SEO for WordPress: Five Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make (But Probably Are)
Did you know that WordPress powers almost a quarter of websites? Yes that’s right. The open source blogging and website CMS tool hosts over 24 percent of the blogs and websites present on the Internet today. Not without good reason.
It is simple to understand and easy to use. It packed with a host of features and backed by a great support community. But you probably already know all this, don’t you? And you may also know that this PHP creation tool has search engine optimization built into it at the source.
Or is it?
While WordPress is often billed to have been set up for SEO “right out of the box”; there is more to SEO for WordPress than meets the eye. Indeed, the platform does have innate support for SEO and offers a host of free and premium plug-ins to make the job easier for publishers. But you cannot rely on just that. Should not, if you are serious about SEO.
So what should you do? You should go over and above your normal strategy for WordPress SEO, which may be either as simple as publishing content or as not-so-simple as publishing content after keywords optimization and meta-tag addition. You should follow the general SEO best-practices such as indexing, linking (both inbound and outbound), and providing alternate text and tags for images to name a few – you know the drill.
So instead of going over what you should do, here’s a short list of what you should not do when optimizing your WordPress content for search engines:
Five common SEO mistakes that publishers make (and you want to avoid)
1. Ignoring XML Sitemap
Google’s search bots need an XML Sitemap to find otherwise conspicuous pages on your WordPress website or blog. Why not give it to them? By forgetting to include an XML sitemap to risk not getting indexed and therefore not getting ranked for a few or more of your webpages. And there isn’t much SEO you can do if you aren’t indexed, can you?
2. Too much of ‘good’ things
What are these ‘good’ things you ask? They’re the general, albeit key SEO elements such as keywords, inbound and outbound links, indexing and the like. You do not want too much of indexing (such as the indexing of your dummy pages) because they dilute your results and ultimately hurt SEO.
You do not want your content to be stuffed with keywords. Remember, keyword density between one and four percent folks. That’s all. Similarly, you do not want to use too many links. You also do not want to include any links to poor quality websites. These instances of overdoing hurt your SEO rank instead of helping it.
3. Irrelevant titles and tags
You want more people and more search engines to find your content. So what do you do? Add a bunch of tags, including the ones that may be very, very remotely related to the actual content. You don’t want to do that. Keeping tags accurate, relevant, and specific is great for both SEO and engagement. Similarly, you want your content titles and headers (H1, H2, and H3) to be accurate, relevant, and specific to your content.
4. Forgetting optimization for people
While search bots place your content on SERPs, it’s people who click through to your content. So you need to attract them as well. One easy way to do so is to optimize the Meta Title and Meta Description of each of your posts separately to ensure readership. It is not uncommon for people to scroll down to the bottom of the first SERP or proceed to the second SERP, and click on a link with an informative Meta Title and Description.
5. Ignoring your Google Plus profile
While Google Authorship is no longer relevant, the effect of Google Plus profiles on SEO definitely is.