Essential WordPress Plugins for Artists: Search Engine Optimization

Guest blogger: Kim Bruce

SEO: Search Engine Optimization. I can hear your sighs.

There are only two things you need to remember when writing good content and making it SEO friendly: 1) your focus keyword and 2) your meta description.

Content is king

Let’s define these.

  1. Focus Keyword. Keywords are what people type into the search engines in order to find your site. It is good practice and adds weight to your credibility (in the eyes of search engines) if you focus on one main keyword per page/post.
  2. Meta Description. The meta description is 160 characters of text that describes what the post is about. It often appears in the search engine results and can influence people to click through to your site.

WordPress SEO by Yoast is my plugin of choice for search engine optimization. Though it appears complex, you can use it straight out of the box (as installed).

If you do use it out of the box, then you must fill in the SEO form that is available under the editor of every page and post of your site. If you’d like to avoid this process, take the time to fill in the general meta description template available under the Home tab of the plugin.

I use this plugin because it guides and rates SEO for every page. It will tell you if you missed something or pluralized your keyword (which results in a red instead of green rating).

Another reason I like WordPress SEO is that it inserts the meta title and meta description higher up in your Head source code, which makes it readily available for the search engines to find and index.

Screen capture of the SEO form from the post I wrote on the Ultimate Security Checker.

Screen capture of the SEO form from the post I wrote on the Ultimate Security Checker.

If you don’t use an SEO plugin at all the search engines are going to create their own meta description using the first 160 characters from your post.

What blogger doesn’t want to control what potential visitors read in search engine results? Taking the time to craft your general meta description in the plugins template might be the clincher that encourages click-throughs to your site.

Kim BruceAbout Our Guest Blogger

Kim Bruce is a working artist who runs Artbiz, where she creates websites for artists. She also teaches how to watermark images with NextGen Gallery at The WordPress for Artists School. Kim works out of her office/studio located in the foothills of Alberta just outside of Calgary.

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17 comments to Essential WordPress Plugins for Artists: Search Engine Optimization

  • [...] I just received a very handy article in my email from the Art Biz Blog: The subject was WordPress SEO.  (Read the article here.) [...]

  • Sherry Claire

    Thanks very much for this clear advice!

    • Natalie! Fancy meeting you here. Hope you are well and busy creating all your wonderful environmental products. I always loved your handbags…(but that’s off topic, oops)

  • I use SEO by Yoast on my blog, and it does seem a bit complicated at times. However, a little patience to read what’s on the screen and how it works went a long way! Thanks for reinforcing the importance of tackling SEO!

  • Ditto Kim! We use SEO by Yoast and recommend it to clients for ease of use and effectiveness. It’s essentially a fill-in-the-blank form. It does help though to understand basic the SEO concepts behind the fields. Nice synopsis!

  • Nate and Alyson B. Since you both use WordPress SEO by Yoast, I’m curious to know how much importance you place on the plugins rating system.

    That would be the colored circle that appears beside each in the list of pages/posts. If you hover your mouse over a dot you will get a tool tip on the page/post SEO status.

    • I don’t always pay attention to it, but sometimes I’m just posting a picture and I don’t want to add all the text to make it a great rating for searches (being visible to my audience is good enough). For some of my more important or bigger posts, I will google my own topics/keyword and see how visible I am. Then, I will tweak things accordingly.

      I would not say that I am a pro at it as I’m just a couple months into using it, so I look at the rating system as a tool. As I get more comfortable with using it, I expect that my ratings and visibility would increase.

      And lastly, it would really depend on the content of your blog, how unique it is, and how relevant it is among other things. SEO is a business that is growing. People have careers helping people improve their visibility. So, I try to be realistic in my goals and not obsess over a colored dot.

      I hope this helped some!

      • Agreed, Nate. I discourage people from focusing on SEO. Focusing on excellent content is much more productive.

        I’ve always been curious, though, about updating posts later and whether those updates have as much weight as the original posting when it pings the search engines. I don’t know the answer to that.

        • Agreed and Agreed, but I would like to point out that being mindful of SEO while you are writing excellent content will help you craft excellent content.

          For instance; and I see this all the time on artist websites. The message on their home page reads something like “Thank you or Welcome to MY website” or I have this exhibit coming up…

          MY and I are not keywords. To write in the 3rd person and using your actual name and crafting a sentence that includes something about your work will go a long way to bring visitors to your site.

          Alyson, when you change a post or add meta descriptions later it is always a good idea to resubmit your sitemap. There’s a plugin for that: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

          I referred to that plugin on this guest post I wrote for you a while back http://www.artbizblog.com/2010/08/brucewp-cms.html

          If you don’t see a change in the search engine results you can manually resubmit your sitemap through your Google’s Webmaster account. Or even request that specific pages be re-indexed.

  • whether we like it or not at the end of the day is Google who brings visitors to our website, in other words, potential customers. Making good content without knowing the tools to get traffic is a very bad approach. However to select a good SEO is not easy, there are too many options and a lot of promises, select wisely

  • [...] News About Search Engine Optimization: Search engine optimisation Search Engine Optimization [...]

  • Do you know how the WordPress SEO plugin compares to the All-In-One SEO plugin?
    Is there and advantage to using one over the other?

  • I would not say that I am a pro at it as I’m just a couple months into using it, so I look at the rating system as a tool. As I get more comfortable with using it, I expect that my ratings and visibility would increase.

  • [...] This is the third and final post in my Essential WordPress Plugins for Artists series for Art Biz Blog. The first one was on Security and the second focused on Search Engine Optimization. [...]

  • [...] DISTRIBUTION You don’t need this if you already have WordPress SEO by Yoast or Google Site Maps. It’s not good to use two services for [...]