Examined: Is WordPress Good For Search engine optimisation In 2021?
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Examined: Is WordPress Good For Search engine optimisation In 2021?

WordPress On-page SEO Check

That is the fourth put up in our collection the place we check the on-page Search engine optimisation of the world’s hottest CMS techniques.

To this point we’ve centered on hosted CMS techniques (particularly Wix, Squarespace, and GoDaddy).

This week we’re turning our consideration to WordPress.

Learn on to find:

  • how nicely setup for on-page Search engine optimisation WordPress is out of the field,
  • how one can configure your WordPress web site to rank larger in Google

Let’s get began with a abstract.

In Abstract: Is WordPress good for Search engine optimisation?

WordPress is the world’s hottest CMS system.

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

wordpress website showcase

So it’s most likely no shock that, sure, WordPress is great for Search engine optimisation.

Or not less than it could (or ought to) be.

In the end, WordPress is a software. And like several software you need to know how you can use it.

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

As a result of with…

  • a number of plugins,
  • a sensible theme alternative,
  • correct Search engine optimisation knowledge,
  • and the best information

….there’s nothing you may’t do to totally Search engine optimisation optimize your WordPress web site.

Wordpress SEO Scoring

How we examined WordPress for Search engine optimisation optimization

In some ways, WordPress was harder to check in isolation than the opposite CMS techniques in our collection.

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 how you can get round them.

wordpress 2003
how WordPress regarded in 2003 – through WPBeginner

However it’s additionally as a result of WordPress is self-hosted, which introduces a better 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 web site is hosted on Wix. Each Wix web site has the identical server configuration. Each Wix web site has the identical underlying code.


With a self-hosted CMS like WordPress, you’ve bought full entry to the underlying platform and may tinker to your coronary heart’s content material. You can too select the place to host your WordPress web site, how you can 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 web site on a Digital Ocean server.
  2. We added demo content material just like our Wix, Squarespace, and GoDaddy check websites
  3. We initially put in 1 plugin, YOAST Search engine optimisation (though there are three different plugins we advocate)
  4. We examined 3 of the most well-liked WordPress themes (Twenty Twenty-One, Astra, and GeneratePress)
  5. We examined 3 common web page builders (Thrive Architect, Elementor, and Oxygen Builder)
  6. Exams included handbook assessment, working the positioning by means of our personal Search engine optimisation audit software, and testing utilizing third celebration instruments resembling Google’s PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix.

Was it truthful to put in the YOAST Search engine optimisation plugin? Doesn’t that imply we’re not testing an “out-the-box” WordPress set up?

We’d argue sure, it’s truthful. YOAST is energetic on over 5 million WordPress websites. And it’s widespread information that an Search engine optimisation plugin (not essentially YOAST) is required to optimize a WordPress web site.

The usual model of YOAST can also be free, so there’s no extra value.

WordPress Search engine optimisation: The great, the unhealthy, and the ugly

Earlier than reviewing WordPress’s management of on-page Search engine optimisation components, let’s run by means of a few of the Search engine optimisation highlights (and lowlights) of the platform.

We’ll begin with the positives.

Good: There’s nothing you may’t do to optimize your WordPress web site

It’s tough to select one Search engine optimisation “spotlight” for WordPress. As a result of the benefit of the platform is that there’s actually nothing you may’t do to optimize a WordPress web site.

Positive, you’ll want a plugin or two.

However when what it’s worthwhile to enhance (working an Search engine optimisation audit with Seobility may also help with that) there’s nothing you may’t go in and tweak or repair.

And if you’re having bother optimizing a selected component? 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 signifies that the majority of time the answer to your Search engine optimisation woes might be a Google search away.

wordpress google search

So WordPress’s spotlight is actually that it has all the things it’s worthwhile to optimize your web site, with the cherry on prime of an enormous group of customers, and piles of data and steerage on-line that will help you on the way in which.

Unhealthy: Many themes aren’t constructed with Search engine optimisation in thoughts

Theme alternative could make or break a WordPress web site.

We’re going to broaden on this in our WordPress Search engine optimisation guidelines. However for now, we’ll say that many market themes will not be constructed with Search engine optimisation optimization in thoughts.

Themes that look nice might be buggy and sluggish. And in some instances, you’ll be locked in, or not less than have issue switching at a later date.

So be sure to select a quick, well-optimized theme. In any case, a flowery theme gained’t be a lot use if nobody can discover your web site proper?


There’s nothing lets say is “ugly” about WordPress’s Search engine optimisation.

However when you actually wish to grumble…

…you may argue some extra Search engine optimisation performance ought to be in-built, reasonably than requiring an exterior plugin.

However we’d most likely disagree. As when there’s a superbly good plugin (or plugins) that do the trick, isn’t their growth time higher spent on bettering the core performance of the CMS?

We predict so.

On-Web page Search engine optimisation Fundamentals: How does WordPress measure up?

Now let’s flip our consideration to manage of a few of the elementary on-page Search engine optimisation components.

Does WordPress cowl all of them?

You wager! As a result of with 2-3 plugins, there’s nothing you may’t do to optimize your WordPress web site.

Right here’s our abstract once more.

Wordpress SEO Scoring

Be aware: having management of an Search engine optimisation rating issue is just not equal to its optimization. Search engine optimisation audit instruments like Seobility supply recommendation on how you can correctly optimize every component, and discover errors in optimization which can be holding again your web site. See our Search engine optimisation audit information for extra info on how you can absolutely optimize your web site.

Search engine optimisation Titles and Meta Descriptions

Management in WordPress: sure

Be aware: within the examples on this part, we’re utilizing the YOAST Search engine optimisation plugin. You will discover out why we selected YOAST within the guidelines that follows our on-page fundamentals assessment.

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

With YOAST put in, you’ll have full management over the Search engine optimisation title and meta description of each put up and web page in your WordPress web site.

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 customary codecs for each web page, put up sort, and taxonomy (classes, tags, and many others) in your web site.

Right here’s a template setup for class pages (Search engine optimisation > 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.

Be taught extra about Search engine optimisation Titles and Meta Descriptions

Web page slug / URL

Management in WordPress: sure

We advocate 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 helps you to set the slug for each web page and put up in your web site.


Be aware: when you change a URL in your web site you must arrange a 301 redirect to level the previous URL to the brand new one. To handle redirects, we advocate the free Redirection plugin.

Be taught extra about URL slugs/permalinks

Canonical URLs

Management in WordPress: sure

On smaller websites you most likely gained’t want to fret about this.

However you probably have a collection of comparable pages in your web site — i.e. focusing on the identical key phrases, or with very small variations in content material — there could also be instances if 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 put up or web page in your web site below the “Superior” tab of the YOAST Search engine optimisation panel.

canonical urls

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

You don’t really need 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 put up, set “Permit serps to indicate this Put up in search outcomes” to “No” within the web page’s YOAST Search engine optimisation panel.

noindex page

You can too set a put up sort or taxonomy to noindex by default in YOAST’s settings.

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

Search engine optimisation > Search Look > Content material Varieties

noindex custom post type

Be taught 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 principle 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 on your goldfish</h3> (subtopic of goldfish)

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

<h2>Cats</h2> (subtopic)

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

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

heading tags

Be taught extra about heading tags

Structured knowledge (aka schema)

Management in WordPress: sure

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

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

When you’re not aware of structured knowledge and its affect on Search engine optimisation, we advocate studying our wealthy snippets information.

With YOAST working in your WordPress web site, you may set a default schema sort for every put up and web page in your web site.

yoast schema

And you’ll overwrite this default for a person web page or put up 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.


Be taught extra about structured knowledge and wealthy snippets

Picture Search engine optimisation

Management in WordPress: sure

The three most essential components of picture Search engine optimisation are:

  • Alt textual content (description of the picture for display readers and serps)
  • File measurement (smaller = quicker = higher)
  • File identify (we advocate utilizing descriptive file names)

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

You possibly can add alt textual content to any picture in its block settings (Gutenberg).

image alt text

And WordPress gained’t mess together with your file names if you add a picture. So so long as you save your file with an Search engine optimisation-friendly file identify earlier than you add, you’re golden.

When it comes to file measurement, we advocate utilizing a 3rd celebration plugin like Imagify (which we’ll be overlaying within the guidelines under) to verify your photographs are absolutely compressed.

Be taught extra about picture Search engine optimisation


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 web site to nonetheless be working over HTTP. However any Search engine optimisation advantages, it’s unsecure.

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

Be taught extra about HTTPS

Robots.txt file

Management in WordPress: sure

A robots.txt file permits you to cease search engine bots from accessing sure areas of your web site.

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

You possibly can both use FTP to straight edit your robots.txt file, or set up a 3rd celebration plugin (like this one) to handle your robots.txt file within the WordPress admin space.

Be taught extra about Robots.txt

XML Sitemaps

Generated by WordPress: sure

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

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

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

Be taught extra about XML Sitemaps

Are WordPress websites cell pleasant?

One phrase reply: sure

When designing your web site on WordPress, there’s an excellent probability you’ll be specializing in the way it seems to be on desktop.

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

Most WordPress themes are cell pleasant. And if yours is just not…

…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 in Search Console.

mobile issues - google search console

So hold a watch out.

Bonus: WordPress Search engine optimisation Optimization Guidelines

Trying to increase the Search engine optimisation of your WordPress web site? On this subsequent part, we’re going to run by means of a guidelines of what you’ll want in place, and actions to take to totally optimize your WordPress web site.

1. Select a lean, quick theme

If there’s one issue that impacts Search engine optimisation efficiency greater than every other on a WordPress web site, it’s theme alternative.

Select the best theme and also you’ve bought the foundations set for strong on-page Search engine optimisation efficiency.

Select the flawed theme and also you’ll be combating 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.


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

And with a well-configured WordPress web site working on GeneratePress you’ll be capable to smash Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Core Net Vitals checks.

Like this…

pagespeed generatepress

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

On the lookout for different speedy themes? Right here’s a checklist of the quickest WordPress themes, which you’ll observe has GeneratePress sitting on the prime.

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

Web page builders make it tremendous simple to create complicated, visually interesting layouts.

Among the hottest WordPress web page builders embrace…

  • Thrive Architect
  • Elementor
  • Divi
  • Beaver Builder

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

Properly, sadly web page builders may also add a ton of code bloat to your WordPress web site and sluggish it down significantly. The location 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 kinds for each single characteristic 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 consumer obtain the JS and CSS for it anyway…

wordpress page builders meme

(though we observe that Thrive particularly could also be taking steps to vary that)

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

In lots of instances, the reply might be no.

There’s lots 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 advocate 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, reasonably than a web page builder. Which suggests it replaces your theme and allows you to management your whole web site (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 gained’t load it.

The video under provides an excellent overview of how Oxygen compares with different web page builders.

However the backside line is that Oxygen’s clear, bloat-free code makes for an excellent quick web site.

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 structure remained precisely the identical, however load instances have been considerably improved.

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

3. Make sure that your web site is indexable

In all probability goes with out saying, however we’ll say it anyway.

If Google can’t index your web site…

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

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

allow indexing wordpress

4. Use Search engine optimisation pleasant permalinks

WordPress’s default permalink construction isn’t best for Search engine optimisation.

Luckily, 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, “put up identify” might be excellent:


However you probably have a big web site with a number of sections, you may wish to embrace classes in your URLs to maintain all the things neat and tidy:


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

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

5. Set up certainly one of these free Search engine optimisation plugins

To completely optimize a WordPress web site, you’ll want to put in an Search engine optimisation plugin.

There are a selection of free Search engine optimisation plugins out there for WordPress. However there are two stand-out selections:



2. Rank Math


So which must you select?


They’re each strong picks that can can help you management many of the technical Search engine optimisation components which you could’t configure in a contemporary WordPress set up.


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

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

In case your web site is comparatively plain (and also you’re utilizing a quick theme) you then may be capable 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 rapidly. There’s not a lot occurring.

However for reference, right here’s the PageSpeed rating of an identical primary web page we created once we examined GoDaddy’s Web site Builder.

godaddy site speed

Huge distinction proper?

The underside line is, WordPress is quick. It’s what we (that’s us web site homeowners!) add on prime of it that slows it down.

And let’s be trustworthy:

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

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

Our choose?

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 web site.

This examine 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 ideas for rushing 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)

Photos are usually the “heaviest” components on a web page. Which is why it’s essential to compress them, preserving file sizes as small as attainable.

However you’ve most likely bought higher issues to do together with your time than going by means of your web site 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 really useful by Google.


Seize Imagify on your WordPress web site right here.

8. Crawl your web site “like Google” to determine on-page Search engine optimisation points/alternatives

Wouldn’t or not it’s nice when you may crawl your web site like Google to search out out the technical Search engine optimisation points holding again your web site?

It positive would.

And guess what? With Seobility… you may ?

Run an audit utilizing our on-page Search engine optimisation software

seobility new project

…and our crawler will wizz by means of your web site and analyze a whole bunch of on-page rating components.

Then we’ll let precisely what it’s worthwhile to repair or enhance to spice up your web site’s Search engine optimisation.

seobility dashboard

Points with meta tags, headings, recordsdata (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 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 Search engine optimisation audit information for a step-by-step walkthrough of how you can discover on-page Search engine optimisation points with Seobility… and repair them!

In conclusion: WordPress is great for Search engine optimisation

We’re sorry if this sounds a bit harsh. But when your WordPress web site is just not nicely arrange for on-page Search engine optimisation, then the limitation is you, not WordPress.

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

After all on-page Search engine optimisation is only one a part of the pie. And to succeed in your rating potential you’ll additionally have to create prime quality content material, construct your experience/fame in your area of interest, and increase your web site’s authority by constructing prime quality hyperlinks.

However by selecting WordPress as your CMS, you’re nicely set for future Search engine optimisation success. And with the best information and a strong Search engine optimisation technique, you’ll rapidly see an enchancment in your rankings and visitors.

So right here’s what we advocate:

  • run a full Search engine optimisation audit (you may comply with this guide),
  • allocate time to fixing points and optimizing your web site (the place attainable),
  • focus in on creating prime quality content material that helps your customers and absolutely solutions their search queries,
  • construct your web site’s authority by incomes prime quality backlinks (take a look at our really useful hyperlink constructing ways right here)

Within the closing a part of our on-page Search engine optimisation collection we’ll be reviewing Joomla. After which we’ll be evaluating the Search engine optimisation professionals and cons of every CMS in a roundup put up, the place we’ll additionally reveal the most effective CMS for Search engine optimisation in 2021. Join our e-mail checklist under to comply with this collection, and for masses extra contemporary Search engine optimisation ideas, tutorials, and guides straight to your inbox.

PS: Get weblog updates straight to your inbox!

David McSweeney

David is our chief editor for knowledgeable Search engine optimisation content material at Seobility. Unsurprisingly he loves Search engine optimisation and writing. He combines 20+ years of expertise in Search engine optimisation with the fervour for educating you guys how you can optimize your web sites the best method.

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