May 22, 2017

The most common WordPress SEO mistakes

Published: 22 May 2017 

You’ve joined WordPress and you’ve started to make your website. However, there are simple mistakes you could be making that could seriously damage your SEO.

Fortunately, you can find out what these mistakes are, and how you can fix them if you’ve already made it.

The top 6 most common WordPress SEO mistakes:


1. Not including a sitemap

Source: Just Perfect

A sitemap doesn’t seem like it’s the most important thing to include on your website. However, you want to make sure you include everything possible to make it easier for Google to find your website. That’s exactly what the inclusion of sitemap does. Sitemaps will provide a list of pages from your website that you would like indexed. Google has even stated that you won’t be penalised for including one. If there are only benefits, why wouldn’t you want to include on on your WordPress website?

How do you include a sitemap on your website? You can manually create a sitemap. However, if you want a more automated process, there are plugins you can download and instal including:

2. Blocking search engines

This can be a simple mistake to make but can have large consequences. After all, most businesses aim to get a high ranking on search engines in order to gain traffic and conversions. You won’t be able to do that if you have blocked search engines from reaching your website. Often users will have made this mistake and won’t even realise.

So how can you make sure your website isn’t blocking search engines? Once in WordPress:

  • Navigate to the Settings > Reading section
  • Look for the “Search Engine Visibility” section
  • There will be a box with a statement that says “discourage search engines from indexing this site. It is up to search engines to honour this request.” Make sure this box is NOT checked.
  • If you need to uncheck the box, save changes

3. Poor use of categories and tagging

When writing a new post on WordPress, you’ll notice there are Categories and Tags options on the right-hand side. Utilising these offers a great opportunity to increase not only traffic flow but also engagement. However, if you’re using too many tags and categories, or they’re irrelevant to your post, it can actually have the opposite effect.

While tags and categories don’t have the biggest impact on SEO, it will help search engines understand what keywords and phrases are relevant for each post. So it’s best to avoid using too many categories and tags, and always ensure they’re relevant to what you’re writing about.

4. Not using SEO plugins

Source: Yoast

If you’re wanting to improve your SEO efforts on WordPress, it’s best to consider installing a plugin. Sure, you can try and make sure you do everything yourself, but having a plugin will help to double check that you’re doing everything correctly. Plugins can help you to optimise your content, add sitemaps and block pages, to name a few.

Some SEO plugins to consider installing include:

5. Not optimising your content

Correctly optimising your content will help you get your pages ranking. Things you have to consider when writing posts include:

  • Keywords: make sure you avoid keyword stuffing, or else you may end up with a Google Penalty. Always use keywords naturally, make sure your work still make sense and it is readable.
  • Headers: Make sure you use H1, H2, H3 correctly, don’t overdo the H1 headers. Make sure the headings and subheadings are relevant to your post, and may even include keywords.
  • Alt tags: search engine crawlers can’t see images, therefore you have to provide text that gives an accurate description of what the image is. This text will also be displayed if there is an error with the image and it isn’t displaying.
  • Images: the more readable your content is, the more traffic flow you will get and the chance of getting a conversion increases. To make your posts more appealing, you want to make sure you use relevant images. No one wants to click on a post and read a long page of content without anything breaking it up.
  • Meta titles and descriptions: you don’t want to just optimise your post for humans, you want to think about search engine crawlers too. Make sure you optimise your meta titles and descriptions. This will have to be done through an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO. Optimising this allows you to include keywords and increase your clickthrough rate.

6. Not using the right keywords

How can you increase your chances of appearing in search engine results? You need to make sure you’re using the right keywords.

To know what keywords you should be using, you need to undertake keyword research. This will help you know what keywords you can use to get people to your website and what will be found by Google.

To make keyword research easier, you can use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to find keywords you should be using.

By following these steps you will be able to ensure your WordPress website receives a higher traffic flow, more conversions, and a higher ranking on search engine results pages.

Got any more tips? Let us know in the comments.

Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben

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