It’s widely known that WordPress is great for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Few people really understand however just what it is about WordPress that Search Engines like (even many so called SEO experts really have no understanding of how WordPress SEO really works). Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to add many Plugins to get great SEO benefits from your WordPress. There are certain Plugins that are needed however, ‘out the box’, WordPress does some SEO basics that are truly awesome.
SEO history lesson
In this Post I’ll very briefly describe what Pages you have on your WordPress Site but first a bit of related history;
Hyperlinks as Votes
Way back in the early days of Google (and subsequently Yahoo, Bing and other Search Engines), hyperlinks between Pages and Sites were considered ‘votes’. What this meant is that the more links you had pointing to a Page on your Website, the more ‘votes’ your Site got and the higher in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) that Page appeared. Of course this very rudimentary ‘vote’ system has been enhanced and refined substantially since then.
Site Content and Sitemaps
Sitemaps cover two ‘thinks; sitemap.xml is a machine readable list of Pages on your Site and a Sitemap is a Page on a Site that lists the Pages available on the Website. Both of these sitemaps had (and still have) purpose; a Sitemap Page is great for allowing people to navigate your Website and a sitemap.xml file provides a simple means for a Search Engine to see what content id available on a Website (the importance of a sitemap.xml file has diminished but it’s still a good idea to have an always up to date sitemap.xml file available).
CMS and Dynamic Pages
Websites used to be very static in nature; there was defined content and each Page was an independent piece of information. Enter Content Management Systems as Website management Tools; nowadays we are fortunate to have amazing software available (e.g. WordPress) that allows us to add static content and the CMS will automagically add and create dynamic content as needed.
WordPress Dynamic Pages and SEO
So what does the history lesson above have to do with this Post? Everything…
Take a look at the image below (click the image to see it larger).
The image above shows the number of Pages on my WordPress Website as indexed by Google (this is viewed in Google Webmaster Tools). Now, I definitely have not published almost a million Pages; I have about 500 actual Pages and Posts in total. The rest of the near million Pages are dynamically generated content such as Pages for Tags, Pages for categories and so on.
What WordPress does is automatically create dynamic Pages to make it simpler for people to search and find content on my Website. A side benefit of this is that Google is better able to understand my Website as it is so easily indexed because of all the links between the content (hence why a sitemap.xml file isn’t really necessary for a WordPress Site).
The dangers of duplicate content
There is a mountain of disinformation out there regarding how Google treats duplicate information. Just because the same content may appear many times (e.g. if a Post is in two categories it’ll appear on the dynamically generated list for ‘Category 1’ and ‘Category 2’) Google does not penalise WordPress Sites for duplicate content (if your SEO person is telling you this they are either useless or trying to scare you so get on the phone and terminate services with them right now).
I hope this helped your understanding of how WordPress generates dynamic content/Pages and how his helps Search Engines understand the content on your Website. Give me a shout if you want to enhance your SEO.