Optimizing your WordPress template in 5 easy steps for the leading search engines in 2018

WordPress has been around since 2008, and ever since then, its optimization techniques have undergone several changes. Over the years, WordPress has emerged as the leading CMS platform, and Google has held its position as the leading search engine. As a result, each new update or algorithm change Google has introduced has inspired updates from WordPress as well. There have been numerous small and large, significant changes in optimization techniques, the introduction of new plug-ins and inclusion of new features that have defined optimization for WordPress and its users.

Any holistic WordPress SEO campaign needs to lay a lot of emphasis on template optimization. A clean, easy to navigate and intuitive template earns brownie points for being user-friendly. There are several ways you can always ensure that your template stays human-user friendly as well as crawl bot friendly over the years. Let’s find out what Your SEO Squad has to say about these template optimization techniques.

Follow the breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs refer to the “sort of” links that act as a navigational aid for the website visitors. For example – if people are on the Z post inside the Y subcategory of the X category of Alphabet site the breadcrumb should ideally look like Home > Category X > Subcategory Y > Post Z. This will help them understand their exact location on the site, and it will help them go back one step or several steps, as they please.

Google is capable of showing the breadcrumb structures if your website has structured data. The search engine can show the breadcrumb in the search results. This can help your visitors understand the structure of your website. You can find the breadcrumbs settings for WordPress sites in the SEO > Internal Links Settings page. 

Keep your code clean

Sometimes, the fancier and feature loaded WordPress files have JavaScript and CSS within the template files. This can create a bit of confusion during page load and can slow the loading process. You need to move these to the external JavaScript and CSS files to keep your template and core code clean. They are simply NOT good for your SEO. Google’s stand of JavaScript is still very convoluted, and no SEO expert can say for sure that adding JavaScript to your core code is a good idea.

Keeping these files to the JS and CSS files ensures that your users can cache these files when they load your website for the first time. This prevents repeated downloads each time your visitors use Google, Yahoo or Bing to visit your WordPress site.

Need for Speed

Irrespective of which CMS you are relying on for your website functions, you need to consider the speed of loading. You must know that your website or blog will only be as fast as the search engine spider can crawl your website. So here are a few things you need to do to increase the speed of your site –

  • Start with a caching plug-in. You can choose between the several 5-star rated plug-ins for WordPress that can cache your website data. W3 Total Cache is a brilliant way to keep your site nippy.
  • This plug-in is an excellent choice for those working with a CDN.
  • Keep the template light and ensure that it uses nominal resources including the database cells.

HTML sitemaps

HTML sitemaps are never an option or an added responsibility. However, blogs tend to make the utility of an HTML sitemap questionable. They prove useful for websites that have several levels of pages. They are beneficial for human users as well as search engines. They are to search engines what breadcrumbs are to users.

WordPress comes with several sitemap updating plug-ins. Google XML Sitemap and Yoast SEO are the two leading SEO cum sitemap plug-ins for all WordPress webmasters.

Revisit your sidebar

Google does not care much for sitewide links. You need to keep your users engaged within your domain by providing them with live links to other categories, subcategories, and posts. This will help them look around a bit more and find new content they like.

Your post needs to link to other posts on your website. Think is what we call internal linking. Get rid of the irrelevant links that keep leading the visitors off the site frequently. Go for selective sidebars – one for the homepage and another for the subpage. 

SEO at the template level is a little more complicated than on-page or social media, but it is simple enough for a non-specialist to tackle. The presence of several WordPress plug-ins makes the optimization work a lot easier for everyone using this leading CMS platform in 2018.