If you have a WordPress website, you’ve probably heard of or are using the Yoast SEO plugin. With over 8 million active installs, Yoast is almost a household name in for every WordPress user. That means installing our plugin will do a ton for your SEO optimization. And I think installing it on your website should be a no-brainer. But our SEO plugin isn’t the only quick win to optimize WordPress sites. I’ve short-listed 9 things you can do today to improve your site:
Take a closer look at your homepage
Regardless of the source, your homepage is probably the most visited page of your site. Make sure it does what it’s intended for: guide the visitor to the page they’re looking for asap. That means you can skip the slider and get straight to the point. To optimize WordPress, list your best-selling product or your main USP. So that a visitor knows you’re the right person/company for them.
Rethink that call-to-action
Following point number 1, that also means that a page, no, every page, should have a clear call-to-action. What do you want them to do on that page? Explain in layman’s language and try to refrain from professional lingo. Answer the customer’s question in their own language: “Yes, I want to save money on my car insurance”.
Remember to optimize WordPress site, you need a call-to-action with a clear focus. So, if necessary, add a single line with more details below it. But stay away from other colorful elements and details around that call-to-action. Everything that distracts your users leads to fewer clicks.
Use optimized images
A very broad suggestion, but so true. Just to make things clearer, here are a few ways you can optimize WordPress by optimizing your images. Make sure to use:
- Descriptive file names, so no “DSC001.jpg”, but “beautiful-sunset-in-dresden.jpg”
- Images in the size they are displayed (don’t crop using CSS or HTML!)
- Images that have optimized file sizes (use for instance JPEGMini)
And avoid images that are just there “because it’s nice to add an image”. Your image needs to serve a purpose.
Avoid false bottoms
One of the things people often overlook when they optimize WordPress is how false bottoms can ruin a page. If you have an element on your page that looks like a footer but really isn’t, people might mistake it for a footer and simply stop scrolling. If your call-to-action is below that false bottom, you have probably lost a number of customers because of that design element.
Test your meta descriptions
Meta descriptions aren’t used by search engines for SEO, but they are used by their visitors to decide what link to click. With the recent change in length, Google doubled it to 320 characters recently and we immediately started testing how we could optimize WordPress site.
Now it’s your turn. Monitor your current links from Google for a certain page for a week. Then adapt it to match the 320 character limit and see what changes, if anything. Your meta description is the invitation to your website from Google and you’d better optimize that invitation.
Make sure your mobile website is in shape
Google’s heading towards a mobile-first index pretty fast now. And you don’t want to screw up your optimized WordPress site because you’ve only focused on your beautiful desktop website. Your products, services, and brand should look good on your mobile website as well as on your desktop site.
Navigation should be a breeze, and all links that are on your website should be easily accessible. Use Google’s Mobile Friendly test to optimize WordPress further.
Leverage your internal search
You know your website probably has internal search without you using it, right? Every WordPress site comes with the internal search. Simply add
?s=test at the end of your homepage’s URL – and there it is! Leverage that search to optimize your WordPress site. Make the search available for your visitors and monitor what they search for (in Google Analytics it’s Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms).
The words you’ll find there in due time, are the things your visitors want to know but can’t find immediately. Add a page or post about that term, optimize that page with our plugin, and start ranking in Google for that term. Now all these visitors come to the right place on your website straight from Google. Because you’ve optimized your WordPress site.
Set up cornerstone content
I’ve just told you to write content, so now I need to guide you a bit in site structure too. If set up right, your website has a number of cornerstone content pages; the main pages for a subject. On all other pages that mention the subject, link to the cornerstone content, using the subject or a variation as the link text. This setup makes sure Google and Bing understand what the main page for a subject is, and they will value it more. And that’s how you optimize WordPress site.
Adding internal links is an easy task. Simply do a site search for a topic: hit
site:example.com keyword in Google and see what it returns. Ranking #1 should be your cornerstone content page for the keyword, and below that are your other pages that matter for the keyword. Make sure the first 5 or 6 link back to the cornerstone content in the text on that page, with the right link text. Yoast SEO Premium has an internal linking tool you’ll love, by the way.
Make your site dynamic
It makes all the sense in the world that a dynamic site ranks better than a static one. If your website had its last update back in 2014, Google will notice and think you have deserted that site. It really isn’t that hard to optimize WordPress site by making it dynamic today. Add a blog, then post. Ask someone to write a guest post, like this one. Or open that old blog post on your long forgotten blog, update the content and republish. Old wine in new bags is the easiest way.
You can even hire a content writer, of course. For a few bucks, your optimized WordPress site can become a marketing machine, feeding your social media channels. Record a video, create a vlog, for that matter. Start enjoying the rise in traffic because of that, and find more and more fun in teaching and informing your visitors.
Yes. In the end, it’s all these things combined that make your site so much more attractive for both Google and your visitors. Now go optimize WordPress!