Four Common WordPress SEO Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

keyword_densityFor more businesses, WordPress is the best place to start when building a website. The content management system is easy to install and highly customizable. Anyone with a basic knowledge of computers can create pages and posts without additional training. And there plugins available to make the site handle just about any function imaginable. WordPress is also SEO friendly, but not as much when used with default settings. Business owners who are using their WordPress with its out of the box settings (proverbially since it’s a download) don’t have their sites optimized for SEO. Here are four common WordPress mistakes and what business owners can do to solve them.

  1. Not Changing Default Site Tagline
    The first thing we’ll mention is also the easiest to fix. Besides the name of the site, WordPress offers a business owners a place for a tagline. Usually, the tag is explains what the site is about. It’s a good place to stick in a few more keywords because this information shows up in search engine results. Some business owners initially skip the tagline but forgot to go back and change it later once the setup is finished. Not only is this a missed opportunity to use keywords and provide searchers with relevant information on the content of the site, but it makes a site look amateurish. It looks really bad when a site has “Just Another WordPress Blog” show up by their name in Google search results. The tagline can easily be changed from the General section of the Settings menu.

  2. Not Structured for Keywords In Link
    Another simple but important fix comes from the default link structure. There are multiple ways that links can be set up in WordPress and the best way to do it is with links based on the post name. This gets more keywords into the link which improves SEO and it’s easier for website viewers to use. By default older versions of WordPress had links set to numeric values or with a combination of time, date and post name. Using links that just have the post name is best, but it’s a change that has to made from the Permalinks section of the Settings menu. One thing to keep in mind about this adjustment: don’t go back and change the links to pages that are already live. Once the page is live, people may already have linked to the old address, switching it after the fact would make those links not work (unless you feel like doing some time-consuming redirecting) or worsen your SEO for that page by losing the old PageRank earned by the page at the old URL.

  3. Not Including an XML Site Map
    A site map is like a table of contents for a website. They aren’t there to help website users but to benefit the robots that crawl the site for search engines. Crawlers are designed to pull a lot of information from websites very quickly. It’s an imperfect process and anything website owners can do to aid robots benefits their SEO efforts. For example, if a website has one page that isn’t linked to on any other page on the site, there’s a chance that page could be missed by Google. Site maps tell search engines what the content of the site are and other useful information such as how often the site is updated. There are a lot of great plugins that WordPress users can install that will automatically create and update their sitemap, but website owners have to make the effort of installing the plugin since they aren’t included by default by WordPress.

  4. Not Using SEO Plugins to Optimize Each Post
    As was mentioned in the opening of this article, ease of use is one of the strong points of the WordPress platform, but there are some times when this ease of use prevents bloggers from fine tuning their articles in a way that benefits SEO. There are a lot of SEO plugins that can help website owners with these functions. For example, when search engines pull a description of a web page snippets, they usually pull the first few paragraphs unless there is a meta-description available. Adding an SEO plugin lets users decide which part of their opening they would want to use for their description. These plugin have a lot of features that can be used to ensure that each post is optimized for maximum SEO benefit. There are a lot of other options available, so look around.

WordPress is a powerful tool for publishing content on the internet and businesses that are thinking about building or rebuilding their company website should strongly consider using the platform. It may not be perfect, but it’s pretty darn close. Taking care of the four issues mentioned in this article will help business owners get the maximum benefit from their website.

For more ideas, read this article with eight tips to make a blog more SEO friendly.

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