I’ve sort of been on this WordPress kick lately, telling anyone and everyone that they need to move their site over to the WordPress platform. The search engine optimization (SEO) benefits exceed what I have found on other content management systems, including Joomla, Drupal and Xaraya, and are much easier to install yourself.
First of all, there are hundreds, if not thousands of free templates you can get your hands on. Here is one I came across that has 100 of the top free templates. Not only that, but there are 3,990 free plugins as of today. Plugins are kind of like Firefox extensions, if you use that browser.
So what are the SEO benefits?
1. You own the domain
I’ve had a few friends who had their blogs on Blogger or Typepad. These are perfectly fine platforms; however, I see two main limitations: a) you are going to be pigeonholed into a typical blog format, so forget about adding any other pages to the site – with WordPress, you can add lots of other pages to your site; b) your blog content won’t be on your domain. You can set up redirects, but Typepad or Blogger will be housing your content, so you won’t be getting any SEO credit for your site. We had a friend who moved
their blog content onto their main site, and within a couple of months, they began to rank for many more search terms.
2. Clean URL’s
A prominent factor in your SEO plan is to ensure you have clean URL’s. An example would be www.mywebsite.com/wordpress-is-great, versus www.mywebsite.com/index.php?id=32. The clean URL has keywords in the title that can be beneficial to your SEO. You can easily turn on the clean URL’s inside of WordPress by going to Settings / Permalinks, and changing it to your desired structure.
I use a custom structure: /%Year%/%Postname%/
3. All In One SEO Pack
This is arguably one of the best plugins WordPress has to offer. It takes about 5 minutes to install, and will automate your title tags, meta descriptions and meta keywords for every blog posting. You can still customize your individual page SEO tags as well, simply by overriding the fields on each page. This plugin has been downloaded nearly 1,000,000 times, so it’s a must on your WordPress site for optimal SEO.
4. Google XML Sitemaps
Having an XML sitemap for SEO ensures that when the search engine bots crawl your site that they pick up and index everything you have. This plugin will create a Google-compliant XML sitemap which is automatically updated every time you post something new to your website. All major search engines are notified about the update. I have seen new blog posts indexed in as little as 3 hours after posting.
5. Redirect Handling
When you change your “slug” in WordPress (or the permalink for your post URL) and then you go back and change it, the search engine may be indexing both versions of the page. The search engine now sees that you have the exact same content on two different URL’s, and they have been known to devalue domains that look like have duplicate content. For optimal SEO, you want to properly redirect these older page versions to the newer ones. For this, we install the plugin called Redirection (only works for WordPress version 2.7 or higher). This plugin also monitors any 404 errors (missing pages) that you might have. You can even customize your redirects to another website if you need to.
There you have it! The Top 5 reasons why I recommend WordPress as a part of my SEO solution. What other plugins do you use?