In this post I am going to show you the most common WordPress SEO mistakes I see on a daily basis, and exactly how to fix them.
Some of these mistakes could be seriously damaging your SEO or even stopping you from getting found on search.
SEO can be really easy once you understand how to do it, but in the beginning SEO mistakes can be easy to make, and very serious.
Find out if you are making any of these top SEO mistakes and fix them now. Because Google wants to send you lots of traffic, you just have to help them.
1. Blocking Search Engines
Blocking search engines from visiting your site is a simple, but extremely costly mistake you don’t want to make.
Not many of you will be doing this, but if you are – your search engine traffic will probably be ZERO!
WordPress makes it very easy for you to do this (even accidentally), especially when you are creating a new website. In fact, this is when you should block search engines – while you are developing a new site, changing things etc.
However, once the site is live – you want to “unblock” search engines and make sure you appear on them ASAP!
Otherwise, you are quietly turning them away, often without having a clue.
If you want to learn more about the whys and hows of blocking search engines (to make sure you aren’t or to see how you can) then check out these posts:
- How To Stop Search Engines From Crawling A WordPress Website (WPbeginner.com)
- How To Stop/Block Google From Indexing Your WordPress Website (BlogVault.net)
Note: If you want to see a checklist of even more SEO ideas, here are 45 that can give you a big boost
Make sure you are not blocking search engines on WordPress.
1. Check in the Settings > Reading section
2. Look for the following at the bottom:
3. Make sure it is NOT checked
4. If it is, uncheck it and save changes
2. Not Connecting WordPress With Google
Everyone thinks Google is evil. That they don’t want us to get to the top of page 1, and that they don’t want us to have a big piece of the Google pie for breakfast (pie for breakfast! yum).
But actually, Google’s business is to provide the best results for searchers. And if you are that best result, it is easier to get to the top than you think.
However, not connecting your website with Google is still a mistake that I see most website owners making.
Google provides us with a few tools to help run our websites – Search Console, Analytics are the two most important.
I recommend you sign up for both. With Search Console being the biggest help for SEO, for many reasons:
- Helps you tell Google what pages and posts are on your website (and where)
- Helps you tell Google when you have published something new
- Google tells you in return when you have problems on your website (broken links, HTML issues, and a bunch of other helpful info)
- they also tell you exactly what they are showing your site for on search (keyword, average position, volume of searches)
Check out the tip box below for information on how connect Search Console, including a link to my detailed post on the topic.
Connecting your WordPress (or any other) website with Search Console
1. Use or create a gmail account
2. Go to Search Console
3. Register your site with Search Console (Add Property)
4. Add a Sitemap.xml
For a detailed walkthrough - read my post on doing this here.
3. Not Installing An SEO Plugin
A lot of people (and WordPress theme makers) will promise you that WordPress is awesome for SEO right out of the box.
In most cases they are completely full of sh*t.
They are right about one thing though: WordPress is awesome for SEO. If you set it up right.
However, in 95% of cases you have to add an SEO plugin to make it run like a well-oiled SEO machine.
WordPress SEO plugins not only help you set up the basics for search engine optimization, they also cover lots of complex SEO cases. Here are some super-important examples you should be aware of:
- Adding a sitemap.xml for Google Search Console - see 2. above
- Blocking pages you don't want to appear on search engines
- Optimizing your pages and posts for keywords (more on that in 4. below)
- Adding open graph tags for better social sharing (not pure SEO, but certainly useful and related)
Without an SEO plugin, many of the things above are very very difficult to do, or downright impossible.
So get with the program and add a rock-solid SEO plugin NOW!
Install one of the best and comprehensive WordPress plugins around. This is my order of preference for WordPress SEO plugins:
My detailed Yoast SEO vs All in One plugin comparison to see which one is best for you.
This post from Code Gravity with a massive list of SEO-related plugins for WordPress.
4. Not Optimizing Your Website For Keywords
Not optimizing pages and posts for keywords (words that people search for) is a huge mistake most amateur bloggers make.
It is one actually of the keys to getting your website and amazing content found on Google (and other search engines). I know, there are certainly a lot of other ways to optimize your content, but this one should come first.
Want to know why?
It’s because search engines still look for clues from us to figure out what a specific page or post is about. They can usually tell what we are writing about, but a few specific signs from us really hammer the point home for them. And get us ranked for those keywords!
Gotta love ranking high on Google!!
So, instead of wishing Google and Co. understand what you am writing a post on, you can make sure they know.
And, if you have done your keyword research, and actually know the words your potential visitors/customers are using, then you can add those in the critical places that Google looks.
It’s just like driving a car. You know where the speed signs, stop signs and so forth should be. You look for them. You notice them. They help you get where you are going, safely and easily.
Without them, you could still drive, but it would be a lot less smooth, and you would not do exactly what you should.
Next time you create a piece of content (page or post) make sure to give Google the right “signs” by placing your well-researched keywords in exactly the right places.
And what are those places?
Optimize your pages and posts by placing your keywords in the right places:
- Meta Description
- First 100 words
- First image alt text
Download My FREE Guide on exactly this topic below...
5. Not Researching The “Right” Words
This is a general issue that affects all websites and severely cripples your chances or getting found on search engines.
Not researching what words your potential visitors/customers are using.
Want to know why this is so important?
One of the biggest lessons you can learn in online marketing is this:
You may think you know what people think, search for, want etc. But in the end, you have no clue.
People are very different (to you and me), complicated and unpredictable.
The only way to truly know what kinds of words people are typing into Google is to ask Google.
Then, once you know what people search for (in relation to what you want them to find on your website) can you tune your website for those words.
This is called: Keyword Research.
It is the process of finding the right words for your pages and posts that will get found on Google and bring people to your website.
Although it can be a complex process, it does not have to be.
Below are some tips and tricks to get you started on the path to success with keyword search and getting found on Google.
Do some basic keyword research and find out what words people really use on search engines.
- Grab yourself a Google Adwords account and start using Keyword Planner
- Read up a little on long tail keywords, these help you get higher on Google faster and are the kinds of searches people do often
- Play around with a few alternative Keyword Research Tools
Don't make the common WordPress SEO mistakes. The mistakes that can easily be avoided.
Instead, make smart SEO decisions and reap the rewards: boatloads of Google traffic, right to your doorstep. Month after month.
- Don't block search engines
- Connect your website with Search Console
- Install a rockin' SEO plugin
- Do your keyword research
- Put those words in the right places
When those 5 things are done right, you are well on your way to SEO success and that dream of endless traffic (without the commute!).