WordPress has many advantages, which is why it is the most used Content Management System (CMS) on the planet. Recent estimates are that fully 30% of the web runs on the platform.
One of the elements of WordPress that has made it so popular is how easy it is to optimize the platform for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a major factor in how much traffic your site attracts because search engine queries are still the primary way in which the average user finds the products they would like to buy.
One of the primary reasons that WordPress is so good for SEO is that there are plenty of third-party add-ons for the platform that takes a lot of the work out of optimization. As we pointed out in our article on choosing an SEO package, as well as in our SEO PowerSuite review, which of these you choose can make a difference to how your site performs on Google’s Page Rank.
There are plenty of other reasons why WordPress is so good for SEO. And in this article, we’ll take you through some of them.
SEO By Design
At the most basic level, WordPress is optimized for search engines.
This is true in several ways. Though WordPress is written mainly in PHP, WordPress generates HTML pages that are easily assessed by search engines. In addition, the platform gives you the option to make “pretty permalinks” – rather than a string of random code, the links to your pages can be customized in order to help your visitors navigate your site. Similarly, most WordPress themes process your “heading” tags correctly by default, making your page titles easily understood by search engines.
All of these features are shared by sites on both the WordPress.com and WordPress.org domains, but there are some advantages to migrating to WordPress.org when it comes to SEO. After migration, you have more options when it comes to tweaking the basic features of your pages and making sure that all the basics are in place.
Another major advantage of WordPress when it comes to SEO is that the popularity of the platform means that there are plenty of high-quality themes available for it. In terms of SEO, a “high quality” theme means one that not only looks and functions well but one that also outputs readable HTML for search engines.
Of course, it’s also important that your site looks great. The pleasing and user-friendly design encourages customers to stay on your site longer and is an important factor in building your online reputation. From a purely technical perspective, as well, a high-quality theme is going to be reflected in your search ranking, because Google takes into account the length of time that the average user spends on a page.
There are thousands of plugins for WordPress and hundreds that improve your SEO. These plugins cover every aspect of SEO, from making sure your content is performing well to tracking the way that visitors move between your pages. They can also boost other sources of traffic besides raw search queries: if you are looking to increase your paid or organic search traffic, there is a plugin for you.
One of the most popular SEO plugins is Yoast. This plugin provides you with a detailed breakdown of how to improve on-page SEO for every single piece of content, as well as giving you tips on how to improve the ranking of your copywriting. It also performs some more technical functions, such as optimizing your robots.txt and XML sitemaps.
If you didn’t know that Google ranks fast pages higher, you do now. In fact, this is a major reason why WordPress sites tend to perform better than their peers: they are simply faster. The CMS is designed to be fast from the ground up, but there are also a series of techniques that you can use to make it perform even better.
One of these is to use an SEO image optimizer. By resizing your images to the correct size for your pages, your site loads quickly. This is important for Google robots, but it’s also important for your human visitors. If your site takes more than a few seconds to load, many of your customers are going to go somewhere else.
Mobile Optimization As Standard
In the last few years, WordPress has also made huge strides when it comes to ensuring mobile optimization. Today, in order for a theme to be listed on the WordPress directory, it needs to be optimized for mobile.
This move was a response to a parallel move by Google. Google now takes into account mobile optimization in its search rankings, and in order to improve your SEO, you need to ensure that your pages look great (and load quickly) on a smartphone. In fact, without mobile optimization, websites do not even show up in Google results for mobile search requests anymore.
Security is also a major part of SEO. That’s because your site is going to quickly plummet down the search rankings if it gets marked as one that sends out a lot of spam or – worse – infects your visitors with malware.
You might think that doesn’t apply to you, but unfortunately, it’s not that simple. If your site is hacked, it can be hijacked and used to launch further attacks on your customers. That’s not the only (or even the most important) reason to protect your business from hackers, but it can dramatically affect your visitor and sales numbers.
Security is another area in which WordPress performs well in comparison to other CMSs. Thanks in part to a number of high-profile news stories, the platform has recently invested in its security team, and their work is highly regarded in the cybersecurity industry.
In addition, there are plenty of WordPress security plugins you can install to increase the security of your site even further.
Though all of the elements above are focused on improving your search engine ranking, this is not the only source of traffic. Social media referrals are an increasingly important part of attracting visitors to your site, and good CMS platforms should allow you to integrate your website content with your social media outreach.
Thankfully, WordPress is among the best CMS platforms when it comes to doing this. The platform offers plenty of tools for integrating social media sharing into your site, and for pushing content to your social feeds. The most popular of these include Jetpack sharing and SumoMe.
The ease of social media integration on WordPress has two main advantages. The first is simply that it improves your search ranking. The second is that it gives you powerful tools for A-B testing your content directly from your website. Pushing different content to different groups can be a great way of attracting new customers, and is a technique that established and new companies alike should take advantage of.
A Strong Community
Last but definitely not least, the market dominance of WordPress has given rise to a vast and active user community. This has two major advantages when it comes to SEO.
The first is that it is easy to research SEO techniques that work for WordPress sites that are just like yours. WordPress is so user-friendly that it is relatively easy for anyone to roll out the features we’ve mentioned above on your own site, but if you need help to do so there is always someone there to help you.
In addition, the size of the WordPress user base makes it easy to find an expert developer. If you’ve taken all the steps you can on your own, but would still like to improve your SEO further, it’s worth getting in touch with an expert.
The Bottom Line
WordPress is great for SEO as a basic system. What makes it spectacular for SEO is the range of SEO plugins that are available. Whether you are a new company looking to build up your visitor numbers, or an established player looking to attract new audiences, WordPress has all the tools you need to do just that.
If you’re already using WordPress, then well done: you’ve got the best platform for SEO out there. If you aren’t, then take a look at the features above and have a serious think about switching to a platform that makes SEO easier.