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8 Best SEO Keyword Research Tools of 2019 (Compared)

Looking for the best keyword research tool?

Keyword research is an essential step in brainstorming content ideas and targeting your products to customers. Whether you want to build brand awareness and expand the reach, you’ll need to find every possible combination of keywords that your potential customers use on Google to find your products.

In this article, we’ll show you some of the best SEO keyword research tools on the market.

Why Use a Keyword Research Tool

A proper keyword research can be beneficial in 5 ways:

  1. Enables you to brainstorm engaging content ideas
  2. Target your potential customers on Google and attract them to your site
  3. Make your website appear in the top search results
  4. Gain competitive edge over your rival’s site

Not to mention, there are many keyword research tools available on the market. With so many options available, choosing the right one can be intimidating especially if you’re not an SEO expert.

Let’s take a look at some of the best SEO keyword research tools.

So let’s begin.

1. SEMRush

semrush, keyword finder, keyword research tool

SEMRush is one of the most popular keyword research tools that helps you do a complete SEO audit for your website. With this amazing tool, you can track keyword rankings, check your backlinks, check the ranks of your competitor and do a lot more.

It lets you find out which keyword can help you rank better on search engines. You can also find out the rank for each of these keywords on all major search engines based on their geographical locations.

And this is true not just for your website content but for advertising and social media too. Basically it is a complete solution for online marketers who want a better insight into how to drive organic traffic.

2. Ahrefs

Ahrefs, keyword research tool

Ahrefs is another brilliant keyword research tool to improve your search rankings and grow your website traffic. This tool enables you to outrank your competitors and position yourself in the top search results.

With its competitor research feature, you can find out your competitor’s organic keywords, backlink strategies, and even their PPC keywords. You can also easily find out the top keywords in your niche and track yours and your competitors’ rankings.

You’ll also love the brand mention monitoring option that notifies you every time you and your brand gets mentioned on the web. With Ahrefs website audit option you can easily determine the SEO loopholes that keep you from growing your traffic.

3. UberSuggest

ubersuggest,keyword finder, keyword research tool

Ubersuggest is a free keyword research tool that gives you a complete overview of the SEO scenes. To get a better understanding of how to improve your website ranking, you can take the test that it offers when you land on the website. It asks you several questions about your website and sends you an analysis report after your answer all the queries.

You can then use the tool to find keyword suggestions for your website. It displays the search volume of the word and how difficult it would be for you to rank for it.

With its SEO Analyzer feature, you can also run a complete site audit and check how many backlinks you have built to your website.

4. Answer the Public

Just like the name suggests, Answer the Public helps you find the queries your audience has so that you can come up with the best content to answer them.

You can also use it to compare two different keywords and find better suggestions too. Once you do your research, you can easily save all your reports for future use. With its pro version, you can make unlimited search and hide unwanted sections and individual suggestions too.

5. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner can be another great choice for your next keyword research project.

Once your account is created and you’re logged into the Google Keyword Planner, you can start looking for your keywords using the Find New Keywords and Get Metrics. Both these options are super helpful for finding keywords to position higher in search results.

You can also use it to find PPC keywords if you want to increase your revenue using advertisements on your site. And not just that, you can also find keyword metrics. This helps you learn the number of impressions a keyword can have, number of clicks, CTR, etc.

6. LongTailPro

With Long Tail Pro, it’s easy to find keywords that help you rank higher on Google. You can have hundreds of keyword options just by entering your seed keyword. It helps you find keywords that are less competitive and even shows you the competitiveness of these keyphrases based on several metrics.

The best thing about this tool is how accurately and user-friendly the rank tracker is. You’ll love how easily you can discover keywords that can be profitable for your business. If you’re still not sure which one can be the best option, use the rank value to determine which one can yield the best results.

7. SERPStat

serpstat

SERPStat is an all-in-one SEO tool that comes loaded with features. The good news is that you can use all of these features without paying a single penny.

Using this tool, you can have access to all the top keywords that influencers and top marketing leaders use to make their business appear on top search results. You can then determine the best keyword by checking the value. This value is calculated based on several metrics like search volume, cost-per-click, competition level or the number of search results.

And not just keyword, it also lets you discover your website’s most relevant pages. To have a better understanding of your keywords it offers you a graphical representation of how user’s interest fluctuates for a specific keyword.

8. SpyFu

SpyFu, keyword research tool, keyword finder

With SpyFu, you get to know the exact keywords your competitors are using. If you want to compete and beat them in the game of SEO, then SpyFu is the best tool you should go for. It lets you download your competitor’s most profitable keywords and ads for paid and organic search. These downloads have no limits.

Just enter your URL and the tool analyzes it and finds your competitor. It’ll then recommend the most profitable keywords that you haven’t used yet. You can also easily monitor your rankings on major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It comes with tons of other features like PPC Ad Rank tracking, PPC negative match recommendation, etc.

So that’s it. We hope this article helped you understand the keyword research tools better. Now it’s up to you to use them for the best results. Meanwhile, you might also want to read our article on best SEO tools.



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14 Best WordPress SEO Plugins and Tools That You Should Use

Often we’re asked about what are the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that we recommend.

That’s because search engines are a major source of traffic for most websites on the internet. Optimizing your website for search engines can help you rank higher in search results and significantly grow your business.

In this article, we will share the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that you should use. Some of these tools offer similar functionalities, so we will also highlight which ones are the best for specific use-cases.

Best WordPress SEO plugins and tools

Things You Must Know About WordPress SEO Plugins & Tools

When reading SEO tips or searching for “best free WordPress SEO plugins”, you will come across articles that feature several dozen tools.

This can be quite overwhelming for beginners and non-techy users.

The truth is that you don’t need dozens of top SEO tools to get higher search rankings.

While most blog posts (including ours) will share the top most popular SEO plugins, it is extremely important for you to understand the use-cases of each tool.

For example, you never want to use more than one WordPress SEO plugin on your website. We will mention Yoast, All in One SEO, Rank Math, and SEOPress. You need to pick only one to avoid plugin conflict.

We’ll mention SEMRush, Ahrefs, and few other powerful tools, but you don’t need them all when you’re first starting out since they have similar feature set. We will share what tools we use in our business, and which features are the best among each tool.

With that said, let’s take a look at our expert pick of the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools.

1. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market. It offers a complete website optimization tool that helps you improve your website.

It lets you easily add SEO titles and descriptions to all posts and pages on your website. You can also use it to add Open Graph metadata and social media images to your articles.

Yoast SEO automatically generates an XML sitemap for all your website content which makes it easier for search engines to crawl your website. It also helps you easily import your SEO data if you have been using another other SEO plugin.

For more details, see our complete guide on how to install and setup Yoast SEO plugin in WordPress.

We use Yoast SEO plugin on WPBeginner to help optimize our on-page SEO meta titles and descriptions, manage SEO redirects, control index settings, generate sitemap, etc.

However we don’t use all of Yoast SEO features such as content analysis because we feel it falls short when compared to a more comprehensive writing assistant solution like SEMRush.

This brings us to the next SEO tool in the list.

2. SEMRush

SEMRush

SEMRush is the best overall SEO tool on the market. Used by professional SEO experts, marketers, bloggers, and businesses of all sizes, it provides a comprehensive set of tools to grow your traffic.

You can use it to find organic keywords and search terms that you can easily rank for. It also allows you to do competitive research and see which keywords your competitors rank for, and how you can beat them.

SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant tool helps you improve your website content to beat the top 10 results for your focus keyword. It integrates with WordPress, and this will help you write more SEO friendly content.

To learn more, see our complete guide on how to do keyword research for your website.

3. Google Search Console

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool offered by Google to help website owners monitor and maintain their site’s presence in Google search results.

It alerts you when Google is unable to crawl and index pages on your website. You also get helpful tips on how to fix those crawl errors.

Most importantly, it shows which keywords your website is ranking for, anchor texts, average position, impressions, and more. You can use this data to find keywords where you can easily rank higher by simply optimizing your content. You can also use this keyword data to come up with new blog post ideas.

For more details, see our comprehensive Google Search Console guide for beginners.

Yoast SEO comes with an easy integration that lets you setup Search Console without writing any code.

MonsterInsights, another tool we’ll mention later, helps you bring the Search Console reports right inside your WordPress dashboard for easy access.

4. Ahrefs

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool for marketers, bloggers, and businesses. It is a popular alternative to SEMRush and offers a lot of similar tools and features.

It allows you to do keyword research, competition analysis, backlink research, monitor keyword rankings, and more.

It also offers a detailed content analysis tool that helps you improve content while targeting specific keywords.

While there’s a huge feature overlap, what Ahrefs does really well is backlink analysis. We can use it to see which sites are linking to multiple competitors, but not us. This helps us get more backlinks and build more partnerships.

They also help us identify which content multiple of our competitors are ranking for that we aren’t, so we can create content on those subjects to get more exposure.

Last but not least, Ahrefs helps us better identify duplicate content and keyword cannibalization which helps us merge and upgrade the right content to boost our rankings.

For the reasons above, we pay for both SEMRush and Ahrefs because they’re both good for specific use-cases.

5. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner

No one on the planet has more insights into what people are searching for than the search giant Google.

Did you know that you can get your own keyword ideas from Google itself by using the Google Keyword Planner tool.

This free tool is offered to Google’s advertisers for free and anyone can use it. Its main purpose is to show advertisers the keywords they can bid on for their advertising campaigns.

It also helps advertisers choose the right keywords by showing them an estimate of search volume, number of results, and difficulty level.

As a content marketer or blogger, you can use this data to find keywords with high search volume, high advertiser interest, and more importantly keywords where you can easily outrank all other sites.

Bonus: See these 103 Blog Post Ideas that your Readers will Love (Cheat Sheet).

6. All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack is a popular WordPress SEO plugin offering a comprehensive set of tools to improve your website. It allows you to easily add SEO title and meta tags, open graph meta tags, XML sitemaps, image sitemaps, and more.

It works out of box with WooCommerce to optimize your online store for SEO. It comes with easy setup and allows you to control access to different settings using a feature manager.

You may also want to see our complete beginner’s guide to All in One SEO Pack and our comparison of the Yoast SEO vs All in One SEO Pack.

All in One SEO Pack Pro plugin gives you access to more addons, and it is a more affordable solution than Yoast SEO which is why it’s the second most popular WordPress SEO plugin in the market.

Note: All in One SEO Pack is a Yoast SEO alternative. Remember, you only need one WordPress SEO plugin on your site.

7. SEOPress

SEOPress

SEOPress is another simple yet powerful WordPress SEO plugin. It includes all the features you would expect from a SEO plugin like meta title, description, open graph support, image and content XML sitemaps, redirects, and more.

It comes with easier setup for beginners and advanced controls for more experienced users. It is comparable to all top WordPress SEO plugins on the market in terms of features and ease of use.

A big reason some users choose SEOPress over Yoast SEO is because the premium version is significantly cheaper and comes with a lot of the similar features.

Note: SEOPress is a Yoast SEO alternative. Remember, you only need one WordPress SEO plugin on your site.

8. Rank Math

Rank Math

Rank Math is a fast growing user-friendly WordPress SEO plugin that allows you to optimize your website for search engines and social media. It comes with a setup wizard and allows you to import data from other SEO plugins during the setup.

It allows you to easily add meta title, description, and Open Graph metadata to your blog posts. The plugin also allows you to generate an XML sitemap, connect Google Search Console, and control access to plugin features based on user roles.

Note: Rank Math is a Yoast SEO alternative. Remember, you only need one WordPress SEO plugin on your site.

9. All in One Schema Rich Snippets

All In One Schema Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets allow you to make your website stand out in search results by showing star ratings below a review, prices below a product, image or video next to the description, and so on.

Search Engines use data available in Schema format to get this information. All in One Schema Rich Snippets helps you optimize your website by adding that Schema metadata to your website.

It supports reviews, events, people, products, recipes, software apps, videos, and articles as Schema content types. It works nicely alongside your existing WordPress SEO plugin.

10. KeywordTool.io

Keyword Tool

Keyword Tool is one of the best free keyword research tools available right now. It allows you to simply generate keyword ideas by typing in a keyword. These keyword suggestions are gathered from Google’s autosuggest feature. It also shows you keyword suggestions from Bing, YouTube, Amazon, and more.

These keyword suggestions are a treasure of information. You can also get search volume, cost per click, and other data for each keyword by upgrading to their paid plan.

11. Broken Link Checker

Broken Link Checker

Broken links can affect your site’s SEO and create a bad experience for your users. If you have been running a blog for some time, then you should check your site from time to time for broken links and fix them.

Broken Link Checker is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to find broken links on your WordPress site. You can then fix those links without even editing your posts. See our tutorial on how to fix broken links in WordPress with Broken Link Checker.

It is a highly useful plugin, and it’s totally free. The only downside is that it can become resource-intensive and may slow down your WordPress hosting server. Some hosting providers like WP Engine already block this plugin.

Because this plugin can slow down your site if you have a lot of content, we use Ahrefs tool for broken link detection because it helps us make sure our website is always fast.

Bonus: Redirection is a free plugin that helps you redirect broken links to an appropriate page on your website.

12. SEOquake

SEOquake

SEOquake is a useful SEO tool for website owners. It is available as a browser addon for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari web browsers.

It provides SEO related information for any website. This data includes page health, age, last updated, Alexa rank, and many other parameters. It is one of the most downloaded browser addons by SEO professionals.

Apart from that, the SEOquake toolbar can show you all the same data search results when you type in a keyword. This information can be extremely useful if you are gauging competition for different keywords. You can even download search results in CSV format and prepare your own excel sheets of search data.

Bonus Plugins for WordPress Website Owners

These tools give you additional advantage when optimizing your website for SEO. They do not advertise themselves as SEO tools but they are essential for every website and play a significant role in your website’s search performance.

13. WP Rocket

WP-Rocket

Site speed is a major factor in search rankings. That’s why you need to monitor your website speed & performance to make sure it’s not affecting your SEO.

The easiest way to boost your website speed is by enabling caching. WP Rocket is the best WordPress caching plugin on the market, which allows you to set up caching without diving into any technical stuff.

Alternative: WP Super Cache

14. MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights

Many beginners rely on their best guess to make their marketing decisions. You don’t need to do that when you can easily get the insights you need to improve your website’s SEO strategy.

MonsterInsights is the bets Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to easily install Google Analytics in WordPress and shows human-readable reports inside your WordPress dashboard.

It tells you where your users are coming from, your top content, what users do on your website, and more. It also allows you to track your WooCommerce SEO by seeing which products are popular and where you are losing customers.

Bonus tip: See what other marketing data you must track on your website to grow your business.

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools for your website. You may also want to see our proven tips to easily increase your website traffic.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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How to Use the SEO Writing Assistant in WordPress to Improve SEO

Many of our readers ask us about how to write better content for SEO? Some ask whether they should focus on Yoast SEO green light or not?

Well when it comes to SEO content optimization, we don’t focus on Yoast SEO’s score. Instead we use a different SEO writing assistant.

This helps us optimize our content for SEO, so we can rank higher in search engines.

In this article, we will show you how to use the SEO Writing Assistant in WordPress to improve SEO and create better content on your website.

Using SEO Writing Assistant in WordPress to improve SEO

What is SEO Writing Assistant?

SEO Writing Assistant is a content optimization tool created by SEMRush, one of the best SEO tools on the market.

It allows you to check your content in real-time for SEO suggestions and improve the overall SEO score of your content.

Here is how it works.

  • Enter your focus keywords to generate content templates based on the top-10 results for that phrase
  • Instantly get semantically related keywords to include in your article
  • Improve your content with readability score based on rival results
  • Optimize your article headline for SEO
  • Adjust article length based on average length of top results
  • Check for plagiarism without leaving your website
  • Check content tone to make it sound more natural and casual

It is an extremely useful tool and can help you improve the SEO as well as writing style across your website.

If you manage a multi-author site, then it allows authors to follow the same SEO best practices across all content.

Having said that, now let’s take a look at how to use the SEO Writing Assistant to improve SEO and get more search traffic to your website.

Setting up SEMRush’s SEO Writing Assistant in WordPress

First thing you need to do is visit the SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant website and click on ‘Create new template’ button.

Create new template

You will be now asked to login or register for a free account.

SEMRush offers a basic free account with just 1 free content recommendation. You will need to sign up or upgrade for a paid SEMRush subscription to get all features (this is totally worth it).

Register for a free account

Next, you’ll be asked to provide an email address and enter a password. After that, you will see a screen where you can enter the focus keywords to create an SEO template.

Creating SEO content template for an article

Your focus keyword is basically the keyword you’d like to rank #1 for with this particular blog post or page. Once you enter the focus keyword, SEMRush will generate your SEO content template. You can also do this right inside your WordPress dashboard.

You simply need to connect the SEO Writing Assistant tool to your WordPress site.

First, you’ll need to install and activate the SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant plugin on your WordPress site. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to edit an article that you want to optimize for SEO. On the post edit screen, scroll down and you’ll see the new SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant section below the content editor.

Connect WordPress to your SEMRush account

It will show you basic readability and SEO score. To get the full picture, you need to click on the login button and sign in to your SEMRush account.

Once signed in, you’ll be asked to give permission. Click on the ‘Approve’ button to continue.

Give permission

Now that you have connected the plugin to your SEMRush account, let’s generate SEO recommendations for our article.

Generate SEO recommendations

If you had entered the focus keywords before, then you’ll see them listed as suggestions. Otherwise, click on the ‘Create new recommendations’ button to continue.

Add keyword suggestions

Simply enter the focus keywords and click on the ‘Get recommendations’ button. Need help finding the right keywords? See our beginner’s guide on how to do keyword research for your WordPress site.

SEMRush will now check the top 10 results for the given keywords to generate a list of semantically related keywords to include in your content.

LSI keyword recommendations

Keywords already included in your article will appear with a green background. You can go ahead and start adding missing keywords in your existing content where applicable or expanding your content to add new sections when necessary.

As you write, the tool will also adjust the readability and article length scores to match the average scores of top results.

Checking Tone of Voice using SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant

All SEO experts and marketers advise using a casual tone for all your articles. Search engines consider this conversational tone to be more engaging and useful for most audiences.

Now the problem is that sometimes it becomes harder to maintain a casual tone throughout the article.

SEO Writing Assistant comes with a Tone of Voice checker. This AI-powered tool checks your content’s tone and give it a score randing from formal to casual. Most articles fall somewhere in between, so don’t worry if it says your article has a neutral tone.

Checking for tone of voice

Checking for Internal Links

Links play a crucial role in SEO and the SEO Writing Assistant helps you keep track of links inside your article.

It will remind you if your article does not have an optimal number of internal links. It will also check for external links and links to your homepage.

Keep track of links in your posts

This tool comes in handy if you have other authors working on articles. Editors can quickly see if the article includes internal links to other posts on your website.

Checking Plagiarism in WordPress with SEO Writing Assistant

If you are hiring writers to contribute articles on your blog, then you’ll need to make sure that the articles they are submitting are original content.

Normally, editors and website owners use plagiarism checkers like Grammarly or Google to see if an article is original. SEO Writing Assistant makes this easier with a built-in Plagiarism checker tool.

Plagiarism checker tool in SEO Writing Assistant by SEMRush

The downside is that even with the paid plans, you can only perform a limited number of checks. If you need more, then you can buy additional checks from your subscription page on SEMRush dashboard.

Getting a Perfect SEO Score for Your Article

As you implement suggestions provided by the SEO Writing Assistant tool, your overall score will improve as well.

Overall SEO score

The overall score bar takes into account all the parameters and suggestions shown by the plugin. You need to make sure that this bar turns green for a better SEO rankings.

Sometimes the plugin may suggest LSI keywords that may not fit in your content. You can safely ignore them instead of stuffing them into your article.

Remember that while these SEO tools provide recommendations, you know your audience better than these tools . Keep your users in mind and make sure that they find your content useful and engaging.

Tracking Your SEO Performance in WordPress

Once you have started using SEO Writing Assistant for a while, you may want to track how it is affecting your website’s positions in search.

We have detailed guide on how to track your website’s keyword rankings with SEMRush and other tools.

You may also want to keep an eye on your top content using Google Analytics. The best way to do this is by using MonsterInsights. It brings your Google Analytics reports in WordPress and displays them in a human-readable format.

We hope this article helped you learn how to use SEO Writing Assistant in WordPress to improve SEO. You may also want to see our complete WordPress SEO guide with step by step instructions for beginners.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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11 Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO (like a Pro)

Many of our readers have asked us to share tips on how to optimize blogs posts for SEO, so they can get better search rankings.

The best time to optimize your blog content for SEO is when you are creating it, but you can always go back and improve your old articles as well.

Blog SEO is important because it helps you consistently get more traffic to your website. There are many things you can do to optimize your blog posts for SEO.

In this article, we will share our best blog SEO tips to help you optimize your blog posts for SEO like a pro. These are the tips that we use on our own blogs, which gets millions of visitors from search engines.

Tips to optimize your blog posts for SEO

1. Plan Your Content with Proper Keyword Research

Many beginners just use their best guesses to write about topics they feel that their users would be interested in.

You don’t need to rely on blind guesses, especially when you can do keyword research to find out exactly what your users are looking for.

Keyword research is a technique used by content creators and SEO experts. It helps you discover topics your users are interested in based on the search engine data.

Plan your content with keyword research

You can then use these keywords to plan your content strategy. This will ensure that you write about topics that people are actually looking for, and it’s a great way to find new blog post ideas.

We recommend using keyword research tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs. They offer in-depth keyword data, competition analysis, keyword position tracking, and tons of other useful features.

For detailed instructions, see our article on how to do keyword research for your blog posts.

2. Find Semantic Keywords for Your Focus Keyword

After you have done your keyword research and discovered keyword ideas, it is time to pick one that has the highest search volume and low competition.

This will be your focus keyword. It is the search phrase that your users are most likely to look for.

If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, then you can set the focus keyword in your article’s SEO settings. This would allow you to see how effectively you have used it in your article.

Setting focus keyword in Yoast SEO

Next, you need to find out the Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords. These are the searches related to your focus keyword.

The easiest way to find them is to simply enter your focus keyword in Google Search and scroll down to the bottom of results. There you’ll find them listed as ‘related searches’.

Related keywords

You need to incorporate as many of these keywords in your content, so you can have the most complete content for users.

It’s very important that you don’t try to stuff them in your content. This would look odd to your users and search engines are pretty good at detecting keyword stuffing.

3. Write an Effective Blog Post Title

The title of your blog post is extremely important for search rankings.

A good blog post title makes your article more relevant to the search query. More importantly, it motivates users to actually click on your article when they see it in search results.

You can make your blog post title more SEO friendly by using your focus keyword in the title.

Focus keyword in blog post title

Aside from adding your focus keyword, we also recommend making your headline catchy and click-worthy. That’s because click through rate (CTR) plays an important role in SEO.

There are several formulas to write effective headlines. The one that still works is called EMV or emotional marketing value.

This formula recommends using power words that trigger specific emotional responses in your audience. There are online tools like EMV headline Analyzer which help you calculate your title’s EMV score.

For more tips, see this article on headlines that went viral and how to copy their success in your own articles.

4. Make Internal Linking a Habit

Once you have blogged for a while, you will have enough content that you would want users to read. With internal linking, you can send new readers to check out your older relevant posts.

Internal linking is a great way to develop a contextual relationship between your new and old posts. It also allows you to pass relevant link juice to your older articles.

WordPress makes it easy to search for your old posts right inside the post editor. Simply select the text that you want to link and then click on the link button.

Internal linking

A text pop-up will appear below your selected words. You can start typing to search for the older articles that you want to link here.

Making internal linking a habit will make sure that your on-page SEO is good, and that your older articles continue to get new links.

Often beginners make the mistake of doing 1-way internal linking where they link to older posts from new articles. You can and should also go back to edit older posts to link to your new articles for maximum benefits.

5. Add Images and Videos to Your Blog Posts

Add images and videos to your blog posts

Search engines often rank engaging content higher in search results. Images and videos are far more engaging than plain text.

You want to make sure that your blog posts contain images between paragraphs.

When adding images, you want to be careful about image copyrights. Often beginners copy images from other sites to use on their site, and this can get you in legal trouble if you do so without proper permissions.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of places where you can find royalty free images to use in your blog posts. You can also use your own original photographs or use websites like Canva to create engaging graphics.

Make sure that you optimize your images for SEO. See our tutorial on how to optimize images for search engines for detailed instructions.

Videos are even more engaging than images. You can convert your blog posts into videos by creating slideshows, vlogs, or experiment with other formats.

However, you should never directly upload videos to your blog posts. WordPress is not optimized to serve videos, and your shared hosting service can’t handle them.

We recommend uploading your videos to YouTube. It is the second most popular search engine, and the second largest social media platform right after Facebook.

See our article on how to embed videos in WordPress for more details.

6. Add a Meta Description to Your Blog Post

The meta description is an HTML meta tag that you can add to any page. Its purpose is to provide a short description of your article for search engines and other crawlers.

Some SEO experts believe that the meta description tag on a page has become irrelevant. However, many others would disagree. At WPBeginner, we recommend using the meta description for all of your posts.

A good meta description can explain a lot more about an article. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also display it when your articles are shared on those platforms.

Meta description shown on Twitter

Since now you know that people are going to be reading your meta descriptions, you want to make sure that it’s helpful.

You also want to make sure that you at least mention your focus keyword once in the meta description for search purposes. The character limit for Meta Description is 155 characters.

Try to stay within that limit or your meta description will be truncated after 155 characters. You also want to make sure that you use the focus keyword earlier in the meta description rather than later.

To add meta description, you need to scroll down to the Yoast SEO meta box on your post edit screen.

Adding meta description for your blog posts in Yoast SEO

7. Make Your Articles Easier to Read

Readability is an important factor considered by search engines. Articles that are easier to read often rank higher than articles that are not user friendly.

Computer and mobile screens are still not an optimal platform for reading.

This is why most users just scan through articles. In fact, studies found that users spend less than a second to decide whether they want to stay on a page or leave.

That’s a very short time for you to convince the user to stay and scroll through. By improving readability, you can make it possible for your users to quickly scan an article.

You can improve readability by using shorter sentences, smaller paragraphs, punctuation, headings, and bulleted lists. We recommend adding white space around text and use images to make your text look easier on eyes.

You can use tools like Grammarly, which allows you to check grammar, punctuation, and spelling on the fly. It also gives suggestions to improve the readability of your articles.

Yoast SEO plugin also comes with a built-in readability checker. It shows the flesch reading score of your article under ‘Readability analysis’ tab.

Readability score

For more on this topic, see our article on how to improve the readability score of your blog posts.

8. Use Categories and Tags to Organize Content

Categories and tags help you sort your content not only for yourself, but for the readers and search engines.

The problem is that many WordPress beginners often end up using them incorrectly.

If you think about your website as a book, then categories would be the table of contents and tags will be the index part of the book.

Categories are used to divide your content into major topics discussed on your blog. Tags, on the other hand, are the topics discussed in an individual blog post.

To learn more, see our beginner’s guide on using categories and tags for maximum SEO benefit.

9. Aim to Be The Featured Snippet in The Search Result

Google has been trying to answer user questions as quickly as possible. As part of this effort, they have introduced the featured result or answer box.

Answer box in search results

This is the highlighted search result that appears on the top. Google generates a custom snippet from the article’s content highlighting the part that their algorithms believe to be the answer of user’s query.

According to research conducted by Advanced Web Ranking, Answer boxes secure almost 32.3% CTR. This makes them immensely important for your SEO strategy.

There is no specific set of instructions provided by Google regarding how they would pick the featured snippet. Their recommendation is to improve your content and make sure that it offers the information users are seeking.

However at WPBeginner, we have created helpful tips based on our research that will help you appear in Google answer boxes with your blog posts.

10. Make Your Blog Posts Comprehensive

Search engines love articles that cover a topic with great detail. This is why we asked you to gather the semantically related keywords (LSI Keywords) as part of your content planning step.

These related keywords give you an idea of different variations of user searches regarding that particular topic. By covering those keywords in your article, you would be able to make it more comprehensive, informative, and useful.

You should use headings and subheadings to include those keywords and try to cover as much ground as you could.

Aside from LSI keywords, another tip to create complete content is to type your desired keyword and then switch to Image Search. You will see topic bubbles with a variety of keywords.

Blog SEO - Image Search Complete Content Tip

We recommend including these when creating your content, so you can have the most comprehensive content.

11. Optimize Older Blog Posts

Many beginners tend to forget about a blog post after they have published it. In fact, you are not done optimizing your blog post for SEO once it is published.

Here are some things that you need to do after publishing your blog post:

  • Promote it on social media – Promote your blog post across your social media profiles. You can even automate this task by using IFTTT to share your content.
  • Add internal links – Once you have published a post, you can go back to relevant old articles and add a link to your new blog post. This gives your new articles link juice while also allowing users to discover it more easily.
  • Track search rankings – You have optimized a post for SEO, but how do you keep track of its search rankings? See our guide on how to track search rankings for your blog posts for instructions.

We recommend optimizing old posts on a regular basis, so you can continue to improve your rankings.

We hope this article helped you optimize your blog posts for SEO like a pro. Need more tips to promote your content? See our article on how to get more traffic to your blog posts.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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26 Most Common WordPress Mistakes to Avoid

When creating a WordPress website, everyone make mistakes. However each mistake is a learning opportunity that helps you grow.

Over the years, we have helped thousands of WordPress users start their websites and blogs. In setting up our own websites as well as helping others, we have learned to avoid some common WordPress mistakes.

It has helped us save time, money, and grow our business more effectively.

In this article, we will share those experiences with you, so you can avoid these common WordPress mistakes.

The goal is to help you learn from other people’s mistakes when making your own websites.

Common WordPress mistakes to avoid

1. Choosing The Wrong Platform

Choosing the right WordPress

The biggest mistake people make when starting out is choosing the wrong blogging platform. Basically, there are two types of WordPress. First, there is WordPress.com which is a blog hosting service, and then there is WordPress.org also which is the famous self-hosted WordPress platform that everyone loves.

You need to start with self-hosted WordPress.org because it gives you access to all the features you need out of the box.

To learn more see our article on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org with a side by side comparison of the two platforms.

2. Buying More than What You Need

To get started with a WordPress website, you need a domain name and WordPress hosting.

The challenge is that a lot of domain registrars try to upsell other services. This confuses the small business owners who are just starting out.

The add-on services may include privacy protection, extra email accounts, security services, and more.

Upselling services

You can skip all of these things and save money to spend on growing your business. If you later decide that you need those services, then you can always purchase them from your hosting company.

You also need to choose the right hosting plan for your website. For 90% of websites that are just starting out, a shared hosting account is quite enough to get you going.

We recommend using Bluehost. They are one of the biggest hosting companies in the world and officially recommended by WordPress.

They are offering WPBeginner users a discount on hosting + free domain and SSL certificate. Basically, you can get started for $2.75 per month.

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

As your business grows, you can choose to upgrade your hosting plan or move to a managed WordPress hosting company.

For more details, see our guide on the cost of a WordPress website and how to save money when building your website.

3. Not Setting up Automated Backups

Automated backups

Each year billions of dollars worth of damages are caused by data loss. Almost every website on the internet is prone to accidents, theft, hacking attempts, and other disasters.

Your most powerful line of defense against these threats is automated backups. Without a backup, you could lose all your WordPress data, and it would be very difficult to recover it (sometimes even impossible).

We have seen many people lose their entire websites just because they didn’t have an up to date backup.

Setting up backups is extremely easy, and there are excellent WordPress backup plugins available in the market. Once you set up one of these backup plugins, they would automatically create backups for you.

The second part of this mistake is not storing backup files on a remote location. A lot of folks store their WordPress backups on their web hosting server. If they lose their website data, then they also lose the backups.

Make sure that you store your backups on cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. Backup plugins like UpdraftPlus can automatically do that for you.

4. Not Setting up Google Analytics

Google Analytics

If you want to grow your business with confidence, then you need to know how people find and use your website. That’s where Google Analytics can help.

We recommend using MonsterInsights, the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It saves you time during setup, and shows you the stats that matter, right inside your WordPress dashboard.

If you don’t want MonsterInsights Pro, then there’s also a free version of MonsterInsights available that you can get started with.

5. Not Setting up a Contact Form

Contact page

Not setting up a contact form is another easily avoidable mistake that many beginners make. Without a contact form, your website visitors will not be able to contact you, and this can cause you to lose significant opportunities.

You will see a contact page on almost every popular website. It is one of the most important pages every website need to have.

WordPress does not come with a built-in contact form, but there are a lot of great WordPress contact form plugins available that you can use.

We recommend using WPForms Lite which is the free version of the popular WPForms plugin that’s being used by over 2 million websites.

You can see our detailed instructions on how to create a contact form in WordPress.

6. Not Building an Email List

Email list

Did you know that more than 70% of people who visit your website will never come back again?

If you are not building your email list, then you are basically losing money with every website visitor that leaves your site. Converting website visitors into email subscribers allows you to bring back those users to your website.

To learn more about this topic, see our article on why building an email list is important.

You will need an email marketing service to set up your email list. We recommend using Constant Contact because they are one of the best email marketing companies on the market with a very beginner friendly platform.

For step by step instructions, see our complete tutorial on how to start an email newsletter.

7. Not Choosing The Right WordPress Theme

WordPress themes

One of the biggest challenges WordPress beginners face is choosing the right design for their website.

With thousands of WordPress themes out there, an average beginner tries multiple themes before settling for the right one, and this process can even lead the user to rebuild their website multiple times.

To avoid this, we recommend choosing the right WordPress theme from the start and then stick to it.

This allows your website visitors to become familiar with your website, your brand, and its unique style. Consistency and continuity of your design makes a big impact on brand recognition and awareness.

We are often asked by readers, how to choose a theme that just works?

Well, when it comes to design we prefer simplicity over glitter. It has worked really well not just for us, but many successful online businesses.

You need to choose a great looking but simple WordPress theme that pays attention to the following items:

  • It must look equally good on all devices (desktop, mobile, and tablets).
  • It should be easy to customize and flexible to adapt to your needs.
  • It should work with popular plugins and WordPress page builders.
  • It should be optimized for performance and speed.

Now we understand that as a non-techy user, you may not be able to check all those things on your own. In that case, we recommend choosing a theme from a top commercial WordPress theme shop like StudioPress, Themify, or Astra Theme.

If you need more recommendations, then check out these theme showcases where we hand-picked the best WordPress themes in different categories.

8. Ignoring WordPress Updates

Ignoring WordPress updates

We have seen many beginners and even experienced WordPress users who don’t install updates on their site. Many of them believe that doing so will cause errors and could break their site.

That’s not true.

You can easily and safely update WordPress without breaking your website. By not updating WordPress, you leave your website vulnerable to security breaches while using outdated software.

It’s not just WordPress, your WordPress theme and plugins also regularly release updates for bug fixes, security patches, and new features.

For more details, see our guide on how to safely update WordPress

9. Not Optimizing Your Website for SEO

Optimize WordPress SEO

A lot of WordPress users rely on their best guesses when it comes to promoting their websites. Some completely ignore SEO, while some do it half-heartedly.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps you rank higher in search engines, so more users can find your website.

Search engines are the biggest source of traffic for most websites. SEO is crucial for the success of your online business.

We have a complete step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners which will help you properly optimize your website for SEO.

10. Not Using Categories and Tags Properly

Categories vs Tags

Another big mistake is not using categories and tags properly. Some users end up using categories where they should have used tags and vice-versa.

We have seen websites with dozens of categories and no tags at all. We have seen websites using hundreds of tags and no categories at all.

Basically, categories are your website’s table of contents. If your website was a file cabinet, categories would be its drawers.

On the other hand, tags are like the index page. If your website was a file cabinet, tags would be the labels on individual file folders.

For a more detailed explanation, see our guide on categories vs tags and how to use them properly in WordPress for maximum SEO advantage.

11. Not Using Posts and Pages Properly

Posts vs Pages - What's the difference?

Sometimes beginner WordPress users end up using posts to create important website pages. Similarly, some users end up using pages for articles when they should have used posts instead.

A lot of users realize their mistake after a while when their website becomes difficult to manage.

Basically, pages are for static pages that don’t change very often like about, contact, privacy policy, etc.

On the other hand, posts are for time-based content like news, updates, articles, and blogs.

Take a look at our complete guide about the difference between posts vs pages and what you can do with them.

12. Not Choosing The Right URL Structure (Permalinks)

Choosing the right permalinks structure

Selecting the right URL settings (permalink structure) for your website is really important. Changing your URL structure later is not easy, and it can have a significant impact on your website traffic.

We recommend going to the Settings » Permalinks page in your WordPress admin area and choosing a URL structure with that shows your post name in the URL.

13. Ignoring Website Speed and Performance

Website speed and performance

Human attention span is dropping rapidly, and users want instant gratification. With faster internet connections, your users would find a few extra seconds of page load time to be extremely slow.

And it’s not just users, even search engines rank faster websites higher in their results. By ignoring website speed and performance you risk user experience as well as search rankings.

Which is why you need to make sure that your website loads fast. We have a step by step guide that will help you improve WordPress speed and performance without going too deep into the technical stuff.

14. Not Choosing The Right Plugins

WordPress plugins

The real power of WordPress comes with its plugins. There are thousands of free WordPress plugins that you can install with a few clicks.

However, not all plugins are good. In fact, some plugins are bad and could affect your website’s performance and security. Often users end up downloading plugins from unreliable sources that distribute hidden malware.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing plugins:

  • Only install plugins from WordPress.org or WordPress companies with good reputation.
  • Look for plugin reviews and support forums because they are a good indicator of a plugin’s quality
  • Check trusted WordPress resources like WPBeginner for plugin recommendations

If you want some recommendations right now, then check out our list of must have WordPress plugins for all websites.

For more information, check out our guide on how to choose the best WordPress plugins for your website.

15. Ignoring WordPress Security Best Practices

WordPress security

Many users do not take any security measures to harden WordPress security. Some believe that their website is too small, and it will not be targeted by hackers.

Hackers target websites indiscriminately. For example, they could use your website to distribute malware, brute force attacks, steal data, and more.

By not securing your website, you can lose search rankings, your website data, and/or customer information. This could cost you a lot of money and headache.

You need to follow the security best practices and build layers of security around your WordPress site. It does not take too much time, and you don’t need any special skills to do that.

Simply follow our complete WordPress security guide with step by step instructions to protect your website.

16. Changing Website URL and Losing All Traffic

Changing domain names

How many of you hated the first domain you registered and wanted to switch away from it when you got serious about blogging? Yup, it happens to all of us.

While you can change the website URL or domain name, it does have a significant SEO impact. What makes matters even worse is when you switch URLs without taking proper steps.

You need to set up proper redirects, inform Google about the change, and add the new domain to Google Search Console.

We have described all the steps in our guide on how to properly move WordPress to new domain.

17. Not Removing WordPress Demo Content

Remove demo content

A lot of people don’t delete the default demo content added by a new WordPress install. This includes a sample page, a post titled ‘Hello World’, and a default comment.

Not removing this content allows search engines to crawl and index them. Now if you search for the text in demo content on Google, you’ll find hundreds of thousands of pages. That’s duplicate content and search engines penalize duplicate content as low-quality pages.

Similarly, many people don’t change the default WordPress tag line that says ‘Just another WordPress site’.

You need to delete all default content and the tag line, as they look unprofessional and create a bad impression.

18. Not Setting up Comment Moderation

Moderating comments

Comment spam is annoying and can make your brand look bad. Many beginners have their blogs set up to automatically publish all new comments without moderation.

This means spam comments with links to malware and low-quality sites can go live on your website without your knowledge. This could damage your search rankings and your website’s reputation.

You need to always keep comment moderation turned on for all your WordPress sites. Simply go to Settings » Discussion page and check the box next to ‘A comment must be manually approved’ option.

Manually approve comments

After that, you need to make it part of your routine to check and approve comments on your website. For more tips, see our article on how to combat comment spam in WordPress.

19. Not Optimizing Your Images for Web

Compress images

Images are essential in the making of a highly engaging website. However, they are also heavier in filesize than plain text.

If you are adding images to your website without optimizing them, then this would affect your website speed.

You need to make it a habit of saving your images as optimized for the web. You can use Photoshop, GIMP (free), or other online tools to reduce the image file size before uploading it.

For instructions, see our tutorial on how to save images optimized for the web.

20. Saving Unnecessary Code in Theme’s Functions File

Code snippets

Another common mistake that we often come across is when folks add too many code snippets in their theme’s functions.php file.

Functions file is designed to behave like a plugin, but it is not the ideal place for all types of code snippets. You will lose these modifications when you switch the theme. You may even forget that you added some code in there after a while.

We recommend only adding code in your theme’s functions file if the code is related to changing something with that particular theme.

For all other custom code, it is better to use a site-specific plugin or the code snippets plugin.

21. Getting Locked Out by Editing Functions File in WordPress Admin Area

Theme editor in WordPress

Another annoying mistake that is quite common is when folks edit functions file inside the WordPress admin area.

By default, WordPress comes with a built-in code editor to edit theme and plugin files inside WordPress. Often beginners end up breaking their website when adding or removing code using those editors.

Even though WordPress added functionality to catch fatal errors and not save them. You could still lock yourself out and make your website inaccessible.

We recommend disabling theme and plugin editor in WordPress and use FTP to edit files in WordPress.

22. Not Setting Up Google Search Console

Google Search Console

Data is really important when planning a strategy to grow your business and website. Many users make the mistake of not adding their WordPress site to Google Search Console for a long time.

This means they miss out important search data that could help them grow their website.

Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google. It allows you to see how your website appears in search results and fix any search indexing problems quickly.

See our complete Google Search Console guide to see how you can use it to improve search rankings and grow your business.

23. Using Uncategorized as Default Category

Uncategorized category

A lot of folks leave Uncategorized as their default category. WordPress requires all posts to be filed under a category and when no category is selected, it automatically adds the post under default category.

Many times users forget to select a category for their post and hit the publish button which publishes that post in Uncategorized.

This mistakes can be easily avoided by choosing a proper default category in WordPress settings.

24. Not Using a Professional Branded Email Address

Free business email address

We have seen many folks sending us emails from their Gmail or Hotmail accounts while pitching for a business that already has a website.

Now, how do we know for sure that they are officially representing that company or website?

Similarly if you have a business, and you are still sending people business emails from a free email account, then people will have a hard time taking you seriously.

People do not have the time or skills to verify that you are the actual owner of that website or business.

This mistake is also easily avoidable. See our guide on how to easily get a professional business email address for free.

25. Leaving a Site Public While Working on It

Maintenance mode

People often leave under construction websites publicly accessible. This is not very professional and can harm your business.

A publicly accessible website can be automatically crawled and indexed by search engines anytime. Your competitors can find it and steal your ideas. Your customers can find it and see the unfinished website.

There is an easier solution to avoid this mistake. Simply put your website in maintenance mode and add a coming soon page to build anticipation.

26. Not Learning WordPress

Learn WordPress

WordPress is very easy to use even for non-technical users. This allows many users to keep running their websites without learning more about WordPress.

By doing so, you miss the opportunity to explore the incredibly helpful features of WordPress. Things that are very simple to implement but could transform your business.

Learning WordPress is quite easy, particularly when you already have a running WordPress site. Explore different sections of WordPress, try out new plugins, learn more about SEO, and email marketing.

WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site for beginners with tons of awesome resources, videos, how-tos, step-by-step tutorials, and more.

Following are just some of the helpful resources you’ll find on WPBeginner (all of them are completely free).

  • WPBeginner Dictionary – The best place for beginners to start and familiarize themselves with the WordPress lingo
  • WPBeginner Videos – New to WordPress? Watch these 23 videos to master WordPress.
  • WPBeginner Blog – The central place for all our WordPress tutorials.

You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel where we regularly share video tutorials to help you learn WordPress.

We hope this article helped you learn about common WordPress mistakes and how to easily avoid them. You may also want to see our tips on effective ways to increase your website traffic without spending too much money.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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