The Best SEO Platform for Websites is WordPress
WordPress is the most universally well known, scalable platform that has the ability to transform from a straight blogging platform to a large complex ecommerce site.
There are lots of types of other content management platforms each has their own positive capabilities, but not all of them are ideal from an SEO standpoint.
Good SEO requires a focus on User Experience - WordPress does this really well with so many plugins, scalable themes and easy to structure navigation and URL structure
Avoid Ugly Long URLs - WordPress provides ease of generating permalinks making your URLs short, easy to read and valuable to helping rankings
Title Tags, Meta Descriptions - Easy to use SEO plugins like Rank Math, or Yoast makes optimizing each page so much simpler
Page Speed Optimization - Using ShortPixel Image optimizer compresses your images for faster loading without the need for developers to minify JS or CSS
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What Is an SEO Friendly Platform?
What does it mean to have an SEO friendly platform?
Simply put, it’s adaptable to all that goes into complying with SEO best practices. There’s a multitude of how things can be optimized.
To begin with in the table below you’ll notice there are some features or areas that not all website platforms come equipped with.
No matter what platform you decide to choose for your business, you must always apply the most basic SEO best practices shown below.
These SEO Best practices are all achievable when integrating them into your WordPress platform.
ease of use
WordPress allows editing of Permalinks, which are Permanent Links or URLs
Easy to read by both users and search engines
Through various types of plugins, SMUSH is one of those
Compresses images to help improve page speed
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Schema Meta Tags
Allows ability to provide further context to search engines - use RankMath plugin
Improves click thru rates, search visibility - has become a higher priority
Using the AMP for WP Plugin - integrates seamlessly
Mobile First is important in Google, and AMP improves that Mobile experience
Whether you use RankMath or Yoast, setting up an easy URL redirect
One of the MOST important benefits is redirecting your URLs the right way (301 Server side)
Built into the WordPress platform, you can easily hide or show your breadcrumbs
Helpful to both users and search engines, breadcrumbs can also be included within your search result
Sub Category Pages
Ease with which to create sub category pages, lends itself to creating cluster content (nested below pillar content)
Organize the site through logical navigation, leveraging sub pages makes it easier to scale your site
Website Platforms for Small and Medium Sized Businesses
WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Weebly, Squarespace, BigCommerce
This is not a list of all content management platforms, but this list covers the most common platforms used for all small and medium sized businesses. Most businesses would do well on any of the above mentioned platforms.
I usually get asked this question at least a half dozen times a year.
Here's my answer. Whether you're a well known publisher or just starting out and launching your site for the first time next week.
It does always depend on what your business goals and objectives are.
If you are genuinely interested in creating a site that is SEO friendly, converts well, and is easy to use WordPress is a great choice.
If you just need a page up, quickly without hassle or too much thought. Or maybe you don’t want or need more than 1 page in your site, go with Wix or Squarespace.
BUT…. if you do want to scale, make your site a big focus for your business and need to convert those visitors into customers or build your email list? Then you should absolutely use WordPress.
Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and SEO
Many assume that just because it’s fast and easy to get up and running with Wix that it would also be SEO friendly.
Wix is NOT SEO Friendly for very specific reasons.
One of the biggest reasons is that it is not scalable. It does not allow people to export their sites. If a business builds their website on Wix and you need to expand, practice regular SEO or develop an E-commerce site within, you will find extreme difficulty in doing this with a Wix site
None of these sites can support hreflang tags (those are html tags that inform the search engines what language you're presenting on any particular page). Contrast that with WordPress, there are quite a few free plugins that can make this easily possible.
There are some things that just can’t be done with these third party hosted platforms.
One of those is the limitation of modifying your Robots.txt file, very important for large sites.
Accessing your .htaccess files, or improving page speed.
When you evaluate the number of domains in WordPress and Wix that actually get organic traffic
Here's Why WordPress is The Best SEO Platform
One of the most basic components of each platform is that it should be “self hosted”
That simply means that it should be hosted separately from the platform it lives within. For example you connect your site to a hosting company like WPX Hosting, WPEngine, Bluehost or dozens others.
When you choose a self hosted WordPress platform you have much more flexibility than if you used Wix.com, Shopify, BigCommerce or Squarespace, which are hosted platforms. A hosted platform means you pay a company to host software on their sites, you install and run the software they provide, whether that’s Shopify, or Squarespace, etc
It might sound like it would be easier to just go with a hosted platform because you could save money, or it’s all-in-one and therefore a lot easier to work with.
The problem is, with those other hosted platforms, you do NOT own the actual site. It also does not give you the flexibility you would have it you self hosted.
WordPress Can Grow With Your Business
Maybe you decided to establish a blog or podcast, or place in your site to integrate other content that your customers might find helpful. If you wanted to add that to a Shopify site that could be problematic.
Shopify is NOT a blogging platform - if you need or want a blog, you’ll need WordPress. You will not be able to be successful at blogging using Shopify.
Understanding the wide variety of all size content management systems which come in all sizes and each has their own positives and negatives. I have worked directly with some of those and encountered some pretty crazy SEO issues within each.
You may recognize some of those larger enterprise platforms that some of the worlds largest brands use and they are: SiteCore, ATG, and DemandWare, Adobe Experience Manager to name a few.
I won’t address each of those, but I have had direct experience working with clients who have had those platforms and encountered some issues including duplication of website pages, URL parameters that allow for additional duplication of pages, “SEO elements” that are not entirely relevant from an SEO standpoint, and nonetheless either the business assumes their site is “SEO’d” if all those SEO fields are filled out.
Of course even if you decide to fill out whatever content management system SEO fields there are, does NOT mean your site has been properly optimized.
Small Businesses Do Succeed With WordPress
Did you think only the small and lesser known brands only use WordPress? They do, but they aren't the only ones
There are many other well known brands that use WordPress platforms - all kinds of brands.
In fact, one of my clients, which was one of the major three telecommunications providers in North America, used WordPress when they needed to quickly get a site launched, and have their editorial team develop theme based content developed and published within just a few short weeks.
There was no way they were able to do this using their large development team who would have told them they would need to wait a few months before entering their next sprint cycle.
There are many other publishers including BBC American, TechCrunch, Sony Music, Chicago Sun Times and many others who also use WordPress as their website platform.
When it comes to themes or the design of your WordPress site, the number of themes built for WordPress is endless.
WordPress does have its own free themes, but if you want a unique and more customized site there’s a lot more you can choose from.
I’ll mention a few here, again, these companies are ones I have direct experience with and have used in my own sites.
Elegant Themes - Divi
Thrive Theme Builder - Thrive Themes
Template Monster - Which has thousands of WordPress theme templates
I’ll describe some of my own personal experiences using each of these and offer you my professional recommendation.
Initially this took some getting used to. After lots of tweaking and figuring things out I did get Divi to work. I liked it a lot initially. The one really major drawback that still occurs to this day, is the extreme slow site loading.
One of the major SEO factors we need to keep in mind is page speed.
Page Speed Score: F
Ease of Use Score: B
Scalability Score: A
Customer Support: D
Because of the really poor page speed, I would not recommend using Divi
I have been a customer of Thrive Themes since 2016, using all plugins, Thrive Architect and have also used a variety of their legacy themes as well as their newest one, Thrive Theme Builder.
Thrive is extremely conversion focused and offers a lot of flexibility in what you can customize and how flexible you could scale your site. It comes with its own set of plugins for building quizzes, generating lead capture forms, and it even has a plugin to allow you to build your own course (Apprentice).
After working with all the plugins, developing a course, and creating three websites with Thrive Themes, I have found it to be really top notch and it’s offered at a very reasonable annual fee of just $228 with an annual subscription.
They also have really helpful support. I have always gotten my issues resolved, and there were sometimes throughout the last few years, where the response would take a couple of days - and that happened maybe 2-3 times. I would say I would get my issue resolved within 1-3 days on average.
Page Speed Score: A
Ease of Use Score: B
Scalability Score: A
Customer Support: B
I would highly recommend using Thrive Themes. After four years experience with this platform, its plugins, and now the latest theme Thrive Builder, I have nothing but positive things to say about this company and its offering.
This company is a template design company. They have thousands of designs for all kinds of businesses. If you have a Shopify site, or WordPress, they even have CMS templates for Joomla and Magento.
This would simply sit on top of your WordPress platform, where you’d use Gutenberg (the current WordPress CMS as your primary content management system) In both Divi and Thrive, you’d be using their proprietary platforms, which allow for more customization.
If all you need is a nice designed template for your basic WordPress site, this is a great place to go. You would just purchase the individual template, or plugins, and you’re on your way.
These are templates, therefore, they do not necessarily slow down your site, or take a while to learn but you are limited to which design you’d like. Unless you purchase a Template Monster for annual access to all they offer, that would make the most sense instead of purchasing a template for a one time fee of $79, you would just purchase the annual access for $169.
What are The Best WordPress Plugins (No Developers Needed)
OTHER REALLY HELPFUL RESOURCES
Anytime you're working with any size or type website platform or content management system, you should always refer to the user guide. Below I have included links to the user guide SEO references for each of the platforms below.
I did not include user guides for Thrive, Template Monster or Divi because they all work off WordPress, and for that you would include an SEO plugin, either RankMath (which I recommend) or Yoast
Now, If you are still wondering what the hell you should really do next here, and you'd like some guidance and help, let me know - fill out the form below and let's chat!