5 Common WordPress SEO Mistakes & How To Fix Them

Posted By Andi Wilkinson
Creative Director of Made By Factory. UX Designer & SEO Nerd, Andi is also a board member of Manchester Digital, and speaks and writes on a variety of web-related topics.

Time to read: 7 minutes

WordPress SEO mistakes

Are you making these common WordPress Search Engine Optimisation mistakes? If you’ve invested in a WordPress Website, and are pulling out your hair at Google Analytics because not enough people visit your site.

To get the click-through rates you need, look for the common WordPress SEO mistakes made by website owners & how some tweaks could make an all-important difference to your SEO and search engine ranking.

Mistake 1: Hidden “Cornerstone” Content.

A website is essentially the sum of its content. All of your content should serve a purpose. Every blog post, page and article should meet a specific goal. If it does this, you can reuse it again and again.

So Why, do people create a great piece of content, stick it on their blog, share it once on social media and then allow it to vanish into obscurity?

If you want to increase your chances of appearing in search for your all-important keywords one of the best things you can do is make sure all your most important content is always visible via a link on your website.

In WordPress Blogs, the default sidebar can show your latest blog posts. Instead of this, link to your most important ones and keep them there. Most WordPress themes have sidebars, where you can include your post.

5 Common WordPress SEO Mistakes & How To Fix Them 1
Keep important posts in your sidebar

Some WordPress plugins can help you with this, or you can use an HTML block if you know how and add the links manually. Currently, We are using a plugin called ‘category posts widget’, and it’s doing its job nicely.

Internal links are huge when it comes to helping pages rank. I can’t stress this enough. If you have a cornerstone article on your website, link to it every which way you can from your other pages.

The sidebar suggestion is a great way to do it, since the more posts you create, the more links get passed back to that content. Keep an eye on this because broken links bring negative impact.

Mistake 2: Not using breadcrumbs.

Guilty here. We aren’t using them. Personally, I think they are ugly, but they do up the ante when it comes to site structure and internal linking.

Breadcrumbs also help crawlers to fathom out your site structure. Some plugins take care of this. If you are using Yoast SEO, it has the feature built in.

Bonus tip. Make use of your XML Sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console

Mistake 3: Using Tags Everywhere

Tags are great, and they can improve your site structure and help with that internal linking. The problem is, many site owners don’t understand what they are for and they get misused.

Tags are for indexing your content and grouping it together. They aren’t for writing witty banter about how you are feeling. Don’t misuse them like instagram.

In WordPress, dependent on the way your theme has been designed, every tag potentially creates anchor text that links to a new page.

If you have frequent tags with only one post in them, you’re going to have a lot of empty pages with low text to HTML ratio and low content and other issues such as missing meta descriptions.

So make sure if you are using post tags, you create a set that will apply to a good deal of your content, and make sure you have several articles applied to them.

To get around this problem On our tag archive pages, we have added extra related blog posts and a CTA at the bottom of the page. This has resulted in none of our tag pages being low content — even the ones with only a couple of articles in them.

Mistake 4: Unbalanced Categories.

Categories aren’t any different from tags since the search engine doesn’t treat them any differently. In terms of site structure though, categories tend to group top levels of content. For example, our categories are things like ‘company news’, ‘insights’, and so on. Tags act like sub-categories.

Again, try to keep a balance in the size of categories, so you don’t end up with archive pages containing only a few words. Categories should be relatively similar in size.

If your theme displays the whole content of a blog post on a page, then limit the number of posts that show on that page, or consider showing just an excerpt. Otherwise, all the content will get mingled together, and you may find it hard to rank.

Keeping an eye on categories and tags and doing regular ‘housekeeping’ on your WordPress website will improve your SEO scores over time.

Mistake 5: No Clear Customer Journey.

The last tip we want to share here on the topic of structure is the actual customer journey through the website. Are you taking users on a defined path to a set goal, or are you just throwing lots of content up and seeing what happens? have you carried out clear keyword research?

Make sure the main areas of interest are easily findable from your homepage. Don’t have tonnes of menu items on the home page or a cluttered menu. A menu should represent the structure of your website.

If your website was a physical place, how would your visitors know where to go or what to do? Although your website is digital, the people visiting it are still humans!

Make it clear how visitors can navigate through your site. Less is more. When provided with too many options, people will leave.

We separate our blog into two headings. Blog, which is just everything, and more specifically, learn, which contains all our educational stuff like this.

Take a good look at your site. Put pen to paper if necessary and map out your customer journey. Then, come back to your site and rethink your menu.

There are some great tools out there like SEMRush, which allows you one free project. Auditing your website can provide valuable insights into your site structure, by letting you know how many pages are ‘orphaned’ (No links to them). How many pages take more than three clicks to get to and which pages have low content (usually low populated categories and tags).

For a free website audit, fill in your email below and we will give you a full breakdown of any issues on your website.

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