So yesterday I was curious about how people would actually come across my site using search engines like Google. Doing some research, I found out that my blog in its current state wasn’t really easily found. Search engine optimisation (or SEO) is a big part of running a website, and one which I have only begun to examine. The first step for someone with a WordPress site is to download the All in One SEO Pack. This is a really great plugin which pretty much does all this stuff for you once it’s set up. To download it, just go to the Plugins menu on your WordPress blog and search ‘All in One SEO Pack’, download and activate it.
From here I would use the Beginner’s Guide to help get you set up. You’ll have to do a bit of reading to get yourself acquainted with all the terminology, but here are a few of the main concepts as I understand them:
- Metadata – When you search something on Google, you see a list of websites by their title and a short description underneath. This is called metadata, and is how search engines display your website on their search pages. Generally in WordPress, the default title would probably be your post’s title, with the description being the first few lines of your post. With SEO you can change that to make your post more appealing to people searching for it.
- XML Sitemap – Still getting my head around this one, but it’s essentially a list of all the URLs for your site. You put this into All in One SEO and it makes it easier for web crawlers to index your site.
- Web Crawlers – If, like me, you don’t immediately understand that last sentence, web crawlers (or spiders) are bots used by search engines to index your site into their databases – think of them as mapping out the internet for their search engine. Once indexed, your site is more easily reached by that search engine (and so more likely to show up on people’s screens).
There’s probably a fair bit I haven’t covered (and what I have definitely isn’t 100% there) but this should get you started. Don’t hesitate to use the description hyperlinks provided by the All in One SEO tutorials or look things up. I’d also recommend getting google Webmasters set up – it helps show you how well your site is working within Google’s search engine.
There’s quite a lot of stuff to cover, I spent the day setting it up, but once you do your blog should be easier to find by other people. It’s a worthwhile investment if you’re serious about building your online presence.