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Is WordPress Good for SEO?

Is WordPress Good for SEO?

We get asked a lot about WordPress’ suitability for search engine rankings. WordPress’ reputation and having a sound foundation for SEO has certainly seeped into the public’s mind. For the most part, the reputation is deserved. This site, TastyPlacement.com runs on WordPress, and ranks very well for our intended keywords.

There are a few drawbacks with WordPress, but like most things SEO, it’s really about the cumulative effect of everything. Overall, we’d grade WordPress an A- on it’s suitability and power for SEO purposes. But it’s so good at so many things, that it presents a compelling story overall.

Now, we’ll dig into the nuts and bolts.

WordPress SEO Benefit: Google Just Likes It

I have seen it time and time again: WordPress sites rank very well in Google search results pages, even in competitive markets. I can only conclude that Google favors the platform over others. I never thought that WordPress was much use to hard-core spammers, so it’s possible that WordPress sites enjoy a “trust factor” in Google’s eyes.

WordPress SEO Benefit: Speed of Content Creation

WordPress is built to run: it is designed for the speedy and continual publishing of content. Since I have converted nearly all my sites and most of my client’s sites to WordPress, our speed to publishing has increased. On a static html site, the creation of content would generally involve either hard-coding the article, or using a WYSIWYG interface, then adjusting menus–sometimes on multiple pages. With WP, sites grow big and grow fast. All that content brings breadth to your keyword families quickly, and your large site can quickly become “bait” for inbound links from other websites.

WordPress SEO Benefit: Crawlability

Websites must be crawlable by search engines in order to be indexed properly and appear in search rankings. WordPress’ internal logic and link structure is simple and shared universally among millions of websites–so WP is familiar ground for search engines. This familiarity means that Google’s spiders can find what they are looking for, and index and rank the content with confidence.

SEO Benefit: Plug-Ins and Support

Because the WordPress community is so large (enormous, really), the variety and number of plug-ins for SEO support has grown tremendously (Plug-ins are small software modules that website owners can optionally install in addition to the default WP installation). The All in One SEO Plug-In, or the Platinum SEO Pack are both quick and easy “one stop” plug-ins that accomplishe a basic, but sound set of SEO goals such as manual Title Tags and Meta Descriptions.  These plug-ins extend WordPress’ functionality to rival the control and customization you would achieve under a static site.

SEO Benefit: New Content “Bump”

Another great feature of WordPress, which is also shared by other blogging platforms is the “new content bump”. A new post (generally not a “page” though–WP divides its content into two classes of webpages: “posts” and “pages”) will receive an initial lift in rankings during it’s first few days after publishing. This is logical: blog posts are intended to be topical and current, like a news item–Google treats this fresh content as noteworthy and rewards it with a bump in initial rankings. Ranking position will generally settle down after a few days.

SEO Benefit: Pings, Comments and Trackbacks

Pings, Comments and Trackbacks are interactive features built into WP–these supplemental tools let other blogs and individuals interact with a WordPress site: this brings inbound links and traffic (in the case of pings and trackbacks), and free content and visitors  (in the form of comments to blog posts).

SEO Drawback: Poorly Designed Themes

But it’s not all rosy: I see a lot of poorly designed themes that undercut WordPress’ SEO power. Here’s an example I often see: a theme/template will be designed with the blog’s title bearing a Heading 1 (h1) tag–that’s not the way to go. The h1 tag should speak to the subject/topic of each page or post–to repeat an h1 tag mindlessly throughout hundred of pages on a blog is a waste of a valuable SEO tool.

The fix? Code the Blog Title in a plain old CSS class–and utilize the powerful h1 tag for the on-page title for each post or page.

SEO Drawback: Rigidity in Menu Presentation

The biggest hang-up that WP forces upon us is perhaps the way menus are presented. The Page/Post methodology described above generally means that posts and pages are kept separate in menus. That’s not an insurmountable problem, but excluding individual pages from particular menu locations (like a top bar menu, where space is limited) can require coding the WP template’s core .php files, or inserting page ID’s in Widget boxes ad nauseum. Now, to get advanced: If you want to “nofollow” certain page links, say to a contact page or a privacy policy page (in a static site, this task is a breeze) you can either forget it, or go hunting for a plug-in.

When it comes to menu presentation in WordPress, I have learned “the wisdom to recognize that which I cannot change”. I have adapted, and I got over it. It’s a small price to pay for all this power.

12 Responses

  1. We’re considering switching our website’s blog to the WordPress platform. Your article has helped move us closer to our decision. Do you find more people switching to WordPress? Several friends have recommended Blogger, mostly because it’s part of Google. Will Google prefer Blogger over WordPress? I wouldn’t think that they would, but who knows for sure.

    1. Yep…WordPress installations are increasing–and many of our clients are requesting it. Blogger is OK because it’s free and fast, but I don’t feel it has the power of WordPress. Certainly, Google has no aversion to WordPress because they offer a competing product…

  2. Hi. Really appreciate this article as I’m on Typepad and wonder if it’s the better platform or equally good or worse. Do you have a similar article on Typepad or could you write one? Would love to see your thoughts on that platform. Thanks!

  3. Can a commercial website operate better if using the WordPress platform or it is not applicable? I am planning to build another website, infomercial type, with google adsense, amazon affiliate, infolinks, chitika… is it possible.

    Why should I choose WP over other options?

  4. I think everything about WordPress is geared towards being as greatly optimised for search engines as possible. From scheduling posts, and the custom build of URLs, right down to trackbacks. Of course certain themes can throw spanners in the works, but all in all is the best platform I’ve used for SEO.

  5. Glenn

    Hi everyone. Excellent website cause I’m also thinking about using WordPress for my IT Tech business. Now I know more than before. Thanks

  6. This is going to be a retarded question but out of curiosity (and according to you), if someone that hosts a blog under blogger and he gets about 600-400 views, would shifting to WP be a significant jump?

  7. I do believe other web site masters should consider this web site just as one product * really clean and wonderful styling, as well as this article. You’re an expert of this type!

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