It’s no secret that WordPress is one of the most popular web tools available today. Even if you don’t know what WordPress is, chances are it powers nearly half of the webpages you view, and perhaps more. According to Web Technology Surveys, WordPress powers more than a third of the world’s websites and dominates the content management system (CMS) competition with a 63 % market share. But why is it so popular? And why is it the favored platform for search engine optimization (SEO)?
What is WordPress?
The WordPress platform is an open-source Content Management System (CMS). Unlike the static HTML pages of the past, a CMS offers you a way to structure, manage, and publish your website even if you don’t have any HTML knowledge. You can make small tweaks or broad changes to style and content and apply it across your entire site without having to edit pages individually. A good CMS will make publishing your site simple.
While there are dozens of popular CMS platforms, WordPress has become the global leader for bother personal and corporate sites. Though WordPress started out as blogging software in 2003, its support of third-party plug-ins and themes enables users to power sleek, quick websites with a variety of functions. Many well-known companies use WordPress to run their websites, including:
- BBC America
- Mercedes Benz
- The Walt Disney Company
Big companies wouldn’t use WordPress if it was bad for SEO, which is why WordPress claims to be an SEO-friendly CMS.
What do we mean by SEO-friendly?
Well, we mean that WordPress provides you with some of the most basic SEO tools right out of the box. In WordPress these tools are called plugins, and most of the SEO plugins are free and easy to use. Even more impressive is that these are robust tools that give the most advanced SEO experts the features needed to do their job. This makes search engine marketing much easier, and just about anyone can configure the plugin to help their website rank better on the search engine.
But that doesn’t mean you can install WordPress and have a perfectly-optimized website right out of the gate. WordPress is a content management tool that simplifies traditional SEO strategies and techniques with its many built in features and available plugins. It’s as simple as that. Because of this, WordPress SEO isn’t any different from normal SEO. But, with WordPress, you do have a number of SEO-friendly options you won’t get with other types of platforms. Here are some reasons why WordPress is great for SEO.
Seven Reasons Why WordPress Is the Best Platform for SEO
WordPress provides users with:
1. A Great User Experience
WordPress’s plugins and themes work simultaneously to make websites:
- Visually appealing
This results in your visitors enjoying the experience on your website. They’ll stay longer and this will decrease your overall website bounce rate. And, when you can keep your site bounce rate down and provide users with a great experience, Google rewards you by ranking your site higher in its search engine.
2. Website Speed Optimized
An essential component of an optimized site is the time it takes to load on a device. If your site takes over two to three seconds to load, you’ll probably start losing visitors and search engine page rank. Even if you’re following a great SEO strategy, if you fail to make your site speedy, you’ll rapidly increase your bounce rate because users will just leave your site, and this hurts your bottom line and visibility on the search engines. Fortunately, WordPress was built with speed and usability in mind. This is where plugins come into play.
Plugins are a huge part of why WordPress is considered so great. Web developers have helped the growth of WordPress by creating a variety of plugins to expand the base functionality of the CMS. You can think of plugins like apps for your smartphone that improve your user experience and increase the number of tasks your smartphone can manage.
Presently, there are more than 50,000 plugins to choose from for WordPress, and more than 44,000 of them are free. WordPress plugins provide you with a wide array of features you might not have been able to experience otherwise. It’s the wide range and availability of these plugins that really make WordPress stand out as one of the best website platforms around. The use of plugins provides users with the ability to control every part of their site for very minimal if any cost, something other platforms just don’t provide.
One particular SEO-friendly plugin is Yoast. It provides a total website optimization tool, helping you enhance your website. It’s an all-in-one WordPress SEO plugin that takes care of all the technical optimization of your website for search engines. It also allows you to write content your visitors want to read, by providing readability advice. It allows you to easily add SEO descriptions and titles to all your pages and posts on your site. You can also use Yoast for adding social media images and Open Graph metadata to your articles.
Yoast SEO generates an XML sitemap automatically for all your site content, making it simpler for search engines to find and crawl your site. It also helps you import your SEO data easily if you’ve used a different SEO plugin before.
Since WordPress is the world’s most commonly used CMS, it integrates with everything. If you want to integrate a service with your site, it’s likely you’ll find a WordPress plugin or at minimum, a simple-to-use API.
For instance, some popular services you can integrate with your WordPress site are:
- Google Analytics
5. A Mobile-Friendly Design
WordPress is completely optimized for the mobile user. In the past several years, mobile usage has rapidly grown. Just looking at this Broadband Search chart, you’ll see mobile traffic rose in the past five years to 222%. Today, more than half of all web traffic, including web searches come from mobile devices. If your site doesn’t load quickly and display beautifully on mobile devices, you could find yourself missing out on half your potential clients!
If you’re trying to gain momentum online, you’ll want your site to be mobile usage optimized. Fortunately, if you’re using WordPress already, there’s nothing extra you’ll need to do to make your site mobile-accessible. In addition, WordPress sites are built with development in mind so that your developer can easily modify your mobile design without any headaches.
This is because most WordPress themes come already mobile user optimized.
6. Image Optimization
It’s easy to optimize images on WordPress for SEO. Images are important for your blog posts. When you use one or two of them in a structured way it helps to break your content up into interesting, readable sections.
But images are also a powerful tool for SEO, particularly when you’re using WordPress. You can actually optimize your images for SEO rankings in several ways, including:
- Having the ability to add “alternative text” for each of your images. This alternative text is typically your keywords you’re looking to rank. Search engine crawlers will pick them up from your image descriptions.
- Being able to use a plugin that will create “alt text” automatically for your images.
- Resizing your images so they’re not slowing your site’s load speed down.
Plugins like WP Rocket’s Imagify can compress image size without noticeable loss in image quality. You can configure Imagify to compress images to specified settings are you upload them or you can use their bulk optimizer tool to compress and optimize all the images on your site. They have both a free version that limits the amount of image data you can compress in a month, or a paid version without limits.
7. Design Themes
A WordPress theme is the element in the CMS that governs how the site looks. This included the CSS, menus, banners, widgets, etc. Metadata and keywords aren’t the only elements search engine crawlers look at for relevance. They also look at the webpage design. When you’re using WordPress, you don’t have to worry about site design optimization. You just select an SEO-friendly theme and your site will automatically be set up to attract the crawlers to your website.
WordPress themes run the gambit from simple and elegant to complex and multi-faceted. While the platform supports more than 3,000 free themes, theme market places offer thousands more for that will fit any budget.
Do I still Need to Hire a Professional?
Maybe, maybe not. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) professionals use these tools in the same way you can. Hiring a pro means you get the benefit of their professional experience and knowledge they’ve built over the length of their career. It also means you can focus on your business and customer experience without having to monitor marketing trends and WordPress releases. It’s also important to remember that while WordPress is flexible, easy-to-use, and offers a great base for SEO, it’s not straight out-of-the-box optimized. To get the most out of your WordPress site, you’ll need to install some plugins and integrate tracking tools to measure your success.