The Most SEO Unfriendly Things about WordPress to Fix

WordPress is one of the most popular website and blogging platforms on the web, powering 25% of all websites. However, just because it’s popular, doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. WordPress is a great option for starting a new website. It gives you some nice defaults for basic SEO. But to be truly competitive it’s going to need a little TLC. If you are meticulous about SEO, then consider making these changes to your WordPress theme. With a little time and set up, you can have your WordPress website running more SEO-friendly.

Unable to Add SEO Title and Meta Description

Two items that make your website SEO friendly are adding an SEO title and a meta description. Title tags are extremely important for search engine rankings. Meta description tags help influence viewers to click through to your site. Unfortunately, WordPress does not automatically include an SEO title and a meta description in your website. WordPress coders have defended this decision by saying that they believe that they should be optional. However, plugins such as All in One SEO Pack or Yoast SEO give users an option to add both the meta description and SEO title easily as well as a ton of other important stuff.

Replytocom and URL Parameters

?replytocom=999

Look familiar?

Replytocom URLs exist in some WordPress themes that wish to allow replies to user comments. Should you click on the option to reply to a comment, you will see a URL link. The URL parameters of WordPress allow these to be posted. You can remove them in your Google Search Console.

But, I prefer removing them from the theme altogether so they don’t create a problem in the first place. Dizzain actually did this for my Clickfire.com theme which they created. They Dizzain coders cleverly replaced the parameter with a “#” sign so all the Replytocom URLs take the same form as the main blog post URL (Google ignores the pound sign and everything after it).

Spam

You don’t need to worry about spam in WordPress, right? From the minute you switch on your blog you’re a target for comment spammers. And, if you’ve had your blog turned on for much more than a minute you know it is a serious and annoying problem.

WordPress does not have an automatic spam filter. Due to the fact that spammy comments result in some serious keyboard pounding for WordPress users, the best option is to install an anti-spam plugin on your site such as Akismet or Antispam Bee (there are many others). These will automatically take care of annoying spam for you. At least, they will put them in a spam folder that you can empty. You will still be forced to stare at the ridiculous, worthless and sometimes comical statements you’ll find in your comment spam bin.

No Sitemap

WordPress installations do not come with a sitemap out-of-the-box. This can be remedied by installing a SEO plugin to create a sitemap. Both Yoast and All In One SEO Pack come with XML sitemap components. You can also use a standalone XML sitemap plugin like this one. However, keep in mind that you cannot simply add the plugin and get results. You need to add the sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console to get full satisfaction.

Slow Site Needs Caching

I don’t need to tell you how fast today’s Internet surfers will leave a slow loading website do I? Caching your WordPress site can speed things up even if you have a slow overburdened host. WordPress does not come with an automatic caching feature. A caching plugin can speed up your site for users. It takes the load off your server to make the site load faster. Speed is great for SEO and usability purposes. Caching can even prevent your site from crashing when load times are heavy or in case your blog post hits the front page of Reddit. It’s important to install a cache plugin such as W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache or the premium WP Rocket (I prefer the later two).

Redirects

If a slug is changed in a post, WordPress natively redirects the post. However, what about cases where you want to redirect to a category or even a homepage? Or what about if you want to redirect a page (not post) to another page? I’m old school and prefer to manage this by hand in my .htaccess file or even in cPanel if the mood is right. If you move something and need to do a redirect and don’t want to fool with it at the host level, you may want to consider a redirection plugin.

Robots.txt

A robots.txt file talks gives instructions to obedient search engines. It tells them if they can access or even crawl parts of your website. If you are interested in preventing search engines from crawling your pages, you can create a robots.txt file manually and drop it in your root. Be sure and test it in Google Search Console to see if it’s working like you want it to.

Duplicate Content from Tags, Archives, Categories, Author Pages

Clickfire.com, for example, Dizzain coded the recent author posts to show just the links to the posts instead of showing the post content snippet for each post which would have been a duplicate of posts on category pages.

While WordPress is not perfectly SEO-friendly, you may find that some of these problems come with an easy fix. In the long run, improper structure and ignoring issues will hurt your site and limit your rankings potential. While it may take some work to fix these issues, it is worth the work. Here’s a quick recap.

What WordPress Issues can be Solved with a Plugin?

Of course, one can create a plugin to solve most any problem in WordPress. Here are a few that I know can be solved with plugins. Perhaps you have some of your own solutions to the below?

WordPress IssueSolvable with a plugin?
Unable to add SEO title and meta descriptionYes
Replytocom URLsNo
SpamYes
No sitemapYes
Site cachingYes
RedirectsYes
Robots.txtNo
Duplicate contentNo
Emory Rowland

Emory Rowland

Emory Rowland loves helping brands grow by way of SEO. He blogs at Leverable.com and loves WordPress.