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Need to Learn SEO? Start with This Plugin!

I’ve been asked a lot lately about SEO.

Especially, about what you need to know in order to respond to a job ad looking for a writer that “knows SEO.” Honestly, sometimes I think clients write job ads based on what they think they need or by copying others that they see out there.

Being proficient in SEO, in my opinion runs the gamut. Meaning, put that out there and you’ll get a wide variety of responses!

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in SEO, but I can say that I’ve learned a lot about it over the last year. And with Google continuously changing up their algorithms (one was just released last week!), I’m not sure that there are many true “experts” out there anyhow. At least Google doesn’t want you to be one!

Today I want to break down what SEO really is and give you one solid strategy (if you run a WordPress blog) that will help you to practice better SEO. Are you ready?

What Is SEO?

SEO or search engine optimization (according to Moz), is “the practice of improving and promoting a website to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web.” 

So basically, trying to increase your Google page ranking and be found more easily. That’s what we all want, right?

An SEO Hack I Use

One of my favorite SEO hacks is this free SEO plugin for WordPress from Yoast. Personally, I’ve found it better (and easier) to search for and add it directly from the plugins menu in the back-end of your WordPress blog. You can also download it directly from the site.

By using this plugin, I can easily make sure that I improve my SEO best practices. The tool adds a number of fields below the post field that you can fill in. The better they match, the more positive reaction the tool gives you and the better your SEO score for that particular post or page.

The Key to Success

The key to using this tool successfully is choosing the correct keyword(s) to represent your post. You can then try to match the keywords in your post’s unique url, the title, the body of your post and its meta description.

My keyword for this post, for example would be “SEO plugin” or I could use “learn SEO” as well. I’m going to go with SEO plugin to start.

Here’s a screenshot of the tool with my title and keyword selected (note: I have yet to do the meta description):

Screenshot 2015-04-19 at 6.10.11 PM

Next, I’ll complete the post, add a meta description and then keep tweaking things to see if I can turn some of those no’s into yes’s. Another thing to note, is that if you look at the “snippet preview” above, you’ll see my title and then the url and lastly the meta description.

The meta description is what shows up as a preview of your post on Google searches. Since I have yet to fill mine out, it just pulls the first 156 characters from my post, or the intro. You want to use your keyword(s) in the meta description AND make it as compelling as possible, so that if someone is searching for something and your post pops up, that they will be tempted to click on it based on the meta. Make sense?

Just for fun I went and changed my keyword from “SEO plugin” to “learn SEO.” I have the green light (or yes) for all columns, except my meta (because I haven’t filled it in yet). I just went and added a meta description and now that I did, it shows all green yeses. Green = good!

In Conclusion

I don’t know everything there is to know about SEO. But, I do know that one simple hack for WordPress blogs is to start using the free Yoast SEO plugin.

By doing so, you can make your posts more SEO friendly, learn about meta descriptions, keywords and more. It’s free, it takes moments to load and you’re on your way. Are you sold yet?

I don’t have any financial stake in this plugin by the way. I just love to share what I’ve learned that has helped me build a better blog and business.

Do you consider yourself an “SEO expert?” Why or why not?

Photo Credit: jacksonvilleseo11 via Compfight cc

Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey

FOUNDER & CO-OWNER

Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook and loves helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.