It’s kind of painful to look at that title. But today, a new client of ours forwarded a comment made by his current web developer:
My jaw literally dropped, because wow…that’s wildly out-of-date thinking. Frankly, I don’t know if it was ever true (feel free to let me know in the comments).
When a crawler comes by a database-driven site, the server responds to the query by serving up the entire page to the crawler. That’s how Google knows what’s on the page beyond your main content: e.g., the text you have in a slideshow and what’s showing up as relevant related material in a sidebar. It also notes how long it takes your pages to load. But make no mistake, any properly-written web crawler is going to get the full content of the page.
As an illustration, take a look at the crawl stats for this WordPress-driven site we built. Google’s crawling an average of 135 pages per day. This is a well-maintained site with lots of great content and plenty of good quality inbound links. Note also that pages on this site load in about 1 second. There’s nothing here to suggest WordPress is sluggish or that Google has a problem crawling the site.
WordPress is “a fantastic choice”
Matt Cutts praised WordPress for being SEO-friendly platform. WordPress automatically solves a ton of issues bloggers might have. It is a fantastic piece of software, makes your site easily crawlable by search engines, solves some 80-90% of mechanics of SEO and is the first big step anyone can take towards creating a popular online business.
Note that the video in this article is from 2009, when WordPress’s market share was well below what it’s become. The WordPress platform now serves up 60.4% of all CMS traffic and 22.7% of the overall web as of the day I’m writing this post. It wouldn’t be growing like that if it caused problems with Google.
What Google cares about is the quality of your content, and increasingly, the speed. I can hand-code a blazing fast HTML5/CSS3/JS site that would make Google extremely happy, but if the content is crap my page rank will suck. And if you were my client, you’d be paying me to update your site, since I doubt you know how to work with HTML and don’t have the time or inclination to learn.
In addition to the many other high-traffic sites that live and die by SEO (NY Times Blogs, Forbes Blogs, TechCrunch),the New Yorker is now moving to WordPress. I can’t think of a good reason for building a site in straight code any more, unless you’re talking about a three-page site or something.