WordPress is already well optimized for search engines, but of course it’s not perfect. People think – wrongly – that installing a good SEO plugin is enough to ensure good SEO, yet many mistakes can be made in the initial setup of WordPress. Here are 5 of the most common mistakes that you should avoid in order to improve the SEO of your website.
1. Forgetting to Set Your Time Zone
Let’s start with something simple: setting your time zone. Whenever you schedule a blog to post, you decide on a specific time of day that WordPress should share that content. If your time zone isn’t set correctly, you won’t be sharing your content when you think you might. This could affect the number of views, and shares on social networks. A lack of engagement can ultimately hamper your organic traffic.
2. Permalinks Are Not Correctly Configured
SEO involves carefully placed keywords, for example in the naming of permalinks. You can improve your rankings and increase your click-through rate (CTR) by changing the permalinks of your posts to correlate with the title.
Instead of manually modifying each permalink, you can define a global rule in your “Settings” then “Permalinks”. You will see a few options, like include the date for example. You have to select the option “Post Title”.
As long as we are on the links, check that you have defined so-called “canonical” URLs: if Google does not always penalize sites with duplicate content, it will try to determine who is the original publisher, as soon as it will see two web pages with the same content. It will prioritize that page in the search results over the other.
But sometimes, duplicate content can appear on one and the same site. While it’s not a huge problem, having 10x the same post with different URLs won’t help you rank on the first page. Do your best to combine duplicate blog posts and redirect deleted posts / pages to the most relevant.
3. Poor Optimization of Images
When it comes to common mistakes, the one I see most often is poor image optimization. Search engines cannot read the text of an image, so you have to hold their hand a little with the “alt” and “ title ” tags. There is an endless debate in the SEO world about the respective importance of “alt” and “ title ” tags. Let’s let them fight, and just add text to both.
For many people like the visually impaired, images may not be visible, in which case they will see (or hear) the alt text. It must therefore be descriptive of the image, all including relevant keywords. Remember to include these tags on the logo, icons, and navigation images.
Obviously, you will also avoid placing an image of 5MB and 4230 × 4230 in a container that is only 400px wide …
4. Bad Internal Linking
There are advantages to creating links between articles or pages on your site. You can reduce the bounce rate or increase visitor engagement. But for SEO, we are worried about relevance.
If Google sees that you are linking to contextual pages on your site, it will better understand the relevance of the site to a particular topic, covered as a whole. An effective link should be able to demonstrate the relevance of a particular page to a topic. But it can also lead to an improvement in your ranking on an entire subject (your site being recognized as an authority).
The main thing is to build links only when they are relevant and to use keyword rich anchor texts.
5. Bad External Linking
You can positively influence your ranking in the SERPS by regularly linking to authoritative external sites. Indeed, Google likes to see sites refer to other sites, in the same way a medical journal cites other studies … Make sure to link to authoritative sites in your field.