How To Add FAQ Rich Snippets To WordPress With The Structured Content Plugin (Which Should Increase Both Impressions + Clicks)

FAQ rich snippets are the hottest SEO trend in 2020 – so how you do you add them?

The easiest way to add FAQ rich snippets to WordPress is using the Structured Content plugin which is the same one used by Neil Patel. Install the plugin, edit a page or post, and add FAQs using the plugin. To speed up indexing, resubmit the URL in Search Console when you’re done.

Google has cracked down on FAQs; make sure they answer what people want to know, are relevant, and aren’t biased (absolutely no affiliate links). Google has other guidelines for adding FAQ rich snippets like making sure all FAQ content is visible to users, avoiding advertising, and not allowing users to submit alternative answers. It’s worth going through their documentation.

What Are FAQ Rich Snippets?
FAQ rich snippets require an FAQ section on your page/post containing a list of questions and answers. When marked up properly, these can appear as a rich result in search results and in Google Assistant. This, in turn, can make you stand out while increasing click-through rates.

FAQ Google Snippets

Here’s how to get them:

 

1. Install The Structured Content Plugin

I know this plugin has only a few reviews, but hear me out.

In Neil Patel’s Master Call YouTube video, he shows you how to add FAQ rich snippets.

The problem is, he doesn’t tell you which plugin he’s using. Luckily, my buddy Cole from Revealize filled me in. It’s the Structured Content plugin which has very little reviews, but works like a dream. I use it on my own WordPress website and it literally couldn’t be easier. Check the frequently asked questions section of this article to see an example of this plugin.

Structured Content JSON-LD wpsc – WordPress plugin

 

2. Add FAQs To Pages

Step 1: Install the Structured Content Plugin.

Step 2: Edit a page or post.

Step 3. Click the FAQ dropdown in the WYSIWYG editor.

Multi FAQ

Step 4: Add your questions and answers (I recommend 3-8).

Structured Content Plugin

Step 5: Click the OK button, and the plugin will do the rest.

What the code looks like:

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h3″ question-0=”Your question 1″ answer-0=”Your answer 1″ image-0=”” headline-1=”h3″ question-1=”Your question 2″ answer-1=”Your answer 2″ image-1=”” headline-2=”h2″ question-2=”Your question 3″ answer-2=”Your answer 3″ image-2=”” count=”3″ html=”false” css_class=”your-class”]

 

3. Follow Google’s FAQ Guidelines

Google has FAQ guidelines which you should definitely read:

FAQ Rich Snippets Content Guidelines

Summary:

  • Don’t be spammy or include advertisements
  • All FAQ content should be visible to your users
  • FAQs should be written by the site itself, not users
  • If users can submit reviews, use Q&A markup instead
  • Questions should include the entire text of the question, and answers should include the entire text of the answer (hint: try to include bits of the question in your answer)

 

4. Clear Cache

Once you’ve added your FAQ section, update the post and clear the page’s cache.

Clear Cache

 

5. Test Page In Google’s Rich Results Test

Run the page through Google’s Rich Results Test to make sure the markup is valid:

Google Rich Results Test

 

6. Request Indexing Via Google URL Inspection

In Search Console, go to the URL Inspection Tool and click request indexing. Google will crawl the page and update their search results almost immediately (usually takes a couple minutes).

FAQ Request Indexing

Google URL Inspection Confirmation

 

7. Check Results In 2-3 Minutes

Your FAQ rich snippets will display in Google almost immediately:

FAQ Rich Snippets

 

8. Find FAQ Errors In Search Console

Google added a new FAQ section to Google Search Console:

Google Search Console FAQ Tab

This shows how many pages have valid FAQ markup, and which pages have errors:

Google Search Console FAQ Structured Data

 

9. Gather FAQs Via Answer The Public

Need ideas for your FAQs?

Answer The Public shows common questions people are searching about a specific topic (pulled from Google Autocomplete). This is not only my favorite tool for looking for FAQ ideas, but keyword research and featured snippet opportunities as well. The greener the circle, the more searches that question has. You can create FAQs based on the question’s popularity.

FAQ Keywords

 

10. Other Schema Plugins

Which Schema Plugin Should I Choose?
It depends on which schema types you want. For review stars, I use WP Review Pro by MyThemeShop. For FAQs, I use Structured Content since Yoast’s FAQ and Q&A blocks only work with Gutenberg. For recipes, I would probably use WP Recipe Maker. And for AMP (accelerated mobile pages), I wouldn’t use anything at all since AMP can hurt your conversions.

Schema Plugins

Schema Plugins To Avoid

 

11. Frequently Asked Questions

Here is how the Structured Content plugin looks on a page (you can also customize the CSS):

Which plugin is best for adding FAQs?

The Structured Content plugin is the easiest way add FAQ rich snippets to pages/posts (this is the same plugin used by Neil Patel).

How do you add those green emojis to FAQs?

You can add any emoji to FAQs. Just copy the emoji you want to use and add it before the question. I use checkmarks with a green background, but you can choose from thousands!

Will FAQs automatically show in Google?

They should. Google ultimatley decides whether they will show FAQs in search results even if you mark them up properly. However, with the right plugin, you should be able to add FAQ rich snippets nearly 100% of the time, especially if it's a topic that calls for FAQs.

Can you really get FAQs appearing in Google in 5 minutes?

Yes, you can. After your markup the page, clear the cache and submit the URL to Google's URL Inspection tool. After just a few minutes, you should see it in Google's search results.

Can users submit answers to questions?

No, FAQ rich snippets should be written by the site itself, with no way for users to submit alternative answers. If users can submit answers, use Q&A rich snippets.

How long will FAQs be around for?

No one knows. Google has a history of discontinuing features. But it's kind of like Google Authorship... while it's around, you might as well take advantage of it. And if you don't, your competitors eventually will.

Do FAQs increase my click-through rates?

It did for me, but it totally depends on the quality of writing, topics you're covering, and whether you're enticing people to click your result. It definitely increases impressions!

 

Alternative: Add FAQ Rich Snippets Using A Code Generator

I have tried multiple FAQ rich snippet generators, including Matthew Woodward’s, but none of them worked. Every time I copied/pasted the code, nothing showed up on my post. That’s why I recommend using the Structured Content plugin. It’s lightweight and it does a beautiful job.

FAQ Page Rich Snippet Generator Tool

Do You Think FAQs Will Last?
Who knows? Google is always discontinuing things. But while it’s here, I’m going to take full advantage of it. Not many people have implemented FAQ rich snippets and it will set you apart from the competition. Even if gets discontinued, FAQs are still valuable to have on the page.

Get on it.

Cheers,
Tom

How To Add Rich Snippets To WordPress (The Easy Way): Increase CTRs And Stand Out In Google With Reviews, Recipes, FAQs & More

rich-snippets

Rich Snippets add “extra information” to snippets and make you stand out in search results.

You can do this with reviews, recipes, videos, events, user reviews, and other supported data. The easiest way to add rich snippets to WordPress is by installing a rich snippets plugin, using it to markup pages/posts (basically just filling out fields), then testing those URLs in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. This will increase your clickthrough rates (CTR) and SEO traffic.

If you’re looking to add FAQ rich snippets to WordPress, I have a tutorial on that.

What is the best WordPress rich snippets plugin? I use WP Review Pro (they also have a free version) which is the plugin I will feature in this tutorial. I used to use All In One Schema, but’s way too minimal. I also used WP Rich Snippets but the developer abandoned that plugin. WP Review is maintained by MyThemeShop, looks fantastic, loads fast, and is highly customizable.

 

1. Choose A Rich Snippets Plugin

Option 1WP Review (I Use The Pro Version) – the plugin I use myself and recommend. Other rich snippet plugins are either too minimal (All In One Schema lacks customization options) or they’re unreliable (WP Rich Snippets hasn’t been updated for 2 years and isn’t compatible for PHP 7). I love WP Review and the pro version comes with 16 pre-styled designs, plus support.

Why I Use WP Review

  • Looks awesome (here’s a page I use it on)
  • The plugin is maintained! Unlike many others.
  • Supports reviews, recipes, and most data types.
  • Multiple ratings systems (stars, points, percentage).
  • No compatibly issues with other plugins or new PHP versions.
  • Lightweight (loads fast) and doesn’t affect my GTmetrix report.
  • Supports user reviews + unlimited domain usage with pro version.
  • Pro version comes with 16 pre-styled designs which look amazing.

Supported data types:

  • Article
  • Book
  • Game
  • Movie
  • Music
  • Painting
  • Place
  • Product
  • Recipe
  • Restaurant
  • Software Application
  • Store
  • TvSeries
  • Website

 
How it looks…

Rich Snippets Markup

Option 2All In One Schema Rich Snippets – free plugin that “does the job” but has minimal settings and customization options (by little I mean there are only 6 settings to customize how your rich snippets look). This doesn’t cut if for me. Here’s a full review of All In One Schema.org or see these screenshots on the WordPress plugin page.

Why I Don’t Use All In One Schema

  • Looks boring
  • Doesn’t support user reviews
  • Limited customization options (literally only has 6 settings for customization)
  • Only 1 type of rating (stars) with 1 point intervals (you can’t something a 4.5)

 

Supported data types:

  • Reviews
  • Events
  • People
  • Products
  • Recipes
  • Software Application
  • Videos
  • Articles

How it looks…

All In One Schema Rich Snippets Markup

Option 3WP Rich Snippets – I wanted to love this rich snippets plugin. I even used it for 2 years when it wasn’t updated once. But there came a point where I needed to upgrade from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7, and WP Rich Snippets wasn’t compatible (it broke my site). The developer lists “plugin updates” and “plugin support” on his website, but there is none. I would love to dive into cool features of WP Rich Snippets, but it would be a waste of time. Stay away from it.

Why I Don’t Use WP Rich Snippets

  • No support
  • No plugin updates (for 2 years!)
  • Not compatible with PHP 7 or higher
  • Doesn’t support event rich snippets type
  • Most add-ons need to be purchased separately
  • Each add-ons is an additional plugin that runs on your site

Supported data types:

  • Articles
  • Recipes
  • Reviews
  • Products
  • Organizations
  • Restaurants
  • Software Application

How it looks…

wp-rich-snippets-content-markup

 

2. Configure Your Plugin Settings

This will obviously be different depending on which rich snippets plugin you choose.

These are the settings for WP Review:

WP Review Settings

Styling
Below are the main settings where you can choose between their 16 pre-styled designs (for WP Review Pro) as well as colors, review box width, and whether you want Google Fonts.

WP Review Styling Settings

Defaults
Choose the review type (star, point, percent, circle, thumbs up), whether you want the markup before or after the content, and what type of review you’re writing. You can use shortcodes to display markup somewhere in the middle of your content, if you don’t want it before or after.

Default Rich Snippet Type

Embed
Choose if you want to allow users to embed your reviews on their website.

WP Review Global Embed Settings

WP Review Popup Settings

WP Review Notification Bar Content

WP Review Notifications Bar

WP Review Role Manager

 

3. Markup Your Content

Edit any page/post you want to add rich snippets to (it must be a review or other data type). Scroll down until you see the “review” sections. Here’s what they look like for WP Review.

Rich Snippets Content Settings

Review – review type, item, and author fields are mandatory for Google to show schema.

Review Item – tell people what specific features you like and don’t like about the item, giving each one a score. You can customize the colors of the stars here (and their background color).

Review Links – add your affiliate link and the text you want to use as the link. The plugin will automatically set the link as nofollow so search engines don’t crawl it (which is what you want).

Review Description – your review description can include both text, links, images, and videos.

User Review – choose whether you want visitors to be able to leave a review about the item.

Here’s the end result:

Rich Snippets Markup

 

4. Test In Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool

Run the post’s URL through Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure your rich snippets are working. Just look for the green “all good” text and if you see errors, expand the box to see items that need to be fixed. Your rich snippets won’t appear immediately in Google’s search results (it can take a few days to update) but this tool will tell you if something’s wrong.

Google Structured Data Testing Tool

Common Solutions

  1. Add the data Google tells you to in their Structured Data Testing Tool
  2. Make sure the data is representative of the content on the page
  3. Try adding markup to a few more pages which is suggested by Google
  4. Upgrade to the latest version of WordPress, MySQL, and PHP (contact your host)
  5. Visit this Google forum which lists common problems and other FAQs
  6. Visit the structured data section of your Google Search Console
  7. Visit Google’s structured data policies and webmaster guidelines
  8. If you still have problems, it might be because you have a low domain authority

Once Google recrawls your site, your rich snippet should appear…

rich-snippets-in-search-results

 

If You Decide All In One Schema (Free And Easy, But Minimal)

Install and activate the plugin…

All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets Installation
In the settings, the configuration tab can be left as-is unless you want to change the text…

All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets Configuration Settings

The customization tab has basic styling options…

all-in-one-schema-rich-snippets-customization-settings

Edit a page or post you want to add rich snippets to. Scroll down and select a rich snippet…

Rich Snippet Types

Based on the rich snippet you choose, you will be asked to fill out certain fields…

Configure Rich Snippet

Publish the page and test the URL in Google’s Structured Data Tool (step 4). You will need to wait for Google to crawl your website (usually 1-4 days) for these to appear in search results.

all-in-one-schema-rich-snippets-review

 

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ What is the best rich snippets plugin?

WP Review, Schema, and the WP Schema plugins all go a great job. It really depends on what data types you want to markup content for; then make a decision based on that. Avoid the WP Rich Snippets plugin which was abandoned by the developer of this plugin.

✅ How did I get these emojis in FAQs?

I use the Structured Content plugin and added emojis to the questions. You can do this with nearly any post and any emoji.

✅ What types of posts can be marked up?

Reviews, recipes, FAQs, and events are some of more popular data types. Check Google's Structured Data Types for a full list.

✅ How do you test rich snippets?

Use Google's Structured Data Testing Tool to check for errors. Google Search Console will also tell you about your rich snippets (they have a specific section for FAQs and reviews).

✅ How do I get in Google's featured snippets?

There are 3 types of featured snippets: paragraphs, lists, tables (paragraphs are the most common). First, find a question keyword where the top results don't do a good job of answering the question. Next, make sure you answer the question in a clear, concise way in your content. Adding an HTML table of contents and breaking subheadings into logical sections also helps. Finally, make each item in your HTML table of contents actionable.

 

Questions, Errors, Success?

If you’re still having trouble with errors, you can drop me a line below but I recommend you contact the plugin developer since they are suppose to provide support for their customers – WP Rich Snippets DOES provide support for the 1st year no matter which plan you chose.

I really hope you found this helpful! Adding rich snippets to WordPress is incredibly beneficial and can give you a huge advantage with your SEO. So if you’re stuck, please don’t quit and either reach out to me or contact the WP Rich Snippets support team for help.

See Also:
How I Optimized My WordPress Site To Load In .2s (100% GTmetrix/Pingdom Scores)

Cheers,
Tom

22 WordPress SEO Plugins For Optimizing Your Site In 2020

2019 WordPress SEO Plugins

Searching for a complete list WordPress SEO plugins?

This goes way beyond Yoast and dives into rich snippets, redirects, alt text, SSL, table of contents, even Google’s Site Kit plugin. The speed optimization plugins include 19 in itself.

I’ve been writing WordPress SEO + speed tutorials since 2011 – I am a complete nerd about this stuff. I only included the best SEO plugins (no duplicates) and I use most on my own site.

You can install as many WordPress SEO plugins as you like, but Google really wants to see organized, in-depth content around long-tail keywords that is better than the top results. That means choosing very specific phrases, adding a TOC, and writing long (3,000+ word) content.

Here’s the list:

 

1. Yoast SEO

Most people have Yoast, but few use it correctly. Here are some lesser-known Yoast tips.

Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Settings

4 Key Steps When Using Yoast

  • Configure the settings
  • Setup Webmaster Tools
  • Choose long-tail (3+ word) phrases
  • Optimize content (this goes beyond Yoast’s green lights)

There’s More To On-Page Than Keywords – getting green lights in Yoast is all find and dandy, but it doesn’t make you rank. Selecting long-tail keywords with weak content in the top results then doing real on-page SEO, will. Don’t obsess over Yoast – spend more time on keyword research, add a table of contents, create a video/infographic, aim for 3,000 words, and add practical how-to tips. The most important place to use your keyword is your page title, SEO title, meta description, and permalink (slug). Avoid keyword stuffing which can risk a penalty.

Yoast-SEO-Analysis

I highly recommend reviewing my on-page SEO checklist for better, practical tips.

Don’t Use Snippet Variables – In Yoast’s settings, there’s an option to use snippet variables (templates) for SEO titles + meta descriptions. You should avoid using these since writing custom ones is always better. Make sure you stay within Google’s character limits (the green bar in Yoast) and you’re enticing people to click your link – not just including your keyword.

Yoast-Snippet-Variables

Optimize Content For Social – in Yoast there’s a “share” link where you can upload custom graphics for Facebook (1200 x 630px) and Twitter (1024 x 512px). This makes your content format nicely when people share it, and you can also customize the title + description text.

yoast-social-media-optimization

facebook-share

Setup Google Search Console And Fix Crawl Errors (Broken Pages) – sign up for Google Search Console, add your site, and select the HTML tag verification method. Copy this code and paste it into Yoast. After a few days, login to Google Search Console and view your crawl errors report. If you see any, setup redirects to redirect the broken pages to the correct pages.

HTML Tag Google Search Console Verification

Use a plugin like Quick Page/Post Redirect (or .htaccess) to redirect these to the correct URLs.

301 Redirect WordPress

Similar Plugins

 

2. Structured Content

Google recently added FAQs to search results, and the Structured Content plugin is the easiest want to implement them on your WordPress site. This is the same plugin Neil Patel uses in his video. To add FAQ rich snippets, install the plugin then see the instructions below.

Structured Content JSON-LD wpsc – WordPress plugin

Instructions

  • Install the Structured Content plugin.
  • Edit a page or post and click the FAQ icon.
  • Add your questions and answers (I recommend 3-8).
  • Clear the page’s cache.
  • In Google Search Console, request the URL to be indexed via Google’s URL Inspector.
  • Watch your FAQs appear in search results in just a few minutes!

FAQ Google Snippets

 

3. Republish Old Posts

This plugin resets your post’s publish dates to current day, making your content look fresh:

Publish Date

This is an easy way to increase click-through rates. Of course, people might wonder why your content says it was updated when it actually wasn’t. It’s pretty cheap, so proceed with warning.

Step 1: Find the entry meta section of your blog (the section at the very top of your posts) which for me is in the Genesis Simple Edits settings. Now include the post modified date.

Entry Meta

What this looks like on your posts:

Entry Post Modified Date

Step 2: Enable ‘date in snippet preview’ in Yoast (SEO > Search Appearance > Content Types).

Date-In-Snippet-Preview-Yoast

Step 3: Install the Republish Old Posts plugin and configure the settings. You can choose how often the plugin resets your publish dates under “post age before eligible for republishing.” Even if you don’t use this plugin, you should usually enable publish dates in search results then keep the content updated. Any time you edit a post and click the ‘publish’ the date will refresh.

Republish Old Posts

 

4. Automatic Image Alt Attributes

One day, WordPress stopped adding alt text to images automatically.

Thankfully, this plugin will do it for you. Just install it and it will use the image file name as the alt text. That means you can stop wasting your time writing alt text for every single image, like I used to. Just remember to label your image file name before uploading them to WordPress.

 

5. WP Review

WP Review is my favorite plugin for adding rich snippets (here’s a page I use it on). It supports 14 data types, looks great, has 16 pre-styled templates, and is maintained by the developers at MyThemeShop. It’s reliable, lightweight, and includes user reviews. There’s also a free version.

rich-snippets

Why I Use WP Review:

  • Design is much better than All In One Schema
  • Compatible with PHP 7+ (unlike WP Rich Snippets)
  • 16 pre-styled templates which are highly customizable
  • The plugin developer (MyThemeShop) keeps it updated
  • Supports 14 data types including the most common reviews + recipes
  • Multiple rating systems and option to include (moderated) user reviews
  • Free version and pro version are both solid, pro version has more features

Avoid These Rich Snippet Plugins:

 

6. Easy Table Of Contents

Why would a table of contents plugin be on my SEO plugin list?

Because adding a TOC to long pages/posts has HUGE benefits. Google says

Ensure that long, multi-topic pages on your site are well-structured and broken into distinct logical sections. Second, ensure that each section has an associated anchor with a descriptive name (i.e., not just “Section 2.1”), and that your page includes a table of contents which links to individual anchors.

What That Means For You:

  • Better chance of being awarded jump-to links in Google using named anchors
  • People can link to specific sections on your post (not just your single permalink)
  • People can immediately find what they want, and spend more time on your page

Jump To Links

Important: instead of using a plugin, adding a TOC using HTML/CSS lets style it and link to specific sections of the post (good for users and getting links). Here is a TOC GitHub template.

 

7. Google Site Kit

Google Site Kit combines Google’s most people tools (Search Console, Analytics, AdSense, PageSpeed Insights) into 1 WordPress plugin. You really don’t need this plugin (just go to the actual websites), but if you want to see these in your dashboard, this gives you that option.

Site Kit by Google

 

Still the best way to check all broken links on your WordPress site.

Detects broken links in pages, posts, comments, images, and even redirects. Dr. Link Check is good, but Broken Link Checker lets you fix them inside WordPress with 1-click options to edit or unlink each one. Of course, not having broken links on your website can improve your SEO.

Broken Link Checker Plugin

Here’s what it looks like:

Broken Link Checker

Warning: this plugin continuously runs scans and sucks up high amounts of bandwidth. I recommend fixing all broken links then immediately deleting the plugin when you’re done.

 

9. Quick Page/Post Redirect

When you change permalinks, you need to setup a redirect to the new page.

Quick Page Post Redirect Plugin

How To Setup A Redirect: Install it and go to “Quick Redirects.” Enter the old URL + new URL.

301 Redirect WordPress

Find Crawl Errors: Go to the crawl errors report in Google Search Console section to see all broken pages on your site, then use this plugin to redirect each one to the new, correct URL.

Yoast Search Console Crawl Errors

 

10. ShortPixel

ShortPixel is generally the best WordPress plugin for optimizing images.

It lets you losslessly compress images, strip EXIF data, and optimize them in other ways. Simply install the plugin, test a few images to make sure you’re satisfied with the image quality, then bulk optimize all images on your site. It also lets you optimize images once uploaded.

ShortPixel Settings

 

11. WP Rocket

WordPress says:

The Caching section gives you the biggest benefit for the smallest hassle.

Which cache plugin is best? WP Rocket was #1 in most Facebook polls and is what I use.

2016 best cache plugin poll

2019 cache plugin poll

Swift vs WP Rocket

2016 cache plugin poll

Best cache plugins 2018 poll

wp rocket vs w3 totla cache

Why WP Rocket Is #1 In Facebook Polls

  • It’s easy to configure.
  • It yields fast load times.
  • It has extensive documentation.
  • It shouldn’t break your site (like some cache plugins).
  • It has tons of features most cache plugins don’t – lazy loading photos/videos/iframes, database cleanup, integration with Cloudflare + other CDNs, local Google Fonts and Analytics, Sucuri integration, etc. With most other cache plugins, you would need to install about 6 extra plugins to get these features, when WP Rocket has them built-in.

For how important it is, WP Rocket is worth $49/year. They also let you renew your license at 50% off so it’s really $24.50/year after the 1st year. And you can also get 10% off the initial price if you sign up for their email list. Check out my WP Rocket guide for setup instructions.

 

12. Asset Manager

Asset Manager lets you selectively disable plugins from loading on certain pages. Some plugins load on every single piece of content even if it’s not being used there. Disabling these plugins can reduce the number of requests on the page and make them load faster. Asset Manager is similar to Plugin Organizer (Perfmatters lets you do this too), only it’s free and simple to use.

Examples:

  • Disable slider plugin on pages that don’t use sliders
  • Disable rich snippets plugin on pages that don’t use rich snippets
  • Disable contact form plugin on pages that don’t have a contact form
  • Disable social sharing plugin on all pages (since it’s usually for blog posts)
  • Disable affiliate link management plugin on pages that don’t use affiliate links

 

13. Speed Optimization Plugins

Speed is a ranking factor (duh).

2019-GTmetrix-Report

Here are some great plugins for speeding up WordPress.

I use many of these on my site which contributed to my 100% GTmetrix scores. Migrating from EIG and low quality hosts like GoDaddy to SiteGround and Cloudways was another big reason.

  1. WP Rocket –  #1 cache plugin in most Facebook polls. Comes with heartbeat control, lazy loading, database cleanup, and hosting fonts + analytics locally. This means you don’t need to install these extra plugins if using WP Rocket.
  2. WP Fastest Cache – #1 free cache plugin in most polls. Also easy to configure, has options for Cloudflare + other CDNs, but lacks features from WP Rocket.
  3. WP-Optimize – cleans your database of spam, trash, and other junk files.
  4. Heartbeat Control – disables the WordPress heartbeat API which consumes resources by sending real-time notifications, when uses are editing a post, etc.
  5. Lazy Load – delays loading photos until users scroll down and see them (improves load times but constantly loading photos as you scroll is annoying).
  6. WP YouTube Lyte – delays loading videos/iframes until users scroll down and see them. Videos take a long time to load – this can shave many seconds off.
  7. CDN Enabler – helps set up your content delivery network (I use StackPath).
  8. CAOS (Host Google Analytics Locally) – fixes the “leverage browser caching” issues in GTmetrix by hosting your Google Analytics tracking code locally.
  9. OMGF – hosts fonts locally and fixes Google Font errors in GTmetrix + Pingdom by downloading your Google Fonts and creating a stylesheet for it.
  10. ShortPixelImagify / Smushimage optimization (lossless compression, resize images, remove EXIF data). All these are similar – you only need one.
  11. Specify Image Dimensions – adds a width/height to your image’s HTML, an item in GTmetrix. It only works for images in the visual editor, it does not work for images in page builders, widgets, or any areas outside the visual editor.
  12. AMP For WPadds AMP pages to make mobile pages load faster and gives your site an “AMP Stamp” in mobile search results. However, Kinsta’s conversions dropped 59% when using AMP and I have not used them since.
  13. Clearfy / Perfmattersdisables unnecessary functions in WordPress core (trackbacks, pingbacks, heartbeat API, REST API, and other things 99% of you don’t need). Both plugins are similar and have other speed features as well.
  14. Harry’s Gravatar Cachecaches Gravatars, making comments load faster.
  15. GTmetrix for WordPress – keep track of load times and set email alerts.
  16. Display PHP Versionshows which PHP version you’re running (should be at least 7) which has a huge speed impact. You can upgrade in your host’s cPanel.
  17. Query Monitor – see slowest plugins, queries, etc (good replacement for P3).
  18. Autoptimize – if you’re using GoDaddy, WP Engine, or other hosts who blacklist caching plugins, this plugin still gives you the benefits of optimizing HTML/CSS/JavaScript (items in GTmetrix + Pingdom) but without the caching.
  19. WP Hosting Performance Check – tells you if your server is slow and whether your speed technology (PHP, MySQL, WordPress versions) need updating.

 

14. Rel Nofollow Checkbox

If you’re using affiliate links, this adds a nofollow option when adding links in WordPress. Otherwise, you would have to go into the link’s HTML and add nofollow manually. Saves time.

 

15. Yoast Premium Plugins

Spoiler: Yoast claims their premium plugins lift heaven and earth when in reality you will probably not see any direct improvements just by purchasing their WordPress SEO plugins.

Conclusion: Yoast’s premium plugins aren’t worth the money.

WordPress SEO plugins by Yoast

Yoast SEO Premium ($89/year) – I wrote a review on it, basically explaining how most features can be done with free plugins or are simply not valuable, especially for $89/year.

  • Redirect manager – use the free Quick Page/Post Redirect plugin.
  • Internal linking suggestions – do you really need a plugin for this?
  • Multiple focus keywords – doesn’t always detect partial match keywords.
  • Content insights – shows 5 top used words (keyword density barely matters).
  • Social preview – as long as you’re uploading social media images, you’re OK.
  • Support – I have heard many stories of them just referring people to tutorials.

Yoast Video SEO Plugin ($69/year) – create a video sitemap and markup pages so video thumbnails appear in Google Videos. Of course, most people go to Google’s regular search engine, so this will likely only pay off if you’re creating lots of videos especially how-to style.

Yoast Local SEO Plugin ($69/year) – adds a KML file, schema.org, and the option to embed a Google Map and store locator. Embedding a Google Map is easy, and most information Yoast “optimizes” for is already pulled from your Google My Business page. Yoast says this plugin “tells Google everything it needs to know to put you on top in local search results” which is not true considering Google’s local ranking factors have little to do with Yoast’s local SEO plugin.

Yoast Google News Plugin ($69/year) – doesn’t actually get you in Google News (see those steps here) but helps format content for Google News by creating an XML News Sitemap.

Yoast WooCommerce SEO Plugin ($49/year) – enables rich pins for Pinterest.

 

16. Schema

There are lots of schema plugins, but it depends on which kind of markup you’re doing. For example, if you’re writing reviews, you would need a plugin for review markup like WP Review. Figure out which kind of markup is applicable to your content, then use the required plugins.

Schema Plugins

 

17. Analytify

See a glimpse of your Google Analytics directly in WordPress.

Analytify Dashboard

 

18. Really Simple SSL

This plugin “automatically detects your settings and configures your website to run over https.” Of course, you still need an SSL to use it, but Really Simple SSL makes it easy to set it up.

Let’s Encrypt SSL is the most popular free SSL and is what I use. Google cracked down on non-HTTPs sites even harder in July, 2018 when they began showing not secure in Google Chrome.

Really Simple SSL

Features:

  • Mixed content fixer
  • Enable WordPress 301 redirection to SSL
  • Enable 301 .htaccess redirect
  • Enable Javascript redirection to SSL

 

19. Better Search Replace

Why is a search/replace plugin on the list?

Because if you changed www or http(s) versions, you will need to bulk update all links on your website to reflect the new version. That’s where this plugin comes into play – I suggest HTTPS and non-www. Simply search the old version of your domain and replace it with the new one.

Better Search Replace – WWW Versions

Cool Trick: if you use the same image on multiple pages, this is an easy to way update them all.

 

20. Anti-Spam

Spam kills blogs. JetPack says

Spammers may leave link or keyword-filled comments on your site in an attempt to direct more traffic to their sites (and boost their own SEO). With enough spam, your rankings could take a hit, through no fault of your own.

The Anti-Spam plugin is captcha-free and does a superb job filtering spam comments, while leaving the good ones. Spam is a huge problem with WordPress. This plugin will save you time.

 

21. WP Google My Business Auto Publish

Posting updates your Google My Business page has becoming increasingly important in Google’s 2018 local search ranking factors. This plugin publishes your WordPress content directly to your Google My Business Page. It’s still in the early stages, but has terrific reviews.

2018 Local Search Ranking Factors

Here are some of the plugin settings:

WP Google My Business Auto Publish

 

22. StudioPress Plugins

If you’re using a StudioPress theme or Genesis Framework (which I recommend), you need to be using StudioPress plugins. These are on my list because they are lightweight, reliable, and will keep your load time (and chances of errors) to a minimal, making your site run smoothly.

studiopress-genesis-plugins

 

Other SEO Tools You Should Know About

  • Answer The Public – coolest keyword research tool (photo below). Pulls keywords from Google Autocomplete and creates a visual map based on different keyword types (questions, prepositions, comparisons). The greener the circle, the more competitive the keyword is. Question keywords are a great way to make sure your content is comprehensive (it answers the most popular questions people are searching). My favorite keyword research tool.
  • Moz Local – analyzes your top 15 citations (GMB, Yelp, YellowPages, etc) and shows incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate profiles. Try to get 100% scores!
  • Moz Link Explorer – shows link metrics, as well as your domain authority which is an indicator of how competitive your targeted keywords should be.
  • MozBar – Google any keyword and see each search result’s DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority). The higher they are, the more competitive the keyword is. Try competing with sites that have similar domain authority.
  • Moz Keyword Explorer – basically Google Keyword Planner, only better. Shows organic competition (unlike Keyword Planner which is for AdWords). Shows monthly search volume and has tons of filters for sorting keywords.
  • Keywords Everywhere – Google any keyword and see monthly search volume, estimated competition, and CPC directly in search results. Also works for YouTube, Amazon, Etsy, Google Analytics and other programs/search engines.
  • SEMrush – one of the most extensive SEO softwares are the market, literally telling you everything about your keywords, backlinks, content SEO, and analytics. Many metrics can’t be found in Google Analytics or Search Console.
  • Google Autocomplete – my favorite trick is “fill in the blank” where you use the underline character _ to have Google (yes you guessed it) fill in the blank. Try it with Chicago _ Photographer. You must end on the underline character.
  • Google Search Console – See errors with your site (indexing, security, mobile, AMP, sitemap, penalties), SEO titles/meta descriptions that are too short or long, set your preferred domain name (www vs. non-www), international targeting, Search Analytics (my favorite way to measure overall SEO + CTRs), links to your site, and data highlighter for structured data. You need to use it.
  • Google Trends – see keyword trends in specific geographies (and YouTube).
  • Cloudflare – free CDN with 200+ data centers which can be setup with most cache plugins. Has additional features like accelerated mobile links, hotlink protection, Railgun, and Page Rules. Improves both site speed and security.
  • Dr. Link Check – scans entire site for broken links (up to 7,500/month) but does not provide a user-friendly way to fix them directly in your WordPress dashboard (like Broken Link Checker does, but BLC does consume CPU).
  • Copyscape – prevents plagarism (searches the web for copies of your content).
  • HubShout WebGrader – see full list of competitors keywords and a side-by-side comparison of backlinks, domain authority, and highest ranked pages.
  • StackPath – CDN with 30+ data centers (mostly in the US). More data centers = faster content delivery, which is why I use both Cloudflare and StackPath.
  • Siteliner – checks entire site for duplicate content and highlights it.
  • Screaming Frog – extensive (free) SEO audit tool which shows missing alt text, SEO titles, meta descriptions, URLs, AMP, sitemaps, and also integrates with Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and many other SEO tools.
  • vidIQ – search any keyword in YouTube and see key metrics that indicate how competitive the keyword is. Based on likes, views, shares, comments, etc.
  • SEOquake – Chrome extension which is great for keyword research. Shows each search result’s links, Alexa rank, domain age, indexed pages, keyword analytics, internal links, external links, and many other (customizable) metrics.
  • Contact Form 7 Google Analytics – adds event tracking to all your CF7 forms.
  • SiteGround – the host I recommend who was rated #1 in 30+ Facebook polls.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

🔌 What is the best free WordPress SEO plugin?

Yoast and Rank Math are the best free SEO plugins to help you optimize your content based on keywords. They also create an XML sitemap automatically, help you set up Google Search Console, and customize which content is indexed in search engines.

🔌 Is Yoast the best SEO plugin?

Yoast is one of the most popular SEO plugins, but that doesn't mean it's the best. Rank Math has everything included in Yoast SEO Premium, but it's free and more lightweight, leading to a faster website.

🔌 Is Yoast or Rank Math better?

Rank Math is arguably better than Yoast since it has more features, yet it's not as code-heavy. Yoast also shows advertisements in the WordPress dashboard, which can be annoying.

Did I Miss Any Good SEO Plugins?
I hope this list was helpful! If you have questions about  any of these WordPress SEO plugins feel free to drop me a line in the comments and I’ll be glad to help you out. Remember, I have lots of tutorials on Yoast, WordPress speed optimization, and other SEO-related tutorials. If you have a question about those, please leave a comment on that specific tutorial. Finally, if you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend who might like it too – I’d appreciate that.

Cheers,
Tom

11 Simple Ways To Increase Click-Through Rates (In SEO) By Enhancing Snippets To Stand Out In Google’s Search Results

Search engine snippets are the forefront of your SEO.

Anything you can do to make them stand out will increase click-through rates and get you more SEO traffic. There are plenty of ways to enhance them (some less obvious than others).

I will show you how to get featured in Google’s Answer Box (featured snippets), add rich snippets, AMP Pages, and display your blog post’s publish date to make content look newer. You should follow all 11 steps if you want to significantly increase click-through rates, which can be measured in Google Search Console’s search analytics and for finding low CTR content.

Google uses click-through rates (CTR) as a ranking factor so this can also improve your actual rankings. There have been numerous studies supporting this. I highly recommend identifying lower performing CTR content and rewriting your SEO titles + meta descriptions in Yoast’s bulk editor, which is step 1. Comment if you have questions – it’s worth the time doing this!

A snapshot of just a few things I’ll cover…

Click-through Rates

 

1. Identify Low CTR Content

Go to Google Search Console’s Search Analytics report and turn on the CTR filter. Look for pages with a high position (ranking) but low CTR – this means even though a page ranks high, nobody is clicking your snippet. Improving these snippets can easily result in more traffic. If you recently setup Search Console (using Yoast), wait a few weeks so you have enough data.

Click-Through-Rates-Search-Console

HTML Improvements
You can also use Google Search Console’s HTML Improvements to find SEO titles + meta descriptions that are too short, long, and whether you have duplicates. Be sure to fix these.

HTML-Improvements

Why Aren’t People Clicking?

  • Does the page/post rank high?
  • Does your content match their query?
  • Is your content better than the top results?
  • Does the post show an outdated publish date?
  • Does your Yoast SEO title entice people to click?
  • Does your Yoast meta description entice people to click?
  • Can you add rich snippets to show extra information like review stars?

 

2. Improve SEO Titles/Meta Descriptions In Yoast’s Bulk Editor

Go to Yoast > SEO > Tools > Bulk Editor. Here you can bulk edit SEO titles + meta descriptions without going through each individual page. Rewriting these to sound nicer is literally one of the easiest ways to increase CTRs. You can also fix HTML improvements here (from Search Console). The bulk editor doesn’t show the page’s focus keyword or have the “length bar” that tells you whether your SEO title/meta description is too short or long… so keep that in mind.

Yoast Bulk Editor

 

3. Craft The Perfect SEO Title (In Yoast)

Here’s how I write most headlines…

  1. Research 1 primary keyword
  2. Research 1 secondary keyword
  3. Craft a headline that includes elements of both, and stills sounds good
  4. Google your keyword and mention what makes your content different

I wanted to rank for keywords related to “WordPress Theme Packs” since people who search this are probably willing to drop $400, and as an affiliate I would get about $125 from the sale.

Step 1: Research a primary keyword…

Secondary Keywords

Step 2: Research a secondary keyword which be close to your primary (a synonym)…

Secondary Focus Keyword

Step 3: Craft a headline that includes both but still sounds nice. You do NOT always have to include both keywords as exact matches otherwise you will find yourself turning your headline into a keyword list which looks spammy and results in a low CTR. Try using partial matches…

Headline

Good Headline > Keywords – you do not always have to target 2 keywords… sometimes targeting 1 keyword and writing a creative headline is the better option. The main thing is to Google your keyword and ask why people should click on YOUR link and not everyone else’s. Can you include the fact that you have a video, infographic, or tons of people used your guide?

Some of my highest CTR snippets…

High-Click-Through-Rate-Snippet

Notice how my headline for my W3 Total Cache includes 2018 (because people are looking for the most recent plugin settings, AND because “W3 Total Cache Settings 2018” is a keyword that shows up in Google Autocomplete) and how it’s been used by over 100,000 people? I changed that just recently and that post now has 57% CTR!

Click-Through-Rates

This is called a featured snippet which I’ll cover in step 9

High-CTR-Featured-Snippet

High-CTR-Snippet

High-CTR-Page-Google-Snippet

High-CTR-Search-Engine-Snippet

 

4. Craft The Perfect Meta Description

This is your chance to tell people WHY they should click on your link and no one else’s. Here I say I have a pre-configured zip of my Yoast settings which they can import to their site. Small things like this help. You can edit meta descriptions in Yoast’s snippet editor or the bulk editor.

Yoast Meta Descriptions

Tips On Writing Meta Descriptions

  • Entice people to click on your link (situational to the topic)
  • Include your keyword, and ideally a partial match of a secondary keyword
  • Length should be between 150-160 characters (bar in Yoast should be green)

 

5. Include Dates In Your Snippets

By including a date (year) in the SEO title + meta description of time sensitive articles, you can rank higher for date keywords and increase CTR because people see your tutorial is current.

First, learn if people are searching date keywords…

Time Sensitive Keywords

Then include the date (year) in your SEO title + meta description…

Dates In SEO Titles

 

6. Add Rich Snippets

You’ve probably seen these for reviews, recipes, and other supported data types

Structured Data Review Stars

There are 3 primary ways to do this:

I use WP Rich Snippets when writing reviews, here’s an example of how they look…

wp-rich-snippets-for-wordpress

You can see a side-by-side comparison of WP Rich Snippets vs. All In One Schema on my WordPress rich snippets tutorial but I would definitely use WP Rich Snippets if you have an affiliate or recipe site where they’re a key part of your SEO. You can see my SiteGround GrowBig review to see a preview of WP Rich Snippets which includes more settings, markup options, and tons of add-ons (this and the nicer design are the main benefits of this plugin).

 

7. Add Publish Dates To Blog Posts

Adding dates to snippets makes your content look new and increases click-through rates…

Publish Date

In your Yoast settings enable ‘date in snippet preview’ under SEO > Search Appearance > Content Types. I only have this enabled for posts since are more time sensitive than pages.

Date In Snippet Preview

Now find the entry meta section of your blog (the part that shows up on the very top of posts) which for me is in the Genesis Simple Edits settings. You’ll want to add post modified date…

Entry Meta

This is what it looks like…

Entry Post Modified Date

Republish Content To Look New – now that dates are in your snippets, you can reset publish dates to current day by editing a post and clicking the update button. Yes, you can go through ALL posts and keep doing this. Just don’t abuse it, I try to only do it when I’m making an update.

Update WordPress Post

 

8. Add AMP Pages

AMP (accelerated mobile pages) are a Google project that make your mobile pages load faster while adding that nice AMP stamp next to your mobile snippets. This will not only increase click-through rates but will also improve mobile speed and potentially your SEO / conversions. Adding AMP Pages effects the design of your mobile site so I suggest trying it out, and if you don’t like it you can uninstall the plugins and revert back to your old, non-AMP mobile pages.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

Yoast AMP

Adding AMP Pages In WordPress

  • Install the AMP plugin (adds the actual AMP pages)
  • Install the Glue For Yoast & AMP (lets you customize the design)
  • Add /amp/ to any page to see how it looks and make sure it works
  • Go to Yoast’s Settings → AMP to change your design and enable custom post types
  • Be sure the tweak your featured image on the top of your pages (see Yoast’s tutorial)

Fixing AMP Errors
Make sure you don’t have AMP errors in Search Console or your AMP stamp won’t show up on these pages. Errors are usually caused by older plugins that are not AMP compatible, for example, AMP doesn’t support JavaScript – so plugins that inject script tags will cause errors.

Accelerated Mobile Pages Google Search Console

 

If you have content that quickly answers a question in paragraph, list, or table format, Google might reward you with a featured snippet. Google ultimately decides who and what shows up in the featured snippet but they will pull an answer from ANY 1st page result. You can influence this by targeting ‘question keywords’ and creating accurate, authority, structured content that is organized with a table of contents and subheadings as described in step 10.

Featured Snippets

If you want these snippets I would DEFINITELY watch Rand Fishkin’s video…

There Are 3 Types Of Featured Snippets:

  • Paragraphs (about 63% of answers)
  • Lists (about 19% of answers)
  • Tables (about 16% of answers)

Tips For Getting Featured Snippets:

  • Target queries that already have an answer box (but do a poor job)
  • Identify question keywords (Keyword Explorer has an answers filter)
  • Be literal with your keywords (eg. use an exact keyword match in your title)
  • You must be on the 1st page of Google to show up in the answers box
  • Make sure your content is as accurate as possible with references/links
  • About 15% of queries have an answer box, there are plenty of opportunities

 

Jump To Links

Once again, Google ultimately determines who gets these. The best thing you can do is create long, structured content with a table of contents, anchored subheadings, and organize your post in a logical way according to the topic. When I say long content (or “authority content”) I mean a solid article usually with 3,000+ words, accurately referenced with links.

Google says this is how you get them…

… ensure that long, multi-topic pages on your site are well-structured and broken into distinct logical sections. Second, ensure that each section has an associated anchor with a descriptive name (i.e., not just “Section 2.1”), and that your page includes a “table of contents” which links to the individual anchors… you won’t see it on the results all the time — only when we think that a link to a section would be highly useful for a particular query.

How To Create A Table Of Contents With Anchored Subheadings
Table Of Contents HTML looks like this…
<ul>
<li><a href=”/your-permalink/#item-one”>Item One</a></li>
<li><a href=”/your-permalink/#item-two”>Item Two</a></li>
<li><a href=”/your-permalink/#item-three”>Item Three</a></li>
</ul>

Each subheading’s HTML should look like this…
<h3 id=”item-one”>Subheading One</h3>
<h3 id=”item-two”>Subheading Two</h3>
<h3 id=”item-three”>Subheading Three</h3>

You should ALWAYS include a TOC when creating longer content.

 

11. Use Descriptive URLs

If your permalinks have this format: http://www.sample.com/?p=123 then you need should change these to be more SEO-friendly. They’re ugly, bad for SEO, and cause low click-through rates. I recommend using the “post name” format in WordPress under Settings > Permalinks…

Post Name Permalink Settings

 

A Few Words From Rand Fishkin About CTRs And SEO

A great video from Rand Fishkin on queries and CTR (best to start at 1:45)…

Video Summary

  • Google uses “average time on site” and “bounce rate” as a ranking factor
  • Attaching a keyword to your brand (StudioPress Genesis Themes) increases rankings
  • Target keywords that bring people who will likely spend a lot of time on your website

I put 110% into these tutorials so I hope you find it helpful. If you have any questions, thoughts, or need help with your click-through rates or SEO, leave a comment and I’ll be glad to help out.

Cheers,
Tom

WP Rich Snippets Review: I Used To Love This Plugin But The Developer Abandoned It And It’s Not Compatible With PHP 7.1+

Deciding whether to buy the WP Rich Snippets Plugin?

It’s what I use to add rich snippets to my WordPress posts. I was originally going to settle for All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets but WP Rich Snippets has way more functionality (especially with their add-ons and robust plugin settings), plus the actual design is awesome.

What are rich snippets anyway? They add extra information to your search engine snippets like review stars, videos, or even recipe information. This gets more people clicking on your snippets and visiting your site. I mean come on, which result would you rather click on?

rich-snippets

I wrote this WP Rich Snippets review to show you how it compares to plugins like All In One Schema, how to configure the WP Rich Snippet settings, add rich snippets to posts, and how to use their add-ons to make your markup look even better. When we’re done, you will know how to create beautiful rich snippets that improve click-through rates and increases conversions.

UPDATE
The WP Rich Snippets developer is missing and hasn’t updated the plugin for 2+ years, causing it not to work with PHP 7.1 and higher. I switched rich snippets plugins to WP Review by MyThemeShop and like it much better, as it comes with multiple pre-styled templates, supports all data types, and comes with updates + support. It’s easy to use and has tons of customization options that help you style it to the design you want.

Table Of Contents

  1. Supported Data Types
  2. How The Markup Looks
  3. Installation
  4. Configuring The Settings
  5. Writing Your First Rich Snippet Post
  6. Google Structured Data Testing Tool
  7. Add-Ons

 

1. Supported Data Types

To add rich snippets to WordPress, your content must be one of these supported data typesEvents are the only data type not supported by WP Rich Snippets (in which case you would use the All In One Schema.org Plugin), otherwise WP Rich Snippets will do the job.

  • Articles
  • Recipes
  • Reviews
  • Products
  • Organizations
  • Restaurants
  • Software Application

 

2. How The Markup Looks (On The Actual Post)

A single screenshot won’t justify the amount of flexibility this plugin has, but I did include a couple below. The design depends on the data type you use (eg. review), how you configure the plugin settings, which add-ons you use, and what fields you fill out when marking up the post.

This example showcases a review rich snippet with a video, 4 criteria items, plus the basic (mandatory) fields. You have the option to replace the video with a photo, slideshow, or use no photo at all. With the add-ons you can also customize colors, place the markup anywhere on the page (not just the top), add user reviews, and use multiple call-to-actions buttons (instead of just 1). I recommend at least buying the customizer add-on for $29 (or getting the WP Rich Snippets ultimate plan) so you can incorporate your branding. Here’s what it looks like…

wp-rich-snippets-content-markup

You can also add an image, video, slider, pros and cons, pricing, and other elements. I just like to keep it simple. You will be adding this to the top or bottom of each post you want to markup, or use their box shortcode add-on to add this anywhere in the middle of your posts.

Here’s another example of how it might look at the END of a post…

wp-rich-snippets-for-wordpress

Now compare it to how the All In One Schema.org Plugin looks…

All In One Schema Rich Snippets Markup

I will show you how to markup posts later in this review, but here’s the gist of it:

wp-rich-snippets-plugin

 

3. Installing WP Rich Snippets

The next part of this WP Rich Snippets review will show you how to install the plugin with your license key, configure the settings, then we will start adding rich snippets to pages or posts.

Instructions:

  • Purchase the WP Rich Snippets plan that’s right for you
  • Purchase any add-ons you need (or buy the ultimate plan)
  • Visit your account page to download the plugin and add-ons
  • Upload the plugin and add-ons in WordPress under Plugins → Add New → Upload Plugin, then upload 1 download file at a time

wordpress-plugin-upload

  • In your account page, click on “view licenses”
  • Click on “manage sites” and add your site for each item

WordPress Rich Snippets Account

License Key

  • Go back to your licenses and click the key icons. Copy the “WP Rich Snippets” key and paste it to your “license” settings in your WordPress dashboard. If you’re using add-ons, you will need to download each one from your account tab, upload it to WordPress, then enter your license key for that add-on. You will see a success message.

Rich Snippets Menu

WP Rich Snippets License Key

 

 

 

4. Configuring The Settings

I found most settings are already configured optimally, but I would check the Display tab and enable “display item description below the box” and “show box below content” IF you want WP Rich Snippets to show on the bottom of posts (as oppose to top). It’s just a preference.

WordPress Rich Snippets Settings

If you’re using add-ons, you will see settings for these too…

settings-configuration

 

5. Writing Posts With WP Rich Snippets

Now for the good stuff. Go to a page or post you want to add rich snippets to. Scroll down until you see the the “Schema” section then select the type of rich snippet you want to use in the post. Start by filling in the main tab with the item you are reviewing, and a description. The fields will be different depending on which rich snippet you select. This example is for a review:

wp-rich-snippets-plugin

Details tab lets you add pros and cons (like in the bottom of my post), or a disclaimer.

wp-rich-snippets-details-tab

wp-rich-snippets-pros-cons

Price tab shows the price of the item…

price-tab

Address tab lets you add a Google Map

address-options

Hours tab are simply your business hours…

rich-snippet-hours

Display tab lets you add a featured image, video, or slider. Embedding a YouTube video makes the markup look pretty awesome and increases engagement – which is good for SEO.

Display Criteria

Link tab is where you add a link or affiliate link (which is defaulted to nofollow). If you’re not using an affiliate link, check the “dofollow links” option. The call-to-action add-on enables the “demo links” option which are use to add more than 1 button (see an example here).

Link Criteria

Criteria tab shows what you based your review off of…

Rich Snippet Criteria

wp-rich-snippets-criteria

Author tab shows your name which is required for reviews…

author-tab

 

6. Google Structured Data Testing Tool

The last step is to publish your post and run the URL through Google’s structured data testing tool. You shouldn’t see warnings as long as you have the required fields filled out. If you do, I listed some common solutions below. Keep in mind it will take time for Google to recrawl your WordPress site and show your rich snippets in search results (anywhere from 1-5 days).

Google Structured Data Testing Tool

Common Solutions

  1. For Genesis Framework, install the Schema Removal Plugin
  2. Add the data Google tells you to in their Structured Data Testing Tool
  3. Make sure your WP Rich Snippets key is validated in the settings
  4. Make sure the data is representative of the content on the page
  5. Try adding markup to a few more pages which is suggested by Google
  6. Build your domain authority (add more, better content to your site)
  7. Visit Google’s structured data policies and webmaster guidelines

 

7. Add-Ons

The WP Rich Snippet add-ons are one of the best things about this plugin. You can customize colors, enable user reviews, call to action buttons, and add the markup anywhere in your post (even the middle). The ranking table add-on is also pretty neat. There are 14 add-ons and you will need purchase these individually (though some are free), or buy the ultimate plan like I did.

WooCommerce – advanced features for your eCommerce items plus other integrations. This add-on is has not been released yet but is coming soon.

Shortcodes – add single rich snippets elements anywhere in your posts.

DataTables – very similar to the ranking table add-on (see below).

Software Specs – adds a sidebar widget to showcase your specs, just like this page.

Locations – add schema.org markup for your location and display the Google Map anywhere in your website using a shortcode.

wp-rich-snippets-location-add-on

Box Shortcode – display the entire rich snippets markup anywhere in your post, as oppose to just the top or bottom of the post.

Anonymous User Reviews – if you’re using user reviews (the front-end entry submit add-on below), this allows users to remain anonymous.

Customizer – change the color of ratings, links, buttons, pros and cons, call-to-action buttons.

wp-rich-snippets-customizer-add-on

Front-End Entry Submit – allow users to leave their own review. This is often preferred instead of a simple editor review (which can result in higher rankings since they’re more valuable). Also good if you offer courses so students and customers can review the course.

wp-rich-snippets-user-reviews

User Reviews Image – users can upload an image with their review.

Call-To-Action – adds a section to your markup with the product name, summary, pricing, and demo link(s). If you don’t want a specific item to be shown, you can disable this in the settings.

wp-rich-snippets-call-to-action

Ranking Table – create a ranking table of your reviews, recipes, or anything. I didn’t include photos in this ranking table, but you can if you like.

wp-rich-snippets-ranking-table

Display Rating – displaying a rating by filtering content and excerpts, as shown on the demo.

Compare – similar to the data and ranking table add-on but formatted in a way that helps readers compare products/services.

wp-rich-snippets-comparison-table

I hope you enjoyed my WP Rich Snippets review. If you have any questions they have tons of documentation on writing posts, add-ons, and other topics. Or just leave me a comment. I do WordPress SEO consulting for my job so I bought the ultimate plan to get the add-ons and can use it on multiple sites, but the $69/year plan is good if you’re just starting or want to test it.

Cheers,
Tom

The 15 Most Important WordPress Plugins For SEO, Speed Optimization, Backups, Security And Website Optimization

WordPress Plugins

Obsessed with WordPress plugins like me?

Here’s a list of plugins for SEO, speed optimization, design, security, backups, and other plugins for optimizing your site. I use all these on my own WordPress site and they all have a 4+ star rating. I wrote tutorials on many of them including how to configure the Yoast settings, optimizing content with Yoast, and configuring W3 Total Cache to improve load times. Most tutorials have tons of comments as many people have found them helpful – I hope you do too.

All these plugins are lightweight as I’m also obsessed with WordPress speed optimization. I use nearly every plugin in this list and my site still loads in under 1 second in Pingdom. Still, if you don’t use plugins at certain times and only need them once in a while, it’s a good idea to delete it, then only reactivate it when needed. Here’s my list of important WordPress plugins:

  1. Yoast SEO
  2. W3 Total Cache
  3. All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets
  4. Imagify
  5. iThemes Security
  6. UpdraftPlus
  7. P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)
  8. Quick Page/Post Redirect
  9. Anti-Spam
  10. Widget Logic
  11. TinyMCE Advanced
  12. Google Analytics
  13. TablePress
  14. Broken Link Checker
  15. Heartbeat Control

 
While there are 15 plugins in this post, the top 10 are listed here:

top-10-wordpress-plugins-infographic

 

1. Yoast SEO

I know most of you already have Yoast, but you probably have not configured the proper settings, researched the best focus keywords, or optimized content to it’s full potential. Use my guides below to sharpen your skills and start ranking pages/posts higher in search engines.

Configure the Yoast Settings – fill out your business information, configure Google Search Console and other Webmaster Tools, set the ideally structure of your SEO titles, prevent duplicate content in your sitemap, fix broken pages (crawl errors), and tweak all your Yoast settings to be optimal for SEO. My Yoast settings tutorial has been used by 50,000+ people.

Yoast General Settings

Researching focus keywords – use Google Autocomplete and Moz Keyword Explorer (the two best keyword research tools in my opinion) to build a list of long-tail keywords and make sure you don’t miss out on ANY phrases. Google each keyword using the MozBar Google Chrome Extension to learn the competition of each keywords. Use that data to filter out competitive phrases, leaving you with high-opportunity keywords you should be able to get on page 1 for.

Google Autocomplete Keywords

moz-keyword-explorer-research

Content / Green Light Optimization – people obsessed with getting green lights in Yoast don’t fully understand the big picture of content optimization. Yoast only detects exact keyword matches so green lights are not always possible, plus there are TONS of ways to optimize content outside of Yoast (videos, rich snippets, adding a table of contents, and more). Use that tutorial to get ideas for optimizing YOUR content instead of obsessing over Yoast green lights.

Yoast Content Analysis SEO

Yoast Extensions

 

2. W3 Total Cache

The most popular tutorial on my site is my recommended W3 Total Cache settings which has helped multiple people reduce their page load time to under 1 second (read the comments). It includes a pre-configured zip file you can upload directly to your own W3 Total Cache plugin.

This is one of the best cache plugins out there and will improve your speed scores in tools like GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights. However just like Yoast, many people don’t configure the settings properly. Use my tutorial to configure the difference “performance” tabs on the left of your dashboard W3 Total Cache is installed. This plugin integrates with Cloudflare (free) and MaxCDN ($6.75/month with my 25% off MaxCDN coupon) which you can use the Cloudflare and MaxCDN section in my tutorial to further improve your load times. When you’re done configuring W3 Total Cache (and hopefully read my entire WordPress speed optimization guide), hopefully your GTmetrix scores will look something like this…

GTmetrix WordPress Speed Report

 

3. All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets

Adds rich snippets to your WordPress site which helps you stand out in search engines by adding “extra information” to snippets in the form of review stars, recipe information, events, and other supported data. You can do this using the All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets Plugin (free but very minimal and has many limitations) or the WP Rich Snippets Plugin (premium and has way more features). This improves click-through rates and traffic so if you haven’t done this yet, read my guides on those plugins which shows you how to add them.

rich-snippets-markup

 

4. Imagify

Losslessly compress images to load faster (in bulk). Imagify is free until you hit a monthly quota of 25MB per month or it’s $4.99/month for 1GB (which you can usually use one-time for all existing images during the first month, cancel, then just use the free account). This plugin is MUCH better than other completely free plugins since these can often break images, not actually compress them, or they can have bugs. With Imagify you just sign up, install the plugin, enter your API in the settings, go to your “media” section to bulk optimize all your images.

imagify-wordpress-image-optimization

 

5. iThemes Security

You probably heard iThemes, WordFence, and Sucuri are 3 of the top security plugins for WordPress. I like iThemes Security because you can run the 1 click security check and go down a simple checklist of vulnerabilities. Click the “fix it” button and each should be pretty easy.

ithemes-security-plugin

 

6. UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus lets you take backups manually or automatically. It has a 5 star review and is very easy to use and configure the settings. Don’t be the person who loses their website because you didn’t take a backup. UpdraftPlus could save you from losing hundreds of hours of work.

UpdraftPlus Backup

 

7. P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)

Diagnose slow loading WordPress plugins hurting your site speed so you can delete them or find alternative, lightweight plugins. Too many plugins (or just 1 large plugin) can kill your site speed. I also like to run the P3 Plugin whenever I install a new plugin to see how it affects my load time. If you haven’t run P3 before and have a lot of slow plugins, you will need to research alternative plugins that are lightweight but provide the same functionality as the old plugin.

P3 Performence Profiler

 

8. Quick Page/Post Redirect

If you publish a page/post and change it’s URL (permalink), you need to setup a 301 redirect to direct the old URL to the new URL. Otherwise it will become a 404 page and you will lose any links that used to point to that page. You can either do this using Quick Page/Post Redirect (the free method which I will show you) or the premium version of Yoast which is $69/year.

To find these crawl errors on your website, you will first need to setup Google Search Console in the “Webmaster Tools” section in Yoast using the HTML verification option. Then go to Yoast’s “Search Console” and authenticate Yoast with Search Console. You should see all your crawl errors. If you just setup Search Console it will take a few days for the data to populate.

Yoast-Google-Search-Console

To setup a 301 redirect using Quick Page/Post Redirect, install the plugin then go to Quick Redirects –> Quick Redirects in your WordPress dashboard. Enter the old broken URL shown in Yoast, then the new URL of the (most relevant page on your site) you want it redirected to…

301 Redirect Example

 

9. Anti-Spam

I’ve tested numerous anti-spam plugins and this one is the easiest to setup since you just install it. More importantly, it works. Install it and watch your spam comments go away.

anti-spam-plugin

 

10. Widget Logic

Lets you control which widgets show up on different pages, posts, categories, and archived pages. This helps you show the most relevant content in your widgets depending on what type of content your reader is viewing. Once installed, you will see a “widget logic” section at the bottom of each widget where you will enter a conditional tag to control where it appears.

widget-logic

 

11. TinyMCE Advanced

Want more editing options in your visual editor? This nifty WordPress plugin adds additional features to your editor so you can further customize your content and make it look nice.

tinymce-advanced

 

12. Google Analytics

While it’s always best to insert your Google Analytics tracking code manually into your footer, you can use this plugin to verify Google Analytics on your WordPress site. Just copy your UA code from Google Analytics and paste it into the plugin under Settings –> Google Analytics. Wait a couple days for activation, then head over to your Google Analytics account to get data.

You can download these free custom Google Analytics dashboards to segment traffic from SEO, social media, mobile, referral traffic, and other helpful data on your visitors. While there is tons of data in Google Analytics the first thing you should do is look at your low performing pages (pages with low avg. time on page + high bounce rates) and improve content on those.

At Glance - Google Analytics dashboard

 

13. TablePress

Use this 5 star review plugin to create tables on your WordPress site. The CSS and styling can be completely customized to match the colors/branding of your WordPress site. This specific table show you why you shouldn’t remove stop words in Yoast because it can make your permalinks look weird. The plugin adds a “TablePress” option to your main dashboard tab on the left, you would create the table, then you will use a shortcode to add the table anywhere.

tablepress-wordpress-plugin

 

This plugin should ONLY be used every couple months to run a scan of your broken links. Otherwise it will use a ton of server resources and can cause your website to run slow (which is why this plugin is banned from hosts like Godaddy). However if you can run this plugin once every so often, fix your broken links immediately, then delete it, there shouldn’t be an issue. It is the best plugin for this and makes it very easy to fix broken links directly in it’s interface.

Once you installed the plugin it will immediately scan for broken links. Let it run and populate for a few minutes, then head over to Tools –> Broken Links to find a list of broken links on your site. Go through each one and you can choose to fix the link, unlink it, or dismiss it. Like I said you can fix all broken links in this dashboard without having to go through each page/post.

broken-link-checker-plugin

 

15. Heartbeat Control

Leaving the WordPress dashboard up for long periods of time can slow down your website and suck up server resources from your host (potentially causing CPU overages). Heartbeat control lets you to manage the frequency of the WordPress heartbeat API which prevents this. You can change the frequency to 15-60 seconds, or disable it completely. Once installed go to Settings –> Heartbeat Control and change override heartbeat frequency to 60 seconds.

WordPress Heartbeat Control

 

See Also:

Genesis Framework Plugins – if you’re using the Genesis Framework by StudioPress and are looking for Genesis plugins for customizing your site (outside of the non-Genesis ones I just listed) I created a separate list. It includes some StudioPress plugins but also a few others.

These are all important WordPress plugins and I’ve modified this list several times so it continues to serve as a solid resource. If you found it useful, please share it. I appreciate it :)

Cheers,
Tom

All In One Schema Rich Snippets Plugin Review / Tutorial: Minimal Plugin That Does The Job, But Has A Boring Design

All In One Schema Rich Snippets is a WordPress plugin used to markup pages/posts with rich snippets.

It has good reviews and will do the job for a lot of people. But other people (like me) are picky about how the markup affects the design of the page. Since every rich snippet plugin adds content to your page which is needed for Google to show your rich snippets, the main difference between rich snippet plugins is how the information is presented on the page.

This post you’re reading is marked up with WP Rich Snippets and in my opinion, looks awesome. It can include a video, photo, links, and plenty of other options. Whereas All In One Schema Rich Snippets is limited when it comes to options and design customization.

Here’s how your page will look after marking it up with All In One Schema Rich Snippets:

All In One Schema Rich Snippets Plugin Markup

Pros

  • Free
  • Easy to setup
  • Supports most rich snippet types

Cons

  • Lacks design and customization options
  • Limited information can be presented
  • Doesn’t support local business markup

Supported Data Types

Should You Consider Other Rich Snippet Plugins?
If you’re happy with the basic design of All In One Schema Rich Snippets, it is the best free rich snippets plugin and I will show you how to set it up. But if you’re looking for something more robust and have $69+ for a premium plugin, check out WP Rich Snippets and view this tutorial. WP Rich Snippets has more options and supports local business markup which helps Google show your business information correctly in Google Maps.

Now let’s get started…

 

1. Install All In One Schema Rich Snippets

All In One Schema Rich Snippets Installation

 

2. Configure The Settings

Once installed you will see the “Rich Snippets” options in the left menu of your WordPress dashboard. Go through the settings especially the configuration and customization tabs. The other tabs are helpful but I listed a more robust set of resources at the bottom of this article.

All In One Schema Rich Snippets Configuration Settings

Basic styling options…

All In One Schema Rich Snippets Customization Settings

 

3. Add Markup To Pages

Edit a page/post you want to add rich snippets to then scroll down until you see “configure rich snippet.” Select the type of rich snippet then plugin will request specific data. Fill out as many fields as possible since this will help Google understand your data and show it in their search results. Certain fields are often required for rich snippets to work, but you can use Google’s Structured Data Testing (step 4) to see if you’re missing fields or getting errors.

Rich Snippet Types

Configure Rich Snippet

 

4. Test Your Rich Snippets

Once you fill out all the fields you can, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to see if your rich snippets are working correctly (they won’t immediately appear in search results so use this tool instead). If you see red errors, click the box to expand and look at the items. Fixing them may be as easy as filling out a field you forgot about while marking up the page.

Google Structured Data Testing Tool

 

End Result

This is what a review rich snippet will look like once Google updates their search results which takes around 2-4 days. For other rich snippet types you will see different information; events will have hours and location information, products will have pricing information, etc. Once you get the hang of it, go ahead and start marking up other pages/posts that include reviews, events, products, videos, and other supported data types used in rich snippets.

Rich Snippets Google Search Results

Solutions To Common Problems

  1. Add data Google tells you to in their Structured Data Testing Tool
  2. Rich snippet data should be accurate and align with the content on the page
  3. Add markup to more pages instead of only having 1 page with markup
  4. Update WordPress core, theme, plugins, etc
  5. Review All In One Schema Rich Snippets’ support forum
  6. Visit this Google forum to see common problems and FAQs
  7. Visit the structured data section of your Google Search Console
  8. Comply with Google’s structured data policies and webmaster guidelines

If you’re still running into problems, leave me a comment or see All In One Schema Rich Snippets’ support forum. Otherwise I hope you found this review helpful and good luck driving more traffic to your WordPress site using this free, awesome rich snippets plugin!

Thanks for reading!

Tom Signature

12 Ways To “SEO” Your New WordPress Website

You have a new WordPress site, now you want it optimized for search engines.

My 12 step WordPress SEO checklist will help you do that. I’ll walk you through keywords, Yoast’s SEO plugin, Google Search Console and other ways you can optimize your site. There’s a lot of good stuff here (and I know it can be overwhelming) but take it step-by-step and please do NOT hesitate to leave me a comment if you have a question… I’m here to help.

I’ll keep my intro short and sweet because I know  you will find something you didn’t know before, and I’d rather you spend time working on improving your own Google rankings.

Here’s what to do…

 

1. Research Your Keywords – this should ideally be done before building your website so you can align the content with your keywords – though you can always go back and make changes. Start by using Google Autocomplete (see that article to learn the “complete the phrase” and “fill in the blank” tricks I use)… to find long-tail keywords. These are very specific phrases with 3+ individual words and have lower competition + higher conversion rates. Use Autocomplete to create a list of long-tail keywords for all phrases you want to rank for… if you’re a photographer in Chicago your keyword list might include: Chicago wedding photographer, Chicago newborn photographer, Chicago family photographer, etc.

2. Configure Your Permalinks – a few common examples are /services/website-design, /team/john-doe, /locations/chicago. It depends on your pages but consider doing this if you have multiple items under a category. Use permalink settings and parent pages to do this.

3. Configure Yoast WordPress SEO – Yoast can be broken down into 3 steps: configuring the settings, researching keywords, and optimizing content. This will be a core part of your SEO and I suggest anyone writing content on your site be knowledgeable on Yoast. For $295 you can do a training session with me and know it like the back of your hand – or just read those articles. Just be aware that any SEO plugin does not magically shoot up your rankings.

4. Write (And Design) The Content – only target 1 keyword per page and focus on the type of content  people want to see when they search a keyword (testimonials, videos, etc). This can be SUPER beneficial for both SEO and website design. For ideas, check out these 21 ways to spruce up your WordPress content. Seriously, doing this has helped me sooo much.

5. Optimize The Content – go to a page you want to optimize. Scroll down and use Yoast to set a focus keyword. Refresh the page and scroll down again to Yoast. Now use the keyword where it tells you to. Writing descriptive SEO titles and meta descriptions is a big part of this since these appear in Google’s search results. Don’t forget to use the “page analysis” tab to see more content optimization tips… getting green lights means you’re on the right track.

6. Create Internal Links – this is an item you’ll see in Yoast’s page analysis tab but I want to put some emphases on it since links to a page are 20% of a page’s SEO. Using internal links in your content means you’re linking to relevant pages/posts on your website/blog and is the best way to create natural links. Some people don’t like using links for styling purposes (even though you can style them in the CSS) but 20% makes this very, very important.

7. Focus On Site Speed – website speed is a sitewide optimization which can benefit your entire website’s SEO and conversion rates. Setting up the W3 Total Cache plugin, optimizing images to load faster and deleting unnecessary plugins are just a few ways to do this. See my WordPress speed guide for a full tutorial which thousands of people have used.

8. Use Rich Snippets – these make your site have “enhanced” information in search results. You see these with reviews, recipes, even event times. If you have pages that include certain data types you can use my WordPress rich snippets tutorial to markup those pages/posts. Aside from having the best content, these may be the best way to stand out in Google.

9. Configure Google Search Console – setting www vs. non-www, submitting your Yoast sitemap, and checking for HTML improvements in SEO titles/meta descriptions are just a few ways to improve SEO with Search Console. Also check for mobile and security issues.

10. Setup Google Analytics Dashboards – taking 5 minutes to install these 7 Google Analytics dashboards helps you measure traffic from SEO, social media, mobile, referral websites and more. Use these to find specific improvements to make in your website and content. It’s one of those things that is super easy, yet helps a ton. Google’s Page Analysis Chrome extension can also help you see where  people are clicking on a page.

11. Local SEO – Local SEO has different ranking factors so optimizing for a town/city is also different. Your keyword(s) should include the town/city name and your landing pages should be optimized to reflect those. The main different though, is that you want to build citationsget reviews, and make sure you’re using a mobile responsive WordPress theme.

12. Setup Redirects (If You Migrated Your Site) – if you recently redesigned your site and your permalinks (URLs) have changed, you want to do this ASAP. Setting up 301 redirects will direct visitors and search engines from each page’s old URL to the new one. You can do this with the Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin then go to quick redirects –> quick redirects. Add both the old and new URL and this plugin will take care of the rest. Easier than it sounds.

 

Ongoing SEO Maintenance
These are the core parts of your WordPress SEO so before you move forward, spend some time making sure everything is setup correctly and that you’re knowledgeable about each section. I linked to a ton of articles which break down these topics quite nicely, but if you’re stuck you can hire me for a couple hours of SEO consulting and I can work with you 1 on 1 to get your SEO on track – or just leave a comment and I’ll answer them fo’ free!

For ongoing maintenance you’ll want to continuously add new, keyword-targeted content to your website/blog. Use your keyword list for your content development strategy and remember, you’re better off writing 1 AMAZING piece of content than writing 3 mediocre pages. Give people something to share and link to because that is what SEO is all about.

If you need help, leave me a comment and I’ll usually respond within 2 days.

Cheers,

Tom Signature

How To Improve SEO Through Sitewide Optimizations (Things That Affect The Performance Of Your Entire Site)

Sitewide Optimizations SEO

Sitewide optimizations are factors that improve SEO for every page/post on your website.

They can be especially helpful for large websites, for example, improving your page load time by 3 seconds (for 100 pages) can cause a noticeable traffic increase in your Google Analytics. These are basically scalable ways you can improve your website and search engine rankings.

I listed helpful links and resources for each item but if you have any questions, I’m glad to answer them in the comments. I hope you find my list helpful and please share if you did!

 

1. Website Speed
Website speed is both a ranking factor in Google and it improves conversions. It’s a great way to hit 2 birds with 1 stone. Some speed optimizations are sitewide, some only help individual pages load faster. Below are the speed optimizations that are sitewide. For full instructions on making your WordPress site load faster, see my speed optimization guide.

  • Upgrade to faster hosting (I use SiteGround)
  • Configure the W3 Total Cache plugin with Cloudflare + MaxCDN
  • Bulk image optimization
  • Optimize images that appear on multiple pages
  • Clean up database using WP-Optimize
  • Delete unused plugins
  • Find and delete largest plugins using P3 Plugin Performance Profiler

 

2. Mobile Responsiveness
If your theme isn’t responsive, it’s probably time to find a new one since Google’s recent Mobilegeddon update now uses responsiveness as a ranking factor. Your site can still have mobile issues even IF you’re using a responsive theme. That’s why it’s a good idea to run your site through Google’s mobile test as well as check your website on major devices.

Google Mobile Test

 

3. Security Issues
If you’re signed up for Google Search Console they would have already sent you a message informing you of security issues. You can double check this by running your site through Sucuri. WordPress sites have become a major target for malware so it’s a good idea to at least get the basics down. Change the generic “Admin” username, use a strong password, and install the iThemes Security Plugin to run the one-click security optimization button.

Sucuri Website Security Checker

 

4. Google Search Console Optimizations
When you first sign up for Google Search Console they provide you with a list of sitewide optimizations (numbers 1, 2, 3, 5). Find instructions for each Search Console item below…

Google Search Console Recommendations

Add all your website versions – you’ll want to verify both your www and non-www version, as well as the HTTPs version if applicable. You’ll want to do numbers 2-5 for each version.

Select your preferred version – choose whether you want the www to appear in your domain, or not. This is preference and it doesn’t matter for SEO, just make sure the version you set in Google Search Console is the same version as the one set in WordPress (find this under Settings –> General –> “WordPress Address URL” and “Site Address URL”).

Select target country – if your website is targeted to a specific country, set that here.

Submit a sitemap file – Yoast automatically generates a sitemap for you, but you’ll still need to submit it to Google. In WordPress go to SEO –> XML Sitemaps. Click the XML Sitemap button and copy the last part of the URL (https://x7r6b9v3.rocketcdn.me/sitemap_index.xml). Paste into Google Search Console, test, and submit. If you see errors, check Yoast’s post on common sitemap errors.

 

5. SEO Plugin Settings
I assume you’re using the Yoast SEO Plugin since it’s the best out there, but have you gone through it’s different SEO tabs on the left of your dashboard? These are where you configure sitewide SEO settings by filling out information about your website. There’s a lot to it, but you can use my Yoast tutorial to download the same settings I use and import them to your Yoast plugin, or use the instructions from my tutorial to learn how each field affects SEO.

Yoast SEO Settings

 

6. HTTPS + SSL
HTTPS should be used for all websites (I’m currently in the middle of doing this for my site) which makes the communication between a website and a browser secure through encryption. SSL should be used for all eCommerce websites. Both HTTPS and SSL are used as ranking factors in Google, and you can use this tutorial by WP Beginner to setup each one.

 

7. Permalink Structure
Permalinks (URLs) should be used to organize content. Here are some common ways to setup a “pretty” permalink structure which not only helps people navigate your content, but helps search engines learn the architecture of your website (site architecture affects SEO)…

  • website.com/services/web-design/
  • website.com/products/skateboards/
  • website.com/locations/chicago/
  • website.com/team/tom-dupuis/
  • website.com/reviews/macbook-pro/

 

8. Keyword List
The content on your website (and blog) should align with keywords people are searching in Google. While keyword research isn’t an “optimization” it does help you build out your site with those phrases in mind – making keyword research a critical part of sitewide SEO.

I like to start by writing down each product, service, and topic I want to rank for. Use Google Autocomplete to learn what people are actually searching. If you’re a Chicago Photographer you might have Chicago wedding photography, Chicago newborn photography, etc. You would simply research a keyword and create a page for each photography service you offer.

Google Autocomplete Keywords

 

Other “Kind Of” Sitewide Optimizations
Rich snippets – this is what gets videos, review stars, and other “extra information” appearing in search results. This can make you stand out in Google and get more click-throughs and traffic. You can add rich snippets with All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets (free) or WP Rich Snippets (premium plugin but has more customization and design options). View my tutorial on adding rich snippets to WordPress for the premium method.

Internal links – when writing your content, it’s a good idea to link to related pages/posts you have already written. This is a natural way to build links while at the same time, providing helpful resources for readers who want more information about a specific topic. Just remember to use descriptive anchor text for your link text… never use “click here.”

 

That’s all I got for now! If you have questions about sitewide SEO or SEO in general, leave me a comment – I’m here to help. And if you thought this was useful, please share.

Cheers,

Tom Signature

21 Ways To Create Better Content In WordPress

21 Ways To Create Better Content In WordPress

We’re always being told to create “good” content but besides being a skilled writer, what else can we do? Well I’ll tell you. We need to spruce it up! We need to focus on aesthetics, user-friendliness, optimization, and leveraging all those tools/plugins we have available.

You probably know that from an SEO perspective, good content naturally ranks high and is the best strategy for getting links, social shares, and all those nice SEO signals. I use every strategy in this list and it has helped me tremendously (with SEO, since that’s what I do).

I hope it can help you too.

 

1. Use A Table Of Contents

Use a table of contents to organize key topics (often your subheadings). This can also help you outline your articles. It only takes a few minutes and will make your readers happy.

 

How to do it…
Table Of Contents HTML should look like this…
<ul class=”listSquare”>
<li><a href=”/your-permalink-here/#item-one”>Item One</a></li>
<li><a href=”/your-permalink-here/#item-two”>Item Two</a></li>
<li><a href=”/your-permalink-here/#item-three”>Item Three</a></li>
</ul>

Each subheading’s HTML should look like this…
<h3 id=”item-one”>Item One</h3>
<h3 id=”item-two”>Item Two</h3>
<h3 id=”item-three”>Item Three</h3>

You can also use a jump to table of contents link…
<li><a href=”/your-permalink-here/#table-of-contents</li>

 

2. Columns

Column 1

Column 2

How to do it…

 

3. Tables

tablepress-plugin

I created this table using the TablePress Plugin which has over 1,500 downloads and a solid 5 star review. You can also customize the CSS to your branding.

 

4. Buttons!

CONTACT US SIGN UP DOWNLOAD OUR FREE EBOOK SEE OUR PORTFOLIO

How to do it…

 

5. Shortcodes

shortcodes

Shortcodes allow you to easily add video, audio, image galleries, and other content with a simple line of code. Here’s a shortcode example for an embedded YouTube video…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaNH5?Vpg-A]

Some WordPress themes come with built-in shortcodes that are pre-styled to match your theme. There’s also plugins like Shortcodes Ultimate if your theme doesn’t come with them.

 

6. Embedded Social Status

Share what other people have to say by embedding their social media statuses in your content. Notify them once it’s published and maybe they’ll share it with their audience.

Twitter Statuses

 

How to do it…
Use Advanced Twitter Search to find a tweet, then click More –> Embed Tweet. Copy the code and paste it in your content’s HTML. The example above uses 2 tweets into 2 columns.

Embedded Tweet

Facebook Statuses

Embed Facebook Post

Google+ Statuses

Google+ Embedded Post

 

7. Embedded Videos

Option 1: Copy the Youtube link and paste it to your content (WordPress will do the rest).

Option 2: Go to the YouTube video you want to embed, then copy and paste the embed code into your HTML. This method allows you to specify the video’s width and height:

Embed a YouTube Video

Option 3: Open a video when you click a link using the WP Video Lightbox Plugin.

Hide Youtube Video Title

<iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ymdkFIHsTBA?showinfo=0" width="680" height="380" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>

Hide Youtube Video Controls

<iframe width="680" height="380" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ymdkFIHsTBA?showinfo=0&controls=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

8. Working The Dimensions

680 Pixel Width Rectangle

Knowing your content dimensions (in pixels) helps you create graphics or find images that fit within those dimensions. I’m specifically referring to your content body and sidebar width. Since my content body is 680 width (pixels), I know that if I’m using 2 columns, each graphic should be around 340 width. I also know my sidebar widgets are 295 width.

 

9. Better Graphics

Start by redesigning graphics that appear in the most places (sitewide graphics): logo, footer images, sidebar images. Then move to individual pieces of content (content design graphics).

Sitewide Graphics

Content Design Graphics

 

10. After Entry Widgets

After Entry WordPress

These are the widgets people see after the end of your articles (located between the content body and comments section). They usually have a call to action. For me I’ve included a newsletter box and my author profile. “Related articles” is also a popular one.

In most WordPress themes you can find these under (Appearance –> Widgets –> After Entry). Decide what widgets you want to show here. But there should be something.

 

11. Image Styling

Image Styling WordPress

Style your images by adding borders, margins, padding, captions or other customizations. There’s 4 different places to edit images, all of which have different styling options…

  • Media section
  • Clicking on an image and finding the “edit” option
  • Finding the insert/edit image icon in your visual editor
  • The CSS editor

 

12. Font Styling

Are you getting any ideas yet?

 

13. Killer Headlines

It all starts with writing a great headline. The “perfect” headline includes:

  • A number
  • An adjective
  • Your keyword

Here is a tutorial by Neil Patel that explains the formula for a perfect headline. He says 8/10 people will read your headline, but only 2/10 will read the rest of your post. Choose wisely.

 

14. Snippets

SEO Titles + Meta Descriptions

Search Engine Snippets

Your SEO title and meta descriptions are the forefront of your SEO – they’re the first thing people see in search results and on social networks. Writing descriptive, compelling snippets will increase your clickthrough rate and drive more visitors to your content.

Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets

Rich snippets enhance your search engine snippets with additional information about your content. It’s one of the best ways to stand out in search results and get more clicks.

Popular forms of rich snippets…

  • Videos
  • Reviews
  • Recipes
  • Events
  • Audio

How to do it…

 

15. Social Optimization

Each social network formats your content differently, so you’ll want it optimized to format properly across the main social networks (your thumbnail image is the correct size and your titles and descriptions are tailored for each social network if you choose). The Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin does a fantastic job with this and I will assume you’re using it.

Step 1: Go to the “Users” section in WordPress and make sure each person fills out their Facebook, Twitter and Google+ fields.

Step 2: Configure the Social Tab in Yoast:

Yoast Social Tab

Facebook OpenGraph

Yoast Facebook Opengraph

Twitter Cards (Remember To Validate Your Twitter Cards)

Yoast Twitter Cards

Google+ Meta Data

Yoast Google+ Meta Data

Pinterest (Located In Yoast’s “Dashboard” Settings)

Yoast Pinterest

You will need to verify your site with Pinterest and enter the code in this field.

Step 3: Optimize Content For Social Sharing

Once you’ve configured Yoast’s social settings, edit the page or post you want to optimize for social. Scroll down to the Yoast section and hit the “Social” tab…

Yoast Social Media Optimization

Yoast gives you the option to display custom titles, descriptions, and properly formatted images for these main social networks. If you leave these blank then your SEO title, meta description, and your main content image (or featured image) will be used. It’s a good idea to at least upload an image for Facebook / Twitter / Google+ so the image formats properly when shared across these main social networks. Here are the correct dimensions…

  • Facebook Image: 1200 x 630px
  • Twitter Image: 1024 x 512px
  • Google+ Image: 800 x 1200px

 

16. Show Yourself

Tom Dupuis

That’s me!

You’ll see a cropped version in my right sidebar where I introduce myself. That’s where I would add your bio since people can immediately see you.

Add sidebar widget for single author…

First create your bio in HTML. You can create it in the Visual Editor which is easier. When you’re done, go to the Text Editor and copy your bio’s HTML. Now go to (Appearance –> Widgets) then add a “Text” widget to your blog sidebar. Paste the HTML and save.

Add sidebar widgets for multiple authors…

  • Make sure each person has their own user profile
  • Install the widget logic plugin so each person’s bio only shows on their posts
  • If there’s 5 people, add 5 text widgets to your blog sidebar
  • Paste each person’s bio HTML in their widget
  • Locate the Widget Logic field at the bottom of each person’s widget
  • Add this code, only replace my name with theirs: is_author( ‘tom-dupuis’ )
  • Or use other conditional tags to control where each widget appears

Widget Logic Field

If you use the Genesis Framework and have a newsletter like me, you can use the Genesis eNews Extended Plugin to create a widget with both your introduction and newsletter.

 

17. Signatures

You’ll see my signature at the bottom of each article I write. Adds a personal touch.

Tom Signature

How to do it…

  • Get a blank piece of computer paper
  • Write your signature
  • Take a close picture of it
  • Crop your signature
  • Add it to the end of your articles

 

18. Load Times

Page Load Times

The easiest way to improve load times is through sitewide optimizations that affect your entire website (getting faster hosting, lightweight themes, cache plugins…). I cover all this in my WordPress speed guide. You can also improve load times for individual pages by using less videos, large photos, and code. Run the URL through GTmetrix for recommendations.

 

19. TinyMCE Advanced

TinyMCE Advanced

Ever feel like you don’t have enough options in your visual editor? Install the TinyMCE Advanced Plugin to style your content with more advanced options.

 

20. TinyMCE Spellcheck

TinyMCE-Spellcheck

Before publishing an article, try running the TinyMCE Spellcheck Plugin. Select what type of errors it scans for in the “Users” section or add words to ignore…

TinyMCE-Spellcheck Options

 

21. Testing

Before you promote your content, it’s a good idea to do some testing…

Mobile Responsiveness – even if your WordPress theme is responsive, some content doesn’t always format correctly. Pull up it up on your phone/tablet to double check.

Table Of Contents (Step 1) – if you’ve setup a table of contents, always test each link.

Rich Snippets (step 14) – if your content includes rich snippets, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure it’s working.

Social Responsiveness (step 15) – to test whether the main social networks will format your content properly, share the link to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Load Times (step 18) – once it’s published, run the URL through GTmetrix to get recommendations on improving the content’s load time.

Well I hope this was helpful! I know it’s a lot so if you have any questions at all, drop me a line in the comments section. And if you found my article helpful, please share. I appreciate it!

Cheers,

Tom Signature