The Most Common Onsite WordPress SEO Mistakes

By WP Saviour •  Updated: 03/04/21 •  15 min read

WordPress is fairly properly optimized for engines like google out of the field, but it surely isn’t good. There are lots of onsite WordPress search engine optimisation errors that customers make. Extra particularly, WordPress wants a serving to hand in two areas:

  1. Further performance within the type of a complicated search engine optimisation plugin reminiscent of Yoast search engine optimisation.
  2. The efficient utility of onsite search engine optimisation measures.

Finally, you are chargeable for how well-optimized your web site is for search engine outcomes pages (SERPs). If you happen to’re not following primary search engine optimisation fundamentals, any plugins or widgets you have got put in will likely be of little use.

With that in thoughts, I’ve written this checklist of the commonest WordPress search engine optimisation errors, together with pointers on easy methods to keep away from them. First we’ll deal with errors particular to particular person posts and pages. Then on errors that may have ramifications throughout a whole web site. E.g. the type of points that may have a serious impression in your web site’s potential to rank for related key phrases. If you happen to discover that your web site is sufferer to a few of these errors, rectifying them could make a dramatic distinction to the move of search engine visitors to your WordPress web site.

Your permalink is nice for 2 issues:

  1. Giving guests to your web site a sign of what a web page is about
  2. Indicating relevancy to engines like google

As such, it is best to be certain that your permalink construction is outlined accurately in Settings > Permalinks in your backend:

As you’ll be able to see, permalinks are set to the put up (or web page) title. That is the format I’d typically advocate. You could want to add the date to your permalink if content material in your web site is indirectly date-relevant (reminiscent of a information articles). However for many weblog utilizing the put up title makes essentially the most sense.

Upon getting set your permalink construction accurately, you’ll want to be sure that every of your posts’ permalinks are are well-optimized for the precise key phrases you’re focusing on. As an illustration, right here’s the permalink for this put up:


As you’ll be able to see, it doesn’t merely replicate the entire title (which is what a permalink does by default in WordPress). I’ve amended it to deal with simply an important key phrases within the headline, which will likely be helpful for Google in terms of decoding relevancy.

2. Not Optimizing Your Publish’s SERPs Presentation

One of many many causes I contemplate the Yoast search engine optimisation plugin (talked about at first of this put up) so invaluable is its per-post/web page optimization choices. Right here’s a screenshot of what Yoast’s put up choices appear to be:

If you happen to’re not optimizing your posts and pages by filling within the fields above, you’re lacking out on just a few methods:

Make it possible for every web page and put up in your web site is edited optimally for show in SERPs.

3. Poor Interlinking

There are a number of advantages to linking between weblog posts in your web site. This may embrace issues reminiscent of decrease bounce charges or elevated consumer engagement. However for search engine optimisation functions we’re involved with relevance.

Put merely, if Google sees that you’re linking to contextually related pages inside your web site, they will higher perceive your web site’s relevancy to a selected matter as a complete. Efficient interlinking can display the relevancy of a selected web page to a subject. However that’s not all. It might probably additionally lead to an general improve in rankings throughout a whole matter (as your web site is acknowledged as an authority).

The secret’s to interlink typically (however solely when related) and to make use of keyword-rich anchor texts. As an alternative of “to be taught extra, click on right here“, write “be taught extra about canine coaching“. A plugin that I’ve discovered extraordinarily helpful in making interlinking faster and simpler is Higher Inside Hyperlink Search. Test it out.

4. Poor Exterior Linking

Though it could appear counterintuitive, you’ll be able to positively have an effect on your search engine rankings by usually linking to related and authoritative exterior websites. That is for 2 causes:

  1. The relevancy issue as mentioned within the interlinking part above
  2. Google likes to see websites consult with others – in the identical means {that a} medical journal cites different research

Put merely, in case your web site doesn’t hyperlink to exterior websites, Google will take that as an indication that your content material just isn’t notably worthwhile. So just remember to are usually linking out to related and authoritative web sites and blogs in your area of interest. For instance, we contemplate Yoast an authority on all issues WordPress search engine optimisation they usually have an amazing article on why outbound hyperlinks matter.

5. Poor Picture Optimization

In relation to frequent WordPress search engine optimisation errors, one I see most frequently is poor picture optimization. Search engines like google and yahoo can not see textual content in picture type, so you could maintain their hand somewhat in terms of media. That’s the place the alt and title tags are available in, as proven right here within the WordPress media uploader:


There may be an infinite debate within the search engine optimisation world as to how necessary alt and title tags are respectively. However slightly than waste my time on that, I merely add textual content to each. In relation to these tags it is best to focus each on search engine optimisation and usefulness.

For many individuals (such because the visually impaired or cell customers), photos might not be viewable, by which case they are going to see the alt textual content. Subsequently, it needs to be descriptive of the picture, while additionally specializing in key phrases related to the content material. Don’t neglect to incorporate alt and title textual content on logos, taglines, and any navigational photos. They’re all helpful for offering engines like google with larger context as to the topic of your web site. However the is simply the tip of the picture of an iceberg. You need to use this information on easy methods to optimize photos to find out about extra methods to good picture for velocity and search engine optimisation.

6. Poor Categorization/Tagging

It is a actual pet peeve of mine – pages which might be related to an enormous variety of classes and tags. How is a search engine alleged to make sense of a put up that’s related to a variety of key phrases?

Categorize and tag selectively and particularly. It is best to have a really restricted variety of classes (typically lower than 10, with sure exceptions), and a restricted variety of tags (maybe not more than 50). If a class of tag has solely been used a handful of instances, it in all probability isn’t worthy of existence.

I preserve issues easy in terms of WordPress posts and taxonomies – much less is extra. By myself weblog I hyperlink every put up to only one class and a handful of extremely related tags. This fashion, I produce contextually related taxonomy pages that Google sees match to rank.

Properly constructed class and tag pages present engines like google with an excessive amount of context.This fashion they’ll construct up an thought of your web site’s relevancy as a complete to a given matter, they usually may also rank on a person foundation. If you happen to do resolve to place collectively high quality class and tag pages, bear in mind to be sure that they’re set to be listed. To be taught extra about greatest follow in terms of categorizing and tagging.

7. Poorly Structured Headers

HTML headers (e.g. the

tag) present Google with loads of context pertaining to the relevancy of your web site. Phrases positioned inside header tags are weighted extra closely than these contained inside the principle content material in your web site.

As such, it’s vitally necessary that you simply embrace related key phrases inside these headers each time potential, however it’s additionally necessary that your header tags are structured appropriately. Some WordPress themes don’t observe greatest follow on this regard, so it’s possible you’ll need to verify your header tags now. Briefly:

That means, your homepage has one of the best likelihood of rating on your web site’s title, and different pages have one of the best likelihood of rating for no matter particular matter they’re masking.



tags needs to be free to be used as contextually related sub-headers. What your theme shouldn’t be doing is utilizing these tags for wasteful functions (e.g. for the headline “really helpful posts” in a sidebar widget – that doesn’t assist the major search engines in any respect). For additional info on easy methods to accurately construction header tags, try this in-depth put up by Joost de Valk.

8. Instructing Search Engines to Index Too A lot

Lots of people make the error of assuming that Google will crawl and index their whole web site. While Google could crawl your whole web site, it typically is not going to index all of the posts and pages. And in actuality, you don’t truly need Google to crawl all the content material in your web site – solely the stuff that’s truly value rating. The rest is superfluous and does you no profit being in Google’s index. Particularly, such pages embrace:

You get the concept. The “cleaner” a web site you’ll be able to current to Google, the higher. Something that’s irrelevant or ineffective to searchers solely serves to dilute your web site’s relevancy. As such, it is best to be certain that all such pages are set to “noindex” – i.e. inform engines like google to not index it. That is simply executed with a plugin reminiscent of Yoast search engine optimisation, which permits you noindex whole taxonomies/archive varieties.

With the plugin put in, simply go to search engine optimisation > Search Look. Then toggle the choice for “Present (Publish Sort) in search outcomes?” to No for every put up sort you’d wish to noindex. Then head over to the Taxonomies and Archives tabs to do the identical.

This selection can also be obtainable on a a per put up or web page foundation:


9. Not Offering an XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is in no way essential. However not offering one for engines like google is like giving somebody sophisticated instructions to your home verbally, slightly than your tackle. It’s quite a bit simpler for the major search engines in case you inform them what needs to be listed. This fashion Google, Bing, and others know what out of your listed pages is most necessary.

The best sin of not offering an XML sitemap is the truth that it’s so darn straightforward to do. If you have already got the aforementioned Yoast search engine optimisation plugin put in, simply go to search engine optimisation > Normal > Options and toggle On the XML sitemap performance:


That’s all there may be to it. Yoast will base you sitemaps on the varied choices you allow/disable beneath the Search Look part. The plugin will now preserve a dynamically up to date XML sitemap in your server for the major search engines to make use of when crawling your web site.

10. Specializing in Meta Key phrases

That is much less a mistake and extra an entire waste of time, as a result of Google doesn’t contemplate meta key phrases when rating websites. Meta key phrases have been traditionally utilized by spammers to such an extent that Google now apportions no worth to them. So if you’re nonetheless utilizing meta key phrases, now’s the time to cease.

11. Duplicate Content material (and Not Defining Canonical URLs)

Lots of people will let you know that duplicate content material is your worst enemy. If Google sees you publishing content material that’s obtainable elsewhere it’ll unleash holy hell in your web site till there may be nothing left however some garbled HTML.

In actuality this isn’t essentially true. Google doesn’t (all the time) penalize websites for utilizing duplicate content material. As an alternative, if it sees two webpages with largely the identical content material, it’ll attempt to determine which one was the unique writer. Then it’ll prioritize that web page in search outcomes over the opposite.

Then again, duplicate content material on the identical web site just isn’t nice. Whereas not a world-ending subject, having a number of situations of the identical content material current on a number of pages is simply plain messy. Having twenty “Bluehost Assessment” articles is not going to assist you to rank on the primary web page. Do your greatest to mix duplicate weblog articles and redirect eliminated posts/pages to essentially the most related one (once more, Yoast search engine optimisation is available in very helpful with it’s built-in redirection supervisor).

And maybe way more prevalent than you would possibly suppose are unintended duplicate pages Your web site’s homepage could exist in each www and non-www (i.e. in addition to http and https variations, that are the truth is separate pages. The answer is to outline what is named canonical URLs for every of your web site’s internet pages.

12. Not Optimizing for Velocity

Your web site’s load velocity is of significant significance. Individuals hate websites which might be gradual to load, and by extension, so does Google (and possibly different engines like google). Put merely, the velocity at which your web site hundreds can truly have an effect in your rankings.

As such, it is best to be certain that your web site hundreds in double fast time. There are many guides on easy methods to velocity up WordPress, in addition to optimized WordPress internet hosting and caching plugins you need to use to assist.

You too can make the most of fashionable free instruments to check web site velocity reminiscent of Pingdom and PageSpeed Insights to evaluate your web site’s velocity and spot bottlenecks.

Whether or not you want social media or not, it is best to be sure that your profiles are accurately arrange and linked along with your WordPress through Open Graph and Twitter Playing cards. If you happen to haven’t guessed but, Yoast search engine optimisation is a fast and easy means to do that as social settings are constructed into the plugin.

It could appear to be a comparatively minor factor however ensuring your web site is accurately linked to your social media will assist guarantee your posts are extra “shareable.” As well as, with Yoast you’ll be able to add your individual customized Fb and Twitter meta tags. This features a title, description and optimized picture. Once more, this may also help enhance your put up’s visibility and sharing.

Wrapping up Widespread Onsite search engine optimisation Errors

search engine optimisation could be slightly intimidating – there’s a lot to get mistaken. However the flip aspect of that is that if you will get most issues proper, you’ll have an enormous benefit over the competitors. A lot of the WordPress search engine optimisation errors you see above aren’t rocket science. Plus when you perceive the essential rules of search engine optimisation, it is possible for you to to intuitively spot when one thing is nice on your web site’s rankings, and vice versa.

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WP Saviour

I am a WordPress specialist. My mission is to help you create beautiful websites with ease!