Some Important WordPress Plugins & Server for Technical SEO in 2019
SEO (search engine optimization) is a big part of our marketing strategy. In the past few months, our focus has been technical SEO, or the foundation of our website has improved to provide a better experience to our visitors.
SEO is a confusing subject for most people. Google is constantly changing its algorithm to provide a better experience to its users. In fact, every year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500-600 times. Unless you work on Google, it is impossible to keep all their changes going, but there are things you can do to make sure that your website is being viewed. The reforms made on the technical side have significantly improved our search rankings. Below we’ll give you the breakdown of some of the best practices for technical SEO, Recommended WordPress Plugins and 2019.
Let’s Start first, How many types of SEO (search engine optimization) are
The graphic below gives you a breakdown of the three main aspects of SEO: Technical, On Page and Off Page. Technical is the foundation of SEO and without it in place, the rest will fall apart.
Technical SEO focuses on 3 things:
- Website speed
- server configurations
- mobile-first indexing.
This might sound easy, but it takes years of experience to cover all these techniques correctly.
You may already be familiar with the other aspects of SEO:-
- On-page SEO – This includes important factors on your website like keywords, headings, meta titles & descriptions, and more.
- Off-page SEO – The main factor of Off-Page SEO is having inbound links from other websites.
How to Measure Technical SEO
There are great tools we recommend for measuring your Technical SEO. We will show you results from our website Vmayo Technologies. We want to show you our results so you can compare it to your website or better educate yourself on Technical SEO.
Google PageSpeed Insights
This tool the most important on our list, as it’s a great starting point to figure out what needs to be optimized on your website. The goal result is the green fast score! Don’t worry about trying to get a perfect score of 100. It’s very hard to get a 100 on mobile, this is because Google is using a throttling simulation for mobile.
Google released a major update for this tool in November 2018. Now it uses the lighthouse as an engine and includes the field data provided by the Chrome User Experience Report (CRUX). This upgrade is very important because Google will now use the results of lighthouses in all its analytical systems.
We believe this website Speed Test is the most important because these scores are imported into your Google Analytics data. You can see speed results on your indexed pages under Menu Behavior> Site Speed> Speed Suggestions. You can learn more about it by reading your Analytics Help.
Chrome Lighthouse Audit
This tool is very common to the updated Google PageSpeed Insights tool. The best thing is it’s built into your latest Chrome browser! The major difference between these 2 tools is the ability to control the throttling speed. To access it load up your website and right click in the browser and select “Inspect”, this will pull up a developer interface, find the button called “Audits”. Select your options and run the audit. It will display the following scores; Performance, Accessibility, Best Practices for Technical SEO.
You may have noticed that our 2 main devices are all Google related! It was done on purpose, we saw a major leap in our SEO when we started increasing our scores on these devices.
Here is a list of other great online website Speed Trials that run on your website. Below 3 seconds is a load time key. We try to reduce the load time by 1 second. This is hosted on the website and where your location will be different.
Here are Some Important WordPress Plugins for Technical SEO in 2019
All in One SEO Pack Plugin
We highly recommend using an SEO plugin to help with your on-page content, social media & XML sitemaps. We found this plugin to be the most useful for us when compared to the other WordPress SEO plugins. One of the biggest advantages of All in One SEO is it allows you to easily import/export all your data without having to purchase a pro account.
Cache Enabler Plugin
We have tested tons of caching plugins and have finally come across a great lightweight solution. We combine Cache Enabler & Autoptimize. These 2 tools work perfectly together. We love Cache Enabler because it’s simple and doesn’t overwhelm you with tons of useless settings. One of the biggest advantages of Cache Enabler is that it doesn’t hijack your .ht access file. I’ve had several caching plugins give me the white screen of death because their script corrupted the .ht access file. As you may know, the .ht access file on your website is one of the most important files. If the .ht access isn’t correct, the whole website breaks.
Take a look at the screenshots below, how easy it should be to caching plugin! There are not many settings that need to be configured. This plugin simply converts your pages into a static HTML file and stores them on your server. This heavy server eliminates the need to process resources.
Similar to Cache Enabler this plugin doesn’t overwhelm the user with too many settings. This WordPress Plugins help by minifying and compressing your scripts and styles. It then places the cached code into your page header. It also minifies the HTML code itself, this makes your page very lightweight.
a3 Lazy Load Plugin
The updated Google PageSpeed Insights tool started to deduct points for loading images off-screen. This is sometimes called “Defer offscreen images”. This lazy loading WordPress Plugins will help only load assets when the user scrolls down the page. This is very helpful to score well on mobile speed tests. We only recommend using lazy loading for images and videos.
Some Strong Server Recommendations by Vmayo
In order to get these high scores, it requires server configuration changes. Below are a few important server configurations that need to be configured.
Using HTTP/2 is key on a server. It allows more server requests simultaneously to happen when you load a website. This means faster load times on both the server and client machines. HTTP/2 is the first new version of HTTP since HTTP 1.1, which was standardized in 1997.
If you’re running a server with PHP it’s very important to stay current on the latest releases. Not only is it important for security but you can gain a speed performance. The latest version of PHP is 7.2. If your hosting company doesn’t offer the latest versions of PHP, it’s time to leave that hosting company. One of the biggest speed boost you will see is if you’re upgrading from PHP 5 to PHP 7.
You may have noticed more websites using HTTPS. One of the main reasons more websites have started to use HTTPS is because Chrome now displays a “Not secure” in the URL bar if your website isn’t using HTTPS. Updating an old website to HTTPS can sometimes be a challenge but the benefits are huge! When using HTTPS your traffic is now more secure. and Google has hinted that using HTTPS can have a small ranking boost.
Gzip is a great server-side tool that helps compress your website files. This will help with page load times and give you a higher score with all the website speed test tools. This is the easiest thing to enable on our list. If you have cPanel as your server control panel, it’s very easy to activate this module. Enable Gzip on cPanel.
SEO has changed a lot in the past few years and technical SEO isn’t going anywhere. So that we are really excited to offer our technical SEO services to our web design clients. We also know that offering this service is going to help our clients businesses grow and succeed.
Technical SEO should be a focus of your overall SEO and marketing strategy. Whether you have an existing website or are building something brand new, having a strong foundation is key.
Want more information on Technical SEO?
Contact us today.
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