How WordPress helps your search engine ranking

Colorado Springs Website Designer blue sky designsWordPress has excellent search engine optimization tactics automatically built into its platform. It creates search engine-friendly URLs and headlines, allows you to easily manipulate image tags and descriptions, and provides great content organization so your site can be indexed quickly and efficiently. That’s just a few things that WordPress does well when it comes to search engines.

WordPress creates keyword-rich URL strings

A URL string is the address at which that particular page resides. For instance, the URL string for this page is: http://blueskydesigns.blueskycolorado.net/2010/09/17/how-wordpress-helps-your-search-engine-ranking. You want your individual page URLS to be very keyword-rich. The search engines love that! You might have noticed some websites, especially those that are database-driven, will spit out very confusing and hard-to-remember URLs, such as http://www.mycompany.com/34567/index.cfm?id=5. That URL does not tell the search engines very much, because there’s no real words, much less keywords, in it. So, there’s nothing for the search engines to index or grab onto to help decide how to rank your page. In contrast, a web page with a URL of http://www.mycompany.com/products-for-the-home/wickless-candles will do much better in the search engines because it’s full of keywords. If someone typed “wickless candles” into Google, which page do you think would have a higher chance of being returned in the search results? One with the exact keywords that were being used in the search, or a URL with numbers and question marks? WordPress automatically creates web page names based on the headline of your page. You can even have the headline say one thing, and the URL string say another. For instance, perhaps you want the headline on your page to say “Wickless Candles,” but you want your URL to be “/products-for-the-home/wickless-candles.” Once you understand how important the keywords are to your search engine ranking, you will be able to write better and better URL strings for your pages.

WordPress knows what the search engines are looking for

There’s a hierarchy of things that search engines find most important and WordPress is built to cater to those things. For instance, the headlines on a page are very important to the search engines. Headlines serve to bring attention to the more important pieces of your content, right? So, to help make your headline stand out, you might bold your headline. However, there is an actual HTML tag, called the Headline tag, which should be used for headlines. It comes in different sizes, with H1 being the largest and H6 being the smallest. The search engines look for these headline tags as a way of knowing what content is important and relevant to the search being performed. Therefore a page with “Wickless Candles” in a headline tag will look more relevant to the search engines than a page with “Wickless Candles” simply bolded. WordPress knows this and encases all your page headlines automatically in the Headline tags. Likewise, when you create sub headlines to break up your content, you can use the WYSIWYG icons in the WordPress CMS to highlight the sub headlines and also give them a headline tag (although sub headlines should always be smaller than your page headline).

WordPress optimizes your images

There are several things the search engines look for and “see” when they detect images on your page. One is the actual file name, such as “mycompany.jpg.” So, it’s beneficial to name your jpg something with keywords in it, such as “wickless-candle-company.jpg.” Your WordPress media library allows you to add title tags, alt tags and captions to your photo. This provides more opportunities to add keywords to your page. For instance, an image with a file name of “wickless-candle-company.jpg” could have a title of “wickless candles for your home,” an alt tag of “wickless candles, home decor” and a photo caption of “Wickless Candles in 100 scents for your home.”

The code for that image might look something like this:

<img src=”wickless-candle-company.jpg” title=”wickless candles for your home” alt=”wickless candles, home decor”>

You see how much better the search engines are going to like that image rather than if the code was simply: <img src=”photo2.jpg”>

WordPress gives you absolute control to add all these very useful tags to your images.

WordPress has powerful SEO plugins

A plugin is a “component” designed specifically for a certain task. There are thousands of them for WordPress. There are many plugins for search engine optimization that provide additional functionality to what WordPress already offers. For instance, the All-in-One SEO pack provides the ability to change your title tag, meta keywords and meta description for every page of your site. This is huge! The reason is that the search engines look for pages with the most relevant content for the search that was just performed. So, if someone typed “Holiday Wickless Candles” into Google and every page of your website was titled “Wickless Candles, Home Decor,” you’d be missing the boat because none of your pages have a title with the word “Holiday” in it. You may have content on a few pages that uses the word “Holiday,” and maybe you even have a headline that uses the word “Holiday,” but title tags are very important as far as the search engines are concerned. So, instead, on your holiday candles page, imagine having the ability to enter the page specific title of “Holiday Gifts, Wickless Candles, Home Decor.” Now the search engines will recognize your content as even more relevant to the search that was performed. The SEO plugin for WordPress lets you change the information search engines look for on every page, which provides you a greater chance of ranking better with the search engines.

WordPress uses style sheets and templates

In the old days, static HTML websites had all the programming, tables, rows, columns, font faces, font sizes and colors all mixed together on one page. You might have had 125 lines of programming and instruction on how the website was supposed to look and maybe only 7 lines of actual content (which is what the search engines really care about). WordPress makes use of the more modern method of building websites, which is to separate your programming from your content. So, style sheets are stored on the server that tell the web page what color the background should be, how big the headline should be and what font face it needs to display. The templates then “call” the style sheets into the picture. The templates also separate out your programming from your content. What’s left is a little bit of code to call in these templates and style sheets and a lot of content, which is what the search engines are looking for anyway. It’s basically just cutting the fat to get to the meat.

WordPress provides an amazing array of tools designed to help you rank better in the search engines. You’re already ahead of the competition if you use your WordPress tools wisely! Need help with SEO tools? Contact Blue Sky Designs!

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