Search engine visibility is an essential part of any website’s success. Organic search still outranks paid advertising and an active social media presence as a way to draw quality traffic to your site, so optimizing your business or personal website for searchability is key to your content management strategy. With SEO friendly tools in all its core components, WordPress, the world’s most popular website builder and content management system, just may be the best content management system for SEO available today.
Every Site Needs SEO
Whether you’re a lifestyle blogger, a small business startup or a large company with many different divisions, your site needs traffic. Although recent changes to search engine algorithms and the rising popularity of paid advertising make it seem that building traffic through unpaid, natural organic search is a time consuming and ultimately futile endeavor, recent statistics on website use indicate that organic searches, not just from the large search engines like Google and Bing, but also from quasi-search engine sites like Amazon and Pinterest, still provide a steady source of quality, relevant traffic to sites that are well optimized to rank high in searches.
Advertising, social media, and other strategies are all part of an effective marketing plan, but getting found through organic searches performed by real people is still a vital part of raising awareness about your brand – and it is also most likely the most economical marketing solution you’ll find, thanks to WordPress hosting.
SEO Essentials for WordPress Sites
Search engines are constantly sending crawlers to search and index different kinds of content found online. Based on those results and a set of criteria largely known only to the search engine’s developers, each site is ranked in order of importance and value to users. The goal of most marketers is to rank, or appear as close as possible to the top in search results, so a key part of SEO strategy is to make sure that every possible part of a WordPress website is optimized to suit the ever-changing priorities of search algorithms. Currently, essential factors for ranking high on Google, the world’s most-used search engine, include:
- Fast loading sites. Google’s stated aim is to provide users with the best search experience, and that includes sites that load quickly and smoothly so that there’s no wait time in which a visitor is likely to click away. There are different ways to improve the speed of your site that will ultimately help your content rank higher in search results.
- Mobile responsiveness. More people now access the Internet from mobile devices than from the desktop, so Google rewards mobile-friendly sites with higher rankings.
- Quality content with natural keyword use. Sites that publish relevant content that provides real value to the user tend to rank higher in searches, especially when enhanced by relevant keywords, naturally used – not keyword-stuffed short pieces that don’t relate to users’ needs.
- Internal Linking. Backlinks – links from other sites to yours – have always been one measure of a site’s value and relevance, but so are internal links among the various types of content on the WordPress website. Internal linking, especially when links are structured to include keywords, demonstrates that all the content on the site is connected and relates to the site’s overall theme.
WordPress accommodates all these factors and more with native SEO features that are built into its source code and extended by a multitude of free and premium SEO plugins and themes.
SEO Starts With the Source Code
The WordPress source code includes all the coding and structures for a generic WordPress site that can be customized in a multitude of ways, and that coding includes elements that directly support SEO.
WordPress is written largely in PHP, but it also incorporates proper HTML markup, so that WordPress sites can be easily understood and crawled by a variety of search engines. The WordPress core also includes multiple options for optimizing images for searches, such as ALT tags and descriptions, and its content editor also supports the creation of complex, long-form text with preset title and heading tags. From the basic WordPress admin dashboard, users can also set keyword-rich permalink structures and create an optimized meta description as well as incorporate a variety of social sharing SEO tools into each post and page.
WordPress Themes Support SEO
WordPress theme options are overlaid upon the source code and determine the appearance and some of the functions of a new WordPress site. Most free and premium WordPress theme options contain proper HTML markup to accommodate search engine bots, and many of the newer themes and upgraded versions of older themes include mobile-friendly features as well. For older themes that don’t have these features, there are plugins that can add features, such as mobile responsiveness and enhanced options for adding metadata and other search engine optimization elements, in cases where switching from an easily recognized longstanding theme to a newer one would pose problems for a site’s brand recognition.
An SEO Plugin For WordPress Can Add More Support
Every part of a website has the potential for SEO, and a number of WordPress SEO plugins can help site runners take advantage of all those opportunities. Plugins like Yoast SEO and All In One SEO Pack allow users to set up a meta description, check keyword placement and relevance and evaluate a post or page for its SEO-readiness before it’s published. Other free and premium WordPress plugins provide more specialized functions, such as optimizing images or integrating the site with SEO tracking tools such as Google Analytics.
WordPress was originally designed as a blogging platform with the goal of helping everyone publish their message online, and this is reflected in the easy to use SEO tools for optimizing search engine visibility that it provides in every one of its core components – source code, themes, and WordPress plugins. Fast, free and customizable for every need, WordPress remains the best website builder for search engine optimization.