5 Ways From Semalt To Optimize WordPress And Rank Better On Google
In most cases, website optimization is associated only with faster loading, i.e. with a purely technical aspect. This, however, carries many other, very important advantages that affect conversion, position in the Google search engine, as well as the image and professionalism of the brand. Let's see how to perform the most important optimizations on a WordPress website in 5 steps.
You're probably wondering what else you can do to make your website appear higher in search results, attract more visitors, encourage them to come back, and have a higher conversion rate. Of course, the position in Google is greatly influenced by the content on the page and the traditional "SEO optimization" in terms of keywords, phrases and headings used.
You already know about it, but there are other things that affect your position in Google and conversion, and one of the often-overlooked aspects is the optimization of your website in terms of speed.
Having a fast-acting website, we gain from the start - the user is much more likely to go to the next subpage when the website loads quickly. In addition to purely subjective feelings, the website's speed affects its position in the Google search engine and increases conversion.
This is extremely important in the case of online stores - statistics have shown for years that every unnecessary second of waiting for the page to open has a negative impact on conversion. So, what to do to ensure that the page loads as quickly as possible?
1. Choose fast hosting for WordPress
Before you start making changes directly to your website, first take care of the foundation on which it is located. It is hosting, i.e. the server on which the website is placed. Even the best-optimized WordPress site will run slow when hosting is to blame.
Choose a service that does not impose any unnecessary limits - there is nothing worse than a monthly transfer limit that can end up like megabytes in a mobile Internet package, which will slow down the site significantly.
Choose a server that uses fast processors and SSD hard drives.
Browse through the various WordPress hosting tests and pay attention to which provider has the lowest TTFB, i.e. server response time. This is the time it takes the server to respond to a user's request and begin sending page data to it. If this time is high, even the best optimization will not help.
Bet on a service provider that will offer support in case of problems. Check the opinions on the company's profiles on Google or on Facebook - no review will reflect what long-term customers say about a given company.
2. Enable the cache in WordPress
The cache memory can significantly relieve the server and make the page load much faster. By using a cache, you significantly reduce the number of queries to the database, instead of serving the page in a static form (only dynamic elements are not cached). How to implement something like this? It is best to use the appropriate plugin for this.
In the WordPress repository, you will find tons of free caching plugins. The most popular plugins are WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache or WP Fastest Cache.
In most cases, it is enough to install the cache plugin. There are a bit more configuration options for W3 Total Cache, so if you're not sure how to set something up, you can choose WP Super Cache or WP Fastest Cache - these are plugins that lead the user a bit more by the hand.
3. Set PHP to the latest version 7.4 (or at least 7.3)
On each hosting, you can change the PHP version that is used on the server. It is also something that can significantly affect the performance of a website, especially if you have an older version set by default, such as PHP 5.6.
In the customer panel of your hosting, change the PHP version to a higher version - minimum PHP 7.3. This is the version with the most changes that directly impact the speed of loading the site. Of course, if you have the option to set a newer version, such as PHP 7.4, use it.
Setting the latest PHP version can give you a noticeable performance boost. Subpages will open faster as your website performs all functions optimally.
4. See how to optimize photos in WordPress
Photos on the website are something obvious that attracts the user's attention, especially in the era of graphic minimalism. For years, clean, white and minimalist pages with photos have remained the main ornaments. Unfortunately, many inexperienced website owners don't know how to optimize photos in WordPress, resulting in websites that load photos in 4K resolution and weigh several megabytes.
There are many things you can do to optimize photos in WordPress. The most important are:
- using the appropriate format for specific images;
- photo compression;
- limiting photo resolution;
- converting photos to WebP format;
- using always JPG format for classic photos.
Only use the PNG format when you are placing a screenshot, vector art, items with a solid colour, or graphics that need to be transparent.
When saving the image in a graphics program, adjust the compression level. Always choose the right balance between the quality and weight of the final file. Usually, you can do it directly in the image file saving window - while balancing the quality slider, pay attention to how the image changes and the weight of the resulting file.
Never put photos in excessively high resolutions. You can use a plugin in WordPress that automatically adjusts the size of an overly large photo based on your settings, and also performs compression immediately.
Alternatively, you can simply adjust each photo in your favourite graphics program and change the size of an oversized image there.
Also, see the WebP format. It's a modern format from Google that replaces JPG and PNG. It retains transparency, so it can be used for all types of photos while offering less weight and being rewarded by Google. In WordPress, it can be implemented using the WebP Express plugin, for example.
5. Remove unnecessary plugins and themes that burden the website
WordPress plugins are useful, but you should reserve them for situations where their use is actually advisable and makes things easier. Try to limit the number of plugins. In excess, they not only add additional load to the website but also add additional elements that need to be updated. This is because plug-in vulnerabilities are the most common source of attacks, so you should perform periodic updates.
Always check whether what you want to do with a plug-in can't be done without it. If so, check out the plug-in solution - if you are able to implement the same without a plug-in then this is likely to be the better solution.
Also, remove the themes that were tested during the construction phase of the website. If you have already chosen one theme, you do not need the rest. Leave only the theme active as well as one of the default WordPress themes as "reserve".
As you can see, optimizing WordPress and speeding up the website does not always require complicated actions. Sometimes 5 simple steps are enough to shorten the page loading time, and thus - improve conversion and strengthen your position in Google. I encourage you to also test the speed of your website with tools such as the Dedicated SEO Dashboard or Google PageSpeed Insights - you can check on an ongoing basis how the implementation of each piece of advice affects the speed of the website. The higher your score there, the better!
Indeed, the Dedicated SEO Dashboard is one of the most useful, well-known and versatile SEO tools that SEO experts often use. Apart from optimizing for loading speed, this SEO tool has many interesting features that provide users with quality data and SEO analysis for any website. It provides excellent research and also suggests a set of keywords, useful for a website audit or to track the SEO ranking of your competitors. If you are interested in link building or understanding detailed SEO metrics, the Dedicated SEO Dashboard is one of the best SEO tools on the market. It is particularly popular because of its ease of use.
4 good reasons to use the DSD SEO tool
No matter which SEO tool you use, you can expect many benefits for your websites and online success with the DSD.
Here are 4 reasons why using the Dedicated SEO Dashboard analysis tool is smart and useful. It offers:
- Defined keyword selection
- A view of the competition
- Smarter marketing decisions
- An easy setup