WordPress provides many options for uncomplicated website creation, making it an ideal platform for many to use. It is able to be customized, and there are countless plug-ins and applications that help make a WordPress website an attractive, functional one. WordPress is also partially optimized to help with SEO. However, the best SEO consultants assert that it is still essential to pay attention to SEO when using WordPress. This is because the included basics might be helpful, but are not enough. Good optimization requires individual attention, even for a website built on the WordPress platform.

Understand SEO Limitations with WordPress

WordPress is a popular blogging and website platform for many reasons,. One of those reasons is because it is partially optimized for SEO. However, website owners must realize this basic optimization is not enough to help them with higher search engine rankings. The main thing gained by creating a website on WordPress, is the way the site works, and its ability to modify themes. This is where any true optimization must come from. Although WordPress itself may be a simplified platform to use, with hundreds of themes and plug-ins available to start with, it should not be relied upon “as-is” to get a high page rank.

Improving SEO with WordPress Sites

The best SEO consultants suggest the way to get the best optimization with a WordPress site is to know the limitations of an “out-of-the-box” website built on this platform, and ways to edit the website to generate SEO. Following are some of the things on a WordPress site that should be optimized for the best SEO:

  • Themes - Of all the themes available for WordPress, make sure to choose ones that are responsive, fast-loading, and written in streamlined, lightweight code. They should utilize HTML5 code and support Schema data. The best WordPress themes are typically designed for easy modification,  so use a theme that enables the proper optimization.
  • Plug-ins - There is a large selection of SEO plug-ins for WordPress available to improve optimization. However, despite the fact they are “plug-ins,” these applications require some effort to make them actually work. In other words, the plug-ins perform a function to help generate better SEO, but can only do this when the website itself is built to give the plug-in something to work with. There are many SEO plug-ins to choose from, but typically only one is required. Find the best one and learn how to get the most out of it. More than one plug-in is redundant, and slows down the website.  
  • Sitemaps - WordPress itself does not automatically create XML sitemaps, so it is essential to build one, then submit it to search engines. Sitemaps are a critical element in getting the best SEO. 
  • Permalinks and External Links - The default permalink and external link settings by WordPress are not optimized, so this will need some consideration before the website goes live. Change permalinks to something more streamlined and direct, and ensure that external links are opened in a separate window. This will prevent users from being directed off the website when a link is clicked - potentially losing that reader.
  • Content - The most important way to optimize any WordPress website, just as with any other website, is with high quality, frequently updated content that is valuable to the reader. The above methods help in the mechanical sense, but the content provided must still be able to attract, and hold users in order to generate good, organic SEO.

The most important lesson in this is that while WordPress is a highly recommended blog and website platform, the best SEO consultants should know what to expect, and what not to expect from it. WordPress is designed for easy modification. Getting the best SEO from WordPress requires the appropriate modification of themes and website settings to provide optimization for each specific website built on this platform. Therefore, the SEO magic happens when a WordPress website is properly optimized - not by itself!

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