What’s so special about WordPress SEO?
WordPress, in itself does not have any SEO capabilities built in. It is simply a platform upon which designers can build websites. Any extras features like forums, e-commerce capabilities, forms and SEO capabilities have to bolted on to WordPress.
This is usually achieved through using a plugin. The most popular WordPress plugins for SEO are (in order of popularity): Yoast, All-in-One SEO Pack, The SEO Framework, Rank Math and others.
Of these, Yoast is by some margin, the most popular plugin with about 5 million active websites using it. But is it any good?
Actually, in our experience it is a very good plugin which provides most of the basic SEO features that most websites need, out-of-the-box. It has features such as the ability to separate the page title from the meta title (the page title that search engines see), the ability to optimise category pages, the ability to remove certain pages normally created by WordPress which tend to clutter up websites and make the SEO fuzzy. It also automatically produces the data necessary for easily sharing pages on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Good stuff.
Focusing on keywords
The basic idea of Yoast (and most SEO plugins) is that you ensure that each page in your site has a focus keyword. This keyword is the one that you most want to be found for in search engines.
Once you’ve told Yoast which focus keyword you want to use, it will mark everything else you do on the page against this keyword. For example, it will check that you have included the keyword in your page title, meta description and on-page text. It will also mark your on-page optimisations against various other criteria such as quality of text, sentence length, text length, readability, subtitles and more.
One word of warning, however, is that Yoast can’t usually look outside of the content area of the page to other parts of the page which may be present in the final page but aren’t part of the “content” area that you edit with WordPress. For example, it won’t check whether your keywords are present in the page template or in custom fields. You need another plugin for that.
At Dotwise we use Yoast every day (including on some parts of this website). But what about the other plugins? The one we see most often apart from Yoast is All-in-One-SEO. A plugin of interest is Rank Math.
Beyond the SEO plugins, WordPress has some special advantages and drawbacks when it comes to SEO. These are:
Speeding up WordPress
Unfortunately, WordPress tends to be a slow platform. WordPress is a platform that’s designed to be able to run almost any kind of website. This makes it incredibly flexible and easy to use, but the downside is that the software can be bloated with features you will never need.
At Dotwise we have extensive experience in finding ways to speed up the running of WordPress. This can include the installation and optimisation of caching plugins, use of content delivery networks (CDNs) such as CloudFlare, which cache the pages of your website and deliver them incredibly fast and many other optimisations.
Another way speeding up WordPress is to use just the content-building parts of the platform (the back-end) and use a specially programmed front-end to show that content. This is called a headless CMS and this website (dotwise.uk) is built this way, hence the reason it tends to run extremely fast.
Engaging with Dotwise
Dotwise is a specialist WordPress SEO company based in Surbiton, Surrey.
If you’d like advice, strategy or just some basic help with optimising your WordPress website for SEO, please call Dotwise on 020 8399 4920 and speak with one of our expert SEO team.
Most of our clients are in London and Surrey, but we have many happy clients all over the UK – please do get in touch!