95% of web surfers rely on Google’s first page to find the content they’re looking for. For WordPress websites relying heavily on organic traffic, being on Google’s page 2 simply is not an option. This makes SEO an absolute necessity for your website. Some web developers use website builders for better SEO but in this article, we will talk about WordPress SEO. So, before anything else, let’s quickly take you through the biggest truth of SEO.
The Biggest SEO Truth
Search Engine Optimization is a continuous effort. Once you decide to invest time and effort towards SEO, you’ve got to keep doing it. The journey from Google search page 5 to page 1 gets increasingly tough, though it’s equally exciting and rewarding. A lot of SEO is about experimenting with different tactics, right from keywords analysis to page design. Additionally, it’s about staying updated with the latest best practices, because what works today won’t work tomorrow.
If it’s So Dynamic, Why Can’t I Make Mistakes?
Awesome question! Actually, you can make mistakes, you should, and you damn sure will! However, we’re concerned with the basic mistakes that are in utter contrast to the core principles of SEO. With your WordPress website and all the awesome SEO options, tools, and plugins the platform provides, you’d be a fool not to experiment and learn by mistakes. However, what you can’t afford is to make, specifically, any of these 5 mistakes because these are the equivalent of cancer for your WordPress website.
1. Not Including Keywords In Post URL
Did you know – for your WordPress website, your new post links are created with meaningful strings of numbers if you don’t specify that you want the URL to be based on keywords? The Permalinks option in the dashboard is where you can make this adjustment. Google considers URLs with keywords better than those that just have some random numbers thrown in there. Even a web surfer is more likely to think well of a website that has meaningful URLs that describe the page topic.
For instance, a web page with URL such as www.mywebsiteforSeo/landing-page-optimization.html gets better SEO marks from Google than something like www.testwebsite.com/12354231.html. For your new website, you can set the default URL design based on keywords from the Permalinks settings. If you have an existing website that needs URL optimization, get in touch with an SEO expert for help; it’s worth the effort.
2. Not leveraging XML sitemap submission
An XML sitemap is like a table of contents for your website, which helps Google crawl all the web pages. Even if you don’t have an XML sitemap in place, Google will still crawl your website, just that there’s the risk of some pages not being indexed.
For instance, a web page that is not linked to by any other web page of your WordPress website could be missed by Google. WordPress offers many XML plugins. WordPress SEO also offer a pretty easy way for you to create and submit an XML sitemap. This also helps you tell Google how frequently you’d want the web pages crawled for updated versions. It’s a good SEO practice to make your XML sitemaps comprehensive. If your WordPress website is heavy on video content, you might want to consider submitting a video sitemap.
3. Not Paying Importance to WordPress Tags
Imagine a WordPress website without categories. It’s unlikely that such a website will make a reader stick around. We’re sure you use categories, no problems there. However, it’s surprising how many WordPress websites don’t use tags. Consider tags as the equivalents of an index at the end of a nonfiction book. Tags significantly improve the average time a user spends on your website.
Tags are a perfect way to improve on-site SEO.
Though Google doesn’t treat your website’s categories and tags pages valuable from an SEO perspective, it does consider them nonetheless. WordPress offers you the option of adding tags very conveniently right from the post editor interface. Choose tags that are aligned well to your website’s focus keywords, for maximum SEO advantage. There are specialized WordPress Tags plugins, such as Simple Tags, and WP Category Tag Cloud.
4. Not Connecting your WordPress Website to Google
It’s easy for WordPress website owners to begin despising Google for the strictness with which it treats new websites. As a result, they tend to ignore important Google tools and don’t integrate them with their website. Among these, Google Search Console and Google Analytics are the two more important ones.
Google Search Console is a particularly important one because it helps Google understand what all pages and posts exist on your website, and where they’re located in terms of directories and subcategories. It enables Google to realize when you publish some new content, and you even get inputs from Google to help optimize your WordPress website. These issues include HTML problems, broken links, and other vital inputs. To enable this, create a Gmail account, go to Search Console, add your website (register it on the console), and add XML sitemap.
5. Ignoring Conversion Analytics in your SEO Mania
It’s a common scenario for WordPress website administrators and managers to use basic Google analytics and find out the keywords contributing to maximum traffic. Invariably, these keywords are inherently high-traffic, and if you shift focus on them to compete with the websites that rank highly for them, chances are you’ll not be able to compete.
WordPress website owners can easily overlook the fact that SEO is not an end in itself; it’s actually a vehicle that helps you get to your website goals faster by driving visitors to your website and letting your content, products, and ideas do the conversions. You’d do well to use WordPress plugins that help you track conversions, and link the data to your SEO analytics. These inputs help you align the overall SEO strategy to the core business and marketing goals of your websites.
Now that you know the 5 most common WordPress SEO mistakes with far-reaching consequences, it’s time for you to correct things and get your website on the first page of Google search or the keywords you’re targeting.