How to improve your website and make it loved by search engines isn't rocket science. There are many factors that go into a website and if you where to try to figure it out yourself you would end up in a mental institution. I decided to grab the bull by the horns and research this dilemma of so many site owners. There are some key tools that you can use will help you save time and save your sanity.
Evaluate the performance of your website
These are 2 of my favorite sites to evaluate the overall performance of your website.
Hubspot – Hubspot has a tool that you can check your site and they give you score from 1 to 100. In addition, with that they give you recommendations on how to improve your site score. With an improved site score usually means you'll rank higher in due time. WooRank – woo rank is another site checker that goes a bit more in-depth and does the same basic testing method. The difference in grades by both tools differed significantly so you need to jot down the most important things to do first and go down the list.
The need for speed
WordPress is a wonderful platform and I use it personally but you really have to watch out for a majority of things.
Simple Easy to do tips for speed
“The web should be fast.” – Google, Inc.
The speed of your website is a huge factor for ranking your website better and making your visitors happy. One of the first things I tell someone is to check their site on GTmetrics. This gives you the speed of your site as well as a list of necessary components that could be affecting it. Look below at the video to see exactly how it works.
- Theme – is your theme outdated and the creator no longer updates it? This could not only cause speed issues but HTML code that is a cluster can deter search engines from even crawling your site due to errors.
- Plugins – yes, plugins are great but take it from a guy that had to go to plugin rehab they can be more of a nuance than anything can. You need to make sure that the plugins your installing really benefit your site or hinders it.WordPress SEO Plugin
- WordPress SEO Plugin – The one plugin that I use that I consider great for anyone is Yoast. It does take up a good amount of load time but very helpful by grading your site.
- WP-Smushit – This crusher plugin optimizes your images by suppressing them. This is extremely beneficial in increasing your speed. It takes your images and reduces the file sizes and improve performance
- W3 Total Cache – The only cache plugin that I have not had any conflicts with is W3 Cache, it too is not one of the lightest plugins but the ease of use outweighs that.
- WP Optimize – WP-Optimize is an extensive WordPress database cleanup and optimization tool. It is beneficial because it does not require PhpMyAdmin to optimize and clean your database tables.
Those are my four basic plugins when it comes to optimizing my site. Now understand, I do have other plugins I use on my site but I am very picky on which ones I use and which ones I would like to have but really can do without. The less plugins on your site the better, hands down.
Text to html ratio
This one is a tricky one because you may have a ton of text on your front page and you still may be getting a low text to html ratio. Search engines love websites that are rich with content, and lots of it. A big factor in text to html ratio is of course your theme, plugins running, and text actually on a page. A few reasons the text to html ratio on your website is important
- Easier to crawl – Simple, the more text you have the easier it is for Google, Bing, Yandux and the rest of the search engines out there to crawl your masterpiece.
- Optimizes your Page Load Speediness: Less HTML signifies that there isn’t any pointless code present on your website. Increasing your page speed in which makes it user friendly and the search engines happy.
- Enhanced User Experience: Higher text to code ratio signifies an enhanced user experience, and higher user experience is exactly what the search engines want to see.
- Designed to be user friendly: websites with higher text content to HTML tend to be more readable and understandable for individuals. It offers the impression that your website has been constructed with the visitor in mind. This then makes your site appear a necessity in the eyes of the search engines.
Keep your links clean
Another important factor in your SEO efforts is making sure your links are clean and not broken. There are numerous plugins that you can use but it will slow down your site. Broken Link Check is a free site that will scan your site and determine if you have any link issues. This goes for all links, internal and outbound. It also shows the Shows the whereabouts of problematic links in your HTML and gives you Reports of any error codes (404 etc.) for all unhealthy URLs.
Your Meta Data should be fresh
- Your content on your site should have title tags and Meta descriptions.
- Meta keywords are virtually ignored by search engines, but if you still use them, make sure it relates explicitly to that page and that it is also structured properly.
- Meta descriptions need to be distinctive and address to the topic of that specific page. Duplicate Meta descriptions will not get you anywhere and cause more headaches.
- Title tags should also be fresh. Act as if your title is a 4-8 word advertisement, so make them elite to attract the reader so they want to click and continue reading.
- Header Tags (h1, h2, h3) best practices –This goes back to over doing something and hurting yourself more than helping. Make sure that you use the header tags properly throughout your post. If you use Yoast, there is a section shows you how your article is looking in their eyes. The video below explains how this works.
In closing, make it a part of your routine to consistently check your site. Consistently make sure everything is updated and running like a well-oiled machine. This includes updates to your theme, plugins and of course WordPress itself. The small amount of time it will take you to do these things will benefit you greatly. I can certainly say with confidence that the time we take to create, maintain and market your website, these simple easy to do tips will help your page rank climb.
Note: Content is absolutely key to getting ranked better on any search engine. There is really no point in doing the above if you're not writing engaging content.