WordPress is the most popular website management platform out there (something you’re surely aware of), and also quite an SEO-optimized platform right from the get-go.
There are, however, some issues and things to be careful with when working with your WordPress site’s SEO. This post describes a handful of them and how not to fall into trouble.
Extensive sidebar and menu links
The problem is not when you link to many subpages of your blog. It’s when you link multiple times to the same sub page.
For instance, you might have a certain page that has links pointing to it in the top menu, the sidebar, and then the footer, and who knows where else.
This isn’t good for SEO. The problem is that every page has a certain amount of SEO juice to share. Linking to a given page just once is enough, you don’t have to do it multiple times.
Linking a key-phrase every time you can
Here’s the problem. If you have a sub page about “learning guitar chords,” for example, then there’s a big chance that every time you use “learning guitar chords” on your site you will link it to that sub page.
Having site-wide anchor texts is not a good practice, and many SEOs advise against it. Sending your visitors over to another page every time you use a given phrase is just too aggressive and too pitchy.
Instead, link to the content of your site only when it makes sense – when the visitor can benefit from additional info in that specific moment. Don’t link just for the sake of it.
Hold on. Right now you’re probably thinking that this problems doesn’t concern you, right?
It does. It concerns every WordPress blog.
Let’s use our “learning guitar chords” example again. If you create a new post on the topic, put it in a category of “guitar chords” and also add a tag “guitar chords” then you end up with at least three pages of duplicate content.
From now on your post can be seen at:
To protect against this you need to tell Google not to index some of these pages. The best way of doing this is to use some of the popular SEO plugins, like All in One SEO Pack or WordPress SEO by Yoast.
SEO titles and descriptions that are too long
By default, WordPress lets you set titles of your posts and pages, and then uses them as the SEO titles as well. The descriptions, however, are created from the first couple of sentences of your post’s/page’s content.
This isn’t optimal for SEO. First of all, post titles are rarely SEO-optimized. When you are in the middle of crafting a title for your post you want to speak to your audience first, and then think about other things like SEO. Secondly, these titles are usually longer than what Google says is okay.
When it comes to descriptions the situation is even worse because it always ends with three dots (“…”) indicating that the description is not complete, and there’s really little chance that any relevant keywords are present there.
Thankfully, you can use most SEO plugins to do this job for you too (the two aforementioned ones).
The best practice for this is to set your titles and descriptions by hand. Keep your titles below 70 characters, and your descriptions below 155 characters. Include relevant keywords and make the message interesting and inviting.
Using too many “nofollow” links
Many SEOs agree that nofollow links shouldn’t be used too extensively within a single website. The main idea behind nofollow links is that you use them to guide the link juice of your site in a certain direction … to improve some sites and disregard others. This makes sense, but only in a small range of cases.
Try not to link to the same page one time with a nofollow link and then with a do-follow link (normal link). If you’ve decided to link to one page with a nofollow link then simply don’t change your mind.
This closes the list. What other SEO practices do you know of that can work against you if not done properly? Feel free to share.