Optimizing WordPress Sites

Many website owners are usingWordPress now due to its flexibility, ease of use and many other benefits. Although traditional on-page optimization rules still apply for WordPress sites, there are many added optimization techniques that we can apply to improve search engine results even more.  The following techniques have proven very successful in WordPress optimization:

  • Customized page titles and meta tags
  • Removing unnecessary links to images
  • Ensuring use of valid HTML code
  • CSS on the top of the page and loading javascript in the footer
  • Using caches for plugins
  • Minimizing use of unnecessary plugins
  • Reducing  number and size of image and video files
  • Creating one file to house each of the smaller javascript and CSS files used in designing the site
  • Renaming the Uncategorized category
  • Minimizing the number of PHP and http queries by using subdomains
  • Optimizing the .htaccess file and the robots.txt file

Importance of Site Design

Many business owners and  webmasters overlook the importance of site design, or on-page optimization,  in achieving search engine results.  An engaging website can only be an asset if visitors are able to easily find and use it.  Using specific keywords in the title tags, URL, and meta descriptions together with  an optimized website design, will yield tremendous search engines results, gathering thousands of engaged visitors taking the desired action.

Image  Optimization

With so many factors to consider, image optimization is also often overlooked. Images take up quite a bit of space, and  can be extremely slow to load if  not optimized properly. In fact, improperly optimized images and videos are the leading cause of slow loading times. In order to load quickly, image files that use up valuable data must be compressed using image compression tools. Beyond load times, images and videos themselves can also be optimized to achieve top ranking in the search engines as well. Professional SEO experts know how to optimize images by using descriptive alt tags based upon the keyword strategy that is being used for each page of a website. As is the case with most facets of website optimization, amazing results can be achieved by fostering a synergistic relationship between many elements of a site.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides a bevy of useful  information that can be used to diagnose the effectiveness of a website on multiple levels. Google Analytics provides web developers and site owners with specific site information, such as the number of active internal links and the number of quality backlinks linking to the site. Google Analytics also gives in depth graphs and charts showing the amount of traffic a site is receiving, the source of the traffic, how long each visitor from a specific source spends on a website, the click through rate, conversion rate, and much more. This information is fundamental in achieving a highly optimized website and adjusting advertising campaigns for increased return on investment.

Google Authorship

Google authorship allows a Google+ user to add their profile to a website or blog, and also lists the author and author’s profile photo in Google search results. Authorship will add to your site’s credibility and improve your search rankings. Setting up Google authorship is straight forward and once you have completed the necessary steps, your profile photo should appear pages or posts authored by you in search results in anywhere from one to seven days.

The Host Is Important Too

Many overlook on-page optimization,and  even more neglect the effect that their server or hosting provider can have on  website performance. The loading speed of a website not only plays an integral role in keeping visitors engaged in a website, but it is also viewed by search engines when ranking a site, therefore is of critical importance as well. There are actions that site owners can take to increase loading speed , but browser sniffing, conditional SSl accommodations, and shunting defaults used by a hosting provider can also have a significant impact on the loading speed, uptime, and overall performance of a website. This increases the SEO power of a website creating a positive experience for site visitors, keeping visitors with short attention spans from leaving the site because it’s too slow to load.