WordPress is the largest and most influential content management system (CMS) in the world by a country mile. As of this writing, it is reportedly powering over 26% of the web.
There are also over 1.1 million new WordPress domains registered every six months and it is responsible for 30% of the current top 1000 websites (by traffic) on the internet.
All of this to say it’s a fair bet that it isn’t going anywhere soon.
Being the top CMS in the world has allowed a burgeoning ecosystem of developers to build upon the platform, making it one of the most well supported digital communities in history.
So what is it about WordPress? What makes it such a good option for both the small business and the multinational corporation?
Hundreds of millions of people can’t be wrong, right?
Well, one of the key factors to the WordPress success story is how much Google loves it.
And we all know how important that is.
Read on to find out why.
1. Plugin ecosystem
By far the most important piece of the puzzle to WordPress SEO is its flourishing plugin ecosystem, which we touched upon in the intro.
By integrating the right plugins into your setup you can easily and quickly optimise content that you upload to the web.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is the most popular. It is one of the most downloaded WordPress plugins of all time for a reason. By allowing you to add titles, meta descriptions, and tags, not to mention alerting search engines whenever you make an update, it is the gold standard for getting your content ranking in the SERPs.
Close on the heels of Yoast is All in One SEO, which boasts many similar features, and compatibility with other plugins. As of right now it is available in 57 languages.
Finally, another plugin to consider is SEMRush, which allows you to gather competitor insights and identify potential keyword opportunities. Bear in mind for full access you have to subscribe to the paid tool.
2. SEO-Friendly Permalinks
Permalink is another name for a URL. The URLs that make up your website can directly influence your ranking potential through a number of factors, the most important being relevant keyword use and click-through rate.
Fortunately for us, WordPress makes it extremely easy to change the URL structure of our most important pages. With a simple tweak we can turn unfriendly permalinks into permalinks that search engines love, making it easy for business owners or admins that have no technical knowledge to keep on top of things.
The key here is to be concise and relevant in your link naming. This gives your content its best chance of speaking for itself.
3. Optimised Imagery
Great photos and illustrations are absolutely essential to the presentation of a professional website and they are also a frequently overlooked SEO opportunity.
How? Well, the first step is to actually use images. Break up large chunks of text with relevant pictures and make your site easier to read. This will improve the user experience and will be reflected in your analytics as a longer average time on page and a reduced bounce rate.
The second step is to use the built-in ability of WordPress to optimise your imagery for search engines. Add relevant keywords to your image titles and alt descriptions and edit the size of the image so that page load will not be adversely affected.
One of the most popular plugins for image resizing can be found here.
4. Social Media Integration
Social media is a far bigger influence on search engine rankings than most people think.
Not only will you have a more engaged audience, you will likely have more traffic than competitors that don’t use social as effectively. And that’s good news for Google. And good news for you.
By choosing WordPress as your CMS you will have the pick of hundreds of plugins that make social media integration easy. The options are endless. You can add buttons to content to increase the likelihood of sharing. You can embed a social media feed for updates or automate parts of your campaigns. Social media then becomes a part of your total business system and not just a lead generator. And in this day and age that is a huge advantage.
5. Crawler Friendly
The popularity of WordPress is actually one of its biggest weapons when it comes to favoritism from Google.
Due to its mass usage across the web and its simple site architecture, search engine spiders can crawl WordPress sites without any issues, making it far more likely your rankings will receive a positive boost.
Don’t believe us? Consider that WordPress sites account for over 583,000,000 results in Google – more than any other CMS.
The former head of Google’s webspam team, Matt Cutts, actually said that WordPress takes care of “80-90% of all crawling issues.”
If you have no idea what any of this crawling stuff means, just know that WordPress takes care of it.
6. Responsive Design
Mobile browsing is now responsible for over half of all web traffic and this number is only going to grow as more of us get to grips with new initiatives such as remote working.
And Google, by extension, deals with and filters almost 90% of that traffic.
That’s a lot of people!
If it wasn’t clear already this makes it a no-brainer to ensure your business website is mobile responsive. It’s the only possible way to stay competitive in a landscape where more and more people are migrating away from the desktop.
Fortunately, most available WordPress themes are 100% mobile-ready. Also, there are a host of customization tools available that allow you to see the presentation of your mobile offering before you publish any changes.
That’s one less thing to worry about.
7. Automatic Metadata
Getting metadata right, such as SEO titles and meta descriptions, is essential if your goal is to create a solid organic presence for your business.
Researching underutilized keywords and adding them to your metadata on every post and page of your site can significantly increase the attention you get from search engines. As long as the keywords are relevant to the page in question, of course.
Optimised metadata can also help increase click-through rates on key pages as it is viewable in the SERPs.
You can do this part of WordPress SEO manually or you can use a plugin such as Yoast SEO or All in One SEO. These plugins will use the page title and first few sentences of the content to fill in the needed sections.
8. SEO Friendly & Easy On The Eye
Do you know who says, “What an ugly WordPress site?”
No one. Ever.
The user experience on WordPress sites is extremely good for a number of reasons. The first is due to its ease of use. The CMS is so easy to operate and preview with that it really is difficult to create something unappealing.
It is such a popular and competitive environment now that developers have to produce top quality themes and plugins if they want to stay in business. Only the top developers have the ability to provide the quality demanded and they can make a lot of money doing it.
The good news for you is that a WordPress site generally means a good looking site. And that means better UX. And that means Google will look at your low bounce rate and high page dwell times and deem you a quality site in your niche.
9. Site Speed Maintenance
Google have gone on record to say that site speed is not considered a ranking factor but it is a huge part of visitor satisfaction – and that can make or break your search engine positioning.
Research suggests that you have exactly 5 seconds for your page to load before people start to navigate away.
That’s 5 seconds to make a good impression and provide what they are looking for.
Not a lot of time.
There are a variety of technical reasons why WordPress is a good bet for fast load times (including custom server configuration and efficient database methodologies) but, also, there a ton of themes and plugins out there that can help you develop and maintain good performance over the long-term.
PageSpeed Ninja is one of the highest rated free options.
You can also use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to get data on how fast your site is loading currently.
10. Simple Sitemap Construction
A sitemap is a record of the hierarchy on your website and is used by search engine crawlers to get a quick snapshot of your content.
Whilst its power to affect rankings is relatively small a sitemap can still provide crawlers with a clear picture of your site and the relationship between one page and another. This makes indexing your site easier, which will have an effect on SERP positions.
Sitemaps are also important if you have a lot of redirects on-site, which is not unusual if you host a lot of content.
You can create sitemaps easily within WordPress, using either Yoast or the popular Google XML Sitemaps plugin.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed these WordPress SEO tips and now have a better idea of what makes WordPress such a valuable tool for effective search engine optimisation.
In the short and long-term it can save you money, time and hassle and – regardless of business size – is a great solution for almost any enterprise. And as the marketplace continues to grow things are only going to improve.
WordPress is powerful because it makes things easy. And easy isn’t always a bad thing.
In fact, in this case, it might be the best thing you can do for your business.