Probably, one of the biggest misconceptions going around, for WordPress, is that it’s perfected for SEO. The implication that web marketers and web administrators draw from this is that they don’t need to worry about SEO separately, apart from the keyword research and SEO content creation. This, however, is not the complete truth.
Agreed, WordPress is the top blogging platform across the globe, and you’d invariably find a WordPress based website in the top 10 search results for any keyword. But, to make your WordPress website succeed, you need to invest proper effort towards SEO. Equally important is to not believe the biggest myths in the WordPress SEO sphere. In this guide, we have capture 5 such common and high-risk WordPress SEO mistakes, and will also tell you how you can avoid them.
Mistake #1 – Not Including a WordPress SEO Plugin in Your Repertoire of Tools
It’s odd that many WordPress theme makers claim how their products are SEO friendly right out of the box, leaving you very little to do from an SEO front. However, you need at least one dedicated SEO plugin to be able to maximize your website’s potential for good SEO juice. For instance, here are some activities which you can manage best with an SEO plugin.
- Generating and adding a sitemap to Google Search and other web search engine crawlers.
- Specifying which pages you don’t want to appear in any search results (this is necessary for work-in-progress posts, and some A-B test campaigns).
- Optimizing your post content for targeted keywords, to maximize visibility for search engine bots, when related search queries are made.
- Activities such as identifying dead links and correcting their linking, or removing them.
- Generation of SEO-friendly URLs for your posts.
- Adding the title, meta, and image alt tags for all your posts.
- Adding open graph tags for social sharing (this is not exactly SEO, but is a vital aspect of your complete optimization campaigns).
Unless you’re a mast coder, it’s close to impossible to get all these things in place, without investing dozens of man hours, which we’re sure you don’t have at your disposal! The alternative – get a superb all in one SEO plugin for WordPress.
How to avoid this mistake?
It’s obvious – install a good WordPress plugin. Here are 3 options we can vouch for.
- Yoast SEO
- All in One SEO Pack
- SEO Processor
Here’s a quick comparison of Yoast SEO and All In One SEO Pack. Though both of these plugins are awesome, you might want to use Yoast SEO, purely because it organizes all the options and settings in a more organized manner than the others.
- Gives you a visual preview of your post's title and meta descriptions how they look on Google
- Indicates visually whether your content is too short or too long
- Hands you actionable information on whether your content if optimized for the focus keyword
- Provides a wholesome look of the on-page SEO, with a lot of color coding
- Is easy to use for starters and anybody without WordPress website experience
- Comes with premium support, which is reasonably priced
Mistake #2 – Not Taking Care of Categorization and Tags for your WordPress Website
Ever heard of taxonomies? A key aspect of it is organizing your WordPress website’s content into well thought out and intelligently worded categories and tagging the posts with these words. This not only enables the visitor to enjoy a better user experience and ease of navigation but also helps you with onsite SEO. On the flip side, the absence of categories can quickly cause your website visitor to leave for a competitor’s website with more organized content.
Now, imagine ‘categories’ as what you see in a book’s table of the content section. And, tags are what you see in the index at the back of the book. When you have a tags page which links to several other pages, and several other pages link back to it, within your website, this is an indicator for Google (and other search engines) that this is an important part of your website and something you offer a diverse range of content on. Also, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin we talked about earlier to have your tags treated as meta keywords. More the number of tags you add, better it is from a user search and onsite SEO front. Whereas WordPress offers pretty intuitive options to add and manage your categories and tags, you might also want to consider a plugin for the same.
Mistake #3 – Not Researching the Ideal Keywords
Now, this is a mistake that spans across all kind of website content creation. Even if you're using SEO friendly website builders. When you’re using WordPress, you have so many built-in keyword research and analyses tools, and additional plugins, that it’s a sin to make this mistake.
You have a diverse audience, and people use different keywords to search for the same content. This makes it too difficult for you to ‘guess’ the right keywords. It logically follows that you, then, need to research for the right keywords, and then use them at places where Google (or any other web search engine) will look for them.
How do I take care not to commit this mistake?
Here are some activities you can conduct to give yourself a better shot at identifying and using the correct keywords.
- Get yourself an account on Google Adwords, and use the Keyword Planner tool to get a better idea of the right keywords
- Educate yourself on long tail keywords; they'll help you rank higher on Google result pages.
- Check out alternatives to keyword research tools, and see which one suits you best.
- Search the WordPress library of plugins for a tool to help you with keyword research and optimized usage of content.
Mistake #4 – Not Using the Researched Keywords At Right Places
Identifying keywords is the first part; next up – you have to use them at the right places to drive great SEO benefits. Not many people know as to where Google looks for keywords to rank websites. When you have this information at hand, you can then optimize your content and get the best of SEO outcomes. Most WordPress users are only aware of one or two rules of keyword optimized content and hence miss out on a lot of potential traffic, in spite of having great posts.
How do I take care not to commit this mistake?
Here are the most important rules of optimizing all your WordPress website content for keywords.
- Add the target keyword in the URL of the web page.
- Make sure you use it in the title of the post.
- Write different subheadings, using variations of the keyword in them.
- The meta description also must carry your main keyword.
- Look to use the keyword contextually and naturally in the first 100 words of your page content
- Add the keyword in the first image alt text you use for a page.
Remember, if you have a WordPress website already, and haven’t done much effort towards keyword research, it’s critical that you do it now, and optimize your existing content for these keywords.
Mistake #5 – Leaving Your WordPress Website Off Access for Google
This is a mistake that most new WordPress users make. While setting up the first set of posts on your website, it’s understandable that you’d want to make sure everything is alright before letting search engines index your pages. These are the most commonly used options to block search engines from indexing a WordPress website.
- Add the blocking code in the robots.txt file in the root folder of your WordPress installation
- Using Settings > Reading > Search Engine Visibility, and tick marking the box for blocking the website from search engines
- Applying a password to the website using cPanel
- Applying a password using a plugin
Now, it’s alright for you to do all this testing, but only if you remember to remove the block once you’re ready. Remember, when your website is blocked for indexing via search engines, your organic traffic is expected to drop to zero (yes, it’s that bad). So this is one mistake you just can’t afford to commit with your WordPress websites.
Managing a WordPress website is no easy business. With literally hundreds of equally superb website within micro-niches, it’s tough to make your website stand out. SEO is the only way forward, and to achieve that, you need to avoid the most commonly committed mistakes of WordPress SEO. In this guide, we have captured 5 of these mistakes and given you the means, tools, best practices, and tricks to do better than most other WordPress website administrators and content creators do. Trust these tips to help you do better SEO, drive more organic traffic to your website, and grow your business and blog to the next level.