From the archives…[Note: edited slightly from the original 2007 version.)
When I originally set up the site, I didn’t have a lot of time. So I just did a few quick things to set up a good SEO foundation:
- Installed the latest version of WordPress and found a theme with a layout I liked. Then I tweaked it with my own graphics and modified the CSS a bit.
- Changed the URL structure to be name-based. This version of WordPress has lots of different URL options (including easy ways to customize), found under Settings > Permalinks > Post name. Why did I do this? Mostly to reduce my own confusion. No way I’ll know what /?p=527 is, but I when I see /which-willow-hairstyle, I’ll know just which post that is. (This can help user experience as well.)
- Switched the order of my title tag to be post name then blog name (so that the search results display begins with the topic phrase that may match the searcher’s query).
- Set the site to resolve with the www under Settings.
- Installed the following plugins:
- Akismet (to prevent comment spam)
- Google Analytics (to easily add Google Analytics tracking)
- Yoast SEO
- To add field for Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools site verification
- To add fields to make it easy to set custom titles and meta descriptions
- To generate an XML Sitemap
- To easily generate robots exclusion protocol settings
- To add Facebook OpenGraph meta data
- To set up breadcrumbs
- To customize canonical attributes and 301 redirects
- Signed up for Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools and submitted my RSS feed as a Sitemap. While in Google Search Console, I verified my site using the meta tag option and set my preferred domain to www.keylimetoolbox.com.For a new site, Google Search Console will show no links or query data (most reports will be empty since there’s no data to show yet). However, some things you can look at right away include:
- Does the site include a robots.txt file (it might even if you didn’t create one! WordPress may create one by default!).
- Is Google having trouble crawling the site? You can see crawl behavior before you’ll see query data (since Google will crawl the site and index it before it starts ranking/getting clicks).
Then I monitored that the site was getting indexed correctly.
- Checked Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools and the site’s server logs to ensure that the site was being crawled correctly by search engines.
- Performed a site: search in both Google and Bing to see if the site had begun to be indexed.
- Performed “branded” searches to see if the site is being seen as relevant for the brand (and if any other sites are being seen as more relevant).
Now I’m set for a solid SEO foundation and can focus on creating quality content, marketing awareness, and visitor engagement.