The next important thing after site organization for a new WordPress website, of course, is the SEO. We developed a keyword list already and we’ve talked a bit about the URL structure but something that you’re going to need to develop knowledge about is the on-page SEO.
Meta Tags, Titles and Descriptions
Right off the bat you’re going to have to be developing meta tags, meta titles and meta description tags for your posts.
You’re also really going to need to develop an internal linking strategy so that you can link from one post to another in a way that reinforces the meaning of the post that’s being linked to. Internal linking is one of the elements that Google uses for identifying the meaning of an article. It looks at titles, it looks at descriptions, it reads the text but it also looks at the links that are inbound to it.
Steve: When you say inbound links you mean links between my own articles?
Rick: Yes, absolutely.
Rick: Links between your own articles. You don’t have any control over the link profile of external links but you have absolute control over the link profile of internal links and so you want to maximize your use of that.
Steve: And that takes place in the transcripts in my case, right?
Rick: It takes place in the transcripts in your case, yes.
The Importance of a Sitemaps in SEO
Rick: In particular you’re going to need to produce a sitemap and I think you are going to want a video sitemap in addition to that. We’ll talk about those tools in a little while but that’s something that is going to be critical also for search engine optimization is a sitemap and a video sitemap.
Yoast SEO Plugin
I’m going to recommend that you use the Yoast SEO plugin and that you pay them 35 bucks and buy his video sitemap add on to it.
Steve: Who’s that again, what is that?
Rick: It’s called Yoast SEO.
Steve: Yoast, okay. Do you think that would slow the site down at all or is that a good thing to have?
Rick: It’s irrelevant. If it slows the site down it would be irrelevant because it’s essential on the other end. However, the SEO plugin only acts when you hit save. So you save the SEO plugin, it writes the sitemap and posts the sitemap to the search engines and then that’s it. The sitemap just sits there for the search engines to read. It doesn’t slow down page load except for when you’re actually doing your saving it may take some server resources but it doesn’t have anything to do with site speed after that.
Steve: So it keeps creating new sitemaps based on what I put on there.
Rick: It updates your sitemap.
Steve: And why is that important for search engines, why do they need to see sitemaps?
Rick: There are a variety of reasons why. One of them is that it makes their job very easy for indexing your content. And that is how they know where all the pages are. They don’t have to find them by following links or anything like that. Your sitemap tells them where every page is.
The other thing that it does is it provides the canonical URL for your site. WordPress has a way of having many different paths and that raises issues of duplicate content because you could have your post indexed from a variety of URLs. They all point to the same post but they have different URLs and you don’t want the search engines being confused by that. So you want to specify a canonical URL which is something that’s handled automatically for you but it is enforced by the sitemap. The sitemap does not show alternate paths to your content, the sitemap shows the canonical paths to your content.
Steve: Okay, and that’s what Yoast keeps updating then huh?
Rick: If you want your videos to show up in search engine results then you will want a video sitemap and that’s another aspect of that. If you don’t know what sitemaps are and what they do you’re going to want to go through the section in the beginning course on how to integrate your site with Google because that’s going to be a critical aspect of what you do here.
That brings us to this question of Google integration. Integrating with analytics, integrating with webmaster tools and integrating with Google authorship. All three of those things are important for what you’re doing.
Rick: This is part of your critical path, your minimum necessary things to do in order for your site to be effective.
Steve: Does it have to be Google Analytics or could it be another analyze program like GetClicky?
Rick: No, it needs to be Google Analytics. You certainly can play around with other things to your heart’s content but the Google end of it i necessary for them. You don’t necessarily have to pay any attention to analytics if you don’t want to do so. However, if you want to talk about things that slow your site down, those other kinds of analytics will slow your site down. They are definitely going to impose a hit on the speed of your site. Who’s your site host?
Rick: Okay. So it’s a shared hosting?
Steve: I guess, I wouldn’t know.
Rick: To the extent that you don’t want to use things that slow your site down you’re not going to want to bother with any of those other kinds of analytics.
Steve: Okay. When you say Google Analytics, is the search engine usually using Google Analytics to kind of evaluate your site?
Rick: The search engine is using Google Analytics to verify your authorship.
Rick: To verify the control of the site.
Steve: So what if someone doesn’t have Google Analytics on their site, what happens?
Rick: Then they’re not taken seriously.
Steve: Okay. By Google.
Rick: Yes, right which is the only thing that matters. These are things that real web masters take care of. You need to be taken seriously by Google.
Rick: If you’ve been around for 15 years and you don’t have webmaster tools and Google Analytics and you don’t have sitemaps and that kind of thing, it may be that’s not big a deal because you’ve been around long enough to have established yourself.
However, when you’re just starting out if you don’t have a sitemap and you haven’t verified that sitemap with Google, the chances of you being indexed are mighty small because Google doesn’t know who you are, it doesn’t even know how to find your site until you tell them.
Rick: So it’s an absolutely critical aspect of it.