Examined: Is WordPress Good For Web optimization In 2021?

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That is the fourth submit in our sequence the place we check the on-page Web optimization of the world’s hottest CMS programs.

To date we’ve centered on hosted CMS programs (particularly Wix, Squarespace, and GoDaddy).

This week we’re turning our consideration to WordPress.

Learn on to find:

  • how effectively setup for on-page Web optimization WordPress is out of the field,
  • how one can configure your WordPress website to rank increased in Google

Let’s get began with a abstract.

In Abstract: Is WordPress good for Web optimization?

WordPress is the world’s hottest CMS system.

It powers the whole lot from small blogs to multi billion greenback conglomerates. Heck, even the White Home web site runs on WordPress.

wordpress website showcase

So it’s in all probability no shock that, sure, WordPress is superb for Web optimization.

Or no less than it may (or ought to) be.

In the end, WordPress is a software. And like several software it’s a must to know the right way to use it.

For each well-optimized WordPress website, we’d wager there are dozens of poorly optimized websites. However in these instances, it’s very a lot the tradesman, relatively than the software that’s the problem.

As a result of with…

  • a couple of plugins,
  • a sensible theme selection,
  • correct Web optimization information,
  • and the correct information

….there’s nothing you possibly can’t do to completely Web optimization optimize your WordPress website.

Wordpress SEO Scoring

How we examined WordPress for Web optimization optimization

In some ways, WordPress was tougher to check in isolation than the opposite CMS programs in our sequence.

That’s partly as a result of we’ve been “testing” WordPress just about because it first launched in 2003. So we do have some prejudices. We all know all of the “flaws”, and we all know the right way to get round them.

wordpress 2003
how WordPress seemed in 2003 – by way of WPBeginner

However it’s additionally as a result of WordPress is self-hosted, which introduces a larger variety of variables to testing.

On a “web site constructing platform” — like Wix or Squarespace — it’s comparatively easy to check and make blanket inferences based mostly on that testing. Each Wix website is hosted on Wix. Each Wix website has the identical server configuration. Each Wix website has the identical underlying code.

Alternatively:

With a self-hosted CMS like WordPress, you’ve obtained full entry to the underlying platform and may tinker to your coronary heart’s content material. You may as well select the place to host your WordPress website, the right way to configure your server and many others, and that’s going to affect velocity, reliability, and efficiency.

However with that being stated, right here’s what we did:

  1. We arrange a small check website on a Digital Ocean server.
  2. We added demo content material much like our Wix, Squarespace, and GoDaddy check websites
  3. We initially put in 1 plugin, YOAST Web optimization (though there are three different plugins we suggest)
  4. We examined 3 of the preferred WordPress themes (Twenty Twenty-One, Astra, and GeneratePress)
  5. We examined 3 standard web page builders (Thrive Architect, Elementor, and Oxygen Builder)
  6. Checks included handbook evaluate, working the location by our personal Web optimization audit software, and testing utilizing third occasion instruments similar to Google’s PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix.

Was it honest to put in the YOAST Web optimization plugin? Doesn’t that imply we’re not testing an “out-the-box” WordPress set up?

We’d argue sure, it’s honest. YOAST is energetic on over 5 million WordPress websites. And it’s frequent information that an Web optimization plugin (not essentially YOAST) is required to optimize a WordPress website.

The usual model of YOAST can be free, so there’s no further price.

WordPress Web optimization: The nice, the unhealthy, and the ugly

Earlier than reviewing WordPress’s management of on-page Web optimization elements, let’s run by among the Web optimization highlights (and lowlights) of the platform.

We’ll begin with the positives.

Good: There’s nothing you possibly can’t do to optimize your WordPress website

It’s tough to select one Web optimization “spotlight” for WordPress. As a result of the benefit of the platform is that there’s actually nothing you possibly can’t do to optimize a WordPress website.

Certain, you’ll want a plugin or two.

However when you realize what it’s essential to enhance (working an Web optimization audit with Seobility may help with that) there’s nothing you possibly can’t go in and tweak or repair.

And if you’re having bother optimizing a specific ingredient? With so many websites working on WordPress, it’s extremely prone to be an issue that another person has encountered (and posted about) earlier than. Which implies that the majority of time the answer to your Web optimization woes will likely be a Google search away.

wordpress google search

So WordPress’s spotlight is actually that it has the whole lot it’s essential to optimize your website, with the cherry on high of an enormous group of customers, and piles of knowledge and steerage on-line that will help you on the best way.

Unhealthy: Many themes aren’t constructed with Web optimization in thoughts

Theme selection could make or break a WordPress web site.

We’re going to broaden on this in our WordPress Web optimization guidelines. However for now, we’ll say that many market themes are usually not constructed with Web optimization optimization in thoughts.

Themes that look nice might be buggy and sluggish. And in some instances, you’ll be locked in, or no less than have problem switching at a later date.

So be sure you select a quick, well-optimized theme. In any case, a flowery theme received’t be a lot use if nobody can discover your website proper?

Ugly:

There’s nothing lets say is “ugly” about WordPress’s Web optimization.

However for those who actually wish to grumble…

…you could possibly argue some extra Web optimization performance ought to be in-built, relatively than requiring an exterior plugin.

However we’d in all probability disagree. As when there’s a wonderfully good plugin (or plugins) that do the trick, isn’t their growth time higher spent on enhancing the core performance of the CMS?

We predict so.

On-Web page Web optimization Fundamentals: How does WordPress measure up?

Now let’s flip our consideration to regulate of among the elementary on-page Web optimization elements.

Does WordPress cowl all of them?

You guess! As a result of with 2-3 plugins, there’s nothing you possibly can’t do to optimize your WordPress website.

Right here’s our abstract once more.

Wordpress SEO Scoring

Observe: having management of an Web optimization rating issue shouldn’t be equal to its optimization. Web optimization audit instruments like Seobility supply recommendation on the right way to correctly optimize every ingredient, and discover errors in optimization which can be holding again your website. See our Web optimization audit information for extra data on the right way to absolutely optimize your web site.

Web optimization Titles and Meta Descriptions

Management in WordPress: sure

Observe: within the examples on this part, we’re utilizing the YOAST Web optimization plugin. You’ll find out why we selected YOAST within the guidelines that follows our on-page fundamentals evaluate.

A web page’s title continues to be one of the crucial necessary on-page rating elements. And a well-written meta description may help you get extra click-throughs (though Google received’t at all times use it).

With YOAST put in, you’ll have full management over the Web optimization title and meta description of each submit and web page in your WordPress website.

And also you’ll additionally get a preview of how your snippet will look in each cell and desktop search.

yoast titles and descriptions

How about title/description templates?

Yep. YOAST will allow you to set commonplace codecs for each web page, submit sort, and taxonomy (classes, tags, and many others) in your website.

Right here’s a template setup for class pages (Web optimization > Search Look > Taxonomies):

title template

As you’d count on, setting a customized title/description for a person web page (or class) will override the default.

Study extra about Web optimization Titles and Meta Descriptions

Web page slug / URL

Management in WordPress: sure

We suggest creating brief, descriptive, 2-3 phrase slugs, together with the first key phrase (or phrase) for every web page. Use hyphens to separate phrases.

WordPress permits you to set the slug for each web page and submit in your website.

permalink

Observe: for those who change a URL in your website it is best to arrange a 301 redirect to level the outdated URL to the brand new one. To handle redirects, we suggest the free Redirection plugin.

Study extra about URL slugs/permalinks

Canonical URLs

Management in WordPress: sure

On smaller websites you in all probability received’t want to fret about this.

However when you’ve got a sequence of comparable pages in your website — i.e. focusing on the identical key phrases, or with very small variations in content material — there could also be instances once you’ll wish to set a canonical (grasp) URL.

This helps to keep away from duplicate content material points.

You’ll discover a discipline for setting a customized canonical URL for any submit or web page in your website underneath the “Superior” tab of the YOAST Web optimization panel.

canonical urls

Study extra about canonical URLs

Index management (robots meta tag)

Management in WordPress:sure

The robots meta tag instructs Google to both index (1), or to not index (2) a web page:

  • <meta identify=”robots” content material=”index, observe”> – index this web page please Google
  • <meta identify=”robots” content material=”noindex, observe”> – ignore this web page please Google (however observe the hyperlinks on it)

You don’t really want the primary one as (assuming your web page meets their high quality requirements) indexing is Google’s default motion. However it doesn’t do any hurt to have it in place.

To noindex a person web page or submit, set “Enable engines like google to point out this Put up in search outcomes” to “No” within the web page’s YOAST Web optimization panel.

noindex page

You may as well set a submit sort or taxonomy to noindex by default in YOAST’s settings.

Within the instance beneath, we’ve set the customized submit sort of “Press Releases” to noindex by toggling “Present in search outcomes” to “Off”.

Web optimization > Search Look > Content material Sorts

noindex custom post type

Study extra about index management

Heading Tags (h1, h2, h3 and many others)

Management in WordPress: sure

Heading tags (h1, h2, h3, and many others) assist Google perceive the construction and matter(s) of your web page.

They need to be correctly nested.

For instance, an h1 tag would typically be the primary matter (degree 1), an h2 may very well be a subtopic (degree 2), and an h3 may very well be a sub-sub matter (degree 3) and many others:

<h1>Pets</h1> (matter of the web page)

<h2>Goldfish</h2> (subtopic)

<h3>Caring to your goldfish</h3> (subtopic of goldfish)

<h4>Clear your fish’s tank usually</h4> (subtopic of caring to your goldfish)

<h2>Cats</h2> (subtopic)

<h3>Caring to your cat</h3> (subtopic of cats)

WordPress helps the total vary of heading tags, from H1-H6.

heading tags

Study extra about heading tags

Structured information (aka schema)

Management in WordPress: sure

Structured information (also called schema) may help Google perceive:

  • the kind of content material on a web page (i.e. recipe, evaluate, product, article),
  • the entity behind the web site (i.e. group),
  • and may also be used to point out further search options (wealthy snippets)

For those who’re not acquainted with structured information and its influence on Web optimization, we suggest studying our wealthy snippets information.

With YOAST working in your WordPress website, you possibly can set a default schema sort for every submit and web page in your website.

yoast schema

And you may overwrite this default for a person web page or submit by altering the “sort” within the schema tab of the web page’s YOAST panel.

yoast overwrite schema

Even higher?

YOAST has created customized blocks for Gutenberg that make it a bit of cake to incorporate FAQ and HowTo schema in your articles.

Simply add a block, search “yoast”, then choose both “Yoast FAQ” or “Yoast How-to”.

yoast schema blocks

Right here’s how the block seems to be for FAQ schema…

faq schema

And right here’s a YOAST How-to block…

howto schema

Simply fill within the questions/steps and YOAST will generate the proper schema markup for you.

Candy.

Study extra about structured information and wealthy snippets

Picture Web optimization

Management in WordPress: sure

The three most necessary components of picture Web optimization are:

  • Alt textual content (description of the picture for display screen readers and engines like google)
  • File measurement (smaller = sooner = higher)
  • File identify (we suggest utilizing descriptive file names)

Out-the-box WordPress is effectively arrange for alt textual content and file names.

You’ll be able to add alt textual content to any picture in its block settings (Gutenberg).

image alt text

And WordPress received’t mess along with your file names once you add a picture. So so long as you save your file with an Web optimization-friendly file identify earlier than you add, you’re golden.

When it comes to file measurement, we suggest utilizing a 3rd occasion plugin like Imagify (which we’ll be masking within the guidelines beneath) to ensure your photographs are absolutely compressed.

Study extra about picture Web optimization

HTTPS

Do WordPress websites run over HTTPS? sure

HTTPS has been a confirmed Google rating sign since 2014.

And in 2021 there’s actually no excuse for any website to nonetheless be working over HTTP. However any Web optimization advantages, it’s unsecure.

Ensuring your WordPress website runs over HTTPS is your (or your hosts) accountability.

Study extra about HTTPS

Robots.txt file

Management in WordPress: sure

A robots.txt file lets you cease search engine bots from accessing sure areas of your website.

For instance, you may need a bit with user-generated content material that you simply don’t need crawled or listed by Google.

You’ll be able to both use FTP to instantly edit your robots.txt file, or set up a 3rd occasion plugin (like this one) to handle your robots.txt file within the WordPress admin space.

Study extra about Robots.txt

XML Sitemaps

Generated by WordPress: sure

An XML sitemap helps Google discover (and index) all of the pages in your website.

YOAST will generate sitemaps for all posts, pages, and taxonomies in your WordPress website.

And when a person web page (or assortment of pages) is about to noindex it should robotically be excluded from the location map.

Study extra about XML Sitemaps

Are WordPress websites cell pleasant?

One phrase reply: sure

When designing your website on WordPress, there’s a great likelihood you’ll be specializing in the way it seems to be on desktop.

However cell site visitors overtook desktop site visitors in 2017. And Google now prioritizes the cell model of your website for crawling and indexing.

Most WordPress themes are cell pleasant. And if yours shouldn’t be…

…then it’s time to discover a new theme!

If Google does discover any points with the cell model of your web site, they’ll let you realize in Search Console.

mobile issues - google search console

So maintain a watch out.

Bonus: WordPress Web optimization Optimization Guidelines

Trying to enhance the Web optimization of your WordPress website? On this subsequent part, we’re going to run by a guidelines of what you’ll want in place, and actions to take to completely optimize your WordPress website.

1. Select a lean, quick theme

If there’s one issue that impacts Web optimization efficiency greater than every other on a WordPress website, it’s theme selection.

Select the correct theme and also you’ve obtained the foundations set for strong on-page Web optimization efficiency.

Select the fallacious theme and also you’ll be preventing Google with one hand tied behind your again.

There are actually THOUSANDS to select from.

wordpress themes

And that’s simply the free ones.

So what must you search for when selecting a theme?

Our recommendation is to decide on one which’s light-weight and customizable. Which is why we’re massive followers of GeneratePress.

generatepress

It’s effectively coded, has nice help, and most significantly is tremendous quick. So out-the-box it’s going to carry out effectively.

And with a well-configured WordPress website working on GeneratePress you’ll have the ability to smash Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Core Internet Vitals exams.

Like this…

pagespeed generatepress

The core GeneratePress theme is free (and could also be enough for a lot of). However for those who fork out $59 for the premium add on you’ll get masses extra choices for customizing your layouts.

Searching for different speedy themes? Right here’s a listing of the quickest WordPress themes, which you’ll notice has GeneratePress sitting on the high.

2. Keep away from WordPress web page builders (or use this one)

Web page builders make it tremendous straightforward to create advanced, visually interesting layouts.

A few of the hottest WordPress web page builders embrace…

  • Thrive Architect
  • Elementor
  • Divi
  • Beaver Builder

…they usually all make designing cool trying pages a breeze. So what’s the issue?

Effectively, sadly web page builders may also add a ton of code bloat to your WordPress website and sluggish it down significantly. The positioning will look fairly, however the underlying code won’t.

Even worse?

Many WordPress web page builders take a “kitchen sink” strategy — the place the scripts and types for each single function are loaded on each single web page no matter whether or not they’re really wanted.

Not utilizing a picture carousel on this web page? Robust. We’re going to make the person obtain the JS and CSS for it anyway…

wordpress page builders meme

(though we notice that Thrive specifically could also be taking steps to alter that)

So if web page builders can decelerate your WordPress website, the primary query to ask is do you really want to make use of one?

In lots of instances, the reply will likely be no.

There’s quite a bit you are able to do already with WordPress’s built-in Gutenberg editor. And there are numerous Gutenberg block plugins that can enable you fill within the gaps.

We’ve used Final Addons for Gutenberg (free) and Qubely (premium) and would suggest them each.

Nonetheless wish to use a web page builder? We’d level you in the direction of this one…

oxygen builder

Technically Oxygen is definitely a theme builder, relatively than a web page builder. Which suggests it replaces your theme and allows you to management your complete website (headers, footers, layouts) from inside the builder.

Why can we prefer it?

Easy. The code is tremendous clear (nearly as good as hand-coded), and pages created in Oxygen are bloat-free. Not utilizing a script on a web page? Then Oxygen received’t load it.

The video beneath offers a great overview of how Oxygen compares with different web page builders.

However the backside line is that Oxygen’s clear, bloat-free code makes for a brilliant quick website.

Right here’s an instance of a cell Lighthouse check for a “busy” homepage that was lately transformed from Thrive Architect to Oxygen Builder.

thrive architect vs oxygen builder

The format remained precisely the identical, however load instances had been considerably improved.

So if you wish to use a web page builder to your WordPress website, we’d suggest going for Oxygen.

3. Be sure that your website is indexable

Most likely goes with out saying, however we’ll say it anyway.

If Google can’t index your website…

…then you definately’re by no means going to rank.

Click on on Settings > Studying on the WordPress admin menu, and ensure “Discourage engines like google from indexing…” is unchecked.

allow indexing wordpress

4. Use Web optimization pleasant permalinks

WordPress’s default permalink construction isn’t preferrred for Web optimization.

Fortuitously, it’s a two second job to kind.

Simply click on over to Settings > Permalinks and alter from the default format to one thing a bit extra pleasing on the attention.

permalink structure wordpress

For a lot of websites, “submit identify” will likely be excellent:

instance.com/the-post-name/

However when you’ve got a big website with a number of sections, you may wish to embrace classes in your URLs to maintain the whole lot neat and tidy:

instance.com/class/post-name/

Both approach, you’ll wish to swap from the default.

Observe: that is simply setting the general format/construction for permalinks. You’ll nonetheless must optimize particular person “slugs” (i.e. “post-name” within the instance above) for every web page.

5. Set up one among these free Web optimization plugins

To totally optimize a WordPress website, you’ll want to put in an Web optimization plugin.

There are a selection of free Web optimization plugins out there for WordPress. However there are two stand-out selections:

1. YOAST

yoast

2. Rank Math

rankmath

So which must you select?

Both.

They’re each strong picks that can can help you management many of the technical Web optimization elements you could’t configure in a recent WordPress set up.

Nevertheless…

…as we’re long-term YOAST customers, that’s what we ran with for the examples within the “On-Web page Web optimization Fundamentals” part of this evaluate.

6. Set up a caching plugin (and observe our page-speed information)

In case your website is comparatively plain (and also you’re utilizing a quick theme) then you definately may have the ability to skip this step.

As a result of out-the-box — and when not encumbered by a sluggish theme or extreme plugins/widgets — WordPress is swift.

For instance, we examined a easy web page working on GeneratePress (textual content + one picture) and achieved a cell PageSpeed Insights rating of 100/100 with none caching or additional tweaking.

pagespeed clean wordpress install

And positive, you may count on a easy web page like that to load shortly. There’s not a lot occurring.

However for reference, right here’s the PageSpeed rating of an analogous fundamental web page we created after we examined GoDaddy’s Web site Builder.

godaddy site speed

Large distinction proper?

The underside line is, WordPress is quick. It’s what we (that’s us website house owners!) add on high of it that slows it down.

And let’s be sincere:

We’re all suckers for shiny web site options and widgets. Which implies that even with a quick theme load instances can shortly ramp up.

So in case your WordPress website is beginning to creak on the seams your first step ought to be to put in a caching plugin.

Our decide?

WP Rocket.

wp rocket

In some ways calling WP Rocket a “caching plugin” is doing it a disservice. As a result of it’s way more than that. It’s jam filled with options that can assist velocity up your WordPress website.

This research from aThemes in contrast the efficiency of 9 main WordPress caching plugins. And with a 34.67% enchancment in web page load time, WP Rocket topped the chart.

wordpress caching plugins

Right here’s an in depth information to configuring WP Rocket from wpbeginner.

And for a shedload of actionable suggestions for dashing up your WordPress web site, take a look at our web page velocity optimization information.

7. Set up a picture optimization plugin (we like this one)

Photographs are typically the “heaviest” components on a web page. Which is why it’s necessary to compress them, maintaining file sizes as small as doable.

However you’ve in all probability obtained higher issues to do along with your time than going by your website and manually optimizing photographs.

So the excellent news is, there’s a neat WordPress plugin known as Imagify that can deal with it for you.

imagify optimization

Even higher?

Imagify may also create (and serve) Webp variations of your photographs — a light-weight picture format that’s advisable by Google.

webp

Seize Imagify to your WordPress website right here.

8. Crawl your website “like Google” to determine on-page Web optimization points/alternatives

Wouldn’t or not it’s nice for those who may crawl your website like Google to search out out the technical Web optimization points holding again your website?

It positive would.

And guess what? With Seobility… you possibly can ?

Run an audit utilizing our on-page Web optimization software

seobility new project

…and our crawler will wizz by your website and analyze lots of of on-page rating elements.

Then we’ll let you realize precisely what it’s essential to repair or enhance to spice up your website’s Web optimization.

seobility dashboard

Points with meta tags, headings, information (i.e. photographs and scripts), or URLs? You’ll discover them within the “Tech & Meta.” report.

tech and meta report

Issues with inside linking, sitemaps, or redirects? We’ll let you realize within the “Construction” report.

structure report

And we’ll provide the lowdown on potential content material points — for instance key phrase cannibalization, duplicate content material, and lacking key phrases — within the cunningly named “Content material” report.

content issues

To get began, join a 30 day free trial of our premium plan right here.

Then take a look at our Web optimization audit information for a step-by-step walkthrough of the right way to discover on-page Web optimization points with Seobility… and repair them!

In conclusion: WordPress is superb for Web optimization

We’re sorry if this sounds a bit harsh. But when your WordPress web site shouldn’t be effectively arrange for on-page Web optimization, then the limitation is you, not WordPress.

As a result of with a clear, quick theme, a couple of plugins, and a little bit of onerous work fixing what must be fastened, there’s nothing you possibly can’t do to optimize your WordPress website.

After all on-page Web optimization is only one a part of the pie. And to achieve your rating potential you’ll additionally must create prime quality content material, construct your experience/repute in your area of interest, and enhance your website’s authority by constructing prime quality hyperlinks.

However by selecting WordPress as your CMS, you’re effectively set for future Web optimization success. And with the correct information and a strong Web optimization technique, you’ll shortly see an enchancment in your rankings and site visitors.

So right here’s what we suggest:

  • run a full Web optimization audit (you possibly can observe this guide),
  • allocate time to fixing points and optimizing your website (the place doable),
  • focus in on creating prime quality content material that helps your customers and absolutely solutions their search queries,
  • construct your website’s authority by incomes prime quality backlinks (take a look at our advisable hyperlink constructing ways right here)

Within the last a part of our on-page Web optimization sequence we’ll be reviewing Joomla. After which we’ll be evaluating the Web optimization execs and cons of every CMS in a roundup submit, the place we’ll additionally reveal the very best CMS for Web optimization in 2021. Join our e-mail listing beneath to observe this sequence, and for masses extra recent Web optimization suggestions, tutorials, and guides straight to your inbox.

PS: Get weblog updates straight to your inbox!

David McSweeney

David is our chief editor for professional Web optimization content material at Seobility. Unsurprisingly he loves Web optimization and writing. He combines 20+ years of expertise in Web optimization with the eagerness for educating you guys the right way to optimize your web sites the correct approach.