What is WordPress
WordPress is an open-source Content Management System made mainly in PHP and MySQL that allows Web Developers and Designers to create dynamic websites.
WordPress is coded in PHP and MySQL Database. A WordPress CMS can be used to create all types of websites including eCommerce especially using the WooCommerce plugin.
WordPress has become popular and above 40% of websites are made with WordPress. It is any easy Content Management System that any person without technical skills can use by dragging and dropping or by installing web plugins.
In this WordPress blog, we will focus on the following topics
- WordPress SEO
- WordPress Speed Optimization
WordPress SEO is a variation of techniques and strategies combined to rank a WordPress website’s keywords on the very top position of search engine results.
In this article, we will see different aspects an SEO Specialist can take to improve a WordPress website ranking especially on giants search engines such as Google.
The first step to take for improving a WordPress SEO is through customizing setting options
WordPress settings for SEO
To start WordPress SEO firstly, you have to customize its settings. The following are the WordPress website SEO settings you have to check for improvement.
Set WWW or remove WWW
WordPress allows you to add or remove www which stands for Worldwide Web. Search Engines see URL website that has WWW and site URL without as different websites even though it could have the same domain names. So it is better to either add WWW or remove it depending on what is suitable for you.
How to optimize WWW in WordPress settings
To set your domain name URL structure go into the general settings of your WordPress website
- WordPress (URL) then type the way you want your domain to appear either with WWW or without WWW
- Site Address (URL) then type the similar WWW or remove it to be consistent
Deselect Pingbacks and Trackbacks
Pingbacks and Trackbacks notify you each time someone links your website to another website. So this process runs in the background which may slow down your website. To disable those alerting notification you have to uncheck pingbacks and trackbacks notification in WordPress settings as follow.
- Discussion Settings
- Deselect Allow link notification from other blogs (Pingbacks and Trackbacks)
Check WordPress Visibility Settings
To allow your WordPress website to rank on search engines you have to uncheck its visibility settings.
WordPress visibility settings for most of the time come unchecked which allows your website to be crawled and indexed by search engines. Nevertheless, you have to verify that is always unchecked so that you will not prevent your website keywords from ranking in search engine results.
WordPress URL SEO
Every SEO Specialist has to optimize his WordPress URL names so that they become more SEO friendly and easy for search engines and web users to understand the purpose of each web page.
First of all, to optimize a WordPress URL for SEO You have to go into the settings of your WordPress website URL to customize them if they are not already customized by default as follow
- General Settings
- Post name
- Edit your web pages URL if not optimized for SEO
Therefore after choosing a post name for web pages you can edit each web page URL according to your content and page structure. Rename web pages and URL slugs to be more meaningful to the user and search engines.
- Make your web file’s URL name short and meaningful
- Avoid giving a URL name you already given to other pages to avoid web page conflicts
- Do not use similar URL names so that you will not have cannibalization conflicts
WordPress SEO Plugins
To improve your WordPress ranking the easy way if you do not have technical knowledge you can install an SEO plugin that will help you to automate your keywords ranking without writing any codes.
There are some best SEO plugins such as Yoast, All in One SEO, and Rank Math. You can install any of them then start to optimize your website keywords ranking.
WordPress XML Sitemap
XML Sitemap is one of the best SEO files that shows your website structure on search engines.
There are two ways of creating an XML sitemap in a WordPress website.
- The first way is using an SEO plugin for sitemap
- The second way is to create a WordPress sitemap manually and upload it to your root directory
SEO plugins like Yoast, AIO SEO, or Rank Math can generate automatically XML sitemaps. Moreover, if you are not satisfied with the sitemap from SEO plugins you can manually create your own XML sitemap by including each web page.
Submit WordPress sitemap
Submitting your WordPress sitemap to search engines helps you rank your web pages easily as all search engines will index and read your website faster.
Submit all your new and updated sitemaps on different search engines such as Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, Yandex, and Baidu as they allow you to update and submit them.
There are three different ways of creating an XML Sitemap
- Create XML Sitemap automatically with SEO plugins
- Use XML Sitemap Generators
- Create XML Sitemap manually
Google Search Console in WordPress
To rank in Google search results compulsorily you have to verify your website ownership in Google Search Console.
There are different methods of verifying your WordPress website in the Google Search Console. Try one of the following ways for verifying your WordPress website on Google Search.
- You can verify your WordPress website directly by copying Google Search Console verification codes in your SEO Plugin if you have installed one
- There are also other ways of verifying a WordPress website without using plugins such as copying HTML search console verification codes on the homepage of your WordPress website.
WordPress Images SEO
Images SEO in WordPress consists of optimizing all images you uploaded on a WordPress website so that they will rank higher in search results.
There are different ways you can follow to increase the ranking of your image keywords in a WordPress website.
The following strategies will improve the ranking of your WordPress images
- Firstly, compress your images with third-party tools or image compressors
- Use WordPress images compression plugins if you still need to reduce the size of the image
- Rename image files with names that match their purposes
- Use WordPress built-in alt attributes by entering image keywords and save it
Double Check images SRCSET in developer mode
You can check the SRCSET attribute in developer mode of your web browser to know if it is still active or if it was disabled in order to enable it so that your images will get compressed properly on all devices.
SRCSET allows WordPress images to get compressed in different sizes depending on user devices so that each image will land responsively which fasten the loading speed of your website.
You have to keep on updating your XML Sitemap each time you have added or removed a web page.
Nofollow links tell search engines that they do not have to follow and crawl a web page link from website pages.
In your WordPress, you may have outbound links that point to other websites. So each time you provide a backlink that you found not to be helpful to rank an anchor text of your keywords, better make it no-follow in your HTML linking attributes.
To make a linking anchor text as a no-follow in WordPress you can use any SEO plugin or a built-in page editor such s Gutenberg Editor.
You can use a gear icon after right-clicking on a web link you have created then tick a non-follow option or you can create a no-follow manually with Guttenberg Editor and add re="no-follow" HTML attribute to a link you don't want search engines to follow.
It is easy to interlink the web pages of your WordPress website by interlinking your weak web pages to high authority pages.
Interlinking connects all your web pages structure which helps you rank the most important web pages moreover, it will improve overall your WordPress website ranking.
Optimizes Categories and blog Posts
To optimize your categories and blog posts in WordPress you have to add title tags, meta description, and heading in order to optimize the keywords available on each category and post.
You can optimize categories and blog posts manually or by using SEO plugins to rank on both blog posts and web categories. Every WordPress SEO Consultant has to optimize each page and make sure that WordPress tags are grouped and written properly on each post.
Secure WordPress with SSL and HTTPS
Google as the giant search engine has already confirmed that web security is one of the SEO keywords ranking factors. To increase your website ranking you have to improve its security by adding security features and certifications.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer that protects your website against hackers and all types of intruders who may steal your sensitive information by hacking your website or web page data.
HTTPS is an abbreviation for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS appears on your web address bar once you have installed your security certificates to encrypt your web content.
It is recommended to check that all the versions of your website domain name redirect on a single and secured domain name with HTTPS display.
WordPress Speed Optimization
WordPress Speed Optimization Consists of decreasing the loading time of a WordPress website.
Even though WordPress decreasing load time improves your website SEO, it also helps users to open a web page faster which is a part of the user experience.
WordPress Website speed is a part of SEO because the more your website loads faster more you get a higher ranking advantage as website speed is one of the major ranking factors of all popular search engines.
How to Optimize a WordPress Website Speed
Optimizing a WordPress website speed helps you rank your company's and business keywords for a better position and it enhances your client’s user experience.
Here are important steps you have to take to speed up any WordPress website. Be it built-in Woocomerce or any related WP Content Management System.
WordPress Images Optimization
As we discussed in this article before about Images SEO we saw that images play a big part in your keywords ranking. Apart from image keywords, you have to think about speeding up your images.
How to Speed up WordPress images
There are three ways of speeding up your WordPress images as mentioned below
- Using third-Party tools to compress images. Be it online tools or software to compress images
- You can use WordPress image plugins to reduce the size of your images on each device in case you have many images and gallery that may slow down your website
- You can implement images lazy load so that each time a user opens a page, a browser will firstly load images that appear on the screen only.
WordPress Comments Optimization
WordPress has a built-in comments feature that allows you to receive users' comments on your posts. To optimize WP comments you have to filter spam comments and delete them.
Moreover, it is recommended to break your comments into different pages so that in case they are many. They will not overload your web pages.
CDN is an abbreviation for Content Delivery Network. It is a cloud system that hosts your website DNS or Domain Name Server so that it is will be displayed to web users according to the server that will be near his location. Using CDN speeds up your WordPress files and saves a lot of bandwidth and unnecessary server requests.
There are web hosting companies that offer a free CDN and there are other third parties companies that provide Content Delivery Services for a fee.
A WordPress theme you use can be the reason behind your website speed.
Before buying your website theme online on any company that sells WordPress themes you have first to test the speed of that theme by copying the URL and paste it into a website speed testers such as Google Speed insights to ensure that it will not slow down your site.
Caching your WordPress website allows storing temporally your downloaded web files on a user's web browser.
There are two different ways of caching a WordPress Website
- Using a WordPress Caching plugin
- Using .htaccess file to cache your web files
Below areCaching codes
<IfModule mod_expires.c> ExpiresActive On # Images ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 month" ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 month" ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 month" ExpiresByType image/webp "access plus 1 month" ExpiresByType image/svg+xml "access plus 1 month"ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 1 month"
# Video ExpiresByType video/mp4 "access plus 1 month"ExpiresByType video/mpeg "access plus 1 month"
# Others ExpiresByType application/pdf "access plus 1 year" ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access plus 1 year" ExpiresDefault "access plus 2 days" </IfModule>
WordPress Gzip optimization
To speed up a WordPress site you have to compress all your web files by adding the Gzip codes to the Htaccess file.
Here are the Gzip codes
Minify WordPress files
There are two options for minifying your WordPress files
- Use WordPress plugins to minify your web files
- You can also use online tools by copying or uploading the web files that you want to minify
Use latest versions of WP and PHP
To avoid slowdown your website you have to use the latest version of WordPress itself and features such as PHP, MySQL so that your site will be secure and up to date.
Choosing the best WordPress hosting company that will keep your website secure and faster is the first thing you have to plan before uploading your web files on any hosting server.
You have to choose a dedicated hosting website also known as managed hosting plans so that you can have enough space to avoid anything that can slow down your website.
It is good to avoid a shared hosting plan or VPS known as a Virtual Private Server that shares your space with other websites. Even though shared hosting is cheaper compared to a managed hosting but tries to not use them on a WordPress Website if you can.
Clean up WordPress Database
A heavy WordPress database will slow down your website as well. So to speed up a WordPress database you have to optimize the following parts of your database system.
WordPress Database Calls
To speed up your WordPress database calls, you have to prevent it by especially by editing your home page and check all unnecessary database calls in your PHP coding.
Optimize WordPress Database
You have to optimize your WordPress by removing unnecessary data such as trashes, and revisions to prevent your database to be heavy.
Limit WordPress revisions
Having a lot of revisions on your WordPress will slow down your website. You can delete unnecessary revisions or limits the number of revisions to three or four.
For Example to limit revisions you can add this code on your WP_config.php file and add the following function.
Define (we_post_revisions’, 3);
WordPress Editor and Page Builders optimization
A bad-coded WordPress Editor or page builder can slow down your website. So you have to avoid installing heavy WordPress Editors or you can use WordPress built-in page editor called Gutenberg Editor.
Gutenberg Editor helps you edit your web page without installing additional page builders. Otherwise, you have to install the best and fast WordPress page editor that will speed up your web pages.
Disable WordPress Cron Jobs
WordPress Cron Jobs are web applications that run in the background of your WordPress website. Those applications affect the speed of your website.
To stop WordPress cron Jobs add the following codes in WP_config.php file
Define (“Disable_wp_cron”, True);
Delete WordPress Plugins
You have to delete unused and bad-coded plugins that you no longer use. Installing many and unnecessary plugins slows down your WordPress site.
You have to minimize the number of plugins you use by keeping only a few and well-coded plugins that you urgently need.