Google Search results. There are marketing firms earning a good deal of revenue in relation to the most notorious digital term these days, “SEO”. In this post I will be explaining the different aspects of “On Page SEO”, how to deal with it in WordPress using one of the best free plugins: WordPress SEO by Yoast.

This is a series of tutorials, in the first one we will be configuring and understanding different sections of the WordPress SEO Plugin. Future tutorials in this series will be about different aspects of SEO, how to utilize your site’s Tags & Categories, the concept of rel='canonical', a practical example of an SEO optimized post, and finally some discussion about what else you need to do after having this plugin configured.

This tutorial will help you in optimizing your WordPress sites with the most popular aspects of On Page SEO. Today our goal is to configure this WordPress SEO plugin and to understand the meaning of each step.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.

Why the plugin WordPress SEO By Yoast? I believe it is the best and most complete SEO plugin available for free, though not as easy as AIO SEO, but it comprises of certain vital SEO modules which are the results of the vast experience of Joost de Valk – An elite WordPress developer who developed this plugin.

First of all head over to your WordPress admin panel and install the plugin named WordPress SEO by Yoast (Go to Plugins > Add New > Search for WordPress SEO By Yoast > Install it > Then activate it). After activating the plugin, if you observe the left side menu, you will find a new panel introduced with the name SEO, just like the one in the image below.

SEO-Panel

When you click it you will be inside the Dashboard of the WordPress SEO plugin. Here you can take a tour or restore the default settings of this plugin in future. More over you will find Tracking and Security check boxes.

It allows the author of the plugin to track issues with the plugin if there are any, in future. If you are concerned about your privacy you should keep it unchecked.

This option, if checked, will disallow your Editors and Authors from redirecting a post to another URL, which is one of the capabilities of the plugin. Checking this will also forbid them from no-indexing your posts. If you don’t trust your Editors and Authors, this option should be checked.

These tools allow you to easily verify your site’s ownership by using the meta code provided by Google and Bing Webmaster tools. This option can also help you in verifying your site for Alexa (if you have their premium subscription). You can see I have filled in the Google Webmaster’s meta code.

Tip: Using Google & Bing Webmaster tools help you in understanding the behavior of your site (how much your site is linked, 404 errors, page speed etc).
Dashboard

After you are done with these configurations you can press the button saying “Save Settings“.

Then comes the Titles and Metas panel, this panel helps you in configuring the title, site wide metas, and cleaning up the head. Let’s see what the options are here and how to deal with them:

This option means that the WordPress SEO plugin needs to change the title tag of your installed theme, so that it can modify it as per your settings. This option should normally be ticked.

No-index subpages of archives: It should be checked as it helps your homepage to retain its importance, your Homepage is one of the most important parts of your blog.

Use meta keywords tag: I prefer to check it, as the Search Engines like Yahoo and Bing are known to give some importance to these meta keywords. These are the keywords around which your article is based.

Add noodp meta robots tag sitewide and Add noydir meta robots tag sitewide are used if your site is present in DMOZ or Yahoo Directory, sometimes Google prefers the description of your site from these directories, enabling these tags can help you remove this kind of error.

There is a theory that Google prefers a clean head. Most of the SEO Analysts suggest to keep your site’s head portion clean, the top most links which the Google bot reads get more importance. I don’t prefer hiding these links, as in RSD, WLW Manifest Links and shortlinks of your WordPress posts are helpful in a way like if you use Microsoft Live Editor to Publish your posts then hiding these links is not preferred. If you plan to clean up the head of your blog anyway, I would recommend you check the first three options and leave the RSS links option unchecked. Why? Because RSS links are read by certain plugins and can get you more subscribers. Some people say these RSS links are valuable assets for your blog. Enough said!

Titles-and-Metas1Done with Title and Metas? Press “Save Settings”

Click the Home tab inside the plugin and you will land on the page where all the settings of your Homepage can be found. These settings are kind of ‘set and forget’ settings. You can see the character limits in the image below, fill according to your domain name and niche.

Title: 70 Characters, can be Domain Name with Slogan. e.g. TheBookShop.com – Buy Books at Cheapest Rates

Description: 160 characters in which you will use your focused keyword once. e.g. If your site is for a book shop, you can include the term Buy Books here.

Meta keywords: Don’t spam this box, just put 5 to 6 keywords here, and you should put long tail keywords here, e.g. Download Books at Cheap Rates, Cheap priced Books Downloads etc.

After that, go to your profile page from the top right corner of the Admin Bar, fill in the Google+ URL of your profile and select your name from the users list at the Home Tab of the WordPress SEO plugin, so that your thumbnail is displayed with the exact domain name in Google’s Search. It is due to the rel="author" attribute that WordPress SEO adds this to the header with your profile link. This helps you get a good deal of exposure and more clicks. Make a Google+ page for your blog and add the URL in the box at the end, so that rel="publisher" can be added. These two rel attributes are important for your On Page SEO, and help your site rank better.

Homepage-Settings

After all these settings you need to click “Save Settings”.

Then click the Post Types tab where you will generically configure the On Page SEO elements for Posts, Pages and Media files.

The Help tab provides the details about these generic tags we are using here, but I recommend you do it the way it is done in the image below. Why? After experimenting for about three to five years, I have found these settings best. Of course, we are not going to no-index the posts, but if you tick the Meta Robots No-index then search engines won’t index your posts. Either you check the date snippet or not, if your theme supports the date tag then Google will include it in its search results. I find the date factor very important in On Page SEO, though you can find contrary suggestions about this factor from a lot of people.

Post-SEO
  • %%title%% Replaced with the title of the post/page.
  • %%focuskw%% Replaced with the post’s focus keyword.
  • %%tag%% Replaced with the current tag/tags.
  • %%category%% Replaced with the post categories (comma-separated).
  • %%excerpt%% Replaced with the post/page excerpt (or auto-generated if it does not exist).

Set the pages’ parameters as mentioned in the following image:

Pages-SEO
  • %%sitename%% The site’s name

If you want to index media files separately then you can uncheck the checked box against Meta Robots, and set it like the below image:

The WordPress SEO plugin allows you to configure the On Page SEO parameters for taxonomies like Categories, Tags, Formats and any Custom Taxonomies, if you have them.

Normally Categories are used to categorize the content into organized form, and tags are used to put more aliases for a single post. Right now our focus is towards the configuration of WordPress SEO by Yoast, so we will skip this discussion, but you will read some details about this in next tutorial of the series.

I don’t index both of them so that Search Engines should give most importance to my main article’s titles instead of Tags or their Categories. Here are the settings, if you see I have checked Meta Robots Nofollow so that the Google bot never indexes them.

Same goes for formats, I have checked no-index for them, you can index them if you want.

IAuthor-SEO

I recommend you no-index as shown below, you should disable them to save yourself from a Content Duplication penalty.

Search and 404 pages can have the following template settings:

Formats-SEOSpecial-Pages-SEO

In the next tutorial we will configure the Social part, XML Sitemaps, Permalinks, Internal links, RSS, and will look into the robots.txt file. Do you have any questions regarding this tutorial? Let us know.

P.S. I tried my best to be as generic in approach as I could. You can find a lot of contradictory opinions about what I discussed, so to be clear once again, this is how I do things at my side, and I have been working with gigantic blogs and vast networks, these settings and configurations have proven to be great in my experience.

10 Tips to increase your Facebook Fans

10 Tips to build your Facebook FansFacebook is one of the most powerful tools for all online marketers since it enables us to promote products and services by using highly targeted campaigns with relatively low cost. Either you are using ad campaigns or viral techniques, one of the main targets is to Increase your Facebook Fans of your pages.

In this article, we will provide 10 fast, ‘simple’ and creative ways to increase Facebook Fans and we will describe the first steps that one should take to creatively build a genuine fan base of truly engaged fans.

Firstly, we must consider why a Facebook Fan ‘likes’ a page. Except of ‘just for fun’, there can be an array of more or less obvious reasons like getting exclusive content or education, show support to friends, get coupons or special promos and discounts. Taking into account all these reasons we list the 10 following ‘miraculous’ ways:

1. Use applications

Free or paid, applications are the online marketing tools that will enhance your online Facebook Strategy. Either you create a coupon, an online streaming or contest application; the opportunities for Marketers are many and need to be investigated. There are literally thousands of applications that can help you improve your visibility. A great place to look is the website AppBistro.com.

2. Invite your email contacts-subscribers like your page

Just click ‘Build Audience’ and then ‘Invite friends’ in the Admin Panel of your Facebook Page. Each admin can immediately invite friends and instantly be supported by Facebook contacts. In the past it was also possible for simple users to invite their friends, but this functionality was disabled to fight spam and of course increase FB’s advertising revenues.

3. Organize campaigns

Creative posts around industry related subjects for a specific time period can be a dynamic way to attract new audience.

4.  Offer valuable quality content

Avoid auto-posting and emphasize mainly on personal creative inspired messages of added-value: tips, photos, videos etc.

5. Run a contest

As we discussed in a previous article, social media contests are a great way to gain visibility in social media channels and increase audience. Often organizing them involves lower costs than using paid ads.

6.  Facebook ads

This tool is similar to Adwords bidding vehicle nevertheless it allows you to serve much more targeted banners depending on the interests of the user. Thus it is worth to explore and invest on it as an advertising tool. Don’t forget though that Facebook is an image-driven network and thus the pictures that you will use on your campaigns will significantly affect your Click Through Rate.

7. Link to Twitter


Twitter and Facebook posts can be linked by using various applications. Connecting the two channels is usually a good move nevertheless you should not ignore your initial Twitter strategy and practice.

10 Tips to build your Facebook Fans likes8. Provide exclusive content for fans only

Providing exclusive content to the people that liked your page can help you increase your fan base. Coupons, exclusive offers, content for fans, special events, previews, and trials can become great incentives for your users.

9. Invite fans to tag your page like they tag on an image

As already discussed, Facebook is image-based and thus tagging your page on images related to your product/service is a clever way to increase your publicity.

10.  Add a large button linking from your website

As we mentioned several times in the past, adding social media buttons on strategic places on your website and blog is a basic but extremely effective way to enhance your target audience and convert your visitor into a follower/fan.

Following the above tips can help your increase your fan base, nevertheless one should not forget that listening to the feedback and comments of your users is an important and essential task:

True Engagement, personal immediate interaction and feedback are important in order to show and prove that YOU CARE.

Tips for Google Adwords PPC campaign

Tips for Google Adwords PPC campaign

Google Adwords PPC campaign is very successful if you concentrate on some tips like Decision making and Planning.

Decision making

Identify the audiences, the goals considering the available budget and define what conversion means to your campaign:

  • Brand awareness
  • Sales
  • Registration
  • Just to inform

Planning



Adwords is a marketing tool which can be successful when used as a part of a general strategy and not as a stand alone action. A careful planning can help you avoid a full-size failure in the competitive environment of the search market. Adwords platform provides options to plan when, where, how as well as  the ad spend of your campaign.

Building the campaign

Build a theme based structure with separated ad groups for different categories of products. Separate ad groups, to enclose clear messages, describing what you are offering. Link your ads to a customized landing page containing relevant information  with a user friendly structure in order to interact.

Endorse your values in a clear message including all the information a user needs to respond to the call to action.

Users are always seeking answers to questions like:

  • What does the website offers?
  • Why should I click here?
  • Which are the benefits for me?

 Promoting the message



The path a message follows to reach the right audience using Google Adwords,  starts with a carefully selected and fine-tuned keyword list.

Write down  keyword lists with specified theme, use related phrases, synonyms, misspellings etc.
Tips:

  1. Use different keyword matching      options
  2. Define negative keywords to      filter the traffic and reduce the campaign cost
  3. Enable product extensions
  4. Enable various devices targeting
  5. Target both search and content network

 Action

Let`s say the message has reached the audience. Now the action begins.

During this stage you need to forget the term “audience” and focus to the client. The user’s experience in online business is a high priority. Pay attention to the landing page. The design should emphasise to user’s experience as a matter of usability and easy navigation that will drive to conversions and not a good impression for the design aesthetics

Customers are seeking profitable solutions to their needs, fast simple and easy. So all you have to do when a user is clicking on your ad is to make the conversion process as easy as possible.

Tips for Success

  • Use customized landing pages with easy navigation
  • Remove possible obstacles (i.e. too many clicks or too many forms to complete)
  • Make the user feel safe to interact
  • Just make it simple

Ongoing adjustments

  • Frequently monitor the campaign performance and adjust the bidding settings.
  • Eliminate the keywords that do not perform.
  • Try alternative ad text and/or different call to action.
  • Experiment with the landing page and monitor the performance using different layouts

WordPress – Why should you use?

So what is WordPress and why is it raved about so much? We listed good reasons why you should be using it for your business or personal  website. AS the description on the main wordpress.org site says, WordPress is simply web software that creates beautiful websites or blogs. It started in 2003 and is now the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, and is used on over 60 million sites that are seen by tens of millions of people every day.

WordPress is an Open Source project which means nobody ‘owns’ it. You are FREE to use it for anything, from your dog’s home page to a FTSE 100 web site without paying anyone a license fee.

You may hear about WordPress.com and WordPress.org  for which there are differences:

  • WordPress.com is hosted for free, but comes with limited functionality (you have to pay to upgrade to use this added functionality).
  • WordPress.org can either be hosted by yourself or if you don’t know how to do that, then a web designer will arrange your hosting (most likely all you’d pay is the cost of the domain name which is often $10 a year). This is the better choice as all the functionality of WordPress is available. The code can easily be ‘hacked’ and any adaptations easily made (see point 5 below).

With WordPress you can build a blog, a website, or both together as one.  It lets you create both pages and posts for your site and use the benefits that come with both.

WordPress is a powerful Content Management System (CMS) that can be used for more than just blogging. It can store all your images, files, documents, links and easily retrieve and use them as you see fit.

It is designed and suited to publishing and changing content easily. You don’t have to have working knowledge of html or css to create a great looking site.

Using the functionality of WordPress (such as widgets, plugins, and themes) requires no code experience or expertise, as anything can be added, removed, and rearranged within the WordPress Administration panel.

So rather than having to rely and pay someone to update it for you, you can log on an have full access to do whatever you want – amend spelling mistakes, add and delete pages or posts, change the look and feel of your site. You name it, there will be a way to do it, and all within your control.

There are thousands of widgetsplugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine:

  • free design themes to give your site a completely different look at the click of a button
  • the ability to extend your website with logos, polls, newsletter sign-ups, contact forms, ratings or hundreds of other cool features
  • eCommerce shopping cart plugins can list products, services and digital downloads and take any means of electronic payment.

All tools are available without having to hire a web developer to install or set up and configure them.

There are hundreds of people all over the world working on WordPress to continually update and improve the way it works and what it offers.  The wordpress.org/support site is fantastic and features extensive forums as well as documentation on anything you can think of to do with WordPress.

There are also thousands of other support sites, blogs, forums, Twitter feeds, newsletters, videos, podcasts and more all focusing on top tips and tricks to get the most out of WordPress. Any help you need is literally just a Google search away!

You can of course makes an amazing site, but this is pointless unless it can be found easily through the many different search engines available. Luckily WordPress provides many excellent seo benefits and most are completely free. This includes guiding search engine crawlers through posts, pages, and categories, the ability to create permalinks, plus blogrolling, and pinging. There are also a large number of third party plugins and hacks which can be used for search engine optimization (SEO).

It really is. You shouldn’t be asking yourself  ‘why should I use WordPress’  for my site but really  ‘why shouldn’t I be using WordPress’!

I use it daily to create websites for friends, colleagues and customers, for both personal and business use.

All sites that I have created in WordPress have been perfect for their owners and have really impressed.

Tricks to Use Keywords in Your Blog Posts

One of the biggest sources of traffic to your blog will be search engines, particularly Google.  You can boost the traffic that comes to your blogs from search engines by implementing search engine optimization (SEO) tricks into your blog layout and writing.  You can get started by doing some keyword research and determining which keywords are likely to drive the most traffic to your blog.  Then focus on incorporating those keywords into your blog posts using the tricks below.

1. Use keywords in your blog post title.

One of the best ways to incorporate keywords into your blog posts is to use them in your blog post titles.  However, don’t sacrifice a title’s ability to motivate people to click through and read your entire blog post.  Learn Tips for Great Blog Post Titles.

2. Focus on using just one or two keyword phrases in each blog post.

To maximize the traffic that comes to your blog via search engines, focus on optimization each of your blog posts for just one or two keyword phrases.  Too many keyword phrases dilutes the content of your post for readers and can look like spam to both readers and search engines.  You can learn more about using specific keywords to maximize search traffic by reading about long tail search engine optimization.

3. Use keywords throughout your blog posts.

Try to use your keywords (without keyword stuffing) multiple times in your blog post.  For best results, use your keywords within the first 200 characters of your blog post, several times throughout your post, and near the end of the post.  Take some time to learn more about keyword stuffing and other search engine optimization don’ts.

4. Use keywords in and around links in your blog post.

Search engine optimization experts believe that search engines like Google place more weight on linked text than unlinked text when ranking search engine results.  Therefore, it’s a good idea to include your keywords in or next to the links within your blog posts when it’s relevant to do so.  Be sure to read about how many links are too many for SEO before you start adding links to your posts.

5. Use keywords in image Alt-tags.

When you upload an image to your blog to use in your blog post, you usually have the option of adding alternate text for that image which appears if a visitor cannot load your images in their Web browsers.  However, this alternate text, can also help your search engine optimization efforts.  That’s because the alternate text appears within the HTML of your blog post content as something called an Alt-tag.  Google and other search engines crawl that tag and use it in providing results for keyword searches.  Take the time to add keywords that are relevant to the image and post in the Alt-tag for each image you upload and publish on your blog.

Tips for Great Blog Post Titles

Writing blog post titles that get attention and traffic is a unique form of writing, because you write blog post titles for multiple reasons. First, you want people to be intrigued enough to feel compelled to read the actual blog post. Second, you don’t want to trick anyone by writing a title that is irrelevant to your blog post content. Third, you want your blog post to help drive search engine traffic, so you need to focus on keywords when you come up with your blog post titles. That’s a hefty list, but you can meet all three goals when you write blog post titles following the steps below.

 

1. Pique Curiousity and Get Attention

Your blog post titles should be interesting. They should intrigue readers enough to make them want to click on the link to your post and keep reading it. That’s not to say that straightforward titles aren’t effective. They are! However, you need to have a mix of creative and intuitive post titles to get the best of both worlds.

2. Avoid Bait and Switch

You don’t want to be accused of tricking people into reading your blog post based on the title and then have them be disappointed in the actual content they find within the post. That can do more harm to your blog than good. If you bait them in your blog post title, you need to be sure that you deliver the content they’re looking for within your post content.

3. Consider Search Engine Optimization

Writing blog post titles to maximize keywords and search engine optimization (SEO) is a great way to boost your blog’s incoming traffic from Google and other search engines. If you can marry a creative headline with a search engine optimized headline, then you’ve hit the jackpot! Just remember not to stuff irrelevant keywords into your blog post titles!

 

How To Submit Your Website On Google, Bing & Yahoo search engine

How do I submit and get my web pages to appear on the search engine results pages?

It is vitally important to get your website listed on the major search engines such as Google because it is by far the best way of attracting free, targeted traffic to your site. This website gets most of its traffic from the search engines who send visitors to our web pages.

In this post, we’ll be looking at how to submit your site to each of the major search engines and learn what they look for on your web pages to help you rank higher. Knowing this will enable you to improve your content and overall website by implementing some search engine optimization (SEO) methods.

How Do Search Engines Rank Your Site?

Now, before we look at how you go about submitting your website to the major search engines, it’s important that you learn the fundamentals of what they look for when ranking your website/blog. The higher you rank on Google, Bing & Yahoo, the more traffic you will receive. But being listed doesn’t necessarily mean you will attract traffic, you need to optimize your site for the search engines to ‘see’ you properly.

Every search engine works differently from one another. This is because each uses its own unique algorithms to rank web pages. Generally, these take into account your; Page Title, Meta Description, Keywords within your content, Number of Inbound Links, Bounce Rate, etc. Don’t worry, it’s actually a lot less complicated than it sounds.

As I say, each search engine is different. One may prioritise the number of people linking to your page, where as another may look more favourably towards Targeted Keyword usage. I wouldn’t worry too much about which aspect is more important, as long as you know the general features that the search engines look for, you can optimize your web pages to rank higher.

Read our post on ‘On-Page SEO Techniques‘ to learn more about what the search engines are looking for on your pages.

Do I Need To Submit My Website To Search Engines?

All search engines use programs called ‘Spiders’ to crawl the web. These search the internet for new content, which is then added to their databases/index. When people conduct searches on search engines, the results come from this database, so it is important for your site to be listed on this database.

Technically you don’t need to submit your site to any search engines, as eventually they will find your site by crawling the internet. However, this can take time, time in which you are loosing potential traffic by not being listed. By submitting your site yourself, you speed up the whole process by being automatically added to the search engines database.

Create An XML Sitemap

When search engines crawl individual websites, they look for the site’s ‘Sitemap‘. This is a very basic page that lists all of the URL links of a website. Look at our sitemap for an example.

Search engines use this to see when new content has been added to a website, so it can keep it’s database up to date. So when you publish a new post on your blog, or new page on your website, it appears on your sitemap for the search engines to see.

Now, you could create your own sitemap manually, but that is a lot of hassle. Instead I’d recommend installing the ‘Google XML Sitemaps‘ WordPress plugin.

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap of all of your website. It supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs and it automatically notifies all the major search engines (i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo) every time you create a new post (you need to sign up first though).

Submit Your Site To Google & Get Ranked

Google is the king of the search engines, it’s the most used site on the planet with billions of searches everyday! This is why if you only end up submitting your site to one search engine, make sure that it is Google.

It’s a pretty straight forward process to submit your site to Google. Sign up with ‘Google Webmaster Tools‘ and you will be able to click on ‘Add Site’. This lets you enter the URL of your website (this just needs to be your homepage, not every page of your site!) which you then submit. To finish the process, you need to ‘Verify Ownership‘ so that Google knows that you and not someone else is trying to sign up to their Webmaster Tools.

To verify your site you need to ‘upload a HTML file to your server‘. This is a unique file from Google that contains a unique ID code that corresponds to your site. Once uploaded, you can verify your site and Google will see that you have added the HTML file.

So now that you have submitted your site to Google, there is one more thing to do and that’s to add your sitemap. On your ‘Webmaster Tools‘ dashboard you should now see your website. If you click onto it, you will be taken to a page showing statistics about your site (this will become more useful when your site starts ranking). Go to; Site Configuration>Sitemaps>Submit a Sitemap and point Google in the direction of your sitemap.

That’s it! Now, when you add new content to your site, your site map will automatically be updated via the ‘Google XML Sitemaps‘ plugin, which will also automatically inform Google that you have new content.

Submit Your Site To Bing/Yahoo & Get Ranked

Bing and Yahoo are search partners, which means that once you set up a Bing ‘Webmaster Tools‘ account and submit your sitemap, you are listed in both Bing and Yahoo’s search database.

This is exactly the same process as before, so it’s pretty straight forward. To begin you will need to sign up to ‘Bing Webmaster’ which is exactly the same Google’s ‘Webmaster Tools.

Once signed up (you can use your existing hotmail login info) you can click on ‘Add Site‘. Add your URL and you will again need to verify that you are the owner of the site. Download the unique HTML file from Bing and upload it to your server, just as you did before, and verify your site.

Lastly, you need to add your sitemap. Click on your website on the Bing dashboard then go to; Crawl>Sitemaps (XML, Atom, RSS)>Add Feed and point Bing in the direction of your sitemap.

Why Only Submit To Google, Yahoo & Bing?

Whilst you can submit your site to other search engines such as; Ask, AOL, MSN Search, etc. the vast majority of traffic comes from the big three; Google, Bing and Yahoo!

Once you start listing in these big three, you will end up being listed on the other search engines anyway.

Next Step – SEO

So, that’s it! You should now be listed on all three of the major search engines. But as I said earlier, that won’t guarantee traffic. You need to optimise your web pages with On-Page SEO techniques to make them rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher you can rank, the more traffic you can generate.