Want to build a site? With a CMS like WordPress, that is actually the easy part. In fact, you can get a site up and running within an hour.
However, the best part of this platform is not the ease of using it. Rather, it is the power afforded to you to unlock your site’s full potential using WP wide range of features.
“It is a trusted platform for many of the busiest websites in the world,” says Jamie Spencer in this post. “It can handle pretty much anything.”
If you do not want to take his word for it – take the 26% of sites running on WordPress, among other mind-boggling facts that attest to the power of this platform.
Still, a great website is meaningless if it garners no traffic. For online businesses, you need to rely on the three fundamental channels of digital marketing for driving traffic – email, social, and search.
Today, online businesses need to apply smarter SEO practices to gain a competitive edge. This boils down to techniques that boost user experience, optimize your site’s performance, generate powerful links, and compete in the right keyword market. Here are five ways to help you accomplish that.
1. Find Low-Hanging Fruits
Behind every successful SEO strategy lies a line-up of well-targeted keywords. For big players, it is about who can afford to keep up with the most in-demand keywords. However, for startups and SMEs on a budget, you need a more strategic and cost-effective approach.
Your best chances of fast and measurable results with SEO is to target low-hanging keywords. These are keywords with a good amount of monthly searches but low competition – within the reach of enterprises without deep pockets. For new SEO campaigns, you can use tools like Google Adwords Keyword Planner to search keywords and decrease down to the low-hanging fruits.
But if you are running your site for a while, you are probably already ranking for keywords you know nothing about. These “hidden keywords” are opportunities to optimize your pages. To find such keywords use RankWatch’s Low-Hanging Fruit (LHF).
The LHF option features the following factors:
- Keyword – target keyword or phrase
- Rank – search ranking of your page for the indicated keyword
- CPC – the comparative cost that you would have to pay per click for running an ad copy with this keyword
- Volume – the number of times the keyword has been searched on Google
- Trend – shows how the keyword has been performing on Google Search over the last month
Then, you can start tracking these keywords and see which site page is ranking for them.
Having this data on your lap, you take away the guesswork from keyword research and let RankWatch work for you! All you need to do is optimize the pages that are ranking for a specific keyword so you can further increase their position on Google search by applying the best SEO practices.
2. Skyscraper Technique
Link-building is the bread and butter of SEO. Although most digital marketers are already aware of this, a lot of them do not know how to use the Skyscraper Technique. It is a powerful strategy to have under your belt as it allows you to build great content and gain links from high-traffic websites.
The Skyscraper technique can be summarized into three key steps:
- Look for popular content from authoritative sites
- Refine it into something more thorough
- Promote it to the same sites that linked to the original content.
From the linking site’s perspective, this is an opportunity to provide better content and improve the experience of their users. For you, it is a way to earn a powerful link and a quick boost in traffic. Just remember that you need to make the content updated, more complete, and much better overall.
Take note, however, that you should have the budget to spend for the tools featured in this techniques like Ahrefs and Buzzsumo. There is a price to pay, literally, before you can implement this tall order of a technique for your website.
Regardless, the rewards of this SEO and content strategy is just as great, if not more. The fact that there are lots of other case studies that attest to the effectiveness of the Skyscraper Technique is further proof that you should start implementing it on your WordPress site.
3. Use Plugins Wisely
For sites run by WordPress, you need a closer look at your plugin choices. While they are useful for adding bits of functionality, they can also slow your site down, especially if you use too many. This is why you should focus on the bare necessities and delete all unwanted plugins from your WordPress site.
Instead, focus on plugins from trusted developers that also have great ratings and reviews. You can take this post as a guide when looking for WordPress plugins to use.
Also, be wary of bloatware plugins like Jetpack.
While it offers dozens of features, there is a great chance that you will not be using all of them because they do not apply to your site. As a result, even if the modules are not activated, the code stays on the plugin, which could affect how fast your site loads. Therefore, it is highly advisable to download a small plugin that does exactly what it says to keep bloatware plugins from hogging up your hosting space.
For a list of essential plugins you can add to your site, refer to this post from wpmudev.org. Keep in mind, however, that you should only download plugins that you actually need. It is not advisable to download and use a plugin that does not provide any real benefit to you and your visitors.
4. Tweak Your Site to Maximize Speed
Optimizing your WordPress plugins is just one of the many ways to maximize your site’s speed. You can also achieve better speed by choosing a quality host and start with a fast and efficient theme. Remember that a lot of WordPress themes have many design features that are impractical for sites built for speed. This is why you need platforms like Colorlib and DIYthemes.com.
Another way is to compress your web assets such as images and codes for a more efficient use of bandwidth. You can use WP-SmushIt for compressing images and Better WordPress Minify for codes. These plugins work automatically, so you only need to install and activate them once.
Finally, you can use an effective caching plugin to further speed up the page loading time. Just like for compressing assets, you can also use a simple plugin like W3 Total Cache.
While plugins can help you get the job done when it comes to site speed, always remember that less is more. There are tasks that you can do without having to rely on plugins, which are known to bog down your site’s speed.
Taking cue from this excellent post from Sparring Mind, below are the important things you need to consider when tweaking your site to optimize loading times without the help of plugins:
- Make sure that your WordPress site is built on good foundations – Subscribing to the best hosting services, theme, and content delivery network (if you expect to receive thousands of visitors every day from different parts of the globe) will ensure that you site speed is not compromised.
- Use static HTML over PHP – This point is something that technical SEO specialists concern themselves with. Regardless, delivering static content to visitors is easier to your hosting server and loads faster on their end.
- Simplify, simplify, simplify! – Keep your widgets to a minimum, show summaries of your posts on the homepage instead of the full article, and keep your site free from pop-ups and other distractions. Aside from speeding up loading time, simplifying your site can also help increase your conversion rate like it happened to ImpactBnd when they removed their blog sidebar.
5. Streamline your On-Page SEO
To keep on top of your SEO game, you need to make sure that each page is optimized for specific keyword phrases and that the best on-page optimization practices are observed. Not only are we talking about keyword density, but also content readability, URL slug length, outbound links, and more.
This is where a plugin like Yoast SEO comes in handy.
The exclusive WordPress plugin is a comprehensive platform that helps you with every aspect of on-page optimization. It focuses on optimizing your site for Google web crawlers, indexation, and content quality.
For example, you can use Yoast SEO to easily add a meta description, optimize your XML sitemap, identify your content’s focus keyword, and some other essential SEO-related tasks. However, using Yoast SEO to the fullest requires familiarity with the interface. You can refer to this post as a quick guide for setting it up.
SEO is like a piece of machinery that has lots of moving parts. Fortunately for WordPress users, these parts can be associated with tools and platforms that can help you every step of the way. Just remember that there are no shortcuts in SEO. Aside from learning the right tools and optimization hacks, you need to dedicate your time, effort, and passion for getting there.