WordPress started out as a place for bloggers to keep their material, and has grown into a solid platform for building websites which look good and perform well. Around a quarter of all new websites are built in WordPress. Why is it so popular, and why is it such a good platform for SEO?
Other platforms such as Joomla or Squarespace have their advantages, whilst Magento is recognised as the work horse for huge multi-product ecommerce sites. But, in the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) community, WordPress tends to be accepted as the best.
Choose your own permalinks
Permalinks are the URLs on your site or, in plain English, the web address of each page of a website. Some platforms default the permalink to the page title or, worse, to a seemingly random jumble of code. The permalink is what the search engine uses to navigate through your site, so having something accurate there can make a big difference to how and where the page appears in search.
The other consideration is that sometimes you might want a descriptive page title but a short, easy to remember, URL. Being able to edit the permalink makes this possible.
WordPress for easy Google indexing
Indexing means having a website crawled, or ‘read’, by Google in order for that page of information to be added into search. It’s a bit like asking to be added to a contact list, so that you’re easier to find when someone needs you.
WordPress sites get indexed by default, which gives them a better chance of performing well in search.
Putting WordPress plugins to work for good SEO
Too many unnecessary plugins installed can actually be bad for the overall performance of a site, and therefore for SEO. Adding lots of extra plugins increases the amount of information that a site needs to open, so it can slow down the loading speed. It gives users a bad experience of the website, and causes Google to downgrade the site’s ranking as a results.
That doesn’t mean avoiding the use of plugins completely though, and in fact some can be incredibly useful. Yoast will tell you how well each page is likely to perform in SEO, and gives you a list of things to change on each page to improve the SEO performance. Wordfence helps to keep your website secure from online threats.
Keep plugins up to date, and make sure any not in use are uninstalled from the site. Look out for plugins which can help improve the speed of the site by making recommendations.
Adapt a website theme or template
A website designer can design and build a fully bespoke site on the WordPress platform, but there are also themes and templates which can be used. There are plenty of free or paid versions available, and they can be installed and adapted as you need.
We see a lot of websites every day, so we do preach that just because you can build your own site, it doesn’t always mean that you should. Sometimes it needs a designer’s eye to communicate the themes well for your audience. That said, there are enough ready-made options available which can handle basic sites beautifully (and it’s often a lot cheaper). WordPress has an astonishing range of themes available, and they’re much more flexible to adapt than in some platforms.
Responsive website design
Having a responsive, or optimised, website means that it adjusts the layout to suit whatever size screen is being used to view it. Since launching their Pixel phones, Google have (mysteriously) started to take mobile responsiveness for websites much more seriously.
It means that sites which perform well on a mobile device are more likely to rank well in search. Most of the readymade themes in WP are optimised for use across devices, and so will tick an extra SEO box.
Easy to set up an ecommerce extension
Dedicated online shop platforms can be very useful, but a bit bulky and difficult to get the look that you want. WooCommerce is a plug in for managing an online shop. It integrates beautifully with WordPress, allowing users to deal with all of the online commerce processing.
List products for sale, deal with the ordering, replenishment and reporting end of things, and send event triggered notifications. In English, that means when a customer buys something, the back end of the site automatically sends a confirmation email.