WordPress has come a long way since its initial release in 2003. From a simple, straightforward blog-publishing system, it gradually but surely evolved into a Content Management System (CMS) powerhouse. Today, it powers nearly 40% of the internet and 64.1% of all CMS-built websites. But, as prominent and famous as it is, is WordPress the best CMS for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? In this article, we’ll argue that yes, it is. Read on to find out why. We discuss why WordPress is the best CMS for SEO.
SEO factors to consider for any CMS
First and foremost, let us frame this argument properly, using some statistics and data to do so.
SEO is, in brief, a series of practices that aim to optimize pages for Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). To do so, these practices seek to align pages with Google’s ranking factors as closely as possible. There are too many to thoroughly explore here, however. As Backlinko’s Brian Dean helpfully asserts, they are over 200.
That said, we may still consolidate many of them into 5 thematic factors to gauge CMSs against. In no particular order, these are the following.
A very crucial SEO factor is mobile-friendliness, as you’ve likely heard before. Indeed, Google has been indexing the mobile versions of pages first since 2018, and SEO practitioners continue to emphasize it. Moreover, practically speaking, mobile users are a vast audience; according to Statista, they’ve been generating roughly half of all global website traffic since 2017. Thus, your CMS of choice should account for this trend that shows no signs of changing anytime soon.
2 Loading speeds
Similarly, Google strongly emphasizes the user experience – and did so even before the Core Web Vitals criteria. Naturally, users do too, and loading speeds are the very first sign of a potentially unpleasant experience. Indeed, Google’s research finds that visitors bounce more frequently as loading speeds decrease:
3 Image optimisation
Along similar lines, SEO practitioners will often cite image optimisation as a crucial practice. There are multiple reasons for this, from direct correlations with loading speeds to showing up on image searches. To illustrate the value of the latter, consider Moz’s findings in collaboration with Jumpshot. The question was, “[w]hat percent of all searches happen on any major search property in the US?”, and Google Images came second at 26.79%. Of course, Google.com remained first at 59.30%, but the point is clear; images are valuable for both traffic and SEO.
4 Social media integrations
SEO-specific factors aside, few marketing campaigns would include SEO but exclude social media marketing. Indeed, according to Statista, the global mobile social media ad revenue will reach $39.62 billion in 2021. Moreover, the two overlap somewhat as regards traffic generation and link-building. As such, your CMS of choice should likely offer notable, user-friendly social media integration options.
5 SEO plugin options
Finally, on the subject of options, modern CMSs may diversify themselves through the options that best augment individual campaigns. Built-in assets aside, this is typically achieved through third-party plugins and tools that each CMS can facilitate. Consider, for example, the notable use rates of WordPress’s Yoast SEO plugin over the years. Plugins are by no means just fancy add-ons – in many cases, they are the proverbial toolboxes that will dictate success.
5 reasons why WordPress is the best CMS for SEO
Now, having contextualised what makes a CMS SEO-friendly, let us explore precisely why WordPress is the best CMS for SEO. To do so, we’ll cover how it addresses the aforementioned factors, in the same order as above.
1 WordPress is distinctly mobile-friendly
Starting with the fundamentals, WordPress is mobile-friendly from the ground up. Specifically, any theme you find in WordPress’s theme directory needs to be mobile-friendly to get there. And that’s before considering the plethora of plugins, such as Jetpack, that also focus on this aspect of your website. Thus, you may rest assured that all your user experience optimization efforts will stand on solid ground.
2 WordPress focuses on fast loading speeds
On the subject of the user experience, WordPress also facilitates fast-loading websites. Granted, final loading speeds will depend on multiple factors, such as:
- Light or heavy themes and plugins
- The size of images and other on-page elements
But be that as it may, WordPress’s websites are typically quite fast in their standard configurations. Moreover, as highlighted manifold by now, WordPress also welcomes multiple optimization tools and practices to help ensure optimal loading speeds. Understandably, that’s arguably one of the core reasons why WordPress is the best CMS for SEO.
3 WordPress offers an array of image optimisation options
Having mentioned images time and again, WordPress offers a wealth of image optimization options. Consider such image elements as the following:
- Image size
- Image titles, captions, and descriptions
The WordPress editor delves into all of the above, seamlessly adding these options into the image addition process. Loading speeds aside, this comes with multiple benefits, such as:
- Enhanced accessibility scores through alt. text for screen readers.
- Better user experience through appropriate descriptive text where images fail to load.
- Better search engine visibility through appropriately placed keywords in more fields.
Finally, with this foundation, WordPress plugins may add even more functionalities, such as image compression and automatic alt. text generation.
4 WordPress augments social media campaigns
As regards social media integrations, too, WordPress is the best CMS for SEO. Granted, one does not necessitate the other, and social media signals themselves don’t augment SEO directly. However, the two frequently synergise for optimal results – and WordPress delivers in this regard too.
Specifically, WordPress allows users to create customized social media buttons for their websites. In addition, it offers the option of a social media feed; both assets that can help align your marketing efforts. Finally, social media plugins also abound, with functionalities ranging from integration to automation.
5 WordPress offers a vast plugin library
Finally, having mentioned plugins throughout this article, let us finally highlight one of the most notable reasons why WordPress is the best CMS for SEO. That’s none other than its vast plugin library which, as of writing this article, offers 58.781 plugins.
This library is indeed massive, and likely offers solutions to any problem you may encounter, SEO-wise or otherwise. As regards SEO specifically, you may find such notable plugins as:
- Yoast SEO
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Google Analytics
- All In One SEO Pack
- SEO Optimised Images
Additional plugins to consider, as they too overlap with SEO practices somewhat, include:
- Broken Link Checker
- W3 Total Cache
- WPtouch Mobile Plugin
- All In One WP Security & Firewall
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Thus, while the former may help any user establish a healthy SEO foundation, the latter may facilitate advanced SEO techniques. Naturally, with so many options to consider, due research is always advisable.
But what do SERPs say?
Should the above not suffice to dispel potential doubts, let us conclude by quoting Gotch SEO’s SERPs research. They did, notably, find that ~58% of the ranking results “aren’t even using a CMS” – or rather, a CMS was not detected. Where CMS was detected, however, the results were clear; WordPress accounted for 45% of all ranking results.
In conclusion, then, it should now be clear that WordPress is the best CMS for SEO. It offers built-in mobile friendliness and satisfactory loading speeds on default settings. It provides a wealth of image optimisation options and social media integrations. Perhaps most importantly, it offers a massive plugin library that likely presents anything you may need for stellar SEO. Combine all of these assets, and the reasons for WordPress’s continued fame and prominence should be clear. In an age when SEO is more important than ever, WordPress arguably facilitates it better than most.
About the author
Mariah Cunningham is a copywriter and avid SEO practitioner. She frequently authors content for WP Full Care, where she shares the insights on WordPress, SEO/SEM, and other digital marketing forms she has acquired over the years.