WordPress As A Content Management Solution
Many of the top websites in the world run on the free, open source WordPress platform created by Matt Mullenweg in 2003. The product is written in PHP and sits atop a MySql database platform. WordPress is predominantly known as a blogging platform, but over the past few years has really morphed into more of an all-purpose content management solution and application platform.
WordPress comes in two flavors, more commonly known as WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The .com version is available as a hosted solution from Automattic, Mullenweg’s company, where they offer premium services and upgrades to attract revenue. The .org version is the more commonly used open source, totally free version that people can host on their own servers or internet service provider’s machines. Almost all ISPs offer an easy to install hosted version of WordPress for their customers. It is estimated that over 22% of all new websites created are running on WordPress.
What Makes WordPress So Popular?
So what contributes to the momentum of WordPress in such a crowded space? The fact that it is free, well documented and so easy to work with for setting up new sites is probably the biggest reason. It has a massive community of developers who offer a wide range of themes to change the appearance of your site and plugin functionality to make WordPress more functional at a reasonably price or often for free. Another reason that seasoned internet publishers like WordPress so much is that it delivers content so effectively and thus is very good at search engine optimization (SEO).
Out of the box, WordPress has strong SEO capabilities built into it. By being primarily focused on delivery content to the users, WordPress also exploits its core strength which is the presentation and structure of on-page content. The basic out of the box WordPress installation has the ability to set many of the elements needed to signal search engines as to the nature and context of the content that you’re publishing. Content publishers also have strong tagging and categorization features within the foundation of WordPress that allow them to classify and silo their content according to almost any structure they can come up with.
Many premium WordPress themes have now included enhanced SEO capabilities into their themes or theme frameworks. These types of SEO enhancements were pioneered by frameworks like Thesis, but have now been taken to greater heights by solutions like StudioPress’ Genesis Framework. These theme based SEO solutions are great for the publisher who isn’t totally concerned about complete optimization, but wants to make sure they do the basics right. Also, people who prefer to run “lean” versions of WordPress without many plugins will often use this approach.
Premium WordPress Plugins For SEO
One premium WordPress themes developer, WooThemes has recently announced that they are dropping SEO integration from their WooFramework and recommending their customers move to a dedicate WordPress SEO plugin. WooThemes are recommending the “Wordpress SEO Plugin” by Yoast, a well-known WordPress SEO expert. Yoast’s plugin is generally considered the best SEO plugin for WordPress and it is free and well maintained. The team at WooThemes has worked with Yoast to create a simple conversion utility from WooSEO to Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin.
WordPress has become exceptionally developer friendly over the last few years, making it easier for programmers to include incredible functionality atop the core product. Content publishers who are focused on their search engine optimization have really benefitted from these enhancements. SEO plugins can now hook into the base platform and manipulate titles dynamically, scan the content for pre-determined SEO quality, grade the content and make suggestions for improvement against best practice. Yoast’s SEO plugin does all of this and even integrates into a third-party tool to give you an indication of the “reading level” your content is at, all for free.
Free SEO Plugins For WordPress
There are other free SEO plugins for WordPress. The most popular among them would be “All in One SEO”. Prior to the release of Yoast’s plugin, All in One SEO was largely the standard plugin most people used for SEO in WordPress. Many people still recommend it because it is fairly easy to configure and very stable, but WordPress SEO by Yoast offers a few more features. Another free SEO plugin is Platinum SEO, which was very well liked by more technical SEO specialists, but like All in One SEO, it has been surpassed by Yoast’s plugin.
There are also many paid alternatives to the free plugins that offer some unique features, such as Clickbump SEO and Pushbutton SEO.
Clickbump SEO and Latent Semantic Indexing
Clickbump SEO is part of the Clickbump line of products from internet marketer Scott Blanchard. Clickbump has a few different pieces, including a custom theme set and the connected Clickbump SEO product. These pieces work independently of one another of course, but obviously work better together. Clickbump offers customers a private forum to discuss SEO and the plugin with each other and Scott, but one piece that it has which is of interest right now revolves around Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).
LSI is a big topic in the SEO industry right now because Google has made a number of improvements to their search engine over the past 18 months that has made ranking sites less formulaic and more content focused. In a nutshell, LSI is a fancy way of saying “synonyms”. The plugin searches your content and looks for possible synonyms you can use. This is important because Google is valuing unique content higher and is becoming much improved at contextualizing the content on pages, so by using synonyms as opposed to just simple specific keywords, Google is able to more broadly understand the context of you content and at the same time rank you page across more keywords. This leads to better Root Domain Authority, which means Google values your site’s content more highly because it sees it as more authoritative.
If you are an online content publisher and you want to drive free organic search traffic to your site, you’d be hard pressed to find a better platform to use than WordPress. With a wide range of premium themes, free and paid SEO plugins, you can tailor and customize your site to look exactly how you want it, deliver a great user experience and make it very easy for the search engines to understand and rank your content.