How to Start a Blog #4: WordPress Plugins and SEO Tweaking

How to Start a Blog #4: WordPress Plugins and SEO Tweaking
Share, Pin or Tweet:

Last Updated on

Time to do some tweaking.

This is a 4th part of a beginner friendly Series “How to Start a Blog“.

Series will guide you from starting a blog, to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Now that WordPress and plugins are installed, it’s time to configure and tweak the plugins. I’ll also give some tips on how to make your articles SEO friendly, and how to rank high on Google.

After that, it’s time to start planning keywords and your blog posts, in part 5.

In this part you’ll need to:

  1. Configure the main WordPress plugins, including
  2. Setting up Google Analytics, and
  3. Connecting to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  4. Set up W3 Total Cache,
  5. Set up CDN – Content Delivery Network, for better speed and security.

Final result: Secured and fast website:


google pagespeed Insights score

That’s 95/100 desktop speed on my 2200+ word post, with 15 images and dozens of internal and external links. Plus, I’ve got bunch of inline and custom CSS in my theme.


For this speed result, all you need is properly configured:

  • W3 Total Cache plugin
  • ShortPixel plugin
  • CloudFlare CDN (Free)
  • + 1 more CDN (I’m using 12-month FREE CloudFront).

The most important thing here is to keep focus.

Don’t get caught up in all the setting up and perfect configuration, and get lost in it. If it doesn’t work, come back to it later on, but keep moving.

You don’t have to do this all at once.

The important thing is to keep your blog SEO friendly and improve it’s performance. You don’t need all the possible plugins – in fact, they can slow your site down and cause problems such as preventing your site from being indexed by Google.

You can check out all the 10 parts, or better yet click on the upper right picture to subscribe and start your own blog. You’ll get these series your mail inbox, combined and condensed.

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and I may recieve a small compensation, at no cost to you. Know that I also recommend only the best products that I’ve personally used and tested.

What Makes a Blog Post SEO Friendly?

An SEO friendly blog post follows a certain set of rules that improve your chance or ranking high on search engines, most notably Google.

Seo Friendly Blog Post

For a post to be SEO friendly, it needs to be:

  • easily indexed by Google bots
  • helpful to people
  • readable and structured with targeted paragraphs and headings
  • mobile friendly
  • filled with useful internal and external links
  • easily accessed and fast
  • over 1500 words, to successfully compete
  • filled with at least a few images (possibly useful)
  • have a title tag (<= 60 characters) and meta description (<160 chars)
  • a few other less important things…

For a site to be indexed, you usually don’t need to do anything except add your site to Google Search Console so you can track your performance as well.

I suggest creating and adding a sitemap as well.

Structure, readability and helpfulness are all dependent on your own ability to write and follow these rules. All you need for this, is to practice, learn some tricks, and you’ll get a hang of it. Same goes for internal and external links, and number of words and images.

Most of the others are of technical nature, which can easily be set by your WordPress SEO plugin.

How to Rank High on Google

There are two main rules to rank high on Google:

  1. Be the guy with the most helpful content
  2. Use effective white hat SEO techniques (Don’t try to outsmart Google with black hat techniques)

Generally speaking (and to keep things simple), to rank high on Google your blog posts need to be better than competing posts for the same keyword(s).

You will always compete, and so you always need to have an edge.

Have the right headlines to clearly communicate on what the reader is getting. So the first thing is the right headline, and 2nd thing is helpful content. In other words, you need to peak the interest and then deliver.

Peak the Interest with a Headline

The most important part is content, so choosing a less competitive niche, or less competitive keywords is a smart idea to begin with.

To rank high on Google you should keep an eye on:

  1. keyword ranking competition, which depend on
    1. quality of competitor’s posts (if they are difficult to read, have no images, aren’t useful or simply aren’t specific enough – you can do better)
    1. number of competitor’s posts (the less articles on the given keyword(s) the better chance you can rank high with a smaller blog post)
  2. quality of your posts (the better you write, and the more useful your posts are, the higher you can rank on Google)
  3. SEO configuration for your posts (unless you’re a web developer, a proper SEO plugin needs to be used, and main key settings need to be set up. Minor ones aren’t that important right now, and can’t even be tested properly, such as including tags, and similar)

If you’re a beginner, you should focus on what’s most important regarding SEO, and then start writing as soon as possible, so you can start ranking as soon as possible.

The sooner you start writing the sooner Google algorithm starts to rank you. Takes time to reach the first page, about 6-8 months if you’re a completely new blog, and less if you’re already established (or use guest-posting strategy).

Before your write any blog post, you should have a good insight into how high can your rank on Google.

You want to hit the #1 page on Google (first 10 results) and if there is a possibility that you can hit that, then you should go for it.

You should not aim for 2nd or 3rd page, ever.

If there is less general search volume for your keywords, you need to target the #1 spot on Google. Not number 2 or 3, but number 1.

Because, if there is ~1000 search queries monthly, 90% of those are actual clicks, 80% of those go for the result #1, and you rank on result #5 you could be getting only a few percent of that volume, which is nothing.

You need to be the best, and aim for the complete win.

Perfect rank is when Google shows a featured snippet of your post as the 1st result.

Google Search Result Snippet

And even if there is too much competition, but you feel like writing about your craft, and simply want to put out great blog posts, you should write as well.

Just, be prepared to put out great and helpful blog posts.

For a full list of all the Google ranking factors (even those insignificant) check out this backlinko post. There is really a ton of it, and whether all of them matter is uncertain.

Configure Your Free WordPress Plugins

Now let’s set up some major plugins.

We’ll get SEO out of the way immediately, followed by optimization plugins.

I won’t be using autoptimize plugin, since it caused me some indexation problems and problems when connecting WordPress to CloudFlare.

SEO is the most important, and any entrepreneur blogger will have their SEO technical stuff on point and set up.

If you still haven’t started your own WordPress blog, or you aren’t sure if you should launch a blog, take a look at the reasons why you should. Or jump straight into choosing your own niche and direction.

And if you did start a blog, remember to treat your blog like a business, and yourself like an entrepreneur. Enjoy your project, do your best, and you’ll be alright.

Once you’ve got optimization and SEO plugins configured, you’re pretty much done with plugins. All the backup, security, social, affiliate and content plugins can be added and configured later, once you publish a few blog posts, and see what’s missing and what you need.

I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible.

All in One SEO

This plugin has it all.

Free version gives you almost everything and Pro version is probably one of the most comprehensive SEO plugins on the market.

There are 3 main SEO plugins right now: Yoast and Rank Math being the other two.

I recommend All in One SEO, but I’ve heard great things about Rank Math as well.

Once installed go to settings and set your Home Title and Home Description.

Home title is a single sentence, less than 60 characters, that describes what your website is about. Home Description is a slightly longer description of your home page.  If you have a static home page, you can enable this here, and set the description on your main static page (landing page) instead.

TIP: Keywords that you use here should be your main keywords for your blog or business.

All in One SEO home page and descritpion

For title settings it comes down to preference. You could try these settings:

All in ONE SEO title settings

On content type settings it’s important to index Pages and Posts, for now, and you can skip the rest. You can change that any time you want. On display settings I’ve only got Posts and Pages, but you’re free to make your own choice here.

Keep in mind that what you set depends on the type of your website, and since it’s probably a blog, you want to focus on content predominantly.

You can skip everything else except “noindex” settings, and in my opinion you can mark some of these depending in which ones you want to not index.

This may prevent duplicate content.

All in One SEO NOINDEX settings

Noindex settings are debatable and depend on the type of your website. You could index Categories, for example.

Create robots.txt

NOTE: Are you just creating a blog with no clear idea of what bots do or which pages you don’t want them to access? Then, as a web developer, I think it’s best to leave this file as it is. Anything else is a waste of time and of no real use at this moment. All those articles on robots.txt is just a marketing gimmick. However, if you do want to make sure Googlebot has acces to your site, let’s do that.

This is a straightforward process.

Robots.txt is an exclusion protocol used by websites to communicate to web robots.

You’re going to allow for Google bots to always have access to your site to crawl it any time they need it.

You can access your robots.txt by simply adding /robots.txt/ to the end of your domain.

When you add Googlebot to be allowed your robots.txt will like this:

My robots.txt

However, it’s best to use “Disallow” and have it empty, rather then “Allow” and have /, because “Allow” is not a robots.txt specification. But it still works.

once you set up your own robots.txt you can go to yourdomain.com/robots.txt and check it out as well.

Here’s how to add rules to your robots.txt:
Go to “Feature manager” of All in One SEO:

All in ONE SEO Feature Manager robots.txt
  • Once you activate it, a new SEO setting will appear called “robots.txt” click on it
  • Once there, you’re going to add User Agent “Googlebot”, Rule “Allow” and Directory Path is “ / ” (without quotes).

DONE.

Now your Google bots are always allowed to crawl your site freely.

ShortPixel

ShortPixel can connect to a CDN, and most importantly, it can compress images.

I couldn’t achieve this without ShortPixel:

WebPageTest alekmitch.com A score

That’s my speed result on webpagetest.org for my 2200 word post, with 15 images and dozens of internal and external links.

Setting up this plugin is fast and easy.

There are 2 versions:
ShortPixel Adaptive Images and ShortPixel Image Optimizer.

I use the 2nd one. It’s very easy to set up.
Here are the steps:

  • Create an account on ShortPixel website.
    I genuinely suggest buying more images. I just bought 15 000 images myself (see the picture above). Even if you use Autoptimize, you’ll be using the same Shortpixel account, and 150 images monthly plan is simply not enough. Even 1000 is not enough, it goes away so fast.

Main thing to know is they’re so cheap. Either monthly or something like one-time 30k will last you a year at least.

I bought 15 000 images myself on ShortPixel:

ShortPixel Get More Images
  • Next, find and copy your API Key from the website
ShortPixel API Key
  • Paste it in the plugin with your email to Validate.
  • Settings can be left on default – check everything except resizing if you don’t want.
  • Start the Bulk Process.
    If you have many images, it may take a while.
ShortPixel Settings - Start the Bulk Process

This could take hours if you have hundreds of images. Doesn’t matter – keep going.

You don’t need to wait this to finish – just open another tab and let this one work.

Go ahead with W3 Total Cache.

W3 Total Cache + CloudFlare

This is by far the most important part.

Caching is a temporary storage of web documents such as pages, images and multimedia to speed up the page load, and reduce server lag.

Cache plugin is super important for any website, and W3 Total Cache is very good and simple to set up.

First we’ll go through the general settings, and then set up each one separately.

Go to General Settings.

W3 Total Cache General Settings

W3 General Settings

  • Page Cache – Enabled
    You want this enabled because it reduces the response time and it’s one of the most important options and performance boosters.
    Disk: Enhanced is the default, and leave it at that.
  • Minify DISABLED (we will use CloudFlare to minify)
    Minify shrinks the code to take less space, but this time we’re going to Connect CloudFlare and use it’s own Minify option. Later on, you can experiment with this one if you want, but you’ll have to disable the one of CloudFlare.
W3 Total Cache Page cache and minify
  • Database Cache – DISABLED
    (if on shared hosting) If you’re on shared hosting you want this disabled, because if you enable it will offload too much work on the server’s CPU and actually slow down your site.
  • Object Cache – Enabled
    caches the results of complex database queries to reduce server load, and you want this enabled, but if you notice that your WordPress admin dashboard is slow, try disabling this
W3 Total Cache Database Cache Object Cache
  • Browser Cache – Enable
    Caches your website’s assets in the visitor’s browser, hence eliminating the need to constantly reload static content.
  • CDN – DISABLED (if you want to use CloudFlare) otherwise Enabled
    And we will set up CloudFlare later on so you’ll have FSD CDN: enabled. So, if you don’t have a CDN set up and just want CloudFlare, leave DISABLED.
W3 Total Cache General Settings Browser, CDN

CDN – Content Delivery Network is used to serve your JS, CSS and image files quickly. You can do this with a free CloudFlare account, which I will show you how.

But let’s continue with W3 Total Cache, and we will get back to CDN later on.

  • Fragment Caching – (Available in Pro version)
    This caches a dynamic block of a php code, like a social element (FB Like box) or an ecommerce shopping cart, and similar elements that are personalized to each user. You can select “Disk” but you won’t see any changes in your speed.
  • The rest of settings aren’t that important and you can leave them on DEFAULT

W3 Page Cache Settings

General:

  • Cache Posts – Checked
  • Cache Feeds – Checked
  • Cache SSL – Checked
  • Don’t Cache Pages for Logged in Users – Checked
  • Don’t Cache Pages for Following User Roles: Administrator and Editor – Checked
W3 Total Cache Page Cache

Preload and Purge Policy:

  • Automatically Prime the Page Cache – Checked
  • Update Interval 900 seconds
  • Pages per interval 10
  • Sitemap URL: We’ll get to this in part 6 – Website Design
  • Preload the post cache upon publish events – Checked
  • Purge Policy: Leave at default and UNCHECK front page if static
W3 Total Cache Page Cache Preload, Purge

You can leave everything else on Default.

Skipping Minify and Database Cache. Note: will use CloudFlare for minify.

Moving to Object Cache.

W3 Object Cache

Object Cache caches database queries.

Keep in mind, this can create an opposite effect for some websites. I suggest that you test this and if you see any slowdowns on your admin Dashboard come back here to disable it.

You can leave everything on default here, including “Enable Caching for wp-admin requests“, and test for any issues. Should be fine.

W3 Total Cache - Object Cache

W3 Browser Cache

Browser cache is caching of objects in your visitor’s browser.

  • Set Last-Modified header – Checked
  • Set expires header – Checked
  • Set cache control header – Checked
  • Set entity tag (ETag) – Checked
  • Set W3 Total Cache header – Checked
  • Enable HTTP (gzip) compression – Checked
W3 Total Cache - Browser Cache

The rest can be left on DEFAULT.

Next, we’re going to set up CloudFlare and connect it to W3 Total Cache.

Set up CDN – Content Delivery Network: CloudFlare

In order to have your web content served quickly, and to have your site more secure, it’s best to set up CDN such as CloudFlare, and add it to your WP plugin, such as W3 Total Cache.

We’ll be using CloudFlare Free account.

CloudFlare adds 154 more centers to your content delivery network – CDN.

Cloudflare Data Centers Map

The easiest way to set up CloudFlare account is if through your hosting provider.

Bluehost has been offering this option for many years now.

Enabling CloudFlare on Bluehost is very easy – just go to your security options, click on Cloudflare and Activate it. You will register or log in to your CloudFlare account right there. That’s it.

Bluehost CloudFlare

Steps to set up CloudFlare on Bluehost:

  1. Go to your Bluehost security options for domains and click on CloudFlare
  2. Either register or use your existing Free account
  3. Wait a few moments. Done.

That’s it. If you have any problems try disabling Autoptimize.

If your host doesn’t offer this you will need to go to CloudFlare site, create an account, and connect using 2 DNS nameservers. I don’t recommend this as it can further delay you from completing this step – most hosts should have CloudFlare in their domain options to set up.

Next, let’s configure CloudFlare and connect it to W3 Total Cache.

Configure CloudFlare for WordPress

Let’s configure a few main CloudFlare options, available on the Free account.

Go to your CloudFlare dashboard.

  • Click SSL/TLS and Set Full or Full (Strict) SSL
    If you already had an SSL this is a must. It could also solve your problem of not being able to log in to your WordPress Dashboard.
CloudFlare Full SSL
  • Turn on Always use HTTPS
    Scroll below and check this option. All http requests will be redirected to https.

CloudFlare Always use HTTPS
  • Click Page Rules and set these rules to add more security, and avoid WordPress Dashboard Login issues.
    First rule is for wp-admin, and second for wp-login:
CloudFlare Page Rule for wp-admin
CloudFlare Page Rule for wp-login
  • Click Speed > click Optimization > ENABLE Auto Minify and Brotli
    This way your code will be shrinked and the pages will load faster.
CloudFlare Minify and Brotli
  • Enable Rocket Loader
CloudFlare Rocket Loader
  • Click Caching > set Browser Cache Expiration to 1 Month
    1 Month is fine but you can experiment with this, but the longer it is, the better the speed.
  • Set Always Online so that when you site goes down, CloudFlare will serve your site’s cached pages to visitors.
CloudFlare Cache Expiration and Always Online

(Optional) Install CloudFlare WordPress Plugin

There is an official CloudFlare plugin that offers minimal control over your CloudFlare settings, and you can install it.

I’ve only used this plugin to click “Optimize CloudFlare for WordPress”, and I still don’t know what it did.

The only useful thing besides that, is that it has automatic cache purge.

Usually set everything on CloudFlare Dashboard but there is an option in this plugin named Optimize Cloudflare for WordPress. I don’t know what it does, and haven’t noticed any changes after applying it.

There is another extension in W3 Total Cache which allows far more configuration for CloudFlare. We’ll set that one after this one. But, I still suggest changing everything through CloudFlare Dashboard.

After CloudFlare plugin installation, go to WordPress Settings > Cloudflare, and you’ll have these 3 options:

CloudFlare for WordPress Plugin
  1. Click Apply on the first option.
  2. Automatic Cache Management is optional. I have it disabled.
  3. Click Settings and you can see some of your CloudFlare settings.
CloudFlare for WordPress Plugin Settings

Like I said, I don’t use this plugin much, except I clicked that Apply button.

Activate CDN (CloudFlare) in W3 Total Cache

Last step is to connect CloudFlare to W3 Total Cache. This allows you to set CloudFlare as your Full Site CDN, and configure more CloudFlare options.

I don’t use this plugin either to change my CloudFlare options, I do it all from the CloudFlare Dashboard. But you are free to play around with it.

  1. Go to Performance > Extensions, in your WordPress Dashboard
  2. Click on Settings
    You need to authorize CloudFlare in W3 Total Cache.
W3 Total Cache Authorize CloudFlare

You need API key and email address associated with your Free CloudFlare account.

Email is easy, it’s the one you registered with on your CloudFlare. API key is located here:

CloudFlare email

Once you go there, go to API tokens, and click View Global API Key:

CloudFlare Global API Key

Enter it into W3 Total Cache to Authorize CloudFlare.

DONE.

Hooray! You’ve done it.

You can also go to Performance > Extensions to check your CloudFlare settings.

You don’t need to change anything, we’ve already set everything up through CloudFlare dashboard, including Minify, Brotli, HTTPS and the rest.

Mailchimp for WordPress

You should start capturing emails from day 1.

There are many ways to create an opt-in and get subscribers. The best way to start capturing emails and geting subscribers is to offer something useful so readers would subscribe, such as a checklist or an ebook, or anything really.

Creating a newsletter can be done quickly and easily if you don’t dive too deep and spend too much time on design.

All you should do is install Mailchimp for WordPress plugin, follow the steps to create account on mailchimp site, and learn the two ways you can add sign up or subscribe form.

One is through plugin settings “Form” option, and another one is through Mailchimp for WordPress website form builder.

Through plugin you can only create a limited sign up experience. It would also help if you know any CSS, to edit the inline style and them custom CSS.

Here, you can use the shortcode and insert this form anywhere in your website:

Mailchimp for WordPress Form

The best solution to this is to use OptinMonster to design your opt-in forms, which is a paid plugin but also much easier, offers more options, exit intent forms, and a better experience for sure. You can connect it to Mailchimp as well.

Or, you can just leave the form as it is and just add it in the widget using the code.

Second one is to create all the forms through the form builder on mailchimp website.

Mailchimp  form builder

The site itself is not very intuitive for some people, so in order to create forms, you need to go to Audience, View Contacts, and then click Signup forms.

The easiest way is to choose embedded forms, and then just copy/paste the code in a widget that you need to add to your theme (Appearance>Customize).

Form builder allows you to customize all kinds of forms during the entire process, and then use the Signup form URL to add it to Widgets, images, etc.

One last thing is in the settings, of the plugin, you have the option to double opt-in.

UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is used for Backing up your WordPress blog.

It can back up your site quickly, easily and automatically. In the settings tab you can connect to any of the large number of storage services presented, from Google Drive to Dropbox.

UpDraft Plus

The only thing you need to set up here (besides connecting to your service of choice, like Google Drive) is backup schedule – try daily or weekly, and what to include for backup – I suggest everything.

Hopefully, you won’t use it too much, but it’s nice to know your site is being backed up regularly just in case.

ThirstyAffiliates

This is an excellent afiiliate link management plugin.

I always recommend ThirstyAffiliates to those who have a lot of affiliate programs going on, and who want to earn more out of affiliate marketing.

If you have a business with many affiliate links on your site, and have trouble following them all, or you don’t like all the ending of the links (ref, aff, track, numbers etc) then this is for you.

Even for beginner bloggers, this is a great plugin. If you can’t go pro, go for a free version. Not only for management of affiliate links, but also for creating custom affiliate links and standardizing them.

Free version offers the main features you absolutely would need: ability to create custom affiliate links, so they don’t look all weird and full of numbers, and make them look similar by choosing a word, which makes them unified. It also has a simple reports page on the number of clicks for any (or all) affiliate link.

Pro version offers automatic keyword linking throughout posts, advanced reports, Amazon API importing, compatibility with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, and a few other useful tricks.

The plugin integrates itself in WordPress editor, so you can quickly add the links while writing your articles.

ThirstyAffiliates Plugin

If you use affiliate marketing in your monetization strategy, this plugin is a must.

Social Plugin: Sassy Social Share

Unfortunately, good social plugins aren’t free.

And some of those free ones are quite sneaky in the way they collect data from your users, but won’t tell you about it.

Sassy Social Share seems simple, but gets the job done. It’s also easy to set up and nice looking. It won’t give you any fancy animations, but should be enough for now.

There isn’t much to configure here.

On Theme Selection, you can configure your buttons to your liking. It comes down to personal preference.

On Standard Interface, you’ll be able to choose which social buttons you want. Every single button is here, but you only need 3 or 4. If you wish you can add more. Make sure to check “Enable Standard Sharing Interface” and choose Placement down below. I have them on Posts only. And, if you’re starting up, you may want to disable “Show total shares”.

Sassy Social Share Plugin

Floating Interface is pretty neat, unfortunately there are no animations on it. But, you can customize it heavily, and make it appear only above certain resolution and then stick it on resolutions below it (if you want), disable/show number of shares, adjust the correct position in pixels and choose a side, etc.

On mobile it’s come on the bottom of screen.

That’s pretty much it. For a free version, I think it’s a great plugin.

TIP: Whenever you make a visual change, check it on your mobile as well, or at least use a good WordPress theme which gives you options to customize desktop, tablet and mobile.

Best Premium WordPress Plugins

To successfully compete with other online entrepreneurs, you will sometimes need to invest in plugins to get the best results, rank high and build your brand.

These plugins are simply one of the best, and I’ve used them personally as well.

Here are a few:

Check out ShortPixel

ShortPixel
When you first start using ShortPixel you’ll get 100 free images per month, and they get spent quickly. If you use many images for your posts, if you’re not a complete beginner and need more images, they are so cheap. Monthly is cheap but something like one-time 30k will last you a year at least.

Sucuri Security WordPress Plugin

Sucuri Security
If you want the best firewall then this is the best one. Period. Sucuri firewall works like Cloudflare and blocks attacks before they reach your site, it’s not just another plugin firewall. Note that you don’t get their great firewall with a free version.

Elementor Pro

Elementor Pro
I don’t think Elementor needs introduction, but if you’re not familiar – it is one of the best plugins on WordPress. With free version you can build beautiful pages in an instant, but Pro version is something special, including Global widgets, a WooCommerce builder, theme builder, marketing integrations, and much more.

WP Rocket Premium

WP Rocket
Probably the best optimization and performance plugin out there, with less fuss and headache while setting up. If you’re having trouble with Autoptimize, try WP Rocket.

OptinMonster WordPress Plugin

OptinMonster
Probably the best email opt-in WordPress plugin. Exit intent technology, inline forms, full screen overlays, and much more. You can connect it with Mailchimp easily.

How to Add Google Analytics to WordPress

For those unfamiliar with, Google Analytics is a web analytics service from Google for tracking and reporting website traffic.

Google Analytics offers main features for free, but any advanced features, such as those needed for small or medium business (or large) comes at a price. For the majority of bloggers, the usual free version is more than enough.

If you’re adding Google Analytics through MonsterInsights plugin, the usual way, then here’s their official guide. It’s really easy to do, and there’s no need for me to repeat when there is a nice guide written over there.

That’s how easy it is.

If, on the other hand, you’re connecting to Google Analytics without the plugin, here’s the official guide for that.

When you’re connecting Google Analytics without the plugin, the only tricky part is the part when you need to add the code to your WordPress theme Header.

You need to copy the code and go to Appearance > Theme Editor.

Google Analytics Plugin OceanWP Theme Editor

Once you’re in Theme Editor, click on “Theme Header” and paste the code just below the opening <head> tag, and if using Tag Manager copy the other part of code right after the opening <body> tag.

Click update file.

DONE.

Connect to Google Search Console and Bing Tools

Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools) is another free service from Google for checking indexing status of pages and posts, and optimizing the visibility of our websites. But also, it shows the visits to our site (with a small delay) and impressions in Google Search.

Impressions are the number of times our URL appeared in search results and was viewed by a user, not including paid Google Ads search impressions. It’s quite useful to see the general performance of your site in Google Search Engine.

And if you use Keywords Everywhere extension it will insert a few other columns of data. Not sure how good the data is, but it can be useful. This plugin injects into Google Keyword Planner as well.

Note: Use at your own risk. Haven’t found any problems with this extension, but it’s smart to stay skeptical of any data which can’t be confirmed, rather than plan your strategy on it. This plugin is best used in Google Search. I’ve found it to be a nice approximation to the real data, or the data from Ahrefs or SEMrush.

Bing Webmaster Tools is a free service from Microsoft that allows us to add our website to Bing index crawler.

Adding them is easy.

Google Search Console

  1. (Simple way) Go to Google Search Console
  2. Click on Add property

Here you have two options. Try the first one – Domain.

Google Search Console Add Property

When you register through this option, you don’t need to add all the “http”, “https”, “www” and all that. Just enter your main domain (Example: google.com). All the other versions and subdomains will be covered.

3. Enter your website domain and click continue

4. Use your SEO plugin to verify. Go to All in One SEO plugin settings, scroll down to Webmaster Verification and copy only the text without quotation marks

5. Click update Options. Wait a minute, then go to Google Search Console and click Verify.

DONE.

(Option 2) You can click on dropdown menu here:

Google Search Console dns record

and if you’re using any of these registrars, like GoDaddy you can click that and wait for instructions.

DONE.

(Less Simple Way) If not, try the 3rd way.
If you can’t verify (for some reason) using that last method, then you will need to copy the code presented, and go to your domain registrar or hosting website (depending on which one is manaing your DNS). Here, enter a new TXT record for DNS, in your domain settings. Best thing is to Google: “how to verify Google Search Console on ‘your hosting provider’ ”. Should be easy to follow.

Once you create a new TXT record in your registrar, save it, wait a minute or two, then click Verify on Google Search Console.

DONE.

Now your website pages and posts can be checked here for indexing, mobile usability, etc.

Sometimes, it may find errors for mobile usability, sitemaps general http errors, etc. but you shouldn’t worry about it, because often those aren’t actual errors.

For Bing Webmaster Tools the process is similar, but easier.

  1. Go to Bing Webmaster Tools and sign up/sign in
  2. Then try the same steps as for Google Search Console, and activate through either All in One SEO plugin, DNS records or through the actual Google Search Console by connecting your Bing account to have access to your Google account.

I suggest one of the first two options.

One More Thing – Site Speed Matters for SEO

All of this is simply not enough when it comes to speed.

As a successful, competitive blogging entrepreneur, you need to win, every time you rank and promote your brand.

If two posts are the same, and one has better speed score, gues which one will rank higher on Google? You guessed it – the faster one.

Site Speed matters for SEO.

CloudFlare is more about security rather than speed.

Sure it does some speed boosting and if you connect it to ShortPixel, but if you’re going to put a lot of images, write 2000+ word posts and customize your WordPress theme – you’ll need more speed to rank higher on Google.

And CloudFlare simply doesn’t cut it.

You need another proper CDN.

Best CDN for WordPress

I’m using Amazon CloudFront, and mostly for performance reasons – for speed.

It’s free for 12 months and it’s pretty good. You need to provide your card details, and after 12 months they start charging you. It can get expensive depending on your needs and usage. Sure I got CloudFlare, but Free CloudFlare doesn’t really speed up your site.

Here’s what happened once I got CloudFront set up, and optimized my website:

Google PageSpeed Insights Score 90

This is my desktop result from Google PageSpeed Insights for my 3rd part of the series. The post has 2200+ words, 14 images and dozens of links, and 30 lines of custom CSS.

Without CloudFront I was getting 55-65, even with CloudFlare. Because Free CloudFlare isn’t really about speed, rather than security. Speed isn’t everything, but it’s a big factor, both for mobile and desktop.

Alternatives:

  • StackPath.
  • KeyCDN
  • Imperva Incapsula
  • Rackspace
  • Akamai

It’s fairly easy to set up and I will include that in my email series but this post getting a bit too long.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Choose your CDN of choice and set up an account
  2. Create a distribution for your website
  3. Connect your CDN account to W3 Total Cache by choosing “Generic Mirror”
  4. Let CDN work for a few minutes.

DONE.

To rank high on Google, it’s necessary to have a fast website.

That’s it as far as tweaking goes, for now.

Next up, we’re going to be planning keywords and articles, and doing some keyword research using Ahrefs, SEMrush, Google Search Engine, semantics and just plain common sense, leaving a lot of useful tips.

If you need any info leave a comment or contact me by email. I always respond.

Cheers!


Share, Pin or Tweet:

Leave a Reply