WordPress is the most popular content management system, but many websites don’t take full advantage of SEO opportunities.
Photo: Primakov – shutterstock.com
The reason why the Content Management System (CMS) WordPress, originally designed purely as blogging software, has blossomed into number one worldwide over the years is not only its simple and largely coding-free handling. WordPress is also ideal for many typical SEO tasks that need to be done for a good ranking on Google & Co.
So if you rely on the CMS with the catchy graphical user interface, you kill two birds with one stone: With WordPress, a new website can not only be set up visually appealing, but content can also be relatively easily optimized for a good placement in the search engines. This does not even require in-depth programming knowledge.
Of course, WordPress doesn’t work miracles either: Landing in the top three in the search engine results of Google and others cannot simply be achieved overnight. But there are ways to give luck a little help. With the following three SEO levers you can set your WordPress website for sustainable SERP success (SERP = Search Engine Ranking Position). Optimally, this is even possible in the planning phase of a new web project.
Those who plan the best possible technical and infrastructural basis for the new WordPress installation from the outset will later be way ahead in the rankings of the search results. As everywhere, the same applies in the digital world: A good foundation pays off. Even if the typical 1 euro super bargain web space offers may sound tempting – if you have feet of clay here, you will have a problem at the latest when the load increases. And that often happens faster than you might have thought when building a fancy, new WordPress website.
The reason: Most WordPress websites buy the large range of functions through the use of numerous additional programs, so-called plugins. This is practical because you can save planning and programming effort with the add-ons. However, as the number of plugins increases, they put pressure on the performance values of the website.
If your own web project is then also located together with many other third-party websites in a small shared web space on a crammed cheap server, this quickly becomes noticeable in long loading times, jerky transitions and poor Google rankings. Last but not least, Google evaluates websites based on the loading times: They want to spare searchers the bad user experience on lame websites.
So what to do? Do not rely on a super cheap web space offer, but on an appropriately dimensioned WordPress hosting offer – ideally with the following features that are essential for good web performance:
fast PHP version, preferably PHP 7.3 or higher,
Server-side caching, such as with OPcache,
Server-side compression with e.g. gZIP or deflate and
the modern HTTP/2 protocol.
If even a single item is missing from this minimum list of requirements, you should look around for another base for your new WordPress project. Only together do the features listed ensure a comprehensive basic performance configuration of the web server.
Do you know the biggest performance hog that can be found on almost all WordPress websites? It’s the pictures. This is where even experienced web designers, web developers and content managers find a practical WordPress function fatal when it comes to performance: automatic image adjustment! It ensures that graphic and image elements that are much too large also fit into the template used as if by magic. This only happens optically – the actual file size remains unchanged. And that costs valuable computing power – with every single page view.
The good news: What used to take a lot of effort to get a grip on is now handled by specially designed extensions such as the EWWW Image Optimizer. Once installed and configured, the powerful plugin automatically ensures that even large image and graphic files no longer mutate into the dreaded PageSpeed killers on your WordPress website.
The so-called also makes sense Lazy loading, an optimization technique with which content is only loaded when it enters the field of vision of your website visitor – and not, as is usually the case, when the page is initially loaded. This delays the downloading and rendering of content that is not currently needed. The technique becomes particularly interesting when a website contains many embedded videos and high-resolution images. Lazy loading is easy to find with a keyword search in the WordPress plugin library. Anyone who uses it will quickly find that the dreaded Google SpeedTest is much better.
A powerful, ideally also pre-installed Content Delivery Network (CDN) is another important optimization parameter at the CMS level. Because whenever the distance between your own server location and the location where a user wants to access the WordPress website is too great, valuable milliseconds in response times are wasted. With its network structure, a CDN significantly reduces these latencies and thus contributes to a fast user experience, which is ultimately reflected in better SEO results.
Even if the technical settings mentioned at server and WordPress system level form the basis for successful WordPress SEO, in the end it often comes down to the last optimization step: the best possible content for the visitors to the website (and thus also to the website). for the search engines).
Fortunately, there is a whole range of helpful plugins that make life easier for webmasters for this task. The Yoast SEO plugin has established itself as one of the most popular programs for WordPress SEO in recent years. It can be found and installed using a keyword search in the built-in plugin library.
When creating new posts, it helps you hit the nail on the head in terms of content, keywords and text length. Important meta information such as title, description and so-called Open Graph data can be stored quickly and easily with the practical plugin. (hv)