WordPress Website SEO Mistakes to Avoid

WordPress Website SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Person in a WordPress shirt working on a website

WordPress is well known as an SEO-friendly site builder, rich with tools that help users grasp the basics of website design. While the website you build can be rich with content and captivating images, it can still have trouble showing up in search engines without the correct features in place. Using proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques can help boost the visibility of your WordPress website and reinforce the crawlability of a website, increasing traffic to whatever it is you are looking to host on your WordPress Website.

Why should you learn the basics of WordPress SEO?

Often, search engines are the most prevalent source of traffic for a website. Search engines use purpose-built algorithms to collect data from webpages, whether that page is a WordPress website or not. When aggregating this data, it is ranked by relevance to the keywords of the search, causing websites with more relevant data to be pushed to the top of search engine results. 

By incorporating SEO techniques into your WordPress website, you enable search engines to efficiently and accurately rank the topics of the webpages present on the website, pushing it to higher ranks and increasing web traffic. Utilizing the basics of WordPress SEO benefits business owners, bloggers, content creators, and anyone else who wants to see results from their website and boost internet traffic. With that in mind, here are some SEO mistakes to avoid when creating pages for your site.

8 WordPress Site SEO Mistakes

1. Duplicate Content

In SEO, duplicate content refers to web content that is similar to or copied from content that is already available online, whether that is on other websites or the same one. While some overlap of content can certainly occur, large amounts of duplicate content on a WordPress site can severely affect SEO rankings, pushing pages lower in the rankings for plagiarized or irrelevant content. 

To avoid being affected by this mistake, ensure all content on your website is written by real people, and test for duplicate content for all written work. For a quick and basic way to check your WordPress site’s SEO, take a chunk of a sentence from your work and paste it into the search bar with quotation marks. Ideally, only your webpage should appear in the search results, with no other content being shown in the search.

2. Complicated URLs

WordPress typically defines URLs for a website, but these URLs can also be declared by the site owner or designer. Complicated or unreadable URLs should always be avoided, and optimizing website URLs can have a surprising effect on WordPress SEO site rankings. 

In fact, it’s been shown that URLs with keywords in them have a 45% higher click-through rate than URLs that don’t, meaning that unoptimized or complicated URLs can be a hindrance to a website’s traffic. Maintaining your website with clunky or inconsistent URLs can be devastating to the visibility of a website, something that is particularly important for storefronts or blogs.

3. Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing, or keyword crowding, refers to excessive use of keywords on your SEO-optimized WordPress site. Most search engines pay attention to whether or not a web page has specific search keywords, but it also pays attention to the quantity and frequency of the keyword. 

As a general rule, keywords should be spaced about 100 words apart, as any higher frequency can be recorded as keyword stuffing by Google, and push the ranking of the webpage lower in results. Google does this to prevent companies or bots from boosting their web page results by overcrowding keywords, keeping search results fairer and more relevant for users.

4. No Image Optimization

Nearly all written content is rendered more readable by adding images to break the content into easily digestible chunks of information. For printed media or presentations, it is a simple task to add images to the work and share it. For WordPress websites, however, incorporating strong alt text and file names for embedded images can be a very helpful tool. 

Proper image conventions in WordPress website SEO are incredibly important, and can significantly affect your website’s search ratings — According to Moz, images make up nearly 27% of searches on major search properties, while also earning 3% of all of Google’s search results. Websites are primarily a visual medium, and utilizing properly embedded images is a basic SEO tool that will be sure to increase traffic on your WordPress site.

Further, adding strong alt text and file names help with accessibility for users with screen readers or slow browsers. Increasing the accessibility of a website is another good way to increase click-through rate and get more users on your website, both of which also serve to increase your search engine rankings.

A writer highlighting keywords

5. Stilted Anchor Text Embedding

Text embedding and proper anchor text is another incredibly important SEO technique to master for your WordPress site. When building text for a page, hyperlinks can be embedded into the text, creating a link to another website that can be accessed when the user clicks the anchor text. 

Anchor text assists search engines in understanding what a web page is about, as well as what the web page linked to is about. This information, when pulled together, allows search engines to give even more purpose-built search results, as it can push pages that have information relevant to your search (but not explicitly a keyword) higher in rankings, increasing web traffic for both the host page and the linked page. 

Using stilted or irrelevant anchor text can severely impact the effectiveness of this technique. Hyperlinks that are tied to unrelated anchor text, or anchors that are squashed too closely together, can both be reasons for why a search engine may lower a web page’s ranking. By carefully planning and researching the right anchor text and keywords to include in a web page, your WordPress site should get plenty of traffic from these SEO techniques alone.

6. Disabled Search Engine Visibility

This step is easily overlooked, and many site owners may even be unaware that this option exists for WordPress sites. Under the “Reading” section of Settings, WordPress allows an option to enable or disable “search engine visibility”. When disabled, search engines and aggregators are unable to view your WordPress site as an eligible page, and will not rank it in search engine results. This can be an easily forgotten setting that can cripple your SEO rankings and make all of the hard work for naught if disabled.

7. Poor Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

Every website, regardless of SEO quality, has a Title Tag and Meta Description. These two parameters define how a web page is displayed in search results, and can also be a factor in web traffic and SEO efficacy. 

Title tags and meta descriptions both have a maximum character limit, meaning that only a certain amount of text can be shown in the search engine due to visual restrictions. Within this character limit, the SEO writer for the WordPress site should also include relevant primary and secondary keywords that are relevant to the website, as having these keywords in the title and meta description boosts their search rankings, while also encouraging users to click on them too. Having a clear and readable title tag and meta description is paramount to increasing web traffic, and should be one of the first places where writers look to make changes.

8. Broken/Unoptimized UI

User Interface, or UI, is an incredibly important tool not just for SEO on WordPress sites, but for all applications where a user has to interact with a product. Bad UI is rampant in web pages, and can often cause issues with readability, loading times, click-through rate, and many other metrics websites use to measure success. Having a clean, well-optimized UI can do wonders for a web page’s SEO rankings — according to Backlinko, web pages that load faster almost universally have higher SEO rankings. This results not only from access to the page, but faster loading times mean longer time spent interacting with site content, and more potential clicks from users in general. Apart from ensuring proper UI, take the time to have your WordPress updated and maintained so that all plugins and functionalities are working as expected.

A UI designer planning app UI

Paramount to Web Design

SEO is not a tool reserved for basic WordPress websites — It can be utilized in pretty much any web application! Engaging in proper and thorough keyword research, having clear outlines of web page needs, and hiring talented writers all contribute to the efficacy of a website’s search results. 

Regardless of the quality of your SEO, an overabundance of SEO triggers (or irrelevant keyword stuffing) can severely lessen the effect of keywords, and should be kept in mind as well. Using strong hyperlink anchors, well-defined images, and even “minor” changes like web page URLs or duplicate content will all be important to a page’s search engine rankings as well. 

Whether you are looking to write for an existing site, or building one from scratch, having a strong understanding and care for SEO writing and organization will significantly boost traffic to whatever web page you are looking to build, bringing success and growth folded in with it. 

If you’re looking at building a brand new site or optimizing an existing one and would still like help with ensuring it is properly optimized, look no further than the experts at Coalition Technologies. Reach out to us today for a free strategy review and see how we can help boost your rankings.

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