Top 7 Common WordPress SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Top 7 Common WordPress SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

As a WordPress user, you must have heard that WordPress is the best CMS when it comes to the search engine optimization. Undeniably, it is developed for search engines, coming with the best SEO options such as the super clean coding stuff and the customized permalinks. However, it does not mean that SEO is simple for WordPress, which just requires the basic settings and some free plugins. Instead, you need to takes times to do a lot of optimizations to improve the search engine friendliness of your website.

In the following, we have listed the top 7 common WordPress SEO mistakes you might make, along with the exclusive resolutions as how to fix and avoid them.

Mistake No.1 – No XML Sitemap

This can be viewed as the number one mistake that you may make for your WordPress SEO. The XML sitemap is used to inform search engines of all your available links, so that these robots can crawl and index your webpages effectively with no missing links.

It is true that all the searching robots are smart enough to crawl your website automatically. With the XML sitemap, however, they can discover your contents timely, right after your publishing. Even, the sitemap can indicate your normal frequency for updating the contents, thus searching robots can set a proper rate for crawling your site.

As the majority of traffic is organic and is coming from the search engines, the lack of XML sitemap can decrease your page views to a large extent and may reduce your possibilities to be ranked highly.


The creation of XML sitemap is really simple. You only need to make use of the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, and then, submit the generated sitemap to all the main search engines.

No XML Sitemap

Mistake No.2 – Fewer or Even No Internal Links

At present, the utilization of internal links has been regarded as a critical element for the ranking algorithm of all the major search engines. However, there are still a large number of webmasters fail to realize the importance.

Generally, internal links can bring the great values for SEO based on the following aspects.

  • Reading experience now is essential for search engines to rank your site. With the internal links, you can improve this aspect for your audiences greatly. After all, when people check one of your blog posts, they can be directed to all the other relevant posts with much ease.
  • The internal links help searching robots crawl more of your webpages effectively, which is beneficial for your webpage indexing.
  • With internal links, you can tighten the relationship among your blog posts, achieving a great website structure.

Obviously, having a few or even no internal links in your blog posts can be disruptive for the overall SEO of your site.


Adding the internal links to your articles requires some strategies, including the proper ratio of each post, the utilization of anchor texts and the position of these links. For some detailed information of the right utilization of internal links, you can check this post.

Mistake No.3 – Bad Backlinks

Bad BacklinksWithout doubt, the number and quality of the backlinks can indicate your online authority to search engines and can benefit your website crawling and indexing greatly. In this case, you may choose to purchase as many backlinks as possible, but end up receiving a negative result.

This is because the majority of backlinks you purchase are from bad and low-quality websites. Or, these backlinks are not relevant to your blog posts. In this case, if you only pay attention to the backlink quantity but not the quality, you can do no good to your website SEO.


First of all, you should figure out all the bad backlinks for your site and remove them. The next time you purchase these links, you should pay attention to the following aspects.

  • Whether your target website is highly related to your overall content?
  • Whether that website is of high quality and popularity?
  • Whether the anchor texts used for the outside links are picked properly?

Mistake No.4 – No SEO Title, Keywords and Meta Description

According to our research, we have found 64% of WordPress users do not add the SEO titles, focused keywords and meta descriptions for their website homepages and each blog post. However, the truth is that these items simply tell search engines what your website is talking about, and can be showcased in the SERPs directly for attracting online readers to make a click.

If you forget to add these things, your webpages can be less attractive even if they get a good ranking on the searching result lists.


Again, you can make use of Yoast SEO plugin. Upon the installation, a special field can be added to all of your webpages, requiring you to add the proper titles, keywords and meta descriptions.

Meta Description from Yoast SEO plugin

Mistake No.5 – No Robots.txt File

The robots.txt file is important to tell search engines which parts of your website can be indexed and which parts cannot, along with the indication of your XML sitemap.

As it is important to signpost your sitemap and disallow the search engines to index some certain WordPress folders such as your upload folder, the lack of robots.txt file can be negative to the SEO of your site.


At present, there are a lot of tools that can be used for the generation of this file. Personally, we recommend the Robots.txt File Generator, with which you can get the file simply by entering the sitemap URL and choosing the searching robots.

Then, you should copy and paste the generated coding stuff into a newly-created text file and name it as “robots.txt”. Finally, upload this file to the root directory of your site.

Mistake No.6 – Ugly Webpage Permalinks

By default, WordPress gives you some bad permalinks for your blog posts, which look like “”. As search engines check your post links to better crawl and index your pages, this kind of ugly permalink can do no good to your website SEO.


You can check the WordPress Permalink guidance to figure out how to change the ugly one to a proper one. In fact, you simply need to enter your WordPress admin and click the Settings tab. From it, you can find the Permalinks settings.

Webpage Permalinks

Here, you can change the random part of your permalink from “?p=10” to post names, day and names, month and names, numbers and the custom structures. Here, we highly recommend to you choose the first option and include relevant keywords into the permalinks of your blog posts. In this ways, both search engines and your readers can learn your post contents directly from the post URL. Also, the utilization of keywords improves the relevancy between your posts and the searching queries in the eyes of search engines, resulting in more chances to get a high webpage ranking.

Mistake No.7 – No Alt Tags for Images

Images are great for adding the diversity to your blog posts and expressing your thoughts in a vivid manner. However, they cannot be figured out by search engines. In this case, adding the alt tag to each image with the proper description is really important. However, many webmasters simply ignore this aspect.


This is not a difficult task as you can use the image HTML tag of alt=”image description”. Moreover, if possible, we highly recommend you to enter the keywords into the alt tag, which is a great practice for your on-page SEO.