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A few weeks ago, I did a live presentation at the Westchester WordPress Meetup on how to rank on Google within 5 minutes using WordPress. I must admit, when I announced this presentation, there were many skeptics. I mean, after all, it does sound far fetched. When I made it happen in front of a packed audience, people were amazed. Not only did I make it happen, I used an actual search term my client asked me to help him rank on top of Google and ZERO SEO plugins. Yes, you heard correctly, no Yoast SEO plugin or All-in-one SEO plugin. (All-in-One is my favorite) I used the built in SEO feature on the StudioPress Genesis framework. I wanted to prove that it doesn’t matter what you use, if you properly optimize a page, you can outrank your competitor with any plugin or without.
My client, Osceola Garage, asked me if I could help him rank on the first page of Google for a combination of search terms.
- Audi service center Putnam
- Audi authorized service Putnam
- Audi car repair Putnam
- Audi maintenance service Putnam
- New Audi maintenance service Putnam
- New Audi dealer service center Putnam NY
Let me share with you exactly how I made it happen. There are several requirements you must have in place in order for this to immediately happen.
Self-Hosted WordPress Website:
Make sure your website is a self-hosted WordPress website and NOT a WordPress.com website. The biggest reason, with WordPress.org you have full control of the website and you’re able to add plugins. Another important factor is that Google loves self-hosted WordPress websites.
- Google Analytics by Yoast
- Google XML Sitemaps by Arne Brachhold
- SEO Friendly Images by Vladimir Prelovac
- SEO Plugin? All in One SEO Rocks but…….I won’t be using any SEO plugin
Having the proper site structure is very important. You must use the proper framework, theme, robots.txt file and XML sitemap. Make sure if you are using a template, you use a premium template from a reputable source. If you are using the Genesis framework as I did, I suggest using a StudioPress Premium theme. They have a great reputation for keeping themes updated and their customer service is great. We decided to build our own custom theme for this project. Other great themes can be found on Woo Themes, Theme Forest, and Elegant Themes.
Framework & Theme
- Genesis Framework – By StudioPress
- Custom Theme – Developed By MarkNnet Group
The robots.txt file is a file at the root of your site that indicates those parts of your site you don’t want to be accessed by search engine crawlers. It is very important you are not blocking any CSS or JS files. To find your robots.txt file, just type /robots.txt after your URL. For example, my clients robots.txt file is located at osceolagarage.com/robots.txt.
It should look like this:
A sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. This helps Google properly crawl and index your websites content. How do you know if you have one? Just type: /sitemap.xml after your URL. For example, my client’s sitemap is located at osceolagarage.com/sitemap.xml. If do not have a sitemap, you can download XML sitemaps plugin by Arne Brachhold and build it from there. It should look like this:
XML Sitemap Settings
Below are the settings I used for the XML sitemap:
As I previously mentioned, I did not use any SEO plugin. No Yoast SEO or All-in-One. I used the built in SEO feature on the Genesis Framework. I’ll say it again, “it’s not the plugin, it’s the strategy and how you optimize the website.”
SEO Plugin Settings
Below are the main settings I used on the Genesis SEO feature.
Blogging was a major factor. Here are some important tips when blogging for SEO.
- Blog twice a month or even once a week
- Choose topics related to your service
- Create a keyword-rich title
- Add an image. Make sure you use Alt Tags for your images.
- Promote blog posts through email and social channels
- Internally link and cross-reference the blogs
Take a look at the blog post below and notice the internal linking and the title. Do a search for, “How To Tell Your Car Was Damaged By A Pothole And Make Your County Pay For It.” Notice, even after a year, he still ranks on the first page.
Targeting niche services is very important. Because my client wanted to rank for everything related to new Audi repairs and maintenance, I created a page specifically for the niche service. Take a look at the image below or visit the page to see how I optimized it.
Niche Services Settings
Below are the page settings I used on the backend of WordPress.
Theme SEO Settings For Audi Page
Below are the theme SEO setting I used for the Audi page.
Always choose a location you want to target. I see this mistake many times, someone wants to be optimized for a particular niche and there is no location associated with it. For the Audi page, I was going to Putnam County, Mahopac and Brewster, NY. When doing local SEO, always add a location after the keyword.
Google Analytics is not considered a ranking factor but is a major part of your SEO campaign. Make sure you installed Analytics tracking to your website. Also, make sure it is synced with Google Search Console. An easy way to tell if it’s synced is by going to Analytics and then on the right side navigation, you choose Acquisitions > Search Engine Optimization > Queries. If you see search queries, you are good. If you see what looks like the image below, then you need to sync them both.
Google Search Console
Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is where most of the magic happens. Think of it as a Google heart monitor for your website. You need to verify both your site and your XML sitemap from here. This is also where you will find my best friend hiding, Google Fetch. More about it later. Make sure you are logged in on Google Analytics when you start the verification process. Believe me, it will save you a lot of time.
- Add Property
- Verify with Google Analytics
- Add & verify XML Sitemap
Search Console – The Fetch
The Search Console Fetch was created by Google to test how Google crawls or renders a URL on your site. You can also use it to submit pages for indexing whenever the content is changed significantly. This is where the true magic happens. If you have all the above-mentioned requirements in place, plugins, niche page, blogging…etc, You should be able to submit your newly created page for a Fetch. Google will immediately index the site and add it to their search engine results page. You may end up on the 1, 2, or 3rd page and eventually move up in rankings a lot faster. *Note – I have also seen this with a site that has no blogging. So it is possible to immediately jump in rankings without it.
Go to the newly created page and copy the permalink extension. Copy everything after the .com/. In my example below, I only copy: Audi-car-maintenance-repairs
Go to the Google Search Console and on the left side navigation, find Crawl > Fetch as Google.
Add the URL extension. Do not start with the solidus, also known as the forward slash /. You will add it twice. Once for desktop and then again for smartphones.
After a minute or so, you will see a Submit to Index button for both desktop and smartphone. Go ahead and submit.
Within minutes after submitting to index, He immediately ranked on the first page of Google for numerous search phrases related to his niche service.
Watch The Video
You can also watch my step by step instructional video filmed in real time on how to rank on Google in 5 minutes using WordPress. This video was created when I created the page for BMW. Below I will show you how to do the same thing by optimizing the Audi services page.
You can also watch my Slideshare presentation for step by step instructions on how to make this happen.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below and I will respond. You can also follow me on Twitter at @mralexmiranda for more great SEO tips.
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