If you are using WordPress for your blog or are thinking of starting a site using WordPress, you’ll want to know whether it’s a good choice for SEO. More specifically: will WordPress help you get more traffic from search engines like Google? Before answering the question, it must be pointed out that there are a lot of factors to succeeding in SEO, not just the choice of a CMS.
French SEO Olivier Andrieu uses the metaphor of baking a cake to describe search engine optimization. To bake a good cake you need good ingredients, a good cake pan and a good oven. Transposed to SEO, the ingredients are your content, the cake pan is your HTML code and the oven represents the links to your website.
Who decides what’s a good cake? The cook can have an opinion, but the opinion of those who taste the cake are paramount. If you are baking to please a group of friends, including Google, it’s a good idea to learn what they like first, do they have allergies, ingredients that you shouldn’t be using. Do they love dark chocolate? [Pro tip: Google likes TITLE tags, sprinkle them liberally on all your pages]
WordPress is not the Perfect Cake Pan!
The WordPress CMS produces the HTML code that make up your web pages. To answer the question “Is WordPress good for SEO?” you’ll want to know if WordPress produces the HTML code search engines like.
Bad news! Your WordPress site probably doesn’t produce HTML exactly the way search engines want it. Your HTML will depend on the theme you use, and a lot of themes – including the ones that say they are SEO-Friendly – are criticized for not respecting search engines guidelines or being too slow to load. A bad theme may have a negative effect on your SEO.
You may want to compare themes or check your site using a SEO audit tool like Woorank.
You will need a SEO plugin for WordPress
Two HTML codes that are important to Google and Bing can’t be managed in WordPress without a plugin. These are the TITLE tag and the META DESCRIPTION.
Closer look: TITLE and META DESCRIPTION are HTML codes hidden in each web page.
When you visit a page with your navigator, you can’t see the META DESCRIPTION without looking at the source code, but you can see the TITLE tag of a page as the text in the page’s tab in your navigator).
These HTML codes tell search engines what text you would like them to use in creating the preview (snippet) of your page in search results.
The text of your TITLE tag becomes the clickable blue link and the content you add as a META DESCRIPTION is presented as the non-clickable description.
Search engines may ignore your TITLE and META DESCRIPTIONS and place other texts in the snippet. If they do this, it may indicate that something is wrong with the text you provided.
Maybe it wasn’t very relevant to the search term or maybe your text was of low quality or too spammy.
Optimizing TITLE tags and adding META DESCRIPTION tags are the most important and popular features of any WordPress plugin for SEO. You can follow the guide on how to manage Title tags globally and individually per page in SEOPress here. You can also import metadata from a CSV file with SEOPress Pro.
A SEO plugin for WordPress will also allow you to markup content in a way that search engines appreciate. For example, Google likes us to provide a sitemap, structured data markup, breadcrumbs and redirections for pages that have changed. Again, your favorite WordPress plugin will allow you provide these things even where the default installation of WordPress, or your theme, doesn’t.
You need a plugin to make your code better, consider it as grease in your cake pan.
Why WordPress is Great for SEO!
In conclusion, WordPress with SEOPress installed is a great CMS that will let you provide information the way search engines want it. To get the best results for SEO you need to be careful with your choice of theme and work on your content ingredients and netlinking oven.
Here are a few reasons why WordPress is great for SEO:
You can spend more time doing SEO. The great thing about WordPress is that it makes it easy to build web sites and publish content regularly. One of the big factors in SEO is the amount of content you can produce over time. Using a CMS rather than coding HTML pages, your time can be better spent doing SEO jobs: searching for keywords, producing content and contacting other sites for links.
Website structure. WordPress lets you have both static pages that can be organized into categories and blog posts that are linked to the date you publish them. Search engines, like Google, recognize the publication dates of articles and for lots of search terms give a preference to more recent articles – SEOs call this Freshness Rank. New content therefore has more chances to rank in Google and drive traffic to your site.
URLs. WordPress has a big advantage in the way that you can manage URLs through permalinks. Search engines want URLs to reflect site navigation and not use extraneous parameters. You can handle this much better in WordPress than in other CMSs like Wix.
ALT text. You can help search engines understand what’s in an image by providing alternative text. This then helps you get ranked for image searches. WordPress lets users add alternative text and titles for images when they are uploaded. SEOPress can automatically set image ALT text based on the filename (SEO > Advanced > Image SEO tab).
Great plugins. WordPress’ founding philosophy means that it doesn’t try to cover every user need in the default installation. This allows for a community of developers to provide themes and plugins that are adapted to users’ needs. The competitive nature of the plugin market means that developers really strive to provide the most useful and up-to-date plugins. More about the philosophy behind WordPress.
Most popular CMS. WordPress is the World’s most used CMS. Estimates indicate that % of all websites use it. This means that search engines need to adapt to WordPress more than WordPress has to adapt to search engines. If there are flaws in WordPress’ HTML code, Google works around them.
Our Recipe for WordPress SEO Success
Good SEO needs content, HTML and links but like cooking, you also need a good recipe to follow. You can get great SEO results using WordPress, but there are some important things to learn first.
Follow our blog over the next few months and you’ll get detailed instructions on each step towards SEO success:
- Understand how search engines work
- Learn how to find good keywords
- Optimizing pages and articles for keywords
- Site Architecture for SEO
- Getting indexed and improving listing
- Optimize Local Search Results
- Show Expertise, Authority and Trust
- Getting links to your website
- Use social media to improve your SEO