Most readers of CMS Critic will be familiar with WordPress’s huge user numbers. What you might be less familiar with is the extent to which the semantic publishing platform’s popularity might in part be driven by its friendliness to the digital marketing community and, in particular, SEO professionals.
Search engine optimisation specialists have become major standard bearers for WordPress. An SEO specialist often runs at least one website outside of their main job and WordPress is nearly always the chosen platform. By why is WP so favoured by this particular community; what are the features that SEO types love; and what plugins should be in your WordPress SEO toolbox?
While search engine optimisation specialists are often very literate and numerate they very rarely have any technical or coding skills. So a CMS that sets up a brand new website in under 10 minutes with no need for advanced technical knowledge is a gift to them.
Search professionals appreciate not only the ease of set up but the huge WordPress community and masses of ‘how to’ style articles on the web. This vast cache of resources means that despite very little coding know-how an SEO specialist can make sizeable customisations to their WordPress site by accessing the hive-mind.
Straight out of the box WordPress has a ton of SEO-friendly features.
Of course many of these features have been prompted by a desire to follow best digital publishing practices rather than a desire to make WordPress a great platform for SEO. But a large part of the work of an SEO specialist is ensuring web pages adhere to best practice in the eyes of Google and the other search engines, so the benefits are there regardless of intent.
Here are a few of the most important:
The vast number of plugins available for WordPress mean that whatever your SEO strategy you’ll almost certainly find a combination to suit. By leveraging the power of WP plugins you can make major SEO changes to your site without ever having to login to an FTP server or write a single line of code.
The main problem with using plugins for all your SEO needs is that they have the potential to slow down your page load times – another increasingly important factor in search engine algorithms.
Luckily a decent WordPress developer can bake all the features that an SEO consultant specifies, and which would otherwise be provided by plugins, directly into a customised theme. This allows for faster page load times, a better user experience and better rankings in search.
I have to admit here that I don’t have a great deal of experience with using other Content Management Systems. But, from the perspective of an SEO professional who’s never written a line of code in his life, it would take a lot of persuasion to pull me away from a platform that requires so little programming knowledge, that offers so many options for customisation, that has so many bespoke SEO plugins and that is supported by such a large community of search experts.