It doesn’t matter how great your WordPress website is if nobody can find it. Set yourself up for success by avoiding these eight common WordPress SEO mistakes.
Thinking about launching a website about your favorite topic? Odds are good that you’re at least thinking about using WordPress. Why not? It’s way easier than building your own site from scratch. It’s got a strong developer community supporting it. There’s a whole ecosystem of themes, widgets, and plugins that make life easier. One thing it can’t do is avoid some common SEO mistakes for you. That’s why we’re here. Keep reading and we’ll walk you through 8 SEO mistakes to avoid.
1. The Site Isn’t Mobile Ready
If you don’t track the tech news closely, you probably missed the headline. Mobile traffic is now bigger than desktop internet traffic. In other words, people use their phones more to visit websites.
Here’s the catch. Websites optimized for desktop screens look awful on phones. Plus, they’re almost impossible to navigate.
As SEO mistakes go, that’s a big one. You aggravate more than half your website visitors. It’s also a completely avoidable mistake.
The core WordPress coding doesn’t deal with how sites look. That’s where themes come into the picture.
You want a theme that is mobile-ready or responsive. That means it’ll adapt how your site displays for a phone screen.
2. Ignoring the Technical Side of SEO
There’s a lot of technical elements to SEO on a WordPress site. Ignoring those is also high up on the list SEO mistakes. Any single flaw won’t sink you but pile them up and you’re in trouble.
Watch the URL or permalink structure of your content. That’s the string of text that search engines display for a page. WordPress lets you pick from between a few variations
Stick with one that includes the post name and preferably the month or day.
Checking Internal Links
Internal links are the ones that connect one page on your site to another page on your site. If you make big changes on the site, it can break those links.
Search engines punish you if your site has too many broken links.
Using Silo Architecture
Silo architecture is a way of organizing content. If you’re not familiar, you can learn more here.
3. Irregular Posting Schedule
Another big no-no is posting content on an irregular schedule.
Irregular posting can make it look you don’t give the website much attention. That makes search engines push your site down in the results. They prefer serving up sites that offer a steady stream of fresh content.
That doesn’t mean you must post daily. It means you must pick a schedule and stick with it. Try setting up a calendar with a topic listed for each week.
4. Publishing Low-Quality Content
Most people recognize low-quality content when they see it. Worse, it makes them much less likely to visit your site again.
Here are a few signs you post bad content:
- It’s always very short.
- It covers topics at a surface level.
- It’s a thinly veiled sales pitch.
You can post short content, surface-level content, and blatant marketing content. You can’t do it every time. Longer, more in-depth content establishes your knowledge and builds trust.
Search engines are pretty good at spotting and downgrading sites with low-quality content.
5. Irrelevant Content
Possibly the only thing worse than low-quality content is irrelevant content.
Say you’re a baker. No matter how much you know about World War 2, that blog post about D-Day doesn’t belong on your bakery blog. It’s not because it’s a bad post, but because it’s not relevant in any way to your business.
It diffuses your brand for customers. It also makes search engines think that your site isn’t focused on bakery-related business anymore.
Granted, one random post won’t make or break your search engine rankings. Make a habit of it, though, and you only hurt yourself.
6. Not Watching the Numbers
You need at least basic analytics software running on your site. You can’t make informed decisions if you don’t know what draws attention and what converts visitors to customers.
If you don’t watch the numbers, you’re essentially throwing content at the Internet and hoping for the best.
Most people opt for Google Analytics because it’s fairly powerful and free. If you don’t like giving Google extra information, there are several other WordPress analytics plugins.
7. Not Using High-Quality Links
There are go-to websites and publications in every topic, field, or industry. These are the sources that always provide fact-checked, reliable information.
Including a relevant link from one of these sources confers a kind of reflected credibility onto your site. It signals that you recognize the difference between good sources and bad sources.
If you don’t link out to these sources, it’s a major SEO mistake.
8. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is an SEO worst practice. Experienced website builders, copywriters, bloggers, and marketers know better.
Of course, with 500,000+ businesses starting up monthly, there’s plenty of people who didn’t get the memo. So here’s keyword stuffing in a nutshell.
You want your site to rank for a keyword related to your business. Let’s say you make custom silver jewelry. You pick “custom silver jewelry” as your keyword.
Then, you cram that keyword in wherever you can. It looks something like this:
Custom silver jewelry makes a statement because nothing else looks like custom silver jewelry.
We make custom silver jewelry to your specification. You’ll love it when your custom silver jewelry arrives and you can show off your custom silver jewelry to your friends.
Don’t do this. Search engines hate it, as will any human being who sees it.
Parting Thoughts on WordPress SEO Mistakes to Avoid
There are lots of SEO mistakes waiting to pounce on you, but you can avoid them.
Sometimes, it’s as easy as picking a mobile-ready theme or installing analytics software.
Sometimes it means paying attention to how your URLs look.
Content is where most people trip up.
Offer some in-depth, valuable content that isn’t keyword stuffed and use links from reputable sources.
Keep your content focused on relevant topics, then post it on a regular schedule. That’ll smooth the way for your other SEO efforts.
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