Common WordPress SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them



WordPress stands out as an incredibly robust and user-friendly web content management system (CMS) on the market. Thanks to its extensive range of features, themes, and plugins, anyone can create stunning websites without the need for web development or coding expertise.

However, a vast majority of users are unable to rank their WordPress websites on search engines despite their SEO efforts. This largely happens due to a lack of awareness of common SEO mistakes to avoid on WordPress CMS. Users often inadvertently make WordPress SEO mistakes that negatively impact their websites’ performance on major search engines.

Let’s dive into this blog post to uncover common SEO mistakes and equip you with actionable tips and strategies to avoid them.

1. Not Turning Off No-Index

A critical WordPress SEO mistake that users often make is failing to turn off the “no-index” setting for their important pages. Webmasters may accidentally set certain pages like category or tag archives to “no-index,” which instructs search engines not to include these pages in their search results.

This can inadvertently hide valuable content from search engine crawlers, leading to poor visibility and lower rankings.


To avoid this mistake, regularly review your WordPress settings and ensure that important pages are set to “index.” You can do this by accessing the “Settings” in your WordPress dashboard and navigating to the “Reading” section.

Make sure the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” option is unchecked if you want your site to be indexed.

2. Using Too Many Plugins

One of the most common SEO pitfalls is installing and running an excessive number of plugins simultaneously. A substantial amount of processing power is used in this process.

These plugins load several scripts, images, CSS files, and fonts, which degrade site speed and create a poor user experience. This negatively impacts the loading times of websites which directly affects SEO performance.


To rectify this mistake make sure you only install essential plugins and actively remove any that are unnecessary. Before installing a new plugin thoroughly read its reviews and identify if it fulfills the following requirements:

  • It should be well-coded with no security loopholes
  • It should be lightweight and responsive
  • It should not conflict with your existing WordPress theme or plugins

3. Neglecting Image Optimization

Images enhance a website’s aesthetics by breaking up blocks of text and providing visual context to its content. However, unoptimized images can significantly slow down your website which increases bounce rates and hinders SEO performance.


It is important to effectively optimize your images before you upload them to your WordPress website. Follow the instructions given below to optimize your images:

  1. Resize images to the appropriate dimensions
  2. Compress them to reduce file size while preserving image quality
  3. Add descriptive alt text that includes relevant keywords
  4. Use keywords in filenames (e.g., keyword-phrase.png)
  5. Consider using lazy loading to speed up webpage load times

You can use image-editing software like Adobe Photoshop to resize and compress your images.  To further streamline the image optimization process you may use WordPress plugins like SMUSH to optimize your images.

SMUSH offers a variety of useful features like lazy loading, bulk compression, and CDN support.

4. Not Using XML Sitemaps

Not using XML sitemaps for WordPress websites is a critical SEO mistake to avoid for improving search engine rankings. XML sitemaps act as roadmaps for search engine bots to discover and index your content efficiently.


WordPress users can use plugins such as Yoast SEO or Rank Math to generate XML sitemaps. You can use these plugins to dynamically create XML sitemaps every time you add, modify, or remove pages, posts, and other media.

5. Not Optimizing Permalinks

Failing to optimize the permalink structure is a common SEO pitfall which is overlooked by many WordPress users. The default permalinks contain random strings of numbers and characters that not only look unprofessional but also hinder search engine understanding of your content.


To avoid this mistake, customize your permalinks to include relevant keywords and reflect the content’s topic clearly. It is usually a best practice to select the Post Name option when selecting the permalink structure. It automatically adds the name of your post as permalink.

Optimal permalinks are concise, descriptive, and user-friendly, enhancing both SEO and user experience on your WordPress site.

6. Improper use of Categories and Tags

Categories and tags are powerful organizational tools in WordPress that help users to navigate content efficiently. However, most users misuse them which leads to SEO issues and creates confusion for both visitors and search engines.

People tend to create a multitude of categories, thinking it will help organize their content better. However excessive categories dilute the relevancy of their content.

Similarly, WordPress users misuse tags by either using too many irrelevant tags or duplicating them across multiple posts.


To avoid this mistake, limit your categories to a manageable number that reflects the main topics of your website. Focus on creating broad categories that cover multiple related topics, rather than creating a separate category for every minor variation.

Be strategic with your tags by using relevant keywords that accurately describe the content of each post. Avoid overstuffing tags or using generic tags that don’t provide meaningful information to users or search engines.

7. Ignoring Updates for WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins

Most novice webmasters fail to understand that WordPress is a software that requires regular and ongoing maintenance. Like any other application, it also needs to be updated for optimal performance.

Most users fail to promptly update their WordPress core, themes, and plugins which causes the website to crash and undermine SEO efforts.


Try to promptly update your WordPress Core, themes, and plugins whenever a new update is released. This will protect your website against potential vulnerabilities or security loopholes and ensure seamless functionality. If your website doesn’t crash it will not lose rank in SERPS.


Remember, optimizing your WordPress site is an ongoing journey that requires regular attention and action. Understanding the WordPress mistakes mentioned above can significantly enhance your organic traffic and dramatically increase potential leads.

However, if you are overwhelmed by technical jargon and are looking for a premier WordPress SEO company to audit your website for common SEO mistakes, Ayraxs has got you covered. Our team of highly experienced web developers will conduct a thorough audit of your site, addressing and resolving all issues seamlessly.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some common SEO mistakes to avoid?

Avoid the following SEO mistakes:

  • Neglecting image optimization
  • Using too many plugins
  • Not optimizing permalinks
  • Ignoring WordPress updates
  • Not using XML sitemaps

2. How do I improve my SEO score on WordPress?

To improve your SEO score on WordPress choose a SEO-friendly theme. Next, create high-quality engaging content. Then, Optimize your webpage’s loading speed and mobile responsiveness. Finally, build high-quality backlinks from reputable sources to improve your website’s SEO score on WordPress.

3. Is WordPress still the best for SEO?

WordPress remains a strong contender for SEO due to its flexibility, user-friendliness, extensive plugin ecosystem, and customer support. However, other platforms like Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace also rank well if optimized effectively. At the end, it all depends on your personal preference, SEO strategy, and technical expertise. 


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