Is WordPress good for SEO?

This is a question I am often asked by clients thinking of updating their websites and the answer is a resounding ‘YES!’.

While search engines like Google don’t have a preference for which Content Management System (CMS) you use to build your site, and their algorithms won’t give you a higher ranking by choosing one over another, there are a whole raft of reasons why WordPress is great for SEO.

Beautiful Design and a Great User Experience

OK, so this might not be something that Google is going to rate you on, but as a designer it will always be my first consideration. Spending time, effort and money on making sure your website ranks highly counts for nothing if your visitors are immediately turned off by how your site looks, reads and behaves when they get there.

WordPress makes creating good looking, easy to use sites simple. There are a huge variety of templates and frameworks available, most of which are beautifully designed and with great usability features built in.

Easy to Add Content (No Code Required!)

Every SEO expert will tell you that the most important thing on any website is its content. Well-crafted text that tells the reader what they need to know, and clear calls to action are what make the difference between a site being successful or simply being overlooked by a visitor.

Adding content in WordPress is easy, whether you use it as it comes, or you chose to add a page builder tool (I love Themify), it is as easy as typing an email. 

Images are also easy to add, and unlike some other CMS it is simple to add alt text (this is a description of the image to aid visitors using a screen reader).  This is something which Google requires for accessibility purposes, and they will mark you down if you don’t have it. Carefully crafted alt text gives you an extra chance to include relevant and useful information – all of which is searchable.

Videos are now an important part of any website. Visitors would far prefer to watch a video than read through reams of text and sites which don’t utilize them could be missing out. WordPress makes adding videos simple – you simply paste in the URL of your video, and the CMS does the rest. By using YouTube as your video hosting platform, and embedding your videos onto your website in this way, you will not only reduce the load speed of your site, but as YouTube is owned by Google, any video content you upload will help increase your indexability.

Mobile Friendly

Google now prioritises mobile friendly sites above desktop only ones, so if your site still isn’t optimised for mobile you are most certainly missing out. All new WordPress sites are mobile friendly out of the box, however if you have an older site, check if your template is responsive. If it is it will work on a mobile (though you may need to make a few tweaks to make it look good!). If it isn’t then it would make sense to update to one that is, or you could be missing out on traffic.  

Under the Hood

Apart from the content on the page, we also need to consider what’s happening behind the scenes – things like meta, page titles, excerpts and so on. With WordPress, managing these crucial parts of a website is easy. By using plugin tools such as Yoast, it is possible to control every aspect of every page – including how a page or post looks when you share it on your social media platforms. It even gives you advice on the best way to craft the content for these (though I recommend taking its recommendations lightly, as it could drive you mad trying to find the perfect combination of words!).

Convinced? What Should You Do Next?

As you can see, WordPress is incredibly SEO-friendly, but for all that, using WordPress alone won’t get your site ranking high in the search results.

For that you’ll need to create a site that provides users with the exact information they’re searching for and in a way that is a pleasant experience for the user. While it is of course possible for anyone to use WordPress it does require at least some experience to get it set up correctly to make the most of its fabulous features. I would recommend engaging a WordPress developer to get it set up for you, and to give you some training, so that moving forwards you can have total control of your own website.

I would also highly recommend speaking to an SEO Consultancy such as Front Page Advantage, as they will be able to advise you on how to plan, target and measure your outcomes. Having a well built and designed WordPress website will make their job far easier and their efforts far more effective than they would be on a poorly built and badly maintained website.

By Sam Owens

Sam is the Business Director of Hot Sand Design. She has 25 years experience of designing logos & brand identities, printed marketing collateral & designing and developing WordPress and Joomla websites.