Wordpress SEO Tips: 7 Deadly Mistakes You Want to Avoid

WordPress SEO Tips: 7 Deadly Mistakes You Want to Avoid

Wordpress seo tipsAre you making mistakes with WordPress that is resulting in poor rankings on Google?

Are you optimizing posts correctly?  Do you have the right set up on WordPress?

If you avoid these 7 deadly mistakes you will get more traffic to your website.

Business Objective of this article

Your WordPress website may not be set up correctly to give you the best chance to get the most traffic from Google.  With the WordPress SEO tips below this will help you improve your traffic.

If you could implement at least a couple of the WordPress tips that would be great for you and would also make us happy!!

Here are the 7 deadly mistakes you don’t want to make:

1.  No keywords in your page name

Google likes to see that whatever keywords you are targeting you have the keywords within the page name.

This is not essential but it’s an extra tick mark from Google when the keywords are in the page name.

I’d like to rank for wordpress seo tips on this post.  So the page name will be:


This is better than:


Action:   Check your ‘permalinks’ section in wordpress.  If it’s a brand new site not launched yet change it so that by default you don’t have lots of numbers in your address.  If it’s an existing site talk to your developer!

wordpress permalinks
Set up the structure of your page address

2.  Not using any WordPress SEO plugin

There are a range of WordPress plugins that will help you to optimize your content and it’s really essential that you use one.

You could use Scribe, WordPress SEO, Inbound Writer, All in One SEO or a range of other plugins but you should have at least one installed.

The one we currently use is WordPress SEO by Yoast.

When you create a post you specify ‘focus keywords’. These are keywords you want to rank on.

When you write your content this plugin does an analysis of your content to see if it’s optimized correctly. It will then tell you the areas that you need to resolve.

Wordpress SEO
WordPress SEO lets you set the focus keyword that you want to rank on and gives some tips on improving content for ranking on this keyword

In the image above you’ll see the items in green are good and items in red are issues you need to resolve.

Even if you are not familiar with SEO this will help you significantly.

Action:  Figure out the best plugin to use and install it.  Here’s an article which does a comparison of Scribe versus WordPress SEO.

3.  No XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is like a table of contents in a book.

It provides a breakdown of the pages of your website and lets Google know how often this content is likely to change.

If you don’t have an XML sitemap Google will still crawl through your site to index your pages but it may miss some. For example, imagine if you had a page on your website that is not linked to from any other page on your website.  This is a page that Google might miss.

If you build an XML sitemap this will include all the pages on your website that you want to index and it will provide additional information to Google such as how often you want Google to re-index the page.  If it’s a static page that’s not going to change very often then maybe you only want to re-index it every couple of months!

Here’s an example sitemap. XML is a markup language similar to HTML. What you see below is not XML, but this is how Google interprets the XML.

This is an example sitemap that Google reads

In the image above you specify the page to be indexed, the priority (listed as ‘Prio’ in the table above), images on the page, how often you want it indexed and the date the content was last changed.

Action:  Make sure you have an XML Sitemap.  You can use the WordPress SEO plugin which will build one automatically or other XML plugins.

Bonus Point!! – If you have a lot of video on your site then it’s worth considering a Video Sitemap.

4.  Google Authorship not setup ** Update – Google has now removed this facility

When you do a search on Google and see somebodies picture alongside the search results that is known as Google authorship.

Google Authorship
Your content is linked to you even if you write it on another site

I love Google authorship because it’s not just good for branding it will also help your click through rate because your picture stands out.

In the example above Social Media Examiner have Google authorship implemented and as they have a multi-author blog so I get my image on the post for my guest post, yahoo!!!

When Google authorship is set up on your site if you look at the source code of your pages you’ll see something like this:

<link rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/109282987970727189991″/>

You are pointing Google to the Google + profile of the person (in this case it’s me).  So Google picks up the image and details from this profile.

Action:   Set up Google authorship on your blog.  This can be done by manually linking your authors to their Google + page using rel=author or by using a plugin (e.g. WordPress SEO, Google author link etc).

5.  Not Linking between posts

Optimizing your page is only part of SEO. The second major part is getting links to this content.

When you write a post you should go to Google and search for content related to this post on your site. Now go to these pages and link to your new piece of content.

For example, on this post if I go to Google and type the following:

WordPress SEO site:www.razorsocial.com

I see the following post:

Google search
This is a good candidate for linking from.

It makes sense to go back and link something in this article to my new article.  This will help to make sure Google indexes it and will also give it a little link juice!

6. Indexing Pages you shouldn’t index

It’s good to keep your site nice and tidy.  There are some pages that shouldn’t be indexed.

For example, when someone becomes an email subscriber we bring them to a thank you page.  It makes no sense to index this page as it provides no value to a user.

Action:  Don’t index pages if they don’t provide any value if someone finds them in search results.

7.  Using up valuable keywords in poor quality blog posts

Imagine you provided business consultancy services and you would love to rank on page one of Google for ‘Business Consultancy’.

So you write a blog post and the page name is: www.razorsocial.com/business-consultancy’.    If the blog post is not particularly special then you probably won’t rank on such a highly competitive keyword.

So instead you create an amazing guide on business consultancy and you heavily promote it and you place this guide on the page: www.razorsocial.com/business-consultancy.

You then get links from many places on the web for this guide so now you have a much better chance of ranking for this content.

Action:  Really think about your keywords and how you are going to rank on them.  If they are important then you need really great content!


It’s really important that you give your content the best chance possible of being found on Google.  You can make some changes outlined in this article that will help significantly.

Are you going to implement the WordPress SEO tips?  Are they useful?

What other WordPress tips would you add?

We would love to hear from you.


77 Responses to WordPress SEO Tips: 7 Deadly Mistakes You Want to Avoid

  1. Awesome post as always Ian.

    Curious when cross linking b/t post, is there a max you should do per post. (like no more than 2/3) I know what your linking to needs to be relevant and provided it is does it make sense to keep it under a certain number? I ask b/c I see some larger sites having several and others always just having 2-3.

    • Thank you Mike, once it’s natural linking. Google devalues each link if there is more of them so it means each individual link is less value. 2/3 works good because you get a couple of links and retain some value for each! Ian

      • Hello Ian, How are you? I really appreciate all your expert advice as I enjoyed reading many of your really good professional articles, they helped turn me around. If you could please be so kind as to answer me a relevant question on the links, I would really appreciate it. I still don’t understand the linking concepts very well, does that mean that I can’t have links from one page on a wordpress site to the next page of a different wordpress site and then to a sales page? What does it mean when google devalues each link if there are more of them? Please explain and thank you for your time.

  2. Thanks for the great writeup, Ian. I totally agree with what you highlighted in your post. I’d lust like to add the following. Though you totally need to install the plugins (both for SEO and not) that you need on your site, you still need to keep them to a minimum because the more plugins you have installed, the more security issues you welcome on your site. Things, many plugins are not properly developed and they can cause security issues for your site because sneaky hackers may just take advantage of them. So, if you have any plugins you don’t really use (even if they are inactive), be sure to uninstall them completely.

  3. Thank you for the reminder about Google Authorship ~ I started this once and got intimidated… I don’t suppose you have written a “How-to” for accomplishing this? LOL, thank you for this ~ I’m glad I found you!

  4. I think “Using Up Valuable Keywords…” is a little misleading. It’s not like there is an allotment of keywords you can use and they use of keywords is even getting less and less. I’d say to vary your keywords within content.

    • Hi Dean, if there’s a valuable keyword combination with a lot of traffic that is harder to rank you may want to reserve it for more compelling content so that it gives you a better chance to rank, make sense? Ian

      • I don’t think you should think of keywords in that fashion. It’s not as simple as it once was when you could add a keyword in the title tag and body and it have a big impact. It’s becoming more and more a combination of signals and not so much about the content per say. There’s links, there’s mentions, there’s citations, all of these things on top of content that amount to Google’s ranking of a site. I think of seo more now as a sum (brand) of these parts. Use keywords whenever you want as long as it reads good to your visitor, but it’s not as important as it once was.

  5. This may have great information, but the grammar was so atrocious I had to stop reading mid-way through. Can you please get a proofreader?

  6. Hi Ian,

    Just wanted to say I really like this post. I’m in the middle of implementing four of them right now. I’ve been getting your updates for about two months and am learning so much. I’m actually Irish too but I’m living in Bangkok, where my factory is based, and heard about you through a US entrepreneurial podcast. How’s that for globalization?

    Keep these coming please!

  7. Even I use Yoast plugin for my wordpress SEO, its good, effective and most importantly gives doesnt bothers me much to fill up details after every single article I write in the new post section

    As you said keywords are important and having them placed correctly on every page helps you and google rank you better and more easily.

    And thanks for these amazing tips

  8. Great tips here! I have a WordPress project coming up and I will definitely put these tips to good use.

    Thanks for the article!

  9. Hi Ian,

    Few days back I implemented Rich Snippet to show my website logo in search results and checked it in Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool, its working fine but it is not showing in search result.

    Can you please help me to fined the problem.

    Here is my website URL – http://www.mobignosis.com/

  10. A great guide. Although I was already aware of most pointers it was good to read through them once again. You should never let your guard down when it comes to these things.

  11. I am using WordPress SEO by Yoast for a long time and on all of my blogs without a single problem. I love the way it takes care of everything related to SEO for your blog. And the regular updates that comes with more features is another great thing about the plugin.


  12. These are good SEO check list. I am using wordpress yoast SEO and it is good till now. Your work is greatly appreciated.

    How To Check Dofollow and Nofollow Blog Comment Links

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  14. Most people over look the importance of SEO and the affect it has on the increase of web traffic to a blog, however in this article you pointed out some of the most common mistakes that many new bloggers and site developers find themselves in. Was really a great read, thanks for sharing.

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