How to start the SEO process with your website

Darcy Paterson

Oct 20, 2023  
Google, SEO, WordPress

Search engine optimization (SEO) for your new website is made easy with WordPress and Google. Although SEO takes time and really is an ongoing project for websites – here’s a couple of things you can do to start the process that are simple and easy.

Add the Yoast SEO plugin

WordPress users can find this by searching for “Yoast SEO” when you go to “Add New Plugin” in your dashboard. One you download and activate it, be sure to “skip” the first time install analyzer. It’s not necessary.

After that you’ll want to off all the extended features that come bundled with Yoast. You’ll find those under “Yoast > Settings > Site Features” in your dashboard sidebar.

The page will have several cards that are already “enabled”. You’ll want to turn all of them off except for the “XML sitemaps” generator. That’s what we’re really after… an XML sitemap.

After that’s done head to “Yoast > Settings > Posts” to add the excerpt to meta description for your WordPress posts.

Here you can see that “Meta Description” is empty. Click on the “Insert variable” button and type in excerpt. Click on it to add it. Boom. You should now see “Excerpt” in the meta description. What this does is take the first few words of any new post you create and uses it as the meta description in Google search results. Cool right?

Add your site to Google Search Console

After you’re done with Yoast, you’ll want to add your site to Google Search Console. Simply google “Google Search Console” to get to their home page. If you don’t have an account sign up for one. Once you do Google will ask if you want to add your site. Go ahead and do that to start the process of having your site indexed by Google. It takes some time so check back in after a couple of days.

You can add your sitemap under “Sitemaps” here as well. WordPress users can find there’s back at the “Yoast > Settings > Site Features” card where it says “View the XML sitemap.” The URL should look something like https://your-domain/sitemap_index.xml. Copy and paste the URL into Google Search Console’s Sitemaps. It might give a “couldn’t fetch” error but you can ignore that. It should be okay in a couple of days.

If SEO is going to be a serious part of your marketing then you’ll be using Google Search Console frequently.

Anyways, that’s the quick way to start your SEO process.