Powering almost a fifth of all the world’s websites, WordPress is by far the most popular of all content management systems. A free and open-source platform, WordPress has a huge community around it developing thousands of both free and paid plugins and themes allowing webmasters to create just about any type of website they want from the simplest of blogs to fully-fledged online shops. But is WordPress good for SEO? Among the many reasons why WordPress is so popular is that it is in fact great for search engine optimization.
However, in order to take advantage of its practically limitless potential, you’ll be far better off having a self-hosted WordPress website rather than a free one hosted at wordpress.com. It is also very easy to setup and use, greatly simplifying the content publishing and marketing process, and it is even perfectly possible to have a fully functional website up and running within a day.
WordPress Helps to Streamline Your Content Publishing
Google and the other major search engines love fresh content, and a regular stream of up-to-date content including articles, images, videos and more helps to keep a website in the first page of the search results whenever people search for a relevant query. WordPress helps to make content publication far easier and quicker, since users don’t need to get involved in any coding or other complicated matters. Straight out of the box, WordPress provides adequate SEO with very little additional effort needed.
Additionally, Internet marketers can take care of their website’s SEO without having to worry about temporarily taking their website offline or disrupting its content and design. Search engine marketers will be able to more easily keep pace with the constant stream of Google algorithm updates to make sure that they maintain their rankings in the results pages.
WordPress Is Fast
Having seen a large number of major updates over the years, the community-driven WordPress platform is constantly evolving to take advantage of new Web technologies, the result being a faster, more secure and more reliable website. Although Google generally does not publish much in the way of details regarding its ranking factors, it is widely believed that the search engine favours faster websites, and even if speed were not a ranking factor in itself, a faster website equals happier visitors and lower bounce rates. More advanced users can even take advantage of a range of plugins that can further speed up database queries in WordPress in order to boost the overall performance of their websites.
WordPress Is Open Source
To the novice user, the term ‘open source’ might simply mean free, but it also means that the source code of the WordPress platform is available to the general public. Being an open-source CMS, there are a huge number of both free and paid plugins and themes available, and marketers can make use of a variety of tools, including the enormously popular and user-friendly WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast, to further increase the exposure of their websites in the search engines.
There are other plugins facilitating the automated generation of XML Sitemaps to help the search engine crawlers better navigate your website, and there are other plugins to improve performance and security. Such enhancements all benefit your website’s standing in the search engine results. In fact, Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts, has stated on a number of occasions how much he likes WordPress.
Check out these top SEO plugins that you can install on your WordPress site.
Not All WordPress Themes Are Made Equal
Although WordPress offers a great deal of potential for any webmaster concerned with SEO, it is also important to realize that some themes work better than others when it comes to improving the experience that the search engine robots have when scanning and indexing your website. As a general rule, the simpler themes, including the default ones, tend to work best, whereas those with more complicated navigational features and sub-par coding may hinder the search engine crawlers. Additionally, there are numerous premium themes whose main selling points are their advantages in SEO.
Common SEO Mistakes with WordPress
As we’ve already seen, WordPress offers good SEO potential straight out of the box, and even more so with the addition of certain plugins and a suitable theme. However, novice users often make a few mistakes including the following:
- Not providing an XML Sitemap for your website is an easy mistake to make, but given that it only takes a few minutes to make one provided that you use an automated sitemap generator plugin such as Google XML Sitemaps or WordPress SEO by Yoast, there’s absolutely no reason to miss out.
- WordPress allows you to select categories and tags for all of the content on your website, and in addition to helping your visitors to more easily find the content that they’re looking for, it also helps the search engine crawlers to more effectively navigate your website and determine the subject matter of its content.
- Not telling the search engines which pages to index and rank in situations where there are several URLs pointing to the same content can cause issues with the page’s ranking. Again, the free plugin, WordPress SEO by Yoast, can help you to define canonical URLs.
In addition to the above, much of the same best practices that apply to any type of website also apply to WordPress. Above all, original content that is both relevant to its target audience and high in quality is far more likely to do well in the search engines. You should also be sure to fill in your meta titles and descriptions to help boost click-through rates from the search engine results.