*** 10/6/13 Post Updated With Results (it works) ***
If only you could put your products and services in front of more of the right people at the right time, then your business would grow, right?
Here is a simple way to start doing exactly that.
Using what I believe is the best WordPress plugin for business growth your business will be able to bring potential customers to your website. Those who are actively looking for products and services like yours, but do not know that you exist (yet).
Many businesses are now using WordPress as the platform on which to build a website or blog. WordPress is relatively simple to use and has my number#1 criteria for any website. That is it makes your website updatable by you the business owner as and when you wish, no waiting, no paying.
The marvellous WordPress developer community have developed thousands of individual code blocks, each providing a unique piece of functionality, that can be plugged in to a WordPress site, hence the term plugin.
Most of them are free and most don’t need any technical knowledge, you simply install and maybe set a couple of parameters and your website is suddenly a lot more useful or swanky looking. There are image galleries, contact forms, social media feeds etc etc. If you are in need of a particular piece of functionality then there is probably a plugin that will meet your need.
My #1 Recommended WordPress Plugin
The one plugin that I could not be without and the one I recommend to you is called ’WordPress SEO’ by Yoast. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s the plugin that will grow your business by enabling you to reach more potential customers who search for your products and services. I know this sounds like sales speak, let me assure you and give you my word that I have absolutely no connection or vested interest in this plugin, it’s free to use.
The SEO plugin enables me to satisfy my #2 criteria for a successful business website. That is to be able to set the text that appears in the Google search results for each page or post. Careful choice of text enables the page to be found for more Google searches, entice clickthru and increase visits from potential customers. This is a fundamental step in achieving a search optimised website, without it you cannot effectively control what appears in the search results, nor target the right prospective customers effectively.
I use and recommend Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin and install it on all my clients WordPress sites. Yoast otherwise known as Joost de Valk is a Dutch developer and SEO specialist who created this nifty plugin. If he ever reads this perhaps he’ll confirm or deny my description of him.
His WordPress SEO plugin has lots of benefits, flexibility and lots of options, but if that scares you don’t worry, the best thing is that we are going to make use of just one simple but crucial option that will make all the difference. That is the crucial task (simple with this plugin) of setting that page/post meta Title tag which is used as the blue clickable text in the Google search results.
Without the plugin your title tag will be set by default to the title of your post or page, plus your site title. Which can be okay when the title also includes key search terms, but often this is not the case and particularly not the case for your site pages such as your Home page which is probably titled ‘Home’.
All these Titles can get a bit confusing so by example:
|Post Title||Title Meta Tag||What Appears in Google|
|Without the Plugin||Hey Diddle Diddle||Hey Diddle Diddle – My Company Name||Hey Diddle Diddle – My Company Name|
|With the WordPress SEO Plugin||Hey Diddle Diddle||Cats and Fiddles For Sale – Best Price Guaranteed - My Company Name||Cats and Fiddles For Sale – Best Price Guaranteed - My Company Name|
It’s only with the WordPress SEO plugin that you can effectively control what appears in Google.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org
Unfortunately, if you host your site on WordPress.com then you are unable to install plugins, which is a real bummer. Is your website address something like mysite.wordpress.com ? Then I’m afraid that’s you, but read on and you’ll discover the main reason why you should consider moving your WordPress site to your own domain mysite.co.uk – the place to find out more about that is wordpress.org .
If you have a wordpress.org installation on your own domain then great, you’re in business.
The One Option That Makes All The Difference
Before we get to installing and setting it up for basic use, let me explain the one thing (ok maybe two, I can’t resist) that you will use it for and why. Each page of your website has as I’ve mentioned a Title Meta Tag associated with it. It is set within the code, if you want to view the tag for this page then click ‘view source’ from the view menu at the top of your browser (depends on your browser) or press Control U. You should see the title tag near the top of the code. When Google indexes your page it stores the content of that title tag to use as the clickable text in search results and also as a very strong indicator as to what your web page is about and the search phrases that the page is relevant to.
For example I like the title of this blog post ‘The WordPress plugin that will grow your business’, I think it works as an enticing click thru phrase and is a good title to share on social media. However, as a title tag used by Google it’s not likely to show up in many relevant Google searches as not many people will be searching using that phrase or similar. Better might be something like:
“Recommended WordPress SEO Plugin that will grow your business.”
More people are likely to search for the phrase ‘Recommended WordPress SEO Plugin’ than ‘WordPress plugin that will grow your business.
Other possible candidates for the meta Title Tag are: “Best WordPress Plugin for SEO”
or possibly “How to get more visitors to my WordPress website”.
Having control over my titles gives me the best of both worlds, a snappy post title for social media or a Page title such as ‘Home’ and a Title meta tag that targets optimum search phrases as well as enticing click thru to appear exactly as I want it to in the Google search results.
Installing the WordPress SEO Plugin
So lets get to it. To install the plugin either download it from Yoasts website or more simply login to your WordPress Admin panel, click Plugins in the menu on the left and Add New. (What, you don’t have Plugins listed in your menu? Okay whoever set up your website decided not to give you access to the Plugins menu. Go back to them and ask them to up your access level or simply install WordPress SEO for you – it’s a 2 minute job so don’t let them charge you.) Back to Add New… type WordPress SEO in the search box, Yoasts plugin should be top of the list. Select it, click install, then click activate.
Now you may see an entry for SEO in the menu on the left, there are lots and lots of options in there, but for the simple task of setting your meta Title tag, you should not need to worry about them (except for one situation which depends on your WordPress template that I will come to).
Simply within your WordPress Administrator edit a page or post. Scroll down beyond your post content until you see the WordPress SEO by Yoast panel. It will look something like this:
Setting The Meta Title Tag In WordPress SEO
The field that is of most interest is SEO Title. In here type what you would like to appear in the Google search results and include keyword search phrases that you think prospective customers may use when looking for what this page is about. So if I am a writing about my search optimised web design service I might enter ‘Bingley Web Designer. Search Optimised Websites. Web Marketing Advisor’ in the SEO Title field, meanwhile my page or post title can remain as ‘Home’ or whatever I want it to say.
Read more about choosing and optimising the Title Tag in my post ‘How To Get Found In Google Search – Make It Relevant‘.
In this case I might enter the following. Notice Yoast provides a handy snippet preview that shows you exactly how it will look when it appears in Google. (You can go over the 70 character suggested limit by the way, just be aware that anything over 70 does not get displayed in the results, the snippet preview will show you when this is the case so you can decide to adjust or not.)
Bonus Points For An Enticing Description
Now while you are here you could, but you don’t have to, fill in two other fields. Focus keyword; enter your target keyword search phrase here and if the keyword is in your meta tag Title (SEO Title) it will be bolded in the snippet preview just as it would be if that search phrase was entered in Google and your page returned in the results. Useful.
The other field is very useful. Meta Description. This is the supporting text that usually appears beneath the blue clickable text in the search results. If your title tag text is not enticing enough, this is where you can go to town (within reason) on why searchers should click on your search result. If you don’t add a description then Google will choose some appropriate text from your page (but not necessarily the best and most appropriate to entice click thru).
Try to put yourself in the minds eye of the searcher, enter a supporting description that will be eye catching (include keywords, they will be bolded) and something along the lines of a USP.
So for this post I wanted to stand out amongst other results for Best WordPress Plugin For SEO. This post is all about using just one simple aspect of the plugin that anybody can easily make use of so my description should highlight simplicity and ease of use. Something like this:
“I use this WordPress plugin for SEO. In just 10 minutes I’ll show you how to grow your business with one easy option. No technical knowledge required.”
Putting The Best WordPress Plugin Into Action
The final version ready to post:
You are now ready to publish your post and page and start putting your business before more Google searchers than ever before.
*** Update 10 June 2013 ***
Here’s some proof that it works… a screenshot of Google 1st page results for the search ‘Best WordPress Plugin for SEO’ showing me on the 1st page rubbing shoulders with some bigshots in the SEO industry such as Search Engine Watch and Yoast himself (who is number 1 of course). It has already brought visitors to my site, maybe you are one of them (let me know in the comments).
Ok this post is early days in terms of bringing me business, and not necessarily my main goal for it, but I know for a fact that other posts using the same techniques have done so successfully. If I can use the plugin here to compete with a lot of SEO experts then think what you could achieve competing in your niche using it. Let me know how you get on and keep reading to bag yourself a freebie.
Why This Plugin Is Your Best And Most Important Addition To Your Site
Of course setting your title tag is only one small part of SEO, but it is a very very important part as the blue clickable text that appears in Googles search results might be the first visibility a potential customer has with your business so it’s important to get it right.
Now your on your way why not download my free 6 step guide to SEO for Non Techies. It’s packed with plain english explanation and advice on what YOU can do to YOUR website to increase your online presence and reach more people with your products and services.
If you are unlucky…
…setting the Title Meta Tag using the WordPress SEO plugin does not work. There are a few WordPress templates that are coded such that setting the SEO Title in the plugin options does not change the Title meta tag from it’s default setting. If you are in this unlucky situation with the template used to build your site then you need to perform one other simple step. To check look at your source code after you have published your post and look for the Title Tag near the top of the code. If it still reflects your post or page title rather than what you keyed in the plugin SEO Title field then all you need to do is click on SEO in the left menu, click Titles & Metas then check the Force Title Rewrite option. Republish your post.