Step #1: Create an HTML Sitemap
With XML sitemap, you tell search engines how the structure of your site looks like and what pages they should crawl. But here’s why you need an HTML sitemap on your site:
- Pages that Google bots crawl are often hard to find. For example, a blog post which is located on page 15 is very difficult to find. In this case, an HTML Sitemap will be very helpful.
- You can help people visiting your website to navigate through your content easily.
- HTML Sitemap increase pageviews and average session of users.
- You can remove any link from your pages that are not part of your navigation.
What should an HTML sitemap contain
- Your most important pages
- Your categories
- Your posts
- Anything that could create a better user experience
How to create a sitemap in WordPress
To create a sitemap in WordPress you need to install the simple sitemap plugin. After that, create a new page and use these shortcodes:
You could also add in the Categories widget via the Gutenberg page builder. Here’s how the page will look like:
Once you’re done with the page, you add it inside the footer of the website.
Once you’re done with the page, you add the sitemap inside the footer of the website. Alternatively for creating footer sitemaps you can use Elementor’s Sitemap Element to create an even more custom sidebar.
Step #2: Removing Irrelevant Content
Content is the no 1 source for driving traffic to your website. However, with time, it can add up and instead, doing the opposite: stopping you from getting the most out of the traffic.
A good strategy of making sure the content is still relevant and brings in traffic is to perform a content pruning session. In other words, you remove the content that doesn’t or never performed.
Removing Thin Content pages
Go to Google.com and type in site:yourwebsite.com
For this example, let’s use site:cxl.com
In this case, we get around 2000 results indexed by Google.
What? That’s a pretty high number of pages indexed for a wedding photography website.
Your job is to go through the results and identify the pages that you consider that have no value for the users. Maybe it’s old content that is not relevant anymore, maybe there are pages that you don’t want them indexed, like private or membership pages.
Identify thin pages
- Custom post type archives
- Old content that is not relevant anymore
So if you find this kind of pages then simply go to Yoast SEO plugin settings and Search Appearance-Taxonomies and disable tags from search results
Step #3: Removing Pages with No Traffic
Carrying on our content pruning process, it’s time to identify the pages that had no traffic in the past 90 days, review them and decide if they’re still worth keeping live on the website or get rid of them.
Here are a few guidelines that you could follow to base your decisions on
- Is the page still aligning with my current and future vision?
- Is the page relevant to any of my current services?
- Does the page have any backlinks pointing to it?
- Can this page act as a supporting content for my services?
If the answer is no, then it’s a great candidate for being removed. To identify pages without traffic, you need a crawling tool. We will recommend Sitebulb.
While setting up the audit, you will need to connect to the Google Analytics and Google Search Console property as well. I prefer to set the data window to 90 days. Once the audit is complete, head over to Search Traffic: No Traffic group:
These are the pages that couldn’t get even 1 organic visit in the past 90 days. Export the results to CSV or Google Sheets and analyze them.
You could simply delete the ones that don’t meet the current expectations, but to take this one step further, don’t just delete them but 410 redirect them so that they could be deleted from the Google index faster. This is a supported feature in the Rank Math SEO plugin.
Step #4: Use Google Search Console to Get New Content Ideas
Google search console is the official Google SEO tool that you could use right away. Oh, and it’s free! You can see our other article about How to Set Up Google Search Console.
Although the way the data is showcased is not the sexiest, the information could be pure gold, if you know how to interpret it and take action on it.
When you publish a long form piece of content, it will naturally rank for tens and hundreds of keywords. And many of these keywords won’t satisfy the user intent of the current page. What you could do is identify these keywords and come up with fresh new content for them.
Here’s the process:
- Identify a page you want to analyze. Just grab a blog post URL you want to write something related to.
- Go to Google Search Console, click on New->Page to filter the data based on a URL and enter the URL. For this example
He’s a well-established wedding photographer in Washington. The URL analyzed is
- Identify the keywords that a) don’t satisfy user intent and b) satisfies user intent and could be used to improve the article.
In this case, identify a series of opportunities that could serve your purposes.
Case 1: Improve Existing Article
- washington dc winery weddings
- washington dc hotel wedding venues
- washington dc luxury wedding venues
Based on these keywords, you can split the content into multiple sections, covering hotel venues, winery venues and you could even go one step further, like imagining what people are searching for: country club venues, outdoor locations, etc. and structure my article based on them.
Case 2: Create New Pieces of Content
It’s pretty obvious that it will be quite a challenge to rank the article for “arlington va wedding venues” so it would be a good idea to create a new piece of content targeting this keyword.
Step #5: Use FAQ Page and Schema Markup
Every prospect or future client has questions about your services and the way you usually answer these is via a Q&A page or section on different pages.
That’s great but you could go one step further and have your questions displayed in the search results.
Here’s a an example:
Pretty impressive, isn’t it?
This is possible and can be achieved via Schema Markup.
There are multiple types of markups, but the one Google recommends is the JSON-LD.
One thing to mention, you have bigger chances of having the faq show up in the search results if the the target keyword is part of the questions. Notice in the above example that the “photography” term appears in the majority of the questions body.
Okay, here’s how to do this!
- Find a Page that has a Q&A Section.
- Use a JSON-LD FAQPage Schema generator to create the markup code
Here we can recommend:
Add the generated schema markup code on the page
This might be a bit trickier but with WordPress, it is pretty easy.
You could install a shortcode plugin as the Shortcoder, create a new shortcode, and paste the markup code inside.
Afterwards, grab the shortcode and add it inside the page or article.
You could then test the page with the Structured Data Testing Tool to validate the addition of the new schema:
Step #6: Inbound Link Building
When it comes to SEO, the most powerful pages of a website are the ones with the most inbound links. Usually, the 1st is the homepage because this is the page which gets the most links.
But with time, you usually obtain links to other inner pages as well.
What you could do is to identify these pages and use them to drive some “link equity” to your main pages(these usually are your services pages that you want to rank for).
Identify The Best Links In Your Pages
To identify these pages, you will need a tool such as Ahrefs. It’s a paid tool, but the 7 days trial for $7 is more than enough to help you out with this tip, and more.
Alternatively, reach out and I’ll help you out identifying those pages.
Add 1-2 links to your service pages
One could be to the homepage and the 2nd one to a secondary page.
That’s it! If done correctly, the pages you’ve linked to should receive a ranking boost.