These Are Common Mistakes Made with WordPress SEO

WordPress is an outstanding platform for building websites. There are several reasons businesses will choose to use WordPress as their platform; such as,

  • It is “simple,” not in the way that sounds bad or unprofessional, but in the way that even amateur website developers can spend time learning it with ease.
  • Many plugins are free and easy to use.

There are several more reasons WordPress is an effective platform for small business websites; however, there are still common mistakes that can be made that make users look a bit silly and that can reduce the effectiveness of your site-building and site promotion efforts.

Here are the Most Important WordPress Mistakes to Look For:

Leaving the “Not Another WordPress Blog” Tagline & Other Default Settings

Have you ever noticed this common mistake made on other websites? If not, you’d be surprised how many otherwise quite competent WordPress users forget to remove the generic tagline that’s part of the initial WordPress setup.

When you leave this, not only will it show up as your header, but it will show up in search engines as well which can derail your future hard work on SEO.

This mistake is all too easy to make as well because several themes don’t display the area where this is set. Want to make sure it’s gone on your site?

Once there, you can make sure your copy has replaced the boring preset mumbo-jumbo.

The tagline is one of many defaults you may find on a new WordPress site, but definitely, one to look out for if you are using a standard WordPress theme. Other themes and 3rd party themes are known for having preset categories, portfolio items, posts (Think “This is a blog post” with a bunch of random sentences that you may see when you first initiate a blog page), and more. Make sure you look for these types of settings and correct them. Most of the time users don’t stumble upon these until they’ve been indexed on Google.

Keep Deactivated Plugins or Failing to Update Active Ones

WordPress plugins are useful and essential to a well-functioning website, but if not handled well, it can put your website in danger.

One of the easiest ways hackers find their way into a WordPress site is through website weakness or “Backdoor” in a plugin, especially if it is an older unused one. You can use a security plugin like WordFence to keep a log of the vulnerabilities that they find in plugins.

So not only do you need to be very careful about which plugins you install, but you also need to delete any plugins you are no longer using instead of leaving them in place. People commonly assume that if a plugin is deactivated that it’s safe, but that does not mean they cannot be exploited by hackers. If you aren’t using it, delete it. You can reinstall it later if you need it again.

When a plugin needs to be updated, if you’re using a tool like WordFence, you’ll receive a notification. You should try to update it ASAP because they are usually released to address bugs and other problems that developers have identified that need to be fixed.

Crazy Broken Code

Another big mistake people make is creating amazing content in a program such as Microsoft Word and then simply copy and pasting it into your WordPress site.

Why is this a mistake? Well, when you copy from Word or a similar office program, you copy a bunch of invisible code over to your site. Even when you strip formatting from the Word document, you still run the risk of adding a bunch of code that can confuse search engine bots and make it harder to index your website.

Instead, you can paste your content into a .txt file like NotePad (yes, we went there) and then format it appropriately in your WordPress editor. It’ll take a few extra steps, but the effort will be worthwhile.

Installing Yoast SEO and Thinking You’ve Conquered the World

When new clients come to us with an existing WordPress website, we ask them if they have any SEO efforts live on their site. Many of them have proudly announced that they have it covered because they installed the Yoast plugin (Yoast is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress websites. This plug-in includes a testing tool where they try to guess the things Google wants to see on a website and provides a red/yellow/green light grading scale for users to easily monitor the SEO on a page).

The truth is, Yoast is a pretty incredible plugin, but their measurement of SEO is bonkers. All you have to do to get a green light from Yoast is to meet a few minimum requirements. Some horribly optimized pages can get a green light with ease while well-optimized pages get a yellow or red light because of one minor thing. All in all, Yoast doesn’t know exactly what search engines are looking for either. Luckily, Google just published an article revealing some vital SEO information and secrets. We have the inside scoop for you!

So yes, Yoast is a great tool, but it is not magic and it isn’t going to do SEO for you. If you’re not sure how good your SEO is on your WordPress website, be sure to check out our offer to audit your website FOR FREE by our SEO team.

Not Updating Your WordPress Version

If you’ve used WordPress for any amount of time, we’re sure you’ve seen the message at login, “There is a new version of WordPress available, please update now.” Have you seen it and ignored it for months? We’re here to tell you that you’re taking a big risk by ignoring this message.

An update is created by developers and it isn’t just designed to add new features—it often repairs bugs and glitches that need fixing that cause the update to be so important. Hackers use these types of hacks in order to attack websites, so don’t make it easier for them to succeed.

Many novice developers have declined recent updates because they are afraid of the Gutenberg Editor that is a part of the updates. Many users have complained that Gutenberg is more difficult to use and has a steeper learning curve than the traditional editor. It is different, but with a bit of effort, it can be a great editor. If you just don’t want to use it, you can use a classic editor by installing one through a WordPress approved plugin. Either way, update WordPress, protect your site, and then decide how to go from there.

What Else?

WordPress is a complex content management system. It is a great platform for new developers to learn and for experienced developers to learn new things and ways to make great websites.

These are the main offenders that newbie WordPress users make when creating their site; however, there are a few other common errors that deserve an honorable mention:

  • Forgetting to set up Google Analytics. This is something that can easily be forgotten on any website platform. The reason a website needs a Google Analytics (GA) tracking code from the very beginning is that GA is a very powerful tool that can help you understand the effectiveness of your website.
  • Not Monitoring Comments. WordPress automatically allows comments on blog posts. If the primary purpose of your website is the blog and interactions are necessary, be sure to monitor the types of things being posted. Otherwise, the comment section is a gold-mine for hackers and spammers to fill your site with bugs and spam.
  • Using weak username/password combinations. It’s never a bad idea to use strong passwords and unique usernames for your online accounts, but when it comes to your business website, it’s essential to make sure you protect yourself in every way possible from hackers and people with malicious intent. There are additional steps you can take to protect your website too. If you’re interested in learning more about website protection, reach out to us today!

WordPress is a great platform to build a website. There are certain mistakes like we’ve outlined, to watch out for and try to avoid. There is also a lot of tutorials and information online about how to properly run a website. We’d love to help you reach your goals and design a website for you to set you up on the right track. Reach out to us today!