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 you have visited a WordPress website. 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 marketing (PPC and SEO)?
What is WordPress CMS?
WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (CMS). Unlike the static HTML pages (code in a file) of the past, a CMS offers you a way to structure, manage, and publish your website without HTML knowledge. With a CMS you can make small tweaks or broad changes to the website design or content and apply it across your entire site without having to edit pages individually. Users with zero HTML knowledge can update content on this CMS easily. WordPress makes editing a website simple, and you do not have to hire a website developer everytime edits are needed.
There are dozens of popular CMS platforms out there. Some are paid and others are open source like WordPress, which has become the global leader for both personal and business websites. WordPress started out as blogging software in 2003, its support of third-party plug-ins and themes gave novice users the ability to quickly launch and edit websites with a variety of out of the box features and functionality.
Even large corporations are skipping out on custom built websites and using WordPress. Its both secure and highly functional across the board. Many well-known companies use WordPress to run their websites, including:
- BBC America
- Mercedes Benz
- The Walt Disney Company
What does Open Source mean?
The phrase Open Source refers to something that can be modified and shared publicly without any restriction. You can find all types of open source code on the internet from software to project management tools and CMS’s. When we talk about open source cms, we are saying the CMS and its source code is available to all without fee or restrictions. Meaning WordPress can be used, customized and modified by anyone, and anyway they want. The other benefit of Open Source is that any developer can use the source code to create add-ons (Plugins) for WordPress with zero restrictions or having to become licensed / certified to work on the platform. The developer can also publish the plugin free or charge a fee. WordPress does not get a dime if a fee is charged.
What is an SEO-friendly CMS?
WordPress was built with SEO in mind, and 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 these 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.
This doesn’t mean you can simply 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!
1. User Friendly
WordPress 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. What loads first (images or content) and how exactly does it load are all important factors Google takes into consideration when grading your website speed. If your site takes over two to three seconds to load, you’ll probably start losing visitors. You might also start dropping in keywords if Google thinks your website is too slow and not optimized accordingly. If you’re following a great SEO strategy, and fail to make your site speedy, you’ll rapidly increase your bounce rate because users will simply leave, which 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. Since WordPress is open source, 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, 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. We use Yoast for all of our clients SEO campaigns. It is a feature rich website optimization tool, helping you optimize your website. It’s an all-in-one WordPress SEO plugin that gives SEO experts the tools they need to do their job without having to custom code or manually edit every page on the website. It 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 from one dashboard. Yoast also 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 data from other SEO plugins, and migrate your website to a new WordPress Install. A Full list of Yoast SEO plugin features can be found here.
Since WordPress is the world’s most commonly used CMS, it integrates with everything. If you want to integrate a service or software with your site, it’s likely you’ll find a WordPress plugin or at minimum, a simple-to-use API that any developer can integrate into WP.
For instance, some popular services you can integrate with your WordPress site are:
- Google Analytics
- Google Shopping (woocommerce)
- Most POS Systems
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 optimized. Fortunately, if you’re using WordPress already, there’s nothing extra you’ll need to do to make your site mobile-accessible. Most themes are already mobile friendly. In addition, WordPress sites are built with development in mind so that your developer can easily modify your website for mobile design without any headaches.
At Inbound we have found Mobile drives a huge portion of our clients ready to buy traffic. In some industries, mobile outweighs desktop traffic 2 to 1. WordPress gives our team the foundation it needs to build a very effective mobile experience for our clients search engine marketing campaigns.
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.
Images are also a powerful tool for SEO, particularly when you’re using WordPress. You can 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 specific sizes as you upload them or you can use their bulk optimizer tool to compress and optimize all the images on your site at once. 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. WordPress 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.
Since WordPress is open source it makes theme development easy for designers and developers. It’s up to the developer how user friendly the theme will be to install and modify for the theme buyer. Depending on which theme you choose, you can launch a new website design and customize it to suit your brand with little work.
Installing a WordPress theme is simple. Download the theme, log into your CMS and upload the theme using this guide. If you purchased a professional theme, you will have a readme file which will explain how to upload, and customize the theme to your liking.
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 marketplaces like Themeforest offer thousands more for that will fit any budget. You can also hire a designer to create a bespoke design for your website, and have a developer turn that into a theme that can be built on the WordPress CMS.
Do I Need to Hire an SEO if i use WordPress?
Depends on the size of your business, industry, budget and competition. If you have time time to educate yourself on SEO, you can use these tools like any SEO would. The only thing you are missing is experience. Hiring a pro means you get the benefit of their professional experience and knowledge they’ve built over the length of their career. You also have to remember that SEO rankings do not happen with just the website alone, there are links and citations that have be built in order to become competitive on Google’s search engine results pages. 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 start educating yourself on general SEO tactics, and WordPress SEO optimization.