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Search engine optimisation (SEO) is regarded as important to many businesses. If you have a content management system (CMS) running your site then, as I discussed a long time ago, you don’t want it to interfere with your search engine positions.

One of the oft-touted benefits of WordPress is that it’s “good for SEO”. That’s a surprising claim since the majority of good SEO is producing quality content and getting people to link to it. Let’s brush that aside for one moment though and look at a couple of articles that make more specific claims as to WordPress’s SEO capabilities — and why I think claims that WordPress is “good for SEO” constitutes a delusion.

“Good for SEO” can be found in almost any of the many discussion threads online when people ask why they should use WordPress but I’ve picked a couple that I think cover most of the them.

First up, Nick Schäferhoff from Torque makes the superlative claim “WordPress is the best CMS for SEO and here is why”.

Nick claims that WordPress is SEO friendly out-of-the-box. Why? Well, he goes on to list reasons that really are not unique to WordPress.

WordPress’s apparent SEO superiority comes from SEO-friendly URLs, title tags and headings and “easy content creation”. I find these selling points odd because pretty much every CMS you can think of offers these. Furthermore, many of them do these things much better than WordPress.

WordPress doesn’t force you to use the h1 tag; that’s down to the theme. All, repeat all, CMSs I’ve ever used offer SEO-friendly URLs — although WordPress’s URL schema is actually quite limited compared to a framework that has a proper router built in. And “easy content creation” is a selling point? Isn’t the the goal of all CMSs?

Nick then goes on to cite “SEO-optimized Themes” as a selling point. From my experience with purchased themes, even premium ones, “SEO-optimised” is not a term I would use for them. Even if themes add so-called SEO benefits to the dashboard (like forcing a h1 tag per above) their performance is usually dire due to WordPress’s clumsy loop system and all the bloat it carries round with it due to its ridiculous policy on backwards compatibility and lack of desire to quality-control plugins.

He then goes on to say there are “heaps of SEO plugins”. This alone refutes the WordPress claim: “good for SEO”. If it’s so good for SEO, why does it require SEO plugins — shouldn’t it do this out-of-the-box?

The next two reasons are laughable: “Ability to Build Quick-Loading Sites” and “Top-notch Security”. WordPress is slow and the target of many security exploits. WordPress isn’t that slow out-of-the-box (it’s not that fast either) but the problem is for most people’s requirements you have to install plugin after plugin to make it do what lots of other CMSs do by default. The more plugins you add, you decrease your site’s performance and increase its likelihood of being attacked.

You see, another reason Nick gives for using WordPress is “Community Support”. While this is not directly related to SEO having support is obviously a good thing. But you can’t have your cake and eat it. The huge user base is largely inexperienced and they flood the plugin market with insecure code. So, in WordPress’s case, the large community correlates with its poor security.

SEO is not something any CMS is “good” at; they can help you along the way but they can’t do the hard work for you

Go SEO asked the question: “It’s 2017, Is WordPress Still Best for SEO?” That’s a loaded “When did you stop beating your wife?” question because it assumes WordPress was best for SEO. As we have already established, it isn’t and it wasn’t.

There’s not much substance to this article as it’s almost entirely predicated on the notion that your options are to use Squarespace and a couple of other online builders — or WordPress.

While I agree that even WordPress is better than website builders like Wix, the false dichotomy presented in this article is ridiculous. There are hundreds of other options out there all with different strengths and weaknesses.

But yet, people still make the ridiculous claim that WordPress is “good for SEO”? It’s a delusion because:

Pick a CMS because it fits your business — not because of some so-called SEO benefits.

Tim Bennett is a web designer and developer. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.