Beginning SEO with Yoast plugin

I hang my head in shame!

I watched SEO For Beginners: 3 Powerful SEO Tips  by Neil Patel and he makes three points in his video:

  1. Make your content thorough,
  2. Keywords in Title & Meta description,
  3. Use Google Search Console,

So for the first time after about 3 years of  posting articles I finally did a search on my post site to see what was coming up:

The title is not bad but the meta description is awful. Also, I use categories on my site but not tags.One cannot do worse than this, I think.

While wring my posts  one of the main driving forces was to document my interests, explorations and successes and to have a reference for how to reproduce the results in the future. The Blog site was focused on Asset/Facilities management but I ranged through all sorts of areas such as Free Domains & Websites, Setting up a VPS and HTTPS sites and useful site plugins. Also Programming with Python, playing with databases, SQL & NoSQL and testing online tools, some that are not worth the trouble or relevant. I have over 150 posts to date.

So as the site was , in some ways, internally focused I did not explore the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the site. Nor did I do this for other sites I was creating. Also, I never actually searched my site  on Google to see what the results showed. As you can see above, not very pretty at all. I wouldn’t open that link, totally confusing.

Then I went to googe Search Console and looked at the Impressions versus click

In the video above Neil talks about impressions. I have recently come across this term and was trying to understand what it means:

An impression is how many times a user saw a link to your site in search results. This is calculated differently for images and other search result types, depending on whether or not the result was scrolled into view.

So my site, from the data above came up almost 2000 times in 7 days but only got 85 clicks, about 4.3%. So not very good at all. Also , there are only a few Key Words in my posts that have been targeted, mainly OpenMaint which gets the most amount of hits.

Why is this an issue? Up until now it has not been a major issue. I have used LinkedIn to post my blogs to specific people who may be interested in what I am writing about. But now I want to market my services and push people to my site to show the services I can provide. So I thought I would use my Blog site as a practice to update.

WordPress plugins Yoest or All in one SEO

WordPress SEO by Yoast  or All In One SEO Pack. These two plugins tend to pop-up as the most popular. Both have free and Premium versions and there is always the premium button hovering somewhere on screen for you to upgrade.  I read a couple of reviews about both and decided that I’ll go with Yoast at this point. If it doesn’t meet my needs I can always practice on another of my sites, most probably my demonstration site, VAST to try the alternative. That is one of the positives of having multiple sites, you can trial alternative plugins and find what best works for you (The downside is maintenance on the sites).

This video on setting up Yoast seems pretty comprehensive and explains a lot of things that are not apparent when using the set-up wizard:

Installing the plug-in in WordPress is straightforward. On install it has a setup wizard.  That has a couple of options that ask you whether your site is live/or in development. Mine is live so I went through the procedure of setting up for that. Then there were several steps to follow. All went well until I came to linking to Search Console.

I had a bit of trouble with that but if it wasn’t right then a notification comes up on the dashboard.

One thing I liked was there was a help video you could watch on parts on the setup wizard which is helpful.

After setup wizard I went to the bottom of this post to see what was happening:

And I liked what I saw.

I am a bit of a noobie to the whole Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so I will need to take little steps to start testing out what I know.

The one feature that I saw that I am quite excited about is the TOOLS> BULK EDITOR that lets you update a lot of the Titles/ Descriptions in one place.

In the video for yoast setup he recommends you use %%excerpt%%. This pulls out the first lines of your post. That is fine if you’ve written the first lines knowing they are going to be the front end story of the post. I didn’t so my Meta Descriptions are going to be a bit messy. So maybe the bulk edit will tidy this up ( I hope).

End thoughts

From the first 3 points at the beginning of the post I think I’m making headway on part of 2 and 3. Key words will be another challenge I will need to address.

I struggled a bit with the Yoast  setup process, mainly because I didn’t understand what the implications of the settings were. The video on the setup process was so helpful. A good video with reasonable explanations for why you should/should not do things with the plug-in. Also very comprehensive walk though of all of it. I wouldn’t have used BING but after seeing how easy it was I’ll use that service as well as the Google Search Console.

Now  to go through my site and see what individual posts look like to see if I will edit the %%excerpt%% of them for content.

I’ll try implementing it on another site prior to doing the main services site I have. I will not use the export/import but step through it to get an idea of  what it is doing.

When Google have updated my sitemap I will put a screenshot on this post. Until then, not a pretty site in Google.

There is a time when certain processes make sense. I’d tried to use the Yoast plug-in about two years ago and it just confused me. This time around, perhaps it’ll work to my benefit.

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