Do WordPress Sites Do Better in Google Search?

A bundle of cubes with WordPress logo printed on them.

For several years, people have speculated that websites built on WordPress do better in Google’s search results. So, does this mean Google favors WordPress sites?

Let’s dive into:

Why Google Embraces WordPress

WordPress is behind more than one-third (43%) of the websites on the internet and its CMS market share is roughly 64%, according to W3Techs.

That makes it the most popular content management system and growing. In fact, from January 2020 to April 2022, WordPress usage grew from 35% to 43% – that’s nearly a 23% increase in just over two years.

And WordPress isn’t just for small businesses. WordPress powers some of the biggest brands and most popular websites including Zoom.us, Alibaba.com, Bloomerg.com, and Salesforce.com.

Google endorsed WordPress early on, stating back in 2009 that the CMS solved up to 90% of SEO mechanics, with features such as enabling an SEO-friendly site structure, mobile friendliness, and enabling page optimization via meta tags – and that is right out of the box.

Additionally, WordPress plugins enable you to further tailor functionality (including our own Bruce Clay WordPress SEO plugin), providing plenty of ways for optimizing a WordPress website for SEO.

Even with all of these new features, WordPress still isn’t perfect for organic search and needs work if you really want to increase your search results.

In 2017, Google presented findings at a WordCamp event that showed WordPress performed poorly compared to non-WordPress webpages on a lot of key performance indicators.

Graph from Google presentation showing median speed index between WordPress and non-WordPress sites.
Image source: Performance Is User Experience, Google, WordCamp, 2017
Graph from Google presentation showing Time to First Interactive metric for WordPress and non-WordPress sites.
Image source: Performance Is User Experience, Google, WordCamp, 2017
Graph from Google presentation showing First Meaningful Paint metric for WordPress and non-WordPress sites.
Image source: Performance Is User Experience, Google, WordCamp, 2017

(In case you didn’t notice, those performance indicators are the same found in Google’s “page experience” algorithm update that hit in 2021).

So in 2018, Googler Alberto Medina announced a partnership between Google and WordPress to help improve the WordPress ecosystem. (The announcement on his personal blog seems to be currently unavailable.)

Why partner together?

As WordPress expands in market share and becomes the website platform of choice for more websites, Google wants to ensure that WordPress sites perform well in search results.

That equates to a better experience for Google users. And this is what Google really cares about.

Does Google Give WordPress Sites Better Rankings?

Maybe – but it’s not likely due to a ranking signal in its algorithm. And, in fact, Google has stated otherwise.

In 2016, Google’s John Mueller said this on Twitter:

And again in 2021, Mueller said this:

The reason why WordPress sites may tend to rank better is due to WordPress’s SEO-friendly features. Not every CMS allows you to do advanced SEO. This is what you want in a CMS.

As WordPress and its community — including Google — continue working together to enhance it, WordPress sites will be more competitive in search results compared to other website builders.

If you are choosing between WordPress and Wix for creating a website, my advice would be to ensure you can compete effectively with your competition online.

And, if all your competitors use WordPress, it would be advantageous for all parties involved to be competing on an even playing field. You don’t get there by using a website builder that does not enable you to do advanced SEO.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can develop or update your WordPress site to rank in Google.

FAQ: How does the partnership between Google and WordPress benefit search results?

Google recently formed an alliance between itself and WordPress, offering multiple benefits for website owners and marketers. This partnership positively impacts search rankings for WordPress users in many ways, including:

Enhanced Crawling and Indexing

The partnership between Google and WordPress has resulted in improved crawling and indexing of WordPress websites. Google Searchbot is tightly integrated into WordPress websites and will quickly identify and index new or updated pages on them, giving Google the power to show them in relevant search results quickly. Google can even quickly index blog posts written for WordPress sites as quickly as they’re published or updated, making sure your posts appear quickly for searchers to discover them.

Optimized Site Structure and Mobile-Friendliness

WordPress is widely admired for its user-friendly interface and robust architecture, offering a host of SEO-friendly themes and plugins that can optimize website structure, increase speed and enhance mobile friendliness. This integration aligns perfectly with Google’s emphasis on mobile-first indexing and page experience signals. By leveraging WordPress’s features and Google’s guidelines, website owners can create highly responsive and user-friendly websites that are favored by search engines.

Streamlined Content Publishing and SEO

Content is king in the digital realm, and WordPress empowers website owners to create and publish high-quality content seamlessly. The partnership with Google further enhances this process by providing valuable insights and recommendations for optimizing content for search results. WordPress plugins, such as Yoast SEO, integrate with Google Search Console to offer real-time suggestions for improving keyword targeting, meta descriptions and overall content quality. This collaborative approach ensures that your WordPress site aligns with Google’s search algorithm, maximizing visibility and engagement.

Improved Schema Markup and Rich Snippets

Schema markup, also known as structured data, provides search engines with additional information about your website’s content, enabling them to display rich snippets in search results. WordPress offers numerous plugins that simplify the implementation of schema markup, ensuring that your content stands out in search listings. The Google-WordPress partnership has facilitated the adoption of standardized schema types and improved compatibility between WordPress and Google’s search engine. As a result, website owners can effectively communicate the relevance and context of their content to Google, leading to enhanced visibility and click-through rates.

The integration of Google’s search capabilities with the WordPress platform empowers website owners to create user-friendly, SEO-optimized websites that rank well in search results, ultimately driving more organic traffic and increasing online visibility.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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3 Replies to “Do WordPress Sites Do Better in Google Search?”

WordPress is awesome.

Another great reason why WordPress is the best CMS.

As a WordPress user, it’s gratifying to see the platform’s SEO-friendly features being acknowledged by Google. While Google doesn’t explicitly prioritize WordPress sites in its rankings, the platform’s capabilities and community-driven improvements make it a competitive choice. If you want to stand out online and have a level playing field with your competitors, opting for WordPress is a smart move. The partnership between Google and WordPress is a win-win for website owners and users, and I’m optimistic about the future advancements it will bring.

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