Search Engine Optimisation using WordPress with Zimbabwean Examples

There so much content about SEO available on the internet, what’s different about this one? Well, a story told by one of your peers can be more understandable because he will use familiar language plus examples.

The goal of SEO work is to make a website page rank high for certain keywords and phrases. SEO has been around for many years but it has been confined to a few ‘tech guys’ who claimed to know how the search engines operated. Thanks to advances made in open source projects like WordPress which seek to empower everyday people to achieve what used to be reserved for ‘tech savvy’ gurus.

I would want to inspire you to attend the upcoming WordCamp Harare 2016 by giving you some highlights about what I will be sharing there. Thanks to the WordPress Foundation for making this event possible.

In this article, I want to share the inbuilt features of WordPress that give websites advantages in SEO. I will share one example of a business that benefitted directly from SEO and finally show you some resources where you can learn more about SEO.

SEO Advantages of using WordPress

I use WordPress for all the website projects that I do. I have been using it for over five years now. I have done hard coded, Drupal and Joomla websites in my eight-year career. I think I have seen something worth sharing.

As you would expect, I have settled for WordPress as my main development platform. There are many reasons why I have done this including easy handover of websites to clients, automatic updates and centralized control of many WordPress installs using one tool. Accidentally, I discovered that my WordPress websites would take much shorter time to appear in Google search results. For those reading outside Zimbabwe, Africa; we have some websites here which are owned by businesses worth over a million dollars but are not indexed in Google.

I would like to share a few natural advantages that a WordPress website has in regards to SEO.

Very clean code.

For your website to appear in search results it must be indexed by the search engine prior to the search. There are programs called spiders which crawl websites to discover the content. So, to be successful in SEO, the first goal is to make sure that your website can be crawled and indexed. Here is where the WordPress’ clean code advantage comes in.
WordPress is a clean CMS in its makeup. This gives websites done using WordPress the first advantage of being ready for indexing. This is not to be taken for granted. In my experience, I have met websites which were 100% not indexable. Just this morning, I was doing an audit on a prominent business in Harare and the website was 46% indexable.

This feature of WordPress can be overridden by badly developed themes. It’s important to get themes out of the WordPress repository of themes since these errors will be checked before the theme is allowed into the repository.

Easy fresh content generation

One of the pillars of SEO is content generation. Although there are many factors that go into the content aspect of SEO, there is an unspoken underlying condition: adding the content to the website.

WordPress is so simple that anyone who can use a computer can learn to add new pages, videos, images and many other forms of content to the website. All WordPress powered websites which do not have fresh content are hindered by other challenges, not by technical difficulties.

This the reason why all the main news websites in the country and world over are powered by WordPress. Examples include The Herald and The Newsday.

Tracking codes and analytics

When you start SEO, you will need to start measuring so many things on your website. Examples include the number of sessions, people, page views etc.

To be able to do this you will need a tracking pixel or code to be added to each page on your website. One of the popular tracking tools is Google Analytics.

When using WordPress, you don’t need to worry about how to handle the tracking code, you can install a simple plugin it all add the code to all the present pages and posts including the futures ones.

Extendable in a few clicks

WordPress functionality is extendable in a few clicks. When doing SEO, you will need some tools (free or paid) which are not part of the default WordPress installation.

The power to make changes quickly is inherent in a WordPress website. SEO reports will reveal things that need attention on your website. Sometimes these changes need to be done site-wide, the extensibility of WordPress comes in handy, get a plugin and fix the problem.

Large community and free resources

WordPress now powers 27% of the Internet and it’s growing fast! What does this mean for SEO and WordPress in general? It means it’s easy to get solutions for any problem because it’s very likely that someone has been through it.

You get free tools, advise, tutorials and support in the community for whatever challenge you may be facing.

Examples of SEO success using WordPress

I will use my website as the example of SEO benefits to business. I give this example for only one reason: most of the people who claim to offer SEO services in Zimbabwe are not doing it very well for their websites. I may not be doing it perfectly however, I am having results.

I registered the domain in November 2015 when I wanted to rebrand my business from Proweb Zimbabwe because there is a Women’s Forum by that name. I had tried to ignore the Women’s forum but the damage was great to the extent that I received payments in my account which belonged to the women’s forum.

With the fresh domain, I started working on getting noticed on Google (on average 92% of all searches done in Zimbabwe are done on Google). What did I do? What are the results?

What I did

  • I installed WordPress and chose a theme.
  • I decided on the keywords which my website needed to rank for (I chose ‘web design’ and ‘SEO in Zimbabwe’). I did some research on each of these words to find close alternatives, based how people search for these services.
  • I generated content based on these keywords.
  • I installed the plugin (WordPress SEO by Yoast) and optimized the content for the chosen keywords.
  • I started writing blog posts around the topics I had chosen and optimized them using the Yoast Plugin.
  • I installed Google Analytics and activated Google Search Console
  • I started analyzing SEO reports and adjusting the content on the website.

The results

Within three months, was in the first 10 search results on Google for ‘web design in Zimbabwe’ and ‘SEO in Zimbabwe’. As of now, the website is in position two for ‘SEO in Zimbabwe’. I have had calls from businesses I that had no prior contacts with requesting for quotations for SEO services.

I have consulted for companies like YoAfrica, Hammer and Tongues shopping mall, Africa Lotto and Manna Safari. For a one-year-old brand, I have had more new clients in one year than all the previous years using the old brand.


Your business needs SEO to take advantage of the low hanging fruit. Your competition may already be taking advantage of the fact that you are not competing with them online.

Using WordPress, it’s easy to get started on SEO. You can learn more during the upcoming WordCamp Harare 2016.

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