Many people buy the notion that WordPress is perfectly set for SEO.
We might be ardent fans of WordPress but it is a fact that this software needs a little nudge to reap big from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Optimising your WordPress for search engines is a necessity if you want your site to grace the first few pages of search engines in case of a related search.
In the process of making their WordPress sites more SEO friendly, many people carry out erroneous undertakings that end up thwarting their seamless efforts instead of rewarding them.
Interestingly enough, even SEO masters tend to commit these simple mistakes that end up hurting their efforts. To be on the winning side of the race, you need to avoid the following common mistakes.
Failing to define Canonical URLs
For those who are getting acquainted with canonicalization for the first time, the term might prove tricky. As Matt Cutts, the head of Google Search, defines it; Canonicalization is the process of selecting the best URL for the homepage in a situation where there are multiple of them. Choosing the one that serves as a perfect representative of all of them guarantees the best results. Failing to define canonical URLs leaves Google with the task of figuring out the best choice for you. Truth be told, the last thing you would want to do is have the search engines do the canonicalization for you; it might not turn out the best way. To be on the safer side, one needs to provide these search tools with a canonical URL. It involves a three-step process.
- For one, you need to define for WordPress how best your site should be presented. For instance http:// www.example.com/.
- Using Web Master Tools, direct Google on which URL type to use.
- For the best results, use additional plug-ins like Yoast to ensure clear definition of Canonical URLs for each page within your site.
For someone who is handling this for the first time, it might sound complicated if not confusing; but it’s far from that. With consistency, this process turns out to be easy and beneficial in every way.
Ignoring Site Optimisation for Google+ Authorship
In August 2014, Google released a report indicating that Google will no longer show Google Authorship Results as part of SERPs. It might mean that the author doesn’t improve your visibility in search results but that doesn’t completely wipe out the essence of Google Authorship in SEO. Not known to many people, Google+ is one of the leading social networks, second to Facebook. To date, it is still possible for search users to see related Google+ posts of their friends. Such posts come with profile photos of the authors. Over the years, it has been proven that such photos trigger click-through rates by close to 150%. Further research by Cyrus and Moz revealed that Google+ results to 56% increase in click-throughs.
Ideally, one can attract greater search engine traffic with the same rankings while using Google+ authorship, making it a vital component of SEO. That is why you need to have Google verify your authorship. The process might not be an all-straightforward thing as everyone would expect, but it definitely takes a couple of minutes to finalise. In the end, one realises that it is something worth doing; at least for the sake of your WordPress site.
Assuming XML Sitemap Provision
There’s one simple thumb rule everyone in the SEO world should embrace; if you get an SEO tip on the grapevine, take it with a pinch of salt. However, if you get it from Google itself, take it as Gospel. For instance, Google acknowledges that sitemaps help them discover ‘hidden’ pages within your site that they might not have otherwise identified. Nothing can be further from the truth. Amazingly, that is not everything about sitemaps.
Besides easy location of pages within your site, sitemaps also give additional information about your site. Essential statistics like how frequently pages should be updated and Meta data are clearly indicated through sitemaps. It is especially important for sites with few organic backlinks. XML sitemap will simply help Google identify and subsequently index relevant pages on your WordPress site. It is one of the widely assumed SEO tips.
For those who might have had prior experience with sitemaps, you can simply take it as a specially formatted list of pages within your site that you would love search engines to index. This can be carried out manually, or better still, automated to improve efficiency.
Multiple plugins can be used alongside WordPress to ease the automation of sitemaps. For one, you can download Google XML Sitemap to get the job done. With a whooping rating of 4.7 out of 5, you can be certain to have the job carried out the easier way. Yet another incredible plugin is WordPress SEO by Yoast. Over the years, it has proved itself an excellent generator of XML sitemap. With the plugins, the process of establishing and updating sitemaps is easy because everything comes with instant automation. Who wouldn’t want to reap from such?
Downplaying the Essence of Meta Title and Meta Descriptions
Search engine users are always keen on what they see when making their searches. Many people undermine the necessity of optimising their titles and descriptions to suit users. How compelling your content looks from the onset will determine the eventual click-throughs. For one, you need to optimise the Meta Title because Google displays them instead of headlines. Yet again, you should focus on Meta descriptions because search engines can choose to use them instead of an excerpt from your content. Nothing gets the optimisation work done better than plugins such as Add Meta Tags. You can also take advantage of Yoast to boost your Meta descriptions and Meta Titles.
It’s all about you
Stepping up your SEO campaign involves a lot more than what most people imagine. The last thing you would want to do when carrying this out is making easily avoidable mistakes. You might have made a couple of them in the past but it’s never too late to right your wrongs and set your foot on the right SEO path!
Selina Jenkins is a renowned and experienced IT expert in the field of using different social media platforms for marketing. She has been involved with SEO services Chicago and is therefore better placed to advice on matters marketing on any online platform.