Most bloggers know the potential of WordPress. Yes, I am a huge fan of WordPress, too. I remember one said WordPress is the wonderful creation of mankind. It might be the reason why it has so huge users worldwide. It is true that WordPress is well equipped for search engine optimization. But you also agree it needs additional optimization when we see straight to SEO.
If you just write a post and publish it simply, you are missing a lot of WordPress potential. It is more powerful if we add some good plugins and tweak to the core CMS. I have seen frequently users don’t look for anything else than the after-installed state of the software.
Below are common SEO mistakes commonly ignored by many of WordPress users. If you were not hard on SEO before, I think this article will help you a lot:
Not Using XML Sitemap
If you don’t use an XML sitemap, you have a great SEO mistake. XML sitemap is for search engines, not for human visitors. Google spiders use the sitemap to find your pages and additional information like how often your site is updated. With the help of sitemap, Google can index page meta data and other new pages added from time to time. It can also alert to Google for any changes and additions to your site. So, a sitemap is so important for your site. If you want to learn more about the importance of a sitemap, Click Here.
An XML sitemap is a formatted list of pages. You can create it manually or use a plugin. You can use a sitemap generated by one of the following plugins:
WordPress SEO by Yoast: It is a popular SEO plugin of WordPress. If you use it, a sitemap is incorporated. Download it.
Google XML Sitemap: It is a standalone WordPress plugin. Click Here to download.
Use one of the aforesaid sitemap for your website. Such WordPress sitemaps are auto-updated.
Not Optimizing Search Results for Google+ Authorship
Have you seen Google search results with a photo? If you are already familiar with Google+, you know the photo is of Google+ Profile. The photo indicates the author of the page. From experiments, it is said that author highlighting in Google results improves clickthrough rate by 150%. If that small image in the snippet can increase traffic, why don’t you sign up for a Google+ account?
I have a good article for you to implement a link tag on your posts/pages. Read to optimize search results for Google+ Authorship.
Google algorithms take into account the social shares your site has. Launched in 2011, Google+ is a social networking site ranked World #2 after FaceBook. Now, Twitter goes behind it. Knowing its significance, you should have a Google+ account.
Not Solving Canonical Issues
If you have been living long along with search engine optimization, I am sure you know about the issues. But, if you are a newbie, the term ‘canonicalization’ may confuse you. Here, let me tell you briefly. For example, someone can reach your home page using the following URLs:
www.yoursite.com, yoursite.com, www.yoursite.com/index.html, or yoursite.com/index.php.
But the problem is this; the webserver provides different pages for all those URLs. Technically they are different URLs and Google tries to pick the best URL in multiple instances. So, it causes duplication issues. You can solve it providing a canonical URL as follows:
Take the best URL for yourself.
Provide the same to WordPress and Google Webmaster Tools.
Use a WordPress Plugin to provide it to all pages and posts (WordPress SEO by Yoast can do the job for you).
If the steps are strange to you, I recommend a guide for you to do it properly. Click Here.
Improper Use of Categories and Tags
Sometimes, I wonder to find some webmasters publish their posts with categorizing in WordPress. It is a mistake. Proper categorization improves engagement and traffic. Another error is using tags just like keywords. For an instance, when opening a book, you find “Table of Contents” at the beginning and “Index” at the end of it. By using them, you can open the exact pages you are looking for. In WordPress, “Table of Contents” is categories and “Index” is tags. They are used for visitors for easily browsing and for strengthening SEO power.
Categories and tags are collectively known as Taxonomies. Proper use of WordPress taxonomies helps Google identify the relevant keywords of your site. For example, you use a tag Mango Juice with many relevant posts. The tag links to several posts and those posts link back to the original post of the tag. Now, Mango Juice becomes an important keyword in the eyes of Google and it ranks high in Google results. Hence, you should not use a tag if you will not use it repeatedly in your future posts.
To read a good article about the proper use of categories and tags, Click Here.
Not Using Right Permalink Structure
Some WordPress users don’t care about Permalink Structure. Think the default WordPress URL found in Google results something like www.yoursite.com/?p=456. To highlight it more relevant to Google users, you can change the permalink structure. By doing so, the URL will appear in bold words. For me, I want the Post Title included in the URL. For example, if your post title is Enjoyable Summer Vacation Destinations, the URL will look like www.yoursite.com/enjoyable-summer-vacation-destinations/.
To do this, go to Dashboard. On the left sidebar, click on Settings, then click on Permalinks. On the Permalinks page, select Custom Structure and fill in the box as %postname% as shown in the following image:
Sometimes, changing Permalink Structure to a new one is risky. Read a useful resource about WordPress Permalinks and SEO. Click Here.
Not Using a Related Posts Plugin
In most times, you might see related posts at the end of a blog post. Related Posts are a list of posts found in the blog similar to the current one. It is done with a plugin. They are important to increase pageviews in your blog/site. In the SEO perspective, they improve the internal link structure in the site. It also helps in reducing Bounce Rate by keeping visitors longer on your site.
For example, when a visitor lands on your website, he reads your post. At the end of the post, he finds a list of related posts similar to the current one. He is curious to know more about the topic. He clicks on the links of the Related Posts to read other posts. It reduces Bounce Rate for keeping him longer on the site. Improving internal link structure and reducing Bounce Rate boost Google ranking. So, why not use a Related Posts plugin?
The best plugin, I know, is Yet Another Related Posts Plugin. Download it from WordPress site and upload in the plugin directory on your web server, then activate it.
Not Optimizing the Posts in the SERPs
If you ignore it, you have a mistake. Because, optimizing the look of your posts in the SERPs will improve clickthrough rate. Usually, people scan the Google results looking for the best one for their queries before they make a click. They read the headlines and descriptions in the snippets and they click on the best result. So, the headline and description section in the SERP are very important. You should optimize them. See an example. Search link building expert on Google. You see a result like the following image:
See how well the headline and description is crafted.
While preparing to publish your post, write enticing post title and description. It will attract more people to click the result in the SERP. By default, you can’t define them in WordPress. You should use a plugin like Add Meta Tags. If you use the aforesaid WordPress SEO by Yoast, the feature is already incorporated in the plugin.
That’s it. I have recounted common SEO mistakes frequently neglected by WordPress users. Some of them might be really helpful to you or you might want to extend or even correct my views. No one is perfect. I’ll be happy if you could share a comment from your mind.
Some recommended WordPress SEO books you should read are:
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– By NIGCWORLD Jobs