With so many open source content management systems (aka CMS) available these days, it often makes sense to use these free applications to run your website. The most popular CMS for blogs and content websites has is WordPress. Many large websites like TechCrunch, Mashable, and the New York Times Blogs use the WordPress CMS, and do a very fine job with it.
Using WordPress for SEO
WordPress is a very user-intuitive CMS that will allow you publish content just as easily as you produce a document in Microsoft Word. Many of the same WYSIWYG tools (“What You See is What You Get”) are available to format content, with additional tools to embed links and further sculpt content for publishing online.
One of the main benefits of using the WordPress platform is that it is open source. This means that you, or a web designer, are free to edit it’s core files in order to make it function in all sorts of customized ways. Just as important, the WordPress content management system allows developers to create themes and plugins to help customize your website for various designs an functions. Most of us don’t develop themes or plugins, but we can use them! There’s plenty of WordPress themes plugins that really help tweak the CMS for SEO.
Best WordPress Themes for SEO
- Thesis Theme – Download it – I’m only recommending one here since this is leagues beyond any other theme when it comes to SEO, in my opinion. Heck, even Google’s own Matt Cutts uses this theme.
Best WordPress Plugins for SEO
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – Download it – This WordPress SEO plugin is the most complete set of tools for an SEO professional. Features such as category page meta data, manual canonical URLs, and image attachment page redirect and indexation control make this plugin a lifesaver for optimizing WordPress. Read our Guide to WordPress SEO by Yoast for detailed instruction on how to set up this plugin.
- All in One SEO Pack – Download it – This WordPress SEO plugin is one of the most popular plugins available to manage your meta-tags and related functions. It’s not needed if the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin is used.
- Platinum SEO Pack – Download it – This is the other most WordPress SEO popular plugin available to manage your meta-tags and related functions.
- Headspace2 SEO – Download it – This is another WordPress SEO plugin available to help you manage meta-tags.
- Google XML Sitemaps – Download it – This WordPress SEO plugin is essential for creating a sitemap that will allow Google to easily index all of your content.
- SEO Smart Links – Download it – This WordPress SEO plugin allows you to turn any word or phrase (in posts and/or pages) into a link of your choice.
- Automatic SEO Links – Download it – This is another WordPress SEO plugin that allows you to turn any word or phrase into custom links.
- Robots Meta – Download it – This WordPress SEO plugin allows you to add the appropriate meta robots tags to your pages, disable unused archives, nofollow unnecessary links, etc.
- Simple 301 Redirects – Download it – This handy WordPress SEO plugin will allow you to redirect an old URL to a new one and automatically implement a 301 redirect, keeping search engines happy.
- Redirection – Download it – This is another WordPress SEO plugin that allows you to implement 301 redirects, yet also allows you to track 404 error pages for fixing.
- Attachment Pages Redirect – Download it – This is a critical plugin if you have a lot of images on your site and don’t use the Yoast plugin mentioned above. When you embed an image into a post or page on WordPress, you might not have known that Google creates image attachment pages. These caause duplicate content problems and can be redirected back to the source page (where the image was embeded) with this plugin. A bit annoying for usability, but I think SEO wins this battle.
- Variable Anchor Text – Download it – This plugin will allow you to vary the anchor text used in the “embed codes” often placed under infographics. There’s other creative users for this plugin as well, to help prevent link building footprints that might lead Google to think you’re building spammy links (and penalize your site via the Penguin algorithm).