10 WordPress SEO Mistakes To Avoid In 2022: Rank Better With These Tips

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Who doesn’t want free traffic flowing to their website/online business?

SEO allows you to tweak your website accordingly so that it can rank better in search engines and attract free traffic.

Have a WordPress site?

Pay attention to these WordPress SEO mistakes to avoid getting penalized by Google or hurting your rankings! 

To boost your WordPress website’s visibility in the SERPs, you need to optimize your content (videos, infographics, blog posts, etc.) accordingly. 

But Search Engine Optimization has changed drastically over the past decade, hence optimizing your website for search engines is both becoming difficult and rewarding at the same time.

That being said, while online business owners and internet marketers are looking to rise above the waters in the SERPs, it has become unpredictable how to do SEO the right way and what mistakes need to be avoided. 

WordPress SEO Mistakes To Avoid

Sure, WordPress out of the box is pretty good already when it comes to SEO. Nevertheless, there are still tons of possible WordPress SEO mistakes you’re likely going to make especially if you have little or no experience in the world of SEO.

Read our list of ten SEO mistakes you’re likely to run into so you can avoid or fix them when they happen as compiled by Jonathan Lewis, our WordPress SEO expert and essay writer based out of the United Kingdom.

1. Not analyzing Google Analytics data

No matter how well you optimize your WordPress website for SEO, you cannot set back and wait for results to happen.

Sure, you’ll be getting traffic, conversions, hits, etc. but if you’re not analyzing data, how do you know you’re achieving your SEO goals?

The best way to keep track of your performance is to integrate Google Analytics into your site.

Creating a Google Analytics account is free.

You can refer to this article to learn how to integrate Google Analytics into your site.

See, once you integrate Google Analytics and link your account with Google Search Console, you’ll be able to discover channels that direct traffic to your site, the top-performing landing pages, search queries that happen on search engines, and more. 

You can then use this information to optimize your website to target your traffic effectively.

2. Not setting up an XML sitemap

A website XML sitemap is just like the name suggests: it’s a map of your site in XML format.

If you haven’t set one for your site then you’re already making one of the 10 WordPress SEO mistakes in this article.

Usually, XML sitemaps help search engines like Google, Bing, and others to understand the structure/hierarchy of your site and improve the crawling experience.

You can set up an XML sitemap automatically using your Yoast SEO plugin.

Here is how to enable XML sitemap on your WordPress site: 

  • Go to Settings, inside your WordPress dashboard.
  • Click SEO, then go to General and click on the Features tab to toggle the XML Sitemaps switch. 
  • Click on the ‘See the XML sitemap.’ option. This will automatically create your sitemap.
  • Test your sitemap. This is to be sure that your sitemap files have been created successfully. Add sitemap_index.xml at the end of your domain like: https:domain.com/sitemap_index.xmls.

You also need to submit the sitemap files created to Google and Bing for faster indexing and crawling. 

3. Not submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools

Another WordPress SEO mistake you’re probably making is not submitting your Sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webster tools.

See, once your website is up and running, you need to inform Google, Bing, and other search engines what pages or links you want the search engine to index- to improve your rankings.

This is where you need to submit your sitemap to these search engines.

So, first, submit your XML sitemap file to Google Search Console so that you can stay updated on the status of your WordPress site constantly.

If you already have the Yoast SEO plugin installed, you can follow a simple step-by-step process to do it in just a few clicks.

Submitting your site to GSC helps you to see how many pages or posts have been indexed. It also makes it easy for Google to crawl your sitemap file constantly and index your website content.

You also need to repeat the same process for Bing Webmaster Tools.

The good news is that submitting your sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools or Google Search Console doesn’t require any technical skills.

You can sign up with your Google account.

In fact, if you already have a GSC account, you can use the associated Google account to submit your sitemap to BWT.

Read this article to learn how to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. 

4. Not setting up friendly permalinks

There is no SEO without keywords.

However, when optimizing your WordPress website, keywords are part of the crucial elements of the entire process.

Anatomy-of-a-URL

You also need to perform some Off-Page SEO tactics- which includes setting up permalinks.

Having friendly permalinks (links that correlate with your post titles) can help to increase your CTR and rankings.

See, by default, WordPress assigns your posts messy permalinks that aren’t friendly.

Initially, when you create your WordPress website, the default link structure looks like: https://yourdomain.com/year/month/date/your-post.

Granted, part of your SEO efforts is to ensure Google understands the content of your post by reading the URLs.

That’s why we recommend keeping the URLs short, including keywords relevant to the post.

As a rule, you should always use the Post name permalink setting that’s clean and SEO-friendly.

Instead of manually changing every permalink (which could end up leading to broken links), we recommend automating the process in your WordPress Settings dashboard.

Set the Post name permalink structure by going to Permalinks under the Settings menu in your WordPress dashboard, then select Post name and click Save Changes.

This way, all your URLs will look like this: https://yourdomain.com/sample-post.

Remember that if you’re changing the permalink structure on an older site, redirect previous URLs to the current ones using a plugin like Permalink Manager Lite. This is to avoid breaking all of your old URLs. 

5. Not setting a focused keyword

In simple words, a focus keyword is the primary keyword, main phrase, or search term you want your website pages or blog posts to rank for.

For instance, in our posts, we could set our focus keyword to be WordPress SEO mistakes.

Short_Tail_Long_Tail_Keyword

No matter how SEO has changed over the years, keywords still matter in 2022.

As a rule, you should be writing valuable content for your readers but don’t forget to incorporate keywords that help Google to rank your posts.

When writing blog posts or articles, you should be keeping SEO best practices in mind.

This involves research a focus keyword for every topic you write about.

The good news is that the Yoast SEO plugin simplifies how to set the focus keyword in your content. 

This plugin analyzes the keywords and shows you where and how to use them. 

6. Not incorporating title tags

Apart from ignoring the focused keywords, many people don’t incorporate title tags in their web pages or posts.

In the past, SEO experts advocated adding your focused keyword at the beginning of the title.

Fast-forward to 2022, this approach is slowly becoming less impactful.

The idea of having your focused keyword at the beginning of the title of a webpage or blog posts is to improve SEO and also let Google and website visitors know what to expect under the title.

Some SEO experts have reported an increased click-through rate for doing this. 

In order to perform an SEO analysis of website pages, you can use the Page Counter by Sitechecker tool. This tool will find all the pages on your website and perform their SEO analysis. This way you will find errors like missing Title and any other errors on the page.

7. Keyword cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization also known as overuse or stuffing is one of the WordPress SEO mistakes you don’t want to run into.

This practice can get you penalized by search engines.

Well, of course, in the past, keyword stuffing used to work magic when it comes to driving traffic to a website or online business.

However, things have changed.

Typically, keyword stuffing occurs in two ways: 

  • When two or more blog posts or pages within your WordPress site are competing for the same keyword.
  • When you splash keywords throughout the page or blog post like rain.

While targeting the same keyword in two pages or blog posts can increase rankings for both, it’s sometimes helpful to focus your efforts on a single page or post.

Keyword cannibalization can also get search engines confused about what pages or posts to rank.

You can use keyword research tools like Google Search Console or Ahrefs to check keyword cannibalization in your WordPress site. 

8. Not including mouth-watering meta descriptions

Even though meta descriptions don’t affect your WordPress SEO rankings, not having them could decrease your click-through rates.

Including a mouth-watering meta description can entice people to click on your post or pages.

Plus the more people click on your posts the more Google notices your content, hence can help to rank your page higher.

This is to say that meta descriptions are an indirect Google ranking factor.

The good news is that if you have the Yoast SEO plugin installed, you can set your meta descriptions manually with just a few clicks of the button. 

Click this link to watch a video guide on how to add meta descriptions in WordPress.

Google truncates meta descriptions to 155-160 characters but it’s best to make them as descriptive as possible, even if it’s to exceed this length.

With the Yoast SEO plugin, it’s easy to know whether you’ve exceeded the character limit.

It’s also advisable to use your focus keyword in your meta descriptions.

It’s worth noting that Google may or may not take your meta descriptions.

In fact, in most cases, the search engine may automatically rewrite some meta descriptions or show a different meta description based on the search queries in SERPs. 

9. Failing to update old content

Content is king…and this one, you know.

However, one of the most common WordPress SEO mistakes is to leave content to gather dust.

Content production isn’t only about writing new blog posts or articles.

When creating a content strategy, remember to update or refresh old content.

Studies suggest that the lifetime value of a blog post is two years.

This means that after the second year, the value of the blog post will start to decline, hence the need to update it.

Remember Google favors fresh or updated content.

For that reason, we recommend checking your posts and updating them to reflect changes in the industry to keep them visible and relevant. 

You can use a plugin like Strive to create revisions from your old posts and update them. 

10. Not using high-quality images

The reality is that images don’t affect your WordPress SEO; however, using poor-quality or blurred images can make your blog posts or web pages look boring.

Visual content like screenshots, charts, featured images, and graphs help to beautify your content.

They make your site live and stunning.

Besides, using beautiful images can help to rank in Google Image Search and can make your content more appealing, interesting, and easy on the eyes.

Ensure you don’t hurt your page load time when uploading images as well.

A good rule of thumb is to keep them below 100kb.

Also, resize and compress your images either before or after uploading them to your site. 

11. Ignoring videos

Video is still the leading medium in the digital marketing realm.

This is evident by studies that suggest that 84% of people say they are convinced to buy a product or service after watching a brand’s video.

video-marketing

This explains why 87% of marketing professionals use video as a marketing tool.

If you’re ignoring videos, then you missing out a lot on a great opportunity to not only engage your readers but also make your posts or articles interesting.

The good news is that creating video doesn’t have to be daunting.

You can repurpose content into videos or add videos within your posts.

Don’t forget to optimize videos for search using the VideoObject Shema as well. 

10 WordPress SEO mistakes to avoid: final thoughts

As you can see, if you’re not aware, it’s easy to make these WordPress SEO mistakes. 

Luckily, having read our article, we hope you’ll avoid or fix these SEO mistakes once they happen.

To wrap up everything, the most common WordPress SEO mistakes are: 

  • Not analyzing google analytics data
  • Not setting up an XML sitemap
  • Not submitting your sitemap to google search console and bing webmaster tools
  • Not setting up friendly permalinks 
  • Not setting a focused keyword
  • Not incorporating title tags
  • Keyword cannibalization
  • Not including mouth-watering meta descriptions 
  • Failing to update old content 
  • Not using high-quality images

Good luck!

About the author 

Justin Osborne

Justin Osborne is a essay writer., he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as a content marketer at bestessays.com.

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