The Learning NEVER ends!
Hey guys! As you know, being an entrepreneur (a Music Entrepreneur, wink) means you are constantly learning about new ways to improve your business. Behind every newly learned lesson are a dozen new questions about something you’ve maybe never even heard of. This is both the exciting and the tedious nature of being your own boss. One area entrepreneurs will eventually need to focus is SEO – or Search Engine Optimization.
This article is about improving your SEO skills, specifically if you build your website through WordPress. I’ve recently just learned this and am in the process of optimizing my site for this. Here’s how:
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is pretty cool stuff. If you clicked to this link then I’ll assume you have some idea of what SEO is and how it works. I won’t drone on about it. I’ve embedded a short video below for anyone who isn’t so familiar with SEO. If you’re just learning about this stuff then I highly recommend viewing the video to gain a bit of context. This will help you understand how Yoast for WordPress can help you take advantage of how SEO works to rank your website higher.
Main takeaway from the above video:
The words and titles you use when creating online content are very important in helping you to get your website ranking high on search engines. It’s not the be-all and end-all but it’s a big part of it. The best part is that with the Yoast plugin (for WordPress) you can do a few things to help Google to recognize your website as more “legit” thus giving you a better ranking.
Using the Yoast Plugin for WordPress:
Using Yoast is pretty easy to do if you know what you’re looking for. I’ll go a step further, because I’m a huge nerd, and admit that I actually have fun retooling my SEO settings on Yoast (I need more friends). I love when it tells me that my SEO settings go from “N/A” (or “Bad”, lol) to “Good”.
I’m going to share a few screen shots below and point out some key places where you’ll need to tweak a couple of things to improve your SEO settings using the Yoast wordpress plugin.
This is my WordPress Dashboard (I clicked on posts to display blogs I’ve written):
If these pictures are small you can zoom in!
As you can see above, the Blue Arrows indicate the column where both the Readability Score and the SEO Score are displayed. These scores tell you how your posts hits the readers eyes and how it ranks in search engines. You want your blogs, song lyrics, biography, etc to have a good score in both of these areas (and be green).
The first article, with the Green Arrow, has both a good Readability and SEO score. That’s why the little circles to the right are green.
The fourth article on this page, the article with the Red Arrow, has no Readability/SEO score. I’m going to want to improve that so that my readers enjoy reading my blog post and so that Google can find it.
My third article (“How to play gigs…“) actually has a red circle over the Readability Score area. That’s bad and I need to fix that.
How to access and use Yoast for WordPress
You need to add and install the Yoast plugin. Once that’s done it will become a part of your blog post edit page. Select the post you want to work on in your dashboard (or wherever you edit your posts). I’m going to use the example of my “The Etiquette of Listening to Live Music” blog post.
Now this is one of my best performing blog articles. It actually has the most reads of anything I’ve written. I’m not doing it a justice by not improving the readability or SEO attributes, so let’s change that (Nice, I’m getting two birds stoned at once! Right!?).
I’ll click on the link and scroll down the page to here:
I’ll stay on the SEO tab and improve the “Problems” Yoast is telling me I have, in Red. Most of these are pretty self explanatory. Don’t forget to clic “Edit Snippet”, which let’s you change a few very important things:
This section controls how people browsing Google will see the title and description of your link. You have TOTAL control over this. Remember to use the focus keyword! You definitely want a clean looking SEO title (in green) such as:
“10 things friends do for one another | The Friendly Blogger”
It just looks clean and tidy. The slug (in blue) also shows up, keep it short and avoid stop words for better ranking.
The description (in Black) is the paragraph people will read. Make this to the point and informative about what the post contains.
Now you’re ready to improve your posts Readability:
Follow the steps as indicated by Yoast in the “Problems” and “Improvements” sections and you will make your articles flow better and be more enjoyable to read, like for instance, having really really long sentences with strange, punctuation definitely won’t help, you get the point! Also, don’t forget to create and add your posts to categories. Finally, click your image(s) to edit the details such as alt-text, etc. “Alt-text” is what the picture will be saved under for people to see when they google a word and select “images”.
Let’s see how I did:
So now I can go back to my “Posts” page and admire my work.
As you see, the article name has changed from what it was before. Yoast told me I needed a focus keyword so I added one. It then told me the other places I had to make sure I put my focus keyword. One of these places was the title. My focus keyword had to appear in my article a few times so I chose something that worked well as a title and could be used throughout the article. These are just some examples of how Yoast helped me improve this article.
So there you have it
Yoast is a great tool if you use WordPress for your website. Whether you have a blog on your page, or write your lyrics online for your fans to read, or whatever. You want control over these behind-the-scenes features/attributes and Yoast is your gateway to getting this done. There’s a lot more to SEO than this but this will get you pointed in the right direction (Upward, on Google!).
Excuse me while I head over to improve the readibility and SEO attributes of this article! (Always giving myself more work!).