WordPress: From SE Friendly to SE Optimized

Nikolay Nikolaev
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WordPress: From SE Friendly to SE Optimized

If you are one of the many WordPress users out there, then you have probably heard thousand times that WP is SEO-friendly, one of the best platforms for SEO and so on. Although it’s totally true statement, there is a significant difference between SEO-friendly and optimized. Let me explain this difference in common terms.

What SEO-friendly means exactly? First of all, it doesn’t mean that your WP installation is SEO-ready out of the box. Just like any other platform, WordPress needs the right configuration and plugins to be ready for your SEO journey. And if you decide to go even further with your optimization, then custom code implementations will be required. But what about the New York Times and Bloomberg, they also use WordPress and they are so popular? Well, comparing your start-up with already established world class brands is silly. On the other hand, their usage of WordPress is highly customized by a team of developers who constantly work on the websites, so it’s still irrelevant. The truth is that WordPress is extremely easy to optimize, because it provides the flexibility and functionality to do so without much effort. However, experienced SEO professional and WordPress developer are required to achieve the best results, especially when it comes to larger projects.

So, let’s dive deeper and share some useful advice about making WordPress from search engine friendly to search engine optimized.

Configuration

There are number of configurations that you have to set up on a fresh WP installation. Let’s start with the basic ones:

  • Permalinks: by default the blogging platform uses paths that are both SEO and user unfriendly, such as domain.com/?p=12 . This can be changed from Settings -> Permalinks tab in the platform.
  • Theme related configurations: when you use either free or paid theme, there could be a number of SEO options. It’s a good idea to read the documentation thoroughly or browse the theme’s settings before applying plugins or custom solutions for your SEO needs.
  • Other configurations: WordPress can be extended in almost every way possible. As flexible as it is, the platform also becomes quite heavy when various third party plugins are activated at the same time. With all that the number of options increase drastically, so the administrator should be well aware of all the customizations. All unused functionality should be disabled.

Plugins

Almost all your SEO needs are presented in a form of plugin in the WordPress repository. In our professional experience, there are extremely rare cases where we can’t find a plugin for a specific SEO requirement. However, there is a problem with that. What comes easy is not always good for your website. It’s perfectly fine to use a few plugins for the basic stuff, but once the number increases, there is a higher probability for bad and unoptimized plugins. They will actually slow your website and make your pagespeed score terrible. Not to mention the security issues with most of them. We always advise our clients to think about custom code implementations via child theme, because the pagespeed factor is one of the most important ones for the search engines. Of course, some plugins are optimized to run fast and efficient, but unless you are the tech guy, you will never know. It’s good to consult your SEO specialist or WP developer before installing the next plugin in your list.

Server Related Optimization

We’ve talked about plugins in the previous section and here we are going to mention them again. As you’ve probably guessed, there are plugins for almost all server related optimization on your website. But then again, the best approach will be to manually configure the server and avoid the unnecessary speed issues. Hiring technically competent SEO expert is a must, because those settings should be done correctly. Otherwise the risk of devastating damage to your website is relatively high.

Compete with The Best

In the highly competitive SEO game, it’s extremely hard to compete with already established websites and brands. It takes lots of time and effort to raise a start-up business and make it successful. The well-optimized website is a must, if you want good results. WordPress can surely be a powerful platform to boost your website among the top in the rankings, but it won’t come “out of the box”. If you want to be competitive in the world of WordPress and SEO, you will need an expert WP developer and SEO professional at your side.

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