Domaining SEO Sunday: Top Three WordPress SEO Mistakes

As more and more Domainers turn to development WordPress is looking to be the leader of the pack when it comes to CMS solutions. When you’re just getting started with WordPress or development in general you are bound to make a number of mistakes.

SEO mistakes can be the most painful as they can prevent your site from ranking where it could in the search engines. Sometimes literally changing a few options in WordPress can make all the difference in the world.

So if you’re getting started with WordPress but don’t know much about the SEO side of the house you can use my list below to avoid some common pitfalls.

1. Site Visibility is set to block search engines
This mistake is number one for a reason! When first setting-up a WordPress site make sure you’ve gone to Settings -> Privacy and make sure your site is visible to search engines. Screw this one up and you could spend months wondering why your site isn’t ranking at all!

2. Poor Permalink Structure
By default WordPress turns each of your posts into a page that can be accessed by going to www.yoursite.com/p=?123 – you tell me, does that “p=123” mean anything to a search engine? Does it explain to the search engine that the page will have an article about the World Cup? No! It does nothing to help your search engine placement, but one small change can make an incredible difference.

Changing the permalink structure so that your post title is the page name is a quick and easy change, simply go to Settings->Permalinks and select “Custom Structure” and enter /%postname%/ and viola!

3. Akismet Plugin not activated
A lot of Domainers want to move their domains into a set-it and forget-it system. This can mean allowing comments through without moderation which, in the case of a WordPress site, could lead to a ton of spam. This spam will not only obfuscate any real comments that are made on your site, even worse they could link to known spammer sites that might be de-listed by Google. If Google sees you giving a lot of link love to spammers they might not consider you such a reliable source.

Akismet is a completely free plugin, it comes pre-installed with WordPress (that’s how important it is) and simply requires you enter your WordPress API key to activate it. If you don’t have a WordPress API Key you can make it for free!

When you first setup WordPress you’ll see the screen above when you click “Activate” in the Akismet Plugin. Simply login to WordPress to get your API key or create a free account and then enter your key. Once activated you will see something similar to the screen below:

There are literally hundreds of WordPress SEO tweaks that can be made but the three above are so important and common that I thought it would be important to share it with all of you.

In my new book I’ll be discussing more WordPress Tips and Tricks (in fact there’s a whole section about it!) so stay-tuned. If you’d like to pre-order the book I’ll be announcing pre-order information shortly. This will NOT be an eBook but instead one of those good old fashioned paper books…but available for Kindle and iPad of course 🙂

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Ross June 28, 2010, 5:24 am

    Hey Morgan,

    Talking about wordpress SEO, do you use tick the box for “noindex for Tag Archives” in “All in one Seo Plugin.” Default its not tick.

    I do tick it, as I am worried about duplicate content. Interested to know what you do in this case?

    Ross

    Reply
    • Morgan June 28, 2010, 9:49 am

      Hi @Ross – yes, I do tick the box for “noindex for Tag Archives”

      Reply
  • mrx June 28, 2010, 6:53 am

    Do you have any WP sites that are doing will in the SERP wars?

    Reply
    • Morgan June 28, 2010, 9:49 am

      @MRX – yes, I have a few but most of my top-ranking Domains are built-out as static HTML as I’ve found that to rank better.

      Reply
  • Valentin June 28, 2010, 10:45 pm

    Nr. 1 is crazy! It’s been several times when I installed WP I checked the ‘Don’t show WP to search engines’ and at the same time think to myself “I’ll change it later”.. 2 months later I still wonder why my blog isn’t indexed! 😀

    Reply
  • Jonathan Castello June 29, 2010, 9:34 am

    Good tips! I just checked the settings of my own blog, and I’m surprised that my permalinks were still set to the default. I should probably use the poor, neglected thing more often.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 29, 2010, 9:54 am

      Thanks @Jonathan – glad you enjoyed the post! Permalinks can make a big difference so it will be interesting to see how your rankings improve over time now that you’ve made the change.

      Reply
  • pwealthacademy November 15, 2010, 10:13 pm

    I am so amaze when i check the proper way of setting in when i am optimizing site in word press! thru this i can check my mistake Thank’s Morgan for this!

    Reply

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