Whether you’re aiming to become a professional athlete or grow a Fortune 500 company, there’s one thing you need to separate yourself from the pack: optimization. That is, continuous refinement and improvement.
And your website is no different. And while there are a lot of ways to approach site optimization, the important thing to remember here are your goals. Namely:
- Optimizing your site for SEO (so people can find you)
- Optimizing your site for conversions (so people can then take the action you want them to take)
Knowing why and how to optimize your WordPress site for SEO and conversions can mean the difference between growing your customer base and staying stagnant.
Before we dive in, this is what we’re going to cover:
- Why it’s valuable to optimize your site
- How to SEO optimize your WordPress site
- The best tools for SEO optimization
- How to optimize your site for conversions
- The best tools for conversion optimization
Why you need to SEO optimize your WordPress site
If we’re going to boil down the goal of any website, it’s this: serve your customers a good user experience. Beyond your own goals of conversion, you always need to keep your customers top of mind.
Optimizing your WordPress site has the added advantage of also naturally improving the experience of your website. For example, page performance (aka how fast your website loads) impacts SEO and conversions, and also directly influences the experience someone has with your website. How many times have you clicked on an article, waited a few seconds for it to load, and then went back to your search results for another resource. (Fun fact: Google has found that mobile users are 32% more likely to bounce as load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds!)
By enhancing your site’s performance through optimization, you’ll keep your load times blazing fast and decrease the bounce rate of your visitors. The faster your site loads, the more likely users are to engage with your content and give you a chance to convert them. Plus, increasing the users’ average time on site also improves your search result indexing (more on that later)!
How to SEO optimize your WordPress site
Truly optimizing for SEO is more intricate than just using H1 tags and adding a meta description with your keywords. You need to make sure you’re optimizing, not just for search engines, but for your users. Here’s how to do that:
Step 1: Write quality content.
Gone are the days of keyword-stuffing and black-hat link-building. If you want your WordPress site to rank well in search, you need to make sure you’re producing unique, quality content that your users care about. To learn more about how to write quality content, check out this article we put together here.
Keyword research is still important, but use it to inform your writing – not dictate every other word you type. If your content reads like it’s been written for search engines, users won’t stick around to read it, which is a big red flag.
Step 2: Have a fast-performing site.
Beyond providing a better user experience, site performance is something Google takes into consideration when ranking your site. If your site seems to be loading slowly, it may be time to upgrade to a quality managed WordPress host (especially if you’re currently on a shared hosting plan).
With a managed host (we like Flywheel), your site won’t have to share resources at the server level, which can drastically improve site speed. You’ll also get the added benefit of servers optimized specifically for WordPress, which can also help your website thrive.
In addition to hosting, you’ll also want to make sure that your website is optimized for performance, which includes things like minifying your code, optimizing images (check out Shortpixel!), making sure your website is mobile-friendly. This Hubspot course gives a good intro of these concepts!
Step 3: Audit for the basics.
While you should prioritize creating high-quality content and creating a fast-performing website experience, it’s still important to make sure you have some SEO fundamentals in place.
When optimizing your site, I recommend doing an audit to look for things like:
- A single H1 tag on the page
- Meta titles that are clear and concise
- Meta descriptions that accurately describe the page
- Paragraphs optimized to rank for featured snippets
- URLs that are short and easy to understand
The best SEO optimization tools
To help you optimize your WordPress site for SEO, there are a few tools that can help ease some of the burden:
This WordPress plugin is one of the most popular for improving your site’s SEO. It gives you handy suggestions on how to better optimize your content, such as shortening a title or changing a URL.
This is a free WordPress plugin that helps search engines index your site. It helps your site become more readable for search engines by creating a sitemap, which can help you start ranking for new content sooner.
While it’s not a software tool, this checklist can sure be a huge help when it comes to SEO. It features the top 30 things you should consider when launching (or optimizing!) your site and insights to Google’s algorithm, so you can be totally informed every step of the way.
Using tools like these will help you structure your site content in a meaningful way for both users and search engines. Next, let’s talk about conversions!
How to optimize your site for conversions
To increase the conversion rate of your website, you need to think about every step of the user’s journey across your site. Here are a few quick tips that will get you in the mindset of optimizing for conversions:
- Think about the visitor first
- Make sure there’s one CTA
- Align the lead opt-in to where the visitor is in the buyer’s journey
- Think of what the entrance to the opt-in is
Step 1: Think about the visitor first
The very first step in optimizing for conversions is thinking about the visitor first. Who are they, where are they in the buyer’s journey, and what would they think is valuable to give up their information for?
Other questions you can think about: What does the visitor want from the page and what is valuable for them?
The biggest mistake people make is creating a site that doesn’t take the visitor into consideration. Always make sure whatever it is that you’re creating, it’s relevant for them.
Step 2: Make sure there’s one clear CTA
Don’t confuse your site visitors. On each page of your website, there should be a single, clear CTA. Too many options can cause confusion, which might make your site visitors leave instead of converting. Try to make the journey as easy as possible for them!
Step 3: Align the CTA to where the visitor is in the buyer’s journey
The CTA on a page such depends entirely on where the visitor is in the buyer’s journey. For example, an opt-in to purchase on your blog may be too big of a stretch, and too soon of an ask. However, a CTA to purchase on a blog post demo-ing your product might be the perfect opt-in for those visitors.
The best optimization tools for conversions
Now that you know more about how to optimize for conversions, here are a few tools to get you started:
One of the best ways to capture top-of-funnel contacts is with giveaways, and there’s no better tool than KingSumo. This platform helps you manage giveaways, grow your email list, and increase conversions across your site. (AppSumo used KingSumo to grow to our first 200K subscribers!)
HubSpot Form Builder Plugin is super easy to integrate with your WordPress site, and extra useful if Hubspot is your CRM of choice. It’ll help you track the conversion rate of the forms you build, so you can easily see which ones are resonating with your audience and which ones might need some work.
Google Optimize allows you to test variants of web pages and see how they perform. When optimizing for conversion rates, it’s particularly useful for testing things like form placement, language of your CTA, and colors.
A user’s experience on your WordPress site can create a new customer or lose an opportunity. By optimizing your website for SEO and conversions, you’re more likely to rank for specific keywords, tell a better story on your site, and create a user experience unlike your competitors. To truly master optimization, continue to refine and improve your WordPress site.
Jazmyn is a content coordinator at Flywheel and loves creating meaningful copy while crafting stories that resonate with readers. When she’s not churning out copy at work, you can find her listening to marketing podcasts, watching a Netflix original, or spending time with family.