Every webmasters will want his/her blog/website to appear on the first page of either Google search or Bing search.
Being visible on the web isn’t hard and appearing on the first page of Google/Bing search result for a given query is not equally hard if you do the right thing from onset. Basically, there are 3 things you must do after installing WordPress , which is what this post is all about.
It is all about positioning your blog for both search engines and target readers. First on the list is:
1. Set up Google Webmaster (Search Console) and Bing Webmaster for your blog:
The webmaster service by Google and Bing is a free service that enables webmasters (Bloggers) to improve their blog’s visibility on the web. By connecting your blog to Google and Bing webmaster you are directly telling these two giant search engines the existence of your blog.
It will increase the speed at which your content will be indexed by these search engines. It is so powerful because you can choose area of the world you will like your website to appear. In addition, the tool also reveals to webmasters best performing keywords and suggests where to improve of SEO
To set up the Google webmaster is quite easy, below is a step by step procedure in setting your Google webmaster for your blog.
- Visit the Google Webmaster site: Upon visiting the site, you’ll locate the sign up/sign in link at the upper right side of the page. Click on this and then sign in with your Google account.
You’ll be asked to provide your site link (note: if your site is http encrypted, please use http://www.YOURSITE.com but if otherwise, then use https://www.YOURSITE.com).
Next, you verify your site by inserting the code given to you in your blog’s header.php. In WordPress, to locate your header.php, follow the steps below:
- Log into your WordPress blog
- Click on “appearance” (it’s located on the left bar)
- Click on “editor”
- Select the “header.php” and insert the code immediately after the <head> tag.
- Save changes and go back to Google webmaster and then select verify.
- Submit your sitemap to Google: After verification of your blog, you can submit sitemap. If you haven’t setup your sitemap, follow the instructions below to get it set.
- Log into your WordPress blog
- Click on “plug-ins” (it’s located at the left sidebar)
- Search for “Google XML sitemap” and then install the plug-in
- Activate the “Google XML sitemap”. If originally, your blog’s URL is https://www.MYBLOG.com, then your blog’s sitemap becomes https://www.MYBLOG.com/sitemap.xml.
After submitting your sitemap to Google, then you can have it crawled and indexed easily. You can always check for the crawl status, and if there’s any error, you can make correction.
- Select you Target country (audience): It’s important that you know your audience and what they’re looking for. Google and Bing webmaster have made it easier to target a particular country or a particular language.
You’ll need to use the old version of Google Search Console to select your target country (audience).
After setting up the Google webmaster, you’ll set up the Bing webmaster. I’ve also given a step by step procedure on how to set up Bing webmaster below.
- Sign up for Bing Webmaster: To setup the Bing webmaster, you’ll need an outlook/hotmail email account. If you don’t have one, you can create an account here.
Next, you submit your site to Bing webmaster. Immediately after you submit, you’ll be asked to add a sitemap. Remember you’ve already created a sitemap: https://www.YOURBLOG.com/sitemap.xml.
Leave the traffic rate as default.
Like the Google webmaster site verification, you will also verify your Bing webmaster site in the same way. Copy the given code and then insert it in the <head> section of your site located in the header.php. After inserting, click on verify.
- Select target country in Bing webmaster: By the left sidebar, you’ll see “Geo-targeting”, this is where you can select your target country (audience) for Bing. Your target country for Bing must not be the same with that of Google – there are no rules like that.
Like Google webmaster, Bing webmaster also offers tools that you can use to improve your SEO as well as check the keywords performing on your blog.
2. Setup Google Analytics for Your Blog:
Although the Bing and Google webmasters only show you stats of your site’s search performance, Google analytics shows you your site’s users – organic search, referral, social media etc. Google analytics also shows where your site’s users come (from the country that visits your site most to the least). It allows you to block certain IPs, set a goal, and have a better understanding of your site’s traffic and what your audience is really searching for.
- Sign up for Google Analytics: Enter all your details accurately. If your site is https encrypted, please choose the https format, you’ll see the option when signing. However, I’ve added it in the screenshot below.
- Get the Tracking code: Upon signing up, you’ll see the option to get the tracking code. Copy-paste the tracking code into your theme’s header.php, immediately after the <head> tag and then save settings. You can always send “test traffic” to check that you’ve done the task correctly.
Google analytics has so many features that can help your blog/site to achieve its goal. However, the main function is to track down where your site’s visitors are coming from as well as what brought them to your blog.
The bounce rate in analytics shows the retention rate of your site. The lower it is the better for you. Having a low bounce rate tells Google that your site has interesting articles and can thus help you blog/site in ranking.
If you don’t want to go through all the stress of setting up the Google analytics for your blog, then you can use Google Analytics for WordPress by Monster Insights.
This analytics is plug-in which you can install in your wordpress blog. You’ll go to plug-ins and then search for “Google analytics for wordpress”, install the plug-in created by monster insights. It’s an alternative for setting up the main Google Analytics.
3. Install Plug-ins: There are 9 plug-ins must install on your wordpress. They are:
JetPack(Compulsory): I call this plugin an almighty plugin. It is an all in one plugin. In fact, you may not need to install the plugins below if you understand how to install and use jetpack. It comes with wordpress and has other in-built plugins that will help you blog grow faster.
It has the paid and the free version. For a beginner you can start with the free version before upgrading. My favorite part of jetpack is the auto poster feature. So, make sure you learn how to use it today
Lazy Load (Optional):The lazy load is a plug-in that makes images and videos embedded on a webpage to load slower. This helps in making your blog load faster. When you visit a blog and notice that the contents load before the images, then they’ve installed the lazy load plug-in. Loading images and videos can make a page load slower than usual (slower than that of a page with just writings).
To install the lazy load, follow the steps below:
- Login to your wordpress blog
- Select “plug-ins” (it’s located at the sidebar)
- Search for “Lazy load” and then install.
- After installation, activate the lazy-load.
WP3 Total Cache (Compulsory): The WP3 total cache also helps your blog to load faster, but in this case, it has nothing to do with image loading slower than writings.
The same method you used for installing the lazy load is the same method you’ll use for installing the WP3 total cache. Don’t forget to activate it after installation.
WP Date Remover (Optional): This plugin helps to hide the date of your blog post. It’s always better to do so because most surfers reading most recent information. You can install and activate it in the same way you installed the lazy load.
404 – 301 (Optional): This plugin automatically create a custom page for deleted pages on your blog if installed and activated. You might have come across such pages on some websites; it also occurs if the content on a particular page has been moved to a new URL.
Akismet (Compulsory):The akismet is a plugin that helps reduce spam comments from robots. The same way in which you’ve installed and activated the lazy load plug-in is the same way to install and activate the akismet plug-in.
Contact Form (Compulsory): Your blog’s visitors may need to contact you in some cases. Apart from creating a “contact us” page, WordPress have also made it easy by providing a contact form plugin. All installations are the same.
Simple Share Button Adder (Compulsory): People will find your post interesting and for that reason, they may want to share it on social media. Also, if your blog’s visitors start sharing your post, it’ll notify search engines that your page is useful and thus boost up your ranking.
Yoast/All-in-one SEO pack (Compulsory): With yoast, you’ll learn how to improve your blog’s SEO. All-in-one SEO pack is an alternative for yoast. Also, it can help you get more visitors from Google and Bing as well as social media.
I hope this post have educated you on the right path to take as a new blogger. If you find this post useful, please share and leave comment below
Also Read: How to Position as a Professional Blogger