A few weeks ago, a prospective client told me that a web design firm she interviewed, advised against the use of WordPress, in favor of static HTML pages, because “search engines do not like WordPress”.
I politely expressed my skepticism, but after 15+ years of designing websites, I’ve learned that the only constant in web design is rapid change. Maybe I have something new to learn today, I thought. So, after our meeting, I did some research that would hopefully confirm or deny such a belief.
However, the only negativity I could dig up about the world’s most popular content management system (CMS) and search engine optimization (SEO) was completely anecdotal…
For example, Gary-Adam Shannon wrote an interesting, but heavily criticized article on SearchEngineWatch.com which suggests that search engines are biased against WordPress. He argues that “WordPress has become the spammer’s choice for mass site deployment” because of its low barrier to entry (no argument there). He also says that search engines know when you’re running WordPress (probably), and in a later article, offers a few basic suggestions to make WordPress’ footprint more stealthy for the paranoid:
- Remove the WordPress version number from your code;
- Keep up with your WordPress updates;
- Remove the “readme.txt” file from your installation;
- Use a plugin (which happens to be poorly rated) to hide certain files and folders.
My advice? Do the first 3, but not because you want to make WordPress’ footprint invisible. Do them because they make your site more secure.
In another article, a colleague of Gary-Adam Shannon’s, Kevin Gibbons, claims that “WordPress is naturally very well set up for SEO, in terms of header optimization, title tags, internal/cross-linking, etc”. This is consistent with what Michael David, author of “WordPress 3 Search Engine Optimization“, has to say: “WordPress has innate characteristics that search engines love such as simple navigation, SEO-friendly URL-naming conventions, easy publishing, and many more”.
I could go on to quote other experts who genuinely believe that WordPress is in fact great for SEO.
And then there are major brands like CNN, eBay, Forbes, New York Times, Sony, TechCrunch, UPS, Volkswagen, and others who rely on WordPress. Do they not care about SEO?
The bottom line? Bad SEO is bad SEO no matter what you use! In fact, several years ago, even my all-Flash website (now in moth balls) performed quite well in the search engines, which resulted in a very healthy return on my investment. And it continues to pay dividends. Why? Because I found ways to make it work. WordPress just makes it a lot easier.
SEO is a complex endeavor. It requires a lot of hard work and knowledge to do it well. That’s why it is best left up to a reputable firm like Houston SEO Company to do it for you.
By the way, guess what CMS Gary-Adam Shannon uses. You got it– WordPress!