Here’s a list of ten easy actionable things you can do today to help your WordPress website rank higher.
1. Make sure your theme is mobile-friendly. Google’s algorithm favors mobile-optimized websites. Luckily for you, most of the themes are built this way today. If your theme is more than five years old, you might want to check. Look at your site from your phone. Now rotate from portrait to landscape. Did the site resize? Now check if you have to use the thumb and forefinger to expand your text to read it. If you didn’t pass these tests you’re not mobile friendly! Pro developer tip: Also think that people will be finger touching and scrolling, not clicking using a mouse, so use just one column with no sidebars.
2. Install the Moz Bar Chrome Extension. This handy extension will allow you to check some other things on this list, so get it right now! It’s free. Just this link or Google “Moz Chrome Extension” while using the Chrome browser and install it. It will be a little black button with an “M” on it. Go to your website, and while on the home page click on the “M” button, then go to the left side of the drop down and click on the green floppy disk icon (remember those?) to perform some free and important SEO checks.
3. Does your site have an SSL certificate? Look at your site where you input the URL and see if you have the “little green padlock”. This is a Google ranking factor. Most hosting companies now include or will sell you a single site SSL certificate.
4. Using the Moz bar, check your titles, H1’s and H2’s to see if they are the correct lengths (titles should be around 65-75 characters and Meta descriptions should be around 150) Also your H1 can be your brand or keyword (or both) and you can check if you are using your main keywords. Check this for each page of your site. This is what I do for an SEO audit and is the most common problem. Pro developer tip: install the basic (free) Yoast SEO plugin which will help you write meta descriptions (aka “snippets”).
5. Using the Moz bar, are you putting your main keywords bold? This is important because it gives those words emphasis to Google, and help them figure what your site is about. Don’t think of using bold as a style element for the reader, think of using bold for getting people to find you online for your main article, product or service.
6. Give your site the “five-second” test. Alternatively, have a stranger at Starbucks look at your site quickly and see if they can tell you what your site is about. If they can’t it’s a red flag!
7. Run Google Page Speed Test and see what your load time is. Moz bar will show you this too, but it’s not as accurate as having Google run it. Your site should load time under 2 secs. Any longer it’s a problem, especially on mobile devices using cellular.
8. Use Moz bar and click over to see if your site has Schema Markup installed. Chances are you do not. I rarely SEO Audit a site that has it. Schema markup is so Google better understands what your site is about. Use a plugin like JSON-LD to help you write it, or hire an SEO pro to do it for you.
9. Is there a call to action on the home page, above the fold? It’s super important to give visitors your main CTA without making them scroll to find it. It should be a large contrasting color button front and center that can’t be missed.
10. Content is king! Google loves lots of content, so have lots of words on all your pages. The latest best practice in 2017 is to have 2500 words! Start paragraphs early on with keywords, and have other latent semantic keywords sprinkled throughout your text. What are LSI keywords you ask? It’s the “related searches” at the bottom of a Google Search Result Page (SERP). Or use free tools like LSIgraph.com or answerthepublic.com
11. Bonus pro tip: do not write your content using a word processing app like Word, or even in the word press editor. It adds too much bad extra stuff! Write articles in Evernote, notes, or notepad, then cut and paste into WordPress. This way you get the clean text without any hidden styling, an exact word count (this article is exactly 768 words) and you can check spelling and grammar before you post it.