SEO For WordPress: Are WordPress Websites SEO Friendly?
Did you know that there are over two billion websites on the Internet?
With that incredible number, you might worry about how people are going to find you, and if you already have good rankings, you might worry about losing them if you were to convert to a WordPress content management system.
If you need an easy platform that’ll allow you to rank well and drive more traffic, consider a WordPress website. WordPress websites are popular due to the ease of use, great functionality, and professional looks. Check out these showcased WordPress sites: http://wordpress.org/showcase/archives/ which showcase how popular and versatile the software platform is, and about its search-ability and large-scale usability. If National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal are using WordPress, that speaks volumes about using it as a possible platform for your site.
If you’re still thinking of WordPress as a personal blog, you should know it’s so much more—an excellent tool for small or medium sized websites, host for galleries of videos and photos, forums and online communities, corporate portals, and of course blog posts. Most people who have blogged are familiar with the convenience and usability of WordPress, which makes it a logical choice for using as your main website too. If you are already used to blogging with WordPress imagine how easy it will be to maintain your own site pages using the very same tool. So we know WordPress is easy to navigate, easy to administer and maintain, and very versatile. The question is whether WordPress is SEO-friendly as well. Converting your website into WordPress could be scary if the software destroys your hard-won search rankings.
In our experience at Boomtown Internet Group, WordPress is an ideal solution for the websites of smaller businesses. It can be set up quickly, easily publish content, and quickly optimized to show up in Google’s search results. Every page can be indexed by Google, which sometimes doesn’t happen in other more traditional CMS (content management) systems. WordPress has many plugins and applications that make it easy for internal optimization, allowing you to build a website that features an attractive and functional design, and one that can easily be customized and managed yourself—not to mention it’s SEO-friendly.
So How SEO-friendly is WordPress?
If possible, design your WordPress style sheet to have your content close to the top of the page, for better readability—most search engines only scan the first half of web pages. WordPress can also keep sidebars, footers, and other page elements towards the bottom and out of the way. This design will allow your visitors easy readability as well.
The WordPress default installation doesn’t allow for strict control of page titles and meta tags for keywords and page descriptions—but there is a really great plugin called The All-In-One-SEO Plugin that’ll take care of it for you. For more control, it lets you add page titles and meta tags manually, as you’ll get the best results that way. Don’t forget to optimize with regional spelling and supply the search engines with information specific to your website for the best results.
Since blogs publish the same content on many pages such as archives and category pages, you can be penalized for duplicate content. For instance, if a blog post is placed in more than one category, the post content can appear on the individual pages for each category. If Google sees the content on more than one page of your site, it can be downgraded as duplicate content. However, with the All In One SEO Plugin, the post is only accessible to search crawlers in one place. The other links to it will not be followed, which takes care of the duplicate-content problem without messing around with the Robots.txt or other workarounds.
So you’ve got great content, now you need great links. The quality and quantity of your links are important and play a role in search engine favoritism. Who is linking to you? WordPress makes this easy, with trackbacks, pingbacks, and blogrolls. You’ll know who’s linking to you and you’ll easily be able to link to other people, giving both them and you search engine credit. Consider installing the “Related Posts plugin” and have your articles link to other similar articles you’ve written.
Not only text can be optimized for the Search Engines: WordPress allows you to optimize your images as well. Taking the time to write alt tags and mindfully name your files will drive additional traffic to your site. It’s important to take advantage of image optimization—even if your visitors can’t see your image tags, you’ll still get traffic from different engines. I recommend that you take the time to do this yourself, but if you don’t have the time, use one of the available WordPress plugins to do it for you. The plugin is called “SEO friendly Images” and can add titles to images in posts and pages.
One experience we recently had while in development mode on a website convinced us of WordPress’s innate SEO-friendliness. We were designing the website www.rcdtechnology.com which had a section on RFID UHF Wristbands. We forgot to disable the xml rpc ping notification feature on WordPress while we were in development, and the same day we put up the page on UHF Wristbands, the client got a call inquiring about them. This sort of looked bad for Boomtown because we were still in development, but it really accentuated the complete SEO-friendliness and quick rankings which can be achieved by using the WordPress CMS software as the basis for your website.
For many businesses WordPress is a very robust CMS platform that will allow you much more flexibility and administrative control over your content, while giving you the added benefit of inherent SEO-friendliness. You don’t have to know HTML or CSS to use a WordPress website or blog. WordPress offers a built in editor, pre-existing customizations, tutorials, and how-tos. Although WordPress may not be the most perfect CMS solution, it’s so easy to set up, run, and maintain a great website and if you put in a little time, it’ll deliver great search engine results.
If you’re interested in learning more about WordPress, email us at [email protected] and we’d be happy to answer any questions.