There are so many things that can be said about this topic and the truth is that everything that is connected to search engine optimization is difficult to understand if you do not have a lot of experience about the topic. Without a shadow of a doubt, installing WordPress is great for SEO from the moment it is installed. However, you can make it a lot better.
Most people that have WordPress installed make SEO mistakes because of a lack of knowledge about search engine optimization. This is completely normal. In order to help out most site owners out there that do use this CMS, let us take a look at the most common optimization problems that appear so that you can solve them as soon as possible.
Improper Meta Or H1 Tags
Duplicate content is a huge problem in SEO. It can destroy rankings and can even lead to a Google Penalty. As your WordPress site grows in content quantity, you can end up with duplicates. At the same time, many just use the same or highly similar meta tags and H1 tags for different pages. This is a really bad idea.
Never use too many keywords in such tags as this is another common mistake. A few years ago it did work to simply stuff H1 tags and Meta tags with keywords. Now it is seen as spam and no search engine likes to see that.
Choosing An Improper Theme
Choosing a WordPress theme based on how it looks like is not necessarily a good idea. Sure, you do want to have a blog/site that looks in a certain way but if the theme is not properly built or if the last update was done over 1 year ago, you may be faced with a problem without even realizing it.
While analyzing a theme to see if it is perfect is difficult, a general rule of thumb is to use themes that are updated as often as possible. At the same time, you need a theme that is responsive and although you may not like this, you should take into account the fact that paid themes are usually a lot better for SEO.
Too Many Links On The Homepage
This is another common WordPress SEO mistake that people do not know anything about. Once again, we see themes that include links, especially when they are free. Some of them come with 3 to 5 links. In many situations those links are totally irrelevant. They can even lead to questionable content that you do not want to link to.
At the same time, we have plugins that automatically add some links on your homepage, usually in the sidebar region when a widget is used. Do be careful with those too since if we also take into account the links that you naturally add to the homepage, you can end up with too many.
Not Adding Alt Text To Images
We keep reading about the importance of text for SEO and we do tend to forget about optimizing images. Most of the site owners out there will simply add the images and mistakes are made. There are basically 2 mistakes that are possible: Not using keywords in the image’s file name and Not using alt text.
With the image’s file name, the solution is simple: rename the file in an appropriate way before you upload it to WordPress. When referring to the alt text, all you need to do is add it in the appropriate field when you want to insert the image in your post. Keep in mind that the same duplicate content problem applies to images. This means that every single image description has to be different.
We talked a lot about duplicate content above but now we have to refer to the duplicate content that appears because of actual WordPress related problems. The biggest problem appears with adding articles to multiple categories and adding too many tags for the post. For instance, if you have many different tags that are used for only one post, you have duplicate content on your site. The solution to this problem is not at all difficult. Installing a WordPress SEO plug-in like All-In-One SEO or WordPress SEO by Yoast will automatically solve this by adding “nofollow” tags to Tag pages and even to categories.
Improper Permalink Settings
Most likely, this is the one fact that you keep hearing about whenever talking about WordPress SEO. It is a shame to notice that this problem still exists since everyone talks about it. While articles do exist and you are told that you should change your permalinks, you are not actually told how to do that. There are various different permalink options that are available for you and that you can use. A good one would be to make sure that you include category (if the categories are relevant keywords) and post name in the permalink. A structure like “/%category%/%postname%/” is almost always the best approach.
The Sitemap Problem
Your WordPress installation does not have a sitemap that comes with it out-of-the-box. When you add one of the SEO plugins mentioned, the site map is created. Alternatively, there are plug-ins that offer more control and that can help you set up different sitemaps. The big problem is that you cannot simply add the sitemap to your site and expect results. Search engines do not automatically detect them. Make sure that you submit your sitemap to Google Webmaster tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. This is something that most WordPress site owners do not do.
Not Adding Relevant Internal Links In The Post
Having a really strong sitemap is something that helps out a lot but that is not necessarily the main reason why you do want to add internal links in the posts you publish. If there are posts that would add more value to the article you wrote, make sure that you add the internal links. For instance, let’s use the protein supplements example above. If you write an article about soy protein and you mention the difference with whey protein, you can add a link inside the article to the article that talks about whey protein.
Not Using Related Posts
Even if you are not losing internal links in your post’s article, you need to at least take advantage of the opportunity to add related posts. Adding them both is a great idea, unless you have too many links on the pages already, as already mentioned above. The reason why you want to add the related posts is the same as what was mentioned with the relevant internal links above. Just make sure that the plug-in you use will choose those related posts properly.
Adding Too Many Plug-Ins
Plug-ins are great. They are really useful. We all know that. The problem with many WordPress site owners is that they simply add too many. What you may not be aware of is that you can easily end up with a website that loads a lot slower as you add plug-ins that consume too many server resources. This will affect your rankings, even if you may not think that is the case. Do make sure that you use only plug-ins that you actually need.
No matter what you do in regards to search engine optimization, you have to also stay focused on the quality of the content that you offer. This is much more important than SEO because you want your visitors to really like what is written. If this happens, you will get backlinks naturally and the problems that you may have due to a technical problem may be covered. However, improper structure and not focusing on the facts mentioned will hurt your site on the long run and your rankings will be limited.