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Is WordPress Search Engine (SEO) Friendly?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plays a vital role in today’s marketing efforts. The likes of Google and Bing now play a crucial role in getting your business noticed by your target audience, and by following the guidelines they have set in place, your website can easily push past its competitors in the search rankings.

The content management system (CMS) you choose to use can affect how easy it is for you to boost your website’s SEO potential. Here at Identify, we’re big fans of WordPress as a CMS – its capabilities are fantastic and with plenty of flexibility as to how it caters for your website’s needs, there’s very little it cannot do.

If you’re wondering just how SEO friendly WordPress is, you’ve come to the right place. We’re about to go over the benefits and slight drawbacks that WordPress has when it comes to increasing a website’s SEO potential. Feel free to use this information to help you understand how to make use of WordPress’ features to get your site further up in the rankings.

WordPress is flexible

As an open source system, a WordPress website can easily be manipulated and modified to better meet its SEO needs. This area of SEO is pretty technical and there are various SEO elements that can be optimised through changing your WordPress website’s code.

Although this is freely and readily available, it takes a skilled developer to do this, who will carry this out by making changes to your websites code.

WordPress provides a SEO-friendly URL structure

The structure of your website’s URLs will affect how well it performs on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Search engines ask that URL structures are easy to read, keyword rich, consistent and future-proof, to name a few each of which WordPress’ system can help you to achieve.

By default, WordPress helps you to create a URL based on the name of the page in question. However, it’s very easy for you to make changes to a page’s URL if you wish, and if you think it would be beneficial for your SEO efforts.

Images can be easily optimised with WordPress

Images play a vital role in how engaging your website’s content is, which is why search engines now pay close attention to these types of asset. Optimising your images can play a part in boosting site up the rankings for certain search queries, and it’s incredibly simple to do using the WordPress system.

When you upload an image to WordPress, you’re able to customise the file name, use alt tags and make use of high-quality images, all of which can benefit its SEO potential.

Metadata changes are limited – unless you use a plugin

Your ‘out-of-the-box’ WordPress CMS will only allow you to make a limited number of changes to the metadata on your website. In fact, the only way you will be able to change or optimise it, is through changing the name of the post or the page. Although this will make changes to your H1 and your page title, they will have to remain the same as one another, and your meta description won’t be optimised either.

However, there is a free plugin available on WordPress, called Yoast SEO, which is readily available and will allow you to fully optimise your page or post metadata. Simply download and install this plugin, and the WordPress system will instantly become more SEO friendly.

What else does Yoast Add?

There are a few other SEO areas where the standard WordPress system might cause some issues, luckily the Yoast plugin takes care of these for you:

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs – which help visitors and search engines to navigate throughout your website and understand what it’s all about – don’t come as a standard with WordPress.

XML Sitemap

Yoast will create XML Sitemaps which provides a list of your website’s pages that you want search engines to find.

Canonical Tags

Canonical tags, which let search engines know which page you want them to prioritise when two or more pages are very similar, make up a vital part of boosting your website’s SEO. Yoast automatically adds self referencing canonical tags which is a great fall back for a lot of duplicate content issues. It also allows you to change these to the url of your choice in order to meet your SEO needs.

Other areas to consider to boost your WordPress’ SEO capabilities

The standard WordPress system does have its benefits when looking to boost your website’s SEO potential, but it also has its drawbacks too. However, with the help of a skilled team of developers and by installing some useful plugins, you’re introduced to great deal more functionality that will eliminate the drawbacks from before.

Here are a few other SEO considerations to make when working to boost your WordPress website’s SEO potential:

  • Mobile-first indexing & responsive design – In today’s online market and where Google prioritises mobile first indexing over desktop, a mobile-responsive website is vital.
  • Multiple versions of your website – Whether that’s as http, https or non-www versions, your website should only have one of these versions available at any one time, but it’s not uncommon to see multiple versions popping up. In this case, redirects should be implement to that only one version is available. Https is recommended, which is available using an SSL certificate.
  • Load Times – how quickly your website loads up can play a part in how well it ranks in SERPs. WordPress naturally offers pretty quick load speeds, but plugins and custom functionality can slow your website down. It can become a vicious circle of trying to boost SEO but slowing your site down as a result, but using tools such as GTMetrix can help you to determine how to improve your site speed.

If you would like to talk about WordPress and its SEO capabilities further, our friendly team of specialists will be happy to help. As WordPress fanatics and experts, we’ll be able to offer advice and guidance on how best to boost your WordPress website’s SEO, and could also work with you to implement those recommendations. Give us a call today.