WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular content management system — powering corporate websites, blogs and e-commerce stores all over the world. It is favorite among designers owning to its versatility and the vast number of possibilities regarding customisation. Also, it is popular for users because of its efficacy and simplicity of the interface.
As a blogging system, WordPress requires no coding knowledge of its users. It is responsible for almost one-quarter of all websites on the Internet, including those of Marketing Land, Search Engine Land, Mashable and TIME among various others.
One common mistake with WordPress users is assuming that its SEO-friendliness means you can completely ignore manual SEO but nothing could be further from the truth. We are here not offering a detailed manual on carrying out SEO for your WordPress site. Instead, this article answers some of the most common questions raised by WordPress users and developers alike.
Myth #1: WordPress comes SEO-optimised out-of-the-box
This does not only apply to WordPress; there is no such thing as an SEO-optimised content management system. WordPress’s simplicity and versatility make it more search engine-friendly than many CMSes, but this does not mean you have no work to do on your SEO front. Switching to a WordPress site will not automatically guarantee high Google rankings.
The reason that many people do not know this is that CMS vendors laud SEO-friendliness as a selling point for their CMSes and templates. This lie is propagated at client meetings, in websites, conferences and marketing materials among others. Most business owners do not understand the difference between search engine-optimised and search engine-friendly, which is why they end up being cheated into purchasing expensive CMSes thinking all their SEO needs would be taken care of.
The takeaway to remember on this is that WordPress gives you a great starting point for your SEO. You will not spend a lot of time and money constructing the site, and it is easy to weave in any front-end and backend SEO elements. Still, you will need someone who knows what to do.
Myth #2: Installing a WordPress SEO plugin takes care of my SEO
Search engine optimisation is not a turnkey solution you set up and forget about. SEO is continuous and ever-changing, and it must be considered in addition to your other marketing strategies. There is no single plugin you can install that will address all on-page and off-page SEO elements any more than there is one great hammer that can build you a mansion.
Configuring an SEO plugin correctly can take care of some SEO elements, but site SEO is much bigger and more comprehensive than can be addressed by a single plugin. This is why it is important to get expert SEO services from the one who understands changes in organic search and how SEO fits into your organisational goals and other marketing strategies. An SEO expert will also keep you from making mistakes that could cost you heavily in the long run. An ideal strategy is to have them engaged on a long-term basis for continuity. This could be a full-time employee or an agency engaged with a retainer.
Consider the following if you are still unconvinced:
Upgrading WordPress or WordPress plugins/themes changes the code on your site. Such changes must be accounted for your code, or you could risk losing rankings or site functionality.
The addition of plugins could result in loss of website speed. Site loading speed is an important signal for Google ranking, and hence this could result in ranking degradation.
All online sites must invest in content marketing as part of their SEO strategy, since having good content is one of the most important signals considered for search rankings. This includes optimisation according to specific long-tail and local keywords. Content marketing can help to engage, inform and even convert prospective customers and site visitors.
It is important to carry out comprehensive SEO audits periodically in order to ensure that your SEO is optimal amid the changing online environment. This is best done by a qualified SEO consultant and is a strategy that will pay for itself many times over as your site gains and maintains high rankings.
Myth #3: Any WordPress SEO Plugin will help my site
There are dozens, hundreds even, of SEO plugins that you can get for your site. However, these plugins are not created equal; some are more popular such as All in One SEO Pack while the others have better ratings like WordPress SEO by Yoast.
When looking for an SEO plugin for your WordPress site, remember that you may need more than one plugin for SEO-related tasks such as analytics tracking plugins. The following pointers can help you assess your plugin of choice before investing towards installing them on your site:
The plugin should be compatible with your site’s functionality and technology, both now and in coming years. Not all plugins are ideal for all sites. You may need an SEO consultant to advise you on this.
You need readily accessible technical support from its developers or online community. This is why it is important to get a plugin on the basis of a large online community. Review support forums, feedback and review sites before getting any plugin.
Closely related to the above point, a plugin with a large number of downloads has been around long enough for bugs to be discovered and fixed. Also, your community will comprise more experienced users that have probably encountered similar problems and will help you solve them.
Get a plugin whose developers have shown a history of improvement/upgrading on their solution. The online marketing environment is always changing, and you want to ensure your investment isn’t in vain. Ensure you are dealing with reputed developers with a good reputation from previous and current clients.
There are many more questions than can be addressed by a single article. The key takeaway from this article is that no store-bought solution can dispense with your need for an expert SEO consultant. In the current online environment, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to raise your competitive edge over your peers and hence ensure you retain high rankings. Happy developing.