Optimising WordPress for SEO: Techniques and Tools 

Optimising your WordPress website for SEO is not exactly a precise art, but our technical and SEO wizards at Sherbet Donkey have several great techniques and tools to help optimise websites for SEO.

WordPress is a popular content management system (CRM) which allows users to create, manage and publish content on the web without needing vast technical knowledge. It’s renowned for its ease of use, flexibility and scalability which is why it is the most widely used CMS globally.

Thanks to its open source software it’s easy to modify and is extremely user-friendly to build with. There are thousands of themes and plugins available for free or premium accounts offering features and tools to help optimise content for search engines.

Optimising your WordPress website for SEO is not exactly a precise art, but our technical and SEO wizards at Sherbet Donkey have several great techniques and tools to help optimise websites for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and they are happy to share some of their magic here with three main areas to focus on.

If you’re out of your depth with optimising your WordPress site for SEO yourself, why not get in touch with a member of our expert team who can help? But let’s dive into these three areas in more depth.

Website speed

According to research, if a page on a website takes between one and three seconds – the chance of the user bouncing is 32% likelihood, rising to 90% if the load time is up to five seconds and if it takes as long as 10 seconds, it can increase the chance of the user bouncing to 123%. The plain facts are that the speed of your site will impact your bottom line, so the priority has to be making sure your site’s speed is as fast as possible. So, here are a few tips to help you speed up your website.

Web Server

Most websites, especially those with very low hosting fees, are normally a shared hosting package where the site is put on a server that could be sharing the available resources with thousands of other sites which will generally cause your site to slow down. Here at Sherbz, we use cloud servers for all our hosting packages and we never put more than 30 sites on any given server even for our most basic hosting package – guaranteeing great loading speeds always!

Caching, Compression and Image Optimisation

Websites need regular servicing – just like your car! Compression, image optimisation and caching will help with your website’s speed and need to be done regularly.

Caching

Caching is a technology that temporarily stores copies of files, data or other elements in the server or even your local files on your browser, to enhance website performance and speed, by allowing them to be retrieved quickly rather than re-downloading them.

There are lots of plugins which can help make cashing easy, but caching can cause sites to break or not function as expected so it’s vitally important to test different options or have advice about which plugins to use to identify what works with your site and what doesn’t.

Compression and Image Optimisation

Files or images that are uncompressed will cause your website to be larger in file size – leading to slower loading for your customers. Files and scripts can be compressed by minifying and combing the files to remove unnecessary spacing and gaps in the code and give the server fewer files to download. Images are one of the most important elements to compress on a website and, in fact, one of the easiest.

Uploading images which are excessively large in file size is a common mistake and there are online tools which have algorithms to reduce the size of the file with minimal visual difference – saving up to 80% of the image file size and speeding up your website’s loading times.

SEO Tools and Techniques

There are various SEO techniques and tools that can play a crucial role in optimising a WordPress website for SEO and user engagement and these include:

SEO Optimisation Plugins

SEO plugins, such as Rank Math help to simplify on-page SEO tasks by providing easy interfaces to add meta titles and descriptions, generate XML sitemaps and offer suggestions for content optimisation. It can also help to set up canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content issues and more.

Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions

Crafting compelling and unique meta titles and descriptions can improve click-through rates from SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). These should succinctly summarise the content of a page and include relevant keywords to signal to search engines the page’s focus.

Content and Image Optimisation

Incorporating relevant keywords with well-structured content which is constructed of well-written, original and high-quality content will help your website rank higher on SERPs. Alt tags for images help search engines to ‘see’ images as well as be accessible to all users. Frequently updated content signals to search engines the site is active and relevant.

Local SEO

For local businesses it’s vital to optimise for local search engines and list the business on Google My Business to enhance visibility in local search results and on Google Maps.

Google Analytics and Search Console

These tools help to provide insights into how visitors interact with your website, the performance of content and technical issues that may impact SEO.

Non-technical SEO tools and techniques focus largely on content creation, management and analysis and are essential for optimising any WordPress website for SEO and users to drive traffic and improve search rankings.

Technical SEO Tools and Techniques

Regularly performing a technical audit on your website to check its technical aspects – to identify and rectify any issues – will mean it can be crawled, indexed and ranked effectively by search engines.

An audit will point out any crawl errors, broken links, orphan pages and redirect issues as well as any site structural issues and the tools used can help fix these. Three of the most important agency tools for performing a technical audit, as well as helping to resolve any issues highlighted are Screaming Frog, Search Console and Lighthouse.

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a technical SEO tool that will perform an in-depth crawl of the entire WordPress site to identify a range of issues which could be causing the website to fail in search engine rankings. Screaming Frog will highlight broken links, redirect chains, duplicate content, missing alt tags and oversized images as well as structural issues – helping to generate XML sitemaps to improve efficient site crawling and indexing.

Google Search Console

A free technical SEO tool, Search Console will provide data on how the website appears in Google Search results and helps to identify pages Google is struggling to index or crawl. It also has a mobile usability report to check for pages on a site that aren’t mobile-friendly.

Lighthouse

Primarily a web page performance tool, Lighthouse will analyse WordPress websites for their speed and offer suggestions for improvement. It will help to assess how accessible your web content is, which impacts SEO, as Google searches for content that meets its standards for EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) and content that meets these criteria will be accessible to users.

Still Unsure? See How Sherbet Donkey Can Help

Using these tools and techniques, and great content, you can optimise your WordPress site which will help to ensure your page speed is good and it is crawled, indexed and ranked well by Google – identifying and rectifying issues as and when they arise.

However, if these tools and techniques all seem bewildering but you still need your WordPress website optimised for better SEO rankings, why not start a conversation with the SEO marketing magicians at Sherbet Donkey today?

We love to take the hassle out of optimisation for all our SEO clients – let’s get together to send your rankings through the roof!

More blog posts

Got an idea in mind?
Speak to our friendly team!

Not tech savvy? You don’t need to be! We’re here to help.
Let’s get your project started…