If you have a website in 2020, or are just thinking about starting one, it is crucial that you make a point of concerning yourself with SEO. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a catch-all term that relates to how well your website will perform in search engine rankings. In other words, how high will your site appear on a search results page? How likely will Google be to recommend your site? Basically, the first step towards getting visitors to like your site is by getting Google to like your site.
The first step towards good SEO is securing a domain name that is relevant to the content of your site. A registrar like 101domain can help with that! But what comes next? Luckily, if you are using a website building program like WordPress, you have the benefit of quickly and easily adding plugins that can make optimizing your website an absolute breeze. In fact, if you used 101domain to register your domain name, using WordPress and adding plugins is even easier. Below you will find a list of five essential WordPress plugins to get your site SEO ready for 2020.
Largely speaking, there are two categories of SEO Tools available as plugins on WordPress. The largest category, which the remaining four plugins all fall into, are considered supplementary SEO tools that perform specific and isolated functions. However, these types of tools only serve to augment the other category of SEO tool, which are multifunctional tools.
As you may have intuited by now, multifunctional SEO tools provide a groundwork infrastructure of SEO capabilities and improvements. Because they are intentionally designed to be broad and basic, you only need one multifunctional SEO plugin installed at a time. There are a few of these available, but Yoast is one of the most popular and most complete.
Yoast offers a whole suite of capabilities. It allows you to edit your site’s snippets and meta-descriptions, which are the textual thumbnails that will be shown when your site appears in search results. For example, consider the sample snippet below that Yoast includes on its download page.
If you don’t edit the meta-description of a particular webpage, then Google will pull a section of text from somewhere on the page and display it, which looks ugly and will most likely be out of context and uninformative. With Yoast, you can edit your meta-description so that it gives the prospective visitor a description of exactly what they will find on the page.
Yoast SEO also has an extremely helpful feature that actively analyzes your web pages and estimates how successful your SEO implementation is. It shows how you can boost the SEO of a particular page, post, or what-have-you through the addition of keywords, the editing of the page’s snippet, and more. This feature can be especially useful to those who are a bit newer to SEO and may not be familiar with all of its concepts. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, a blogger or a businessman, Yoast knows SEO, and they make it incredibly easy.
One of the things that negatively impacts SEO the most is slow loading times. Google automatically punishes slow websites, and not only that, but users tend to leave sites that take more than a couple seconds to start up. This hurts your SEO even more. One of the most common culprits of slow sites is tons of huge, uncompressed images.
Image compression is a pretty neat trick that can have a significant impact on your site performance. Without getting too far into the technical aspects, compressing an image is a method of taking a raw image file—one that may be several megabytes in size—and turning it into a visually identical version of the image. This significantly reduces the size of the file, sometimes down to just a few kilobytes or less.
As with multifunctional SEO tools, Smush is not the only image compression tool out there. However, it has a laundry list of image-related features that make it worth checking out. Firstly, Smush uses what’s called “lossless compression,” which means that the file size can be reduced while having effectively zero impact on the image quality. If you are running a website that requires a lot of high quality images, then the lossless compression that Smush offers is an ideal choice.
Smush also offers a feature called “lazy load,” which allows your site to avoid unnecessary resources by deferring offscreen images. Smush is also able to detect and locate particular images within your site that are causing loading problems, and a whole lot more. The total number of features that Smush has is much too high to list individually, so I encourage you to take a look at their download page.
If you remember back in the Yoast section of this article, snippets are the textual thumbnails for your site that show up in search results. What, then, is a rich snippet? A rich snippet is a snippet that includes more data than text. This could include a rating for a recipe or a movie, prices for a product, and more. Take a look at the sample below from Schema Rich Snippet’s download page.