Do you wonder how your website can jump from page three to page one on Google? This post highlights five quick ways you can make your WordPress website rank higher on Google Search results.
As we approach a new year, and a new decade, you should be thinking of your SEO strategy for 2020. If you want to be found quickly on the internet, it can get overwhelming very quickly even for people with some experience designing and building websites or doing business on the web.
I will touch on three main areas in this article: security, speed, and content. If you’re ready, here are five quick ways you can make your website rank higher in Google Search results.
1. Switch Your Website to SSL
Google has emphasized this for a while and for good reason, too. Google prefers websites using SSL (https://***.com) and ranks them higher than those without it (http://***.com). You need to ensure your website provides a secure experience for users and you can.
What is SSL? The acronym stands for Secure Sockets Layer technology implemented on websites to certify the integrity of all interactions with your website. To put it more simply, it’s the https:// or the padlock sign on the left of your website address. SSL helps to encrypt and therefore protect all sensitive user data (think usernames and passwords, bank card information, and others) when they browse your website.
The interesting thing is that some service providers like Let’s Encrypt now provide free SSL certificates. This is important for all websites from blogs to e-commerce sites. On a past project, installing an SSL certificate alone made the website move up from 15th position (page 2) to 10th position (page 1). Your website will rank higher when you install an SSL certificate.
Note: You may need to contact your web developer if this appears to be a tad technical. Please contact us if you need assistance with this.
2. Install a firewall to protect your website
One good way to secure your website is to install firewall software. Firewalls help prevent your website from being hacked, defaced, or taken offline. Here is the verdict: hacked websites drop in Google Search rankings. Period.
None of these bad elements will work in your favour in the eyes of your website’s visitors or Google. Why? No one will want to visit a hacked or defaced website when that happens. All SEO efforts are defeated when a website is not secure.
For your website firewall, I recommend Wordfence. It is a great security plugin. Hey, I’m only a grateful user, no affiliation in any way (yet).
The next point is a hybrid which affects both security and speed. Let’s take a look.
3. Remove Unused Plugins and Images
You need to remove unused and inactive plugins from your website. Hey, I know, I speak from experience. You have plans to add some features to your website in the near future, so you think, why not install the plugin(s) now so all will be in place when you’re ready? Well, that may happen in six months or one year or may never even happen!
So what does plugin bloat do to your SEO ranking?
Well two things:
- One, it may slow down your website. A slow website likely leads to high bounce rates, that is, visitors abandoning your website which in turn leads to lower rankings on Google.
- Secondly, unmanaged plugins may open up your website to hacking as many have been. And a hacked website results in a Google penalty and dropped ranking in search results. Just last November, Wordfence published a severe vulnerability in the WP Maintenance plugin.
The usual suspects
While maintenance plugins are an example of plugins left inactive on websites waiting for the day they will be needed, content plugins such as social media plugins displaying feeds, maps, fonts and icons are other culprits. Are they necessary? Check for impact: What will you lose if you remove them?
Finally, you would do well to also remove unused images, files, videos, dummy images from templates, and so on. You can do this manually in your website’s media library.
Check your site speeds before and after on GTmetrix and decide for yourself. Here’s the link again to GTmetrix. Your lightweight, speedy website stands a better chance of ranking higher in Google Search.
4. Install a Cache Plugin
Speed kills…but not for websites! A speedy website will save your visitors, clients, prospects time and money and you can achieve this through cache plugins. Some of the ones I’ve worked with in previous projects include WP-Optimize, Autoptimize, WP Fastest Cache.
How does a cache plugin work? The plugin stores a version of your website in visitors’ browser cache (a temporary store) which is served to them when the next time they visit. You may set it up to update automatically on a schedule or decide to do this manually when you want visitors to see these changes immediately.
You can see the effect of the cache plugin on my website after installation and optimization in the Page Details section. Speed increased by half from 1.2 seconds to 0.6 seconds!
Please note: Most caching plugins also come with image compression feature. After deleting unneeded images, you will gain more speed by compressing the rest of the images on your site. There is a concern that compressed images may result to lost image quality. To prevent this, you have an option to compress while retaining quality (lossless compression).
And now to my final point.
5. Publish New Content
Publish new content. Update your website with a new article, post company news or something useful for your market, clients and prospects alike. This is one sure way to boost your website’s ranking on Google.
Publish content with keyword or phrases relevant to your website or business. This is a core pillar of search engine optimization. I will write more on this in a latter post.
Now you have five simple and relatively easy things you can do to improve your website’s ranking right away on Google Search. This list isn’t exhaustive in any way, achieving good results with your SEO is a continuous process.
We are always available to help with any of these if you need professional assistance. Please visit our products / services page to discover how we can help you achieve your goals or send us a message. Thank you for reading and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
- What Is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)? | DigiCert.com: https://www.digicert.com/ssl/