Did you know that if you pick a random website on the internet, there is a chance better than one-in-three that you’ll end up on a page powered by WordPress?
How is this even possible? To give it a name: market share. According to W3Techs, WordPress websites make up nearly 40% of the internet as of January 2021.
This didn’t happen by accident. WordPress has steadily grown its market share to become the internet’s number one Content Management System (CMS.)
WordPress’s appeal seems to be universal. Everyone likes it. The holy trinity of web developers, users, and search engines all seem to be fond of WordPress websites.
How did all this happen? And why does WordPress reign supreme?
Let’s take a look under the hood.
Why WordPress Does So Well In Search
Google’s love affair with WordPress is no secret. It’s obvious just looking at the search results.
For their part, Google has openly acknowledged WordPress for its inherent search engine optimizations.
To quote Matt Cutts, former head of Google’s Web Spam team:
“WordPress takes care of 80-90% of the mechanics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)”
Although many things have changed since Matt Cutts made that statement at WordCamp in 2009, the core of what he was saying has remained true.
Right out of the box, WordPress handles most of the basic tasks of on-page search optimization.
By being designed from the ground up with search engine savvy, WordPress has managed to save SEO experts countless man hours that would have otherwise been spent implementing small technical on page SEO details across millions of web pages.
Instead, they’ve been able to apply that energy to other areas of their search strategy.
Here are just a few of the ways in which WordPress is search engine optimized fresh out of the box.
1. Mobile Friendliness
Over the last decade, mobile browsing has grown from a small niche to accounting for nearly half of all web traffic.
2020 is poised to be the decade where mobile traffic becomes the majority of traffic on the internet. As such, mobile web design is no longer an afterthought. It is now the core of design and optimization for modern websites.
Responsive web pages adapt their content based on the user’s viewport.
Image from Google Search Central.
WordPress and its many themes are designed with the mobile web in mind. Themes are responsive, meaning they automatically detect the user’s screen resolution to seamlessly scale content such as images and page elements to the appropriate size.
Responsive design ensures your site is properly formatted and usable across different devices regardless of screen size, display resolution, or input method. It also helps to make pages light-weight, minimizing loading speed and bandwidth costs.
Not only is this important for user experience, it is also a major ranking factor used by Google and other search engines.
Most WordPress themes are designed from the ground up for the mobile web. Having a theme which allows you to freely publish your content without spending too much time fretting about formatting for different screen sizes is a true blessing which most digital publishers take for granted (thanks to WordPress.)
2. Site Structure and Permalinking
The overall architecture of your website is quite important. Everything from the way your content is organized and archived to the structure of your site’s URLs is scrutinized by search engines and used to index and rank your website.
WordPress makes it simple to avoid most of the pitfalls of poor site architecture. It’s easy to group your content into meaningful categories, automatically create sorted archives, and present all of this information in a manner which is simple for both users to navigate and search engines to index.
An important aspect of your site’s architecture is your URL structure — referred to in WordPress as permalinks.
It’s easy to overlook the importance of what your permalinks look like, but giving some thought to your URLs can go a long way.
Consider this URL:
By looking at it, we have no way of knowing what we might find should we click on this link.
If instead the URL looked more like this:
We can now tell at a simple glance that the link will direct us to a car repair blog on how to fix a radiator – just by looking at the URL.
While it is true that most web users aren’t looking at URLs too closely, this is a distinction search engines appreciate. Keywords in URLs are used by search crawlers to help index and catalog websites.
For SEO experts, this means an invaluable chance to include important keywords embedded in permalinks.
Google has released some recommendations for search engine optimized URL structures. These include things WordPress can do natively, like adding punctuation in lieu of spaces and using simple yet descriptive keyword rich URLs.
3. Effortless Metadata
Pages optimized for search come with a lot of what is known as metadata.
For the most part, metadata is invisible to your actual users. But for search engine web crawlers, metadata is vital information that allows them to understand what your page is about.
Google uses metadata for more than indexing and categorizing websites. It also relies on metadata like title tags and descriptions to generate the links and site descriptions you see in search results.
WordPress allows you to easily add metadata to your website, helping Google generate detailed search results.
Image from Google Search Central.
WordPress makes it simple to manage metadata across your entire website.
Some key aspects of metadata — like publication date — are automatically generated by WordPress. Other important data like image alt tags and meta descriptions can be easily input or updated using the WordPress interface.
This means that rather than having these important SEO variables buried under lines of code, it is all organized and presented in a simplified user interface and applied automatically to your content.
WordPress handles basic metadata natively, but with a few plugins it can also handle more complex tasks such as implementing Structured Data and other forms of metadata used by search engines to generate rich search results.
Does Google Really Favor WordPress?
One important distinction to make in this discussion is that Google does not inherently favor any one CMS over another.
That is to say, Google isn’t indexing sites and deciding “oh, a WordPress site! Let’s rank this one well.”
Instead, Google scours the internet on a page-by-page basis, judging the merits of each page using their internal ranking algorithms.
As Matt Cutts said, WordPress handles 80-90% of the mechanics of search optimization. And because WordPress is so consistently updated by developers with a mind for search engine standards, WordPress has kept pace with changes in search engines and SEO tactics.
The cumulative effect of all of this is that, on average, a WordPress website is a well optimized website.
Other Areas Where WordPress Excels
These three features we’ve highlighted above are great examples of WordPress doing on page SEO right. We could highlight many more areas where WordPress has great on page optimization, but to understand the true story of WordPress’s success, we need to zoom out a little bit.
See, WordPress gets more than just SEO right. That’s what has allowed it to survive and thrive in so many different online environments and be put to work by so many different websites.
Here are a few things which have allowed WordPress to capture so much market share.
Present Content Beautifully and Efficiently
While you can customize WordPress themes to look any way you like, the consistent design philosophy found throughout WordPress designs is one of effective presentation.
This is echoed throughout WordPress’s administrative tools and text editors, which allow you to rapidly format and style content on-the-fly for quick deployment.
With plenty of automatic formatting tools to help you along the way, WordPress makes short work of preparing content for web publication and even helps gently nudge you towards making it search optimized along the way, integrating important formatting and header tags into the text editing suite for easy access.
Formatting is important not only for your human readers, but also judged by Google and other search engines as they try to assess the quality of your website.
Google’s increasing emphasis on User Experience — especially with the upcoming Page Experience update — has forced webmasters to look more closely than ever at how their content is presented to users.
A Scalable, Growing-Pain-Free CMS
One of the key factors to WordPress’s ubiquity can be found in its ability to scale virtually seamlessly.
In many ways, WordPress offers a truly one size fits all content management solution.
Whether you’re a small blogger with a dozen articles, or a giant enterprise with thousands of pages, WordPress is equally equipped to handle the challenge.
WordPress owes a large part of its scalability to the fact that it is completely Open Source.
Being open source means that anyone is free to modify and tinker with WordPress. Where some software hems you in with proprietary restrictions, WordPress offers itself up as a springboard to new possibilities, instead of imposing a set of limitations.
This ability to customize WordPress to your heart’s content means that virtually any type of website — regardless of what its technological demands may be — can be a WordPress website.
Optimizing Your Optimizations With Plugins
WordPress is so popular in the SEO industry because it does most of what it needs to do without any outside assistance.
However, when you find something that WordPress can’t do right out of the box, you can almost certainly find a WordPress plugin to handle it for you.
The WordPress Plugin Directory hosts over 50,000 plugins and grows daily. Many plugins are available at no cost.
Plugins allow you to add new code and features to your WordPress site with just a few simple clicks.
Whether you’re looking to add advanced automated SEO features, setup a newsletter, create some fancy looking page elements, or anything in between, there is probably a WordPress plugin which can help you along the way.
And if there isn’t, there is always the opportunity to write your own. Plugins allow any savvy software developer to contribute to the WordPress ecosystem.
A Secure, Reliable Platform For Digital Growth
WordPress has developed what is without a doubt the single most field-tested CMS ever created. Millions of WordPress installations are put to the test everyday across the internet.
As far as reliable platforms go, it’s hard to imagine one put through more rigors than WordPress.
WordPress development never stops. An open-source project maintained by the efforts of the WordPress Foundation, WordPress releases frequent updates with several major updates a year and minor updates released as needed.
Any programmer can contribute to the WordPress Core, allowing hobbyists to contribute alongside full-time WordPress developers. This democratic open-source system has attracted contributions from some of the world’s most capable computer programmers.
Backing it all up is WordPress’s dedicated cyber security team consisting of over fifty experts. They work diligently to keep WordPress as secure and up-to-date as possible.
As a result of this, business owners and webmasters can enjoy some peace of mind knowing that leading developers are working tirelessly to keep WordPress installations safe.
Simultaneously, search engines like Google which assess the security of web pages as a ranking factor appreciate WordPress’s consistent adherence to best practices, helping those WordPress sites appear in search results.
Why not leave it to the best?
WordPress is a sure foundation to build your digital empire on. Compound their good work by allowing our experts to do the rest.
With Venn Marketing’s Managed WordPress Hosting and WordPress Web Design, we are ready to handle just about every detail of setting up, maintaining, and optimizing WordPress websites for a wide variety of clients.
We’d love to see how much your business can grow with the help of a properly optimized WordPress website. Contact us today to talk with one of our experts!
Summing It Up
Perhaps one of the greatest compliments you can give WordPress is that it allows content creators and business owners to direct their focus where it is needed most.
Rather than fussing with technical details and worrying about minor SEO faux pas, WordPress users are able to dedicate their focus to doing what they do best instead of stressing out about how to put their content in front of their audience.
By allowing creators to present their content in a way that appeals to both search engines and human readers, WordPress has created one of the most powerful tools available on the modern internet.
Want to learn more about WordPress and what it can do for your brand, business, or project? Feel free to reach out to our WordPress experts here at Venn Marketing and pick our brains. We’re excited to see how we can put our WordPress expertise to work for you!