#1: SEO Basics
15 minutes – Create a Google Analytics Account
Before you do anything with your search traffic, you need to track your efforts. The easiest way to do this is to install Google Analytics (GA). Google has a wide array of tracking information that they provide for free. Create a free account at Google.Com/Analytics.
Fortunately, WordPress has some useful plugins to help you set this up quickly. Start with Google Analytics. It is a simple plugin where you just copy and paste the UA information from Google. This is a specific number that Google assigns to every website.
15 minutes – Set up Google Search Console
Google Search Console gives you direct information from search results data for your website (different than GA data). Some key information here is the search terms being used, Click through Ratio, Impressions, and Links to your website.
You can use the same account you created from GA to access the Search Console.
30 minutes – Ensure domain works with and without “www”
This is important for user experience, as most people just enter “company.com” instead of “www.company.com” to find your website. You do not want to serve a 404 for this entry.
This requires some coding experience; if you are not sure how to do this, consult with a developer.
15 minutes – Set up a favicon
This is a visual element in the search bar that helps with branding and makes people feel they are on the right page.
Most premium themes come with their own favicon options. You might need to consult with a designer to help you create a visually appealing favicon that fits in a small area.
1 hour – Set up social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
This is the best way to get visitors involved with the brand and gives the company a personality. Plus, Google picks up social cues to determine the relevancy of your page content.
Make sure that you take the time to set up each profile on social media correctly. You should have a profile on the three major social networks for visibility, but also determine which social networks are your greatest priority based on where your customers spend their time.
For example, Instagram might be very visually appealing, but if you work with a professional audience, you need to have a bigger presence on LinkedIn.
15 minutes – Test the speed of your website
The Google PageSpeed tool tests your website’s performance level. They provide specific recommendations on what can be improved for your website’s speed. While the test does not take long to perform, you need to evaluate the results to correct the challenges they list for your site.
In some cases, you might be able to fix the issues with better hosting, compressing images, or a host of other solutions to various performance-hindering challenges you have on your site.
Be aware that this is in the developer section of Google. Therefore, some of the fixes required here might require programming or technical knowledge.
The Google page speed for a desktop and mobile site should be at least 65/100.
2 hours – Fix website errors
Regularly check the Google Page Speed Insights. They provide detailed lists of how to improve the website’s speed. Make sure your website gets at least a passing score by correcting the errors on the page. Otherwise, your website might not run fast enough for Google and your visitors.
15 minutes – Create a Sitemap.XML
Once you create a sitemap, then you need to submit it to the search engines, as this makes it easier for pages on your website to be indexed in search results. Search engines will eventually list your pages even if you don’t do this, but this is the best practice.
One plugin that can make this process a breeze is Yoast SEO. While Yoast can do much more than just create a sitemap, it is one of the many SEO features of the platform.