Tag Archives: SEO

A Complete WordPress SEO Guide

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is one of the key aspects to long term success with any online venture, so if you are looking to make your WordPress blog a success in the long run, you are going to want to consider how best to optimise your content for search engines. As it is out of the box WordPress has a few issues which need to be sorted out with plugins. In this article I will look at the key concepts of onsite optimisation, and I will provide you with links to all the necessary plugins to ensure your WordPress site is not ignored by search engines.

Keyword Research

The foundation of all good SEO involves clever keyword selection before you begin. Your overall site should be optimised to eventually rank for some high search volume keywords, and you should also target lower volume terms with individual posts. The main concepts in keyword research are: search volume and competition. Obviously you want to target keywords that get searched often, so ranking for them will bring you traffic, but you also need to consider who you are trying to outrank. To find estimates of the type of search volumes keywords will bring I suggest using the Free Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool. On this tool use “Exact” rather than “Broad”, exact tells you how many people are searching for that keyword, but not other keyword phrases which might incorporate your term. To look at competition you need to search for the term in Google and analyse sites that are ranking for it. You would look for things like page rank, site age, keyword in title, backlinks to the page, and backlinks to the domain. I am not suggesting it’s practical to complete this sort of analysis on for every post you write, however, if you are planning a whole site based on a topic, you want to know how much search traffic that site can pull, and how hard it will be to obtain.

Also keep in mind that a high portion of search phrases entered into Google every day are being search for the first time. New topics and products come out all the time. So it is also a solid SEO strategy to simply write about hot trending topics. There may not be any historical data to suggest ranking for that term is worth while, but if it becomes hot, then ranking for new terms can be well worth it.

Onsite SEO

Of course not all SEO is done on site. If you know anything about SEO, you will understand that building targeted quality anchored backlinks is the main key in improving search engine ranking, however in this article I will be looking at mostly onsite SEO factors. The important onsite factors which you should be looking control include:

Post Titles

The title of your article is important, as it is the first indicator to a search engine of what the content on that page is all about. It is key to ensure your titles are optimised with researched keywords that will bring traffic to your site. Normally this just means inclusing your keyword in the article. For this article I might be trying to rank for the keyword “Wordpress SEO”, my title includes this term.

Meta Information

Although optimising Meta tags to improve search engine rankings doesn’t work like it did is the past, it is still important to optimise this content. The Meta Description is what Google uses to display as the description of your page when it is listed in a SERP (search engine result page), so you want this to be attractive to visitors to encourage them to click your link. You also want to this to be unique for every page on your site. For this task I use the plugin discussed below.

Post slugs

Post slugs are the name that each post gets in the URL of the page. You don’t need a plugin to optimise this, WordPress allows you to do it from the permalink page from your settings panel. I suggest using your post title for your permalink as the default permalink is involving an ID number will not help you rank at all. If you wish to have a different slug to your title for an individual article, there is also a field in your WordPress post page that allow you to change this. Here is an article about WordPress post slugs.

Internal link structure

How you anchor links around your site is probably the most important onsite SEO factor that people get wrong. When you link to another page in your site you want that link to be anchored with keywords. Look at how I linked to the WordPress post slug article in the paragraph above. This link tells search engine what that page is about. Wikipedia ranks highly in Google for millions of keywords many of which are very competitive terms, and one of the main reasons it does this is because whenever a keyword appears inline in a wiki article, that Wikipedia has a page about, it links that keyword to the page. This is a very effective controllable way to improve your sites ranking.

No index

There are certain pages on your site which you probably don’t want to rank in search engines. So why bother passing authority to these pages? A common page to apply no index to is the contact page. Also including tag and category pages in search engine indexes will mean there is duplicate content included. This is a debateable topic, as many SEO experts will tell you this is a major no-no. However, others will argue, that duplicate content from on the same domain has little to no negative effect, and in some ways can be considered a positive, as if more of your sites pages are included in the search engines index, then that is more of your site’s internal links that will be counted. I feel that unless you are trying to get tag pages to rank for keywords there is little reason to include these pages, so I suggest applying no-index to them, and I will talk about a plugin a little further down which will do this for you easily.

Image alternative text

Including keywords or title as the alternative text of your image will help bring traffic from Google image search. Google image search traffic is terrible for converting into an ad clicks or sale, but for such an easy task this traffic is still worth chasing if you are not lazy.

Headings within an article

Heading or <h1> tags can be used within posts to help reinforce what an article is about, and what keywords you want to rank for. For this reason it’s a good idea to use <h1> tags within your article, and to use your keyword in the tag.

Site map

A site map is what tells search engine spiders what content you have on your site, and it makes life easier for search engines to find your important content. Using a plugin which I will talk about below to generate a sitemap, and submitting it to Google will help your site to be indexed and ranked more easily.

Keyword density

There was a time when simply including a keyword lots of times on a page meant that that page would rank well for the keyword, however, these days have long gone. It is still said to have some weighting when sued sensibly, 2-3% being a good amount. Basically all this means is that you should include your keyword a few times through out your posts.
Ok enough of the concepts, what do we use to improve rankings

WordPress SEO Plugins

There are plenty of plugins out there aimed to improve the SEO of your wordpress blog, lets take a look at those which are absolutely key, I use all of these plugins on all of my WordPress sites.

All in One SEO for WordPress

This plugin is the number one most downloaded (4,254,635 at the time of writing this) Wordpress plugin and with goog reason. It is essential, it does it’s job, and it’s easy to use. The first key task which this plugin does is that it allows you to define meta tag info for your site like homepage title, keywords, and homepage description. It also generates and rewrites this info for your posts using special tags (see screenshot below) and allows you to format this appropriately. And even better, it does all this for you out of the box. Above I talked about no index. This plugin allows you to apply no index to tag, category and archive pages, simply by ticking a box. This ensures only your post content and homepage is included in search engine indexes, and ensure your actual content gets all the attention.

Google XML Sitemaps

As discussed above, having a sitemap for your WordPress blog makes life much easier for the search engine spiders to figure out where all your content is. The Google XML Sitemaps plugin easily allows you to generate a sitemap for your WordPress site, and also to customise the priority of content on your site specifying which pages are more important. Once you have generated a sitemap you need to go to Google Web Master Tools to submit your sitemap.

Internal Link Building

This little plugin is designed to optimise the internal link structure of your site like Wikipedia does, by automatically hyper-linking certain keywords which you specify to the pages that you are trying to rank for.

Using just these three plugins you can achieve all of the main goals with onsite SEO. There are other plugins designed to improve SEO of your WordPress blogs.

Best of the Rest:

  • Headspace 2 –  This does the same thing as All in One SEO, however, I find it a little more complicated for beginners.
  • SEO Blogroll – A plugin that allows you to show who your friends are with a blogroll, but allows you to apply no-follow if you wish, meaning that the site doesn’t drain your page rank.
  • SEO Paged Comments –  Fixed issues with paged comments causing duplicate content issues. Worth looking into if you get lots of comments on your blog.
  • SEO Friendly Images – Makes adding Alt tags and title tags to your image easier.
  • SEO No Duplicate – Another plugin to fix duplicate content issues
  • Efficient Related Posts – A related posts plugin – helps increase internal anchored links and helps maintain readers on your site.
  • Platinum SEO Pack – Another complete solution like All in one SEO.
  • SEO Title Tag – Useful tool for mass editing your post titles.

Free Social Sites for Link Building

Building quality links to your site will help it grow, and gain organic traffic from search engines. This is key to the success of your blog or website. So what social sites are good for link building?

Best Social Sites For Link Building

Hub Pages is a great option for link building. You need to build your profile to have a ranking above 74 before your links get nofollow taken from them. This isn’t hard if you plan to have more that 4-5 hubs.

Squidoo is a good option. You can create a lens on any of your niche topics and embed follow links back to your main sites.

Both these sites give you tools to create great media rich content, and is ideal for link building.

Best article sites For Link Building

The best options for building links using articles sites are:

E-zine – The articles can rank well in Google, and links in the resource box will carry a good amount of strength.

Go-articles – Another good option link building, articles can rank well in Google, and the links well worth your effort.

Tips for build linking on these sites

Articles on the above sites can rank quite well in Google, and the links can carry a lot of value, but for you to get the most out of them, you need to do more than just write content and hope. Good readable content is a must. Read other hubs and lenses and see what content is performing well.

Here are a couple of hubs I have created to give you an idea of the sort of level expected. Both are only very new though. I didn’t put too much effort in to either of them, as I find it easy to write about MMO topics.

Other thoughts

A good strategy for building quality links to your site is do more than simply create content on these sites, but to create content which links to your site, then build links to that content as well. A few links from social bookmarking sites will help your hubs, squidoo’s and articles to perform much better, and give much more value to them.


Santa Search Tips from Google

I received the strangest email from the Google Adsense team an hour ago…Santa Search Tips. Basically it is a simple game designed by Google to help you understand some of Google’s search basics SEO Tips. The site is a .co.nz, so it is possible that the email only went out to New Zealand Adsense publishers. It is all good stuff. I have gone through the pain of finding all 15 of the tips for you:

Tip #1 If you’re unsure…

if all your pages are being seen by Google, search for your site’s address after the command “site”, ie site:yourwebsite.com. When you see your pages in the results, check your snippet content and page titles. Include information that matches the product or category of products on a particular page. If anything is missing or you want more details, you can also use the Content Analysis Tool in Webmaster Tools.

Tip #2 Did you know?

if you upload new products faster then Google crawls your site, you should submit a Google Sitemap to include a refresh rate.

Tip #3 Remember to…

label your images appropriately. Don’t miss out on potential customers because of [001.jpg] instead of [NintendoWii.jpg] Images Search is one of the largest search properties out there, so take advantage of it.

Tip #4 Make sure you…

manage your Sitelinks. Your most valuable links may not be the ones that Google chooses as Sitelinks, so remember to remove any that you don’t think will benefit your users.

Tip #5 Don’t forget to…

check for error and keyword traffic in Webmaster Tools.

Tip #6 It’s important to…

serve accurate HTTP status codes. If you’re permanently out of a product, serve a 404. I you have permanently moved a product to a new page, serve a 301. The more we know about your old pages, the better.

Tip #7 Consistency is key…

if your website directs customers to a brick and mortar store, make sure you double check you business listing in Google Local.

Tip #8 Take a few minutes…

to test the usability of your checkout process. Ask yourself if a user can get from product page to checkout without assistance? Is your checkout button easy to find?

Tip #9 There’s no doubt about it…

users and search engines like fresh content. We recommend original product descriptions or a product review section on your site.

Tip #10 Have you thought of?

reading our recently released SEO Starter Guide?

Tip #11 Would you like an overview of our top tips?

Watch our Tutorials for Webmasters.

Tip  #12 You can always…

find out what information Google has about your website in Webmaster Tools.

Tip #13 For even more tips…

get the latest updates from the Webmaster Central Blog.

Tip #14 You can always…

answer your other questions in our Webmaster Help Center.

Tip #15 It’s never too late to…

ask your last-minute questions in the Webmaster Help.


SEO Techniques Explained

In this article I will look at some of the basic techniques of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

What Is SEO

SEO is a process of choosing the most appropriate targeted keyword phrases related to your site and ensuring that this ranks your site highly in search engines so that when someone searches for specific phrases it returns your site as high as possible. It basically involves fine tuning the content of your site along with the HTML and Meta tags. It also involves off site activities such as link building. The most popular search engines are Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, AOL and Ask Jeeves.

How do they decided what ranks well?

Search engines keep their methods and ranking algorithms secret, to get credit for finding the most valuable search-results and to deter spam pages from clogging those results. A search engine may use hundreds of factors while ranking the listings where the factors themselves and the weight each carries may change continually. Algorithms can differ so widely that a webpage that ranks #1 in a particular search engine could rank #200 in another search engine. New sites do not need to be “submitted” to search engines to be listed. A simple link from a well established site will get the search engines to visit the new site and begin to spider its contents. It can take a few days to even weeks from the referring of a link from such an established site for all the main search engine spiders to commence visiting and indexing the new site.

Continue reading SEO Techniques Explained

5 Ways To Control How Google Displays Your Content

Google Meta Tags

As a blog owner or webmaster, traffic from Google search is likely one of your largest sources. Google traffic to Pingable ranks 2nd only behind StumbleUpon traffic. So how can you control what content Google indexes, or how it displays your content search engine result pages (SERPs)?

Using the following Meta Tags you can control how Google displays your content, and what it displays. You use a meta tag by placing them in the head section of your HTML code.

  1. No Cache<meta name=”googlebot” Content=”noarchive”> – Will stop Google caching your content. Google keeps a cache of your content, and a link to it is available in Google SERPs.
  2. No snippet<meta name=”googlebot” Content=”nosnippet”> – Will stop Google displaying the short snippet of text beneath the title in SERPs.
  3. No index<meta name=”googlebot” Content=”noindex”>– Will stop Google from displaying the page you include the tag on in their SERPs.
  4. No index Image<meta name=”googlebot-image” Content=”noindex”> – Will stop Google form indexing an image.
  5. Setting an expiry date on your content.<meta name=”googlebot” Content=”unavailable_after: 25-Dec-2007 12:00:00 EST”> – Will create an expiry date for your content, so it is not displayed after a certain date. Useful for excluding content in a paid members area.

Why stop Google showing some of your content?

Apart from the obvious scenario where you have commercial / or paid content that you don’t want shown, there is the important issue of duplicate content. A site is penalised filtered for having the same content on different pages, using the above meta tags you can control which pages are indexed and which are not and avoid displaying duplicate content.

Visibility of content

The visibility of your content, and how it’s displayed in Google SERPs is a key part of SEO that is often overlooked. Using the following meta tag you can tell Google what to display in the snippet for each page.

<meta name=”description” content=”informative description here”>

Controlling Meta tags in WordPress

Headspace is a fantastic WordPress plugin which makes life much easier dealing for different meta tags, keywords and descriptions in WordPress. It enables you to have individual meta descriptions and keywords and much more for each page on your site.


Using a Post Slug to Improve the Search Engine Friendliness of Your Post Title

Ever wondered what a Post Slug was? You know that little box in WordPress. Chris from Blog-op.com has written an article about Using WordPress Post Slug to Increase Search Engine Traffic.

What is a Post Slug

A Post Slug is text that will appear in your URL in place of the title of your post. You will notice that I used a ridiculously long name for the title of this post. It gives you a clear idea about what the post is about, however it’s not very clean. Now look at the URL and you will only see “Using Post Slugs” where the title normally appears. So what a Post Slug does is provide you with an opportunity to have one title for your readers and one title for search engines.

Where do I find this feature?

WordPress: If you look in the writing panel of WordPress, on the right side bar you will find the box for writing your post slug (pictured below).

Wordpress Post Slug

Windows Live Writer: WLW also has a slug option which you will find in the expanded option bar at the bottom of your post edit page.

Why use it?

Using a posts slug won’t be appropriate for every post you write, however, in some situations, particularly when you need a longer title, a post slug may be well worth considering.


Blogrolls and SEO

A blogroll is a list of sites that a blogger lists, typically in the sidebar or footer of their blog. The idea behind this is to promote other blogs which the author sees as valuable to their readers. However, blogrolls tend to get used as a means of sharing link love between bloggers. i.e. if I put you in my blogroll will you add me?

I like to think I put a fair bit of consideration into SEO, and incoming links from other blogs are great. The two issues I have with blogrolls are:

  1. In terms of SEO incoming links are great, but outgoing links are not great. So having a list of 50 random blogs loading in the sidebar of every page of your blog is actually going to have negative implications on the SEO of your blog.
  2. If you have obviously only added a blog to your blogroll because another blogger has added you to theirs this is kind of silly. If the blog you are linking to has no connection to your blog topic, and in many cases you may not even know the blogger, what is the point. It sends a message to your readers that ultimately you are just trying to just maximum traffic, regardless of where it comes from, and it also adds clutter to your sidebar making the site less user friendly.

Now before I go into too much of a rant about this topic, I think their are plenty of sensible bloggers out there who use their blogroll sensibly. They only have a select list, and they are typically sites which the blogger respects, and are often with-in the same niche. If this is the case I think the use of a blogroll is great, it provides your readers with a service by giving them other blogs of value, and it sends the message that you actually care about your readers. Just some food for thought if your blogroll is longer than your average article, maybe you need a clean out?


Blog Traffic Quality

I have been thinking about blog traffic quality a bit lately. There is definitely good quality traffic to a blog, and then there’s traffic which isn’t so good. What I mean by good traffic quality, is traffic that comes to the site and does more than just leave straight away. An example of typically poor quality traffic, is traffic from social bookmaking sites. Now don’t get me wrong, social bookmarking sites like Digg and Reddit are great, and they can bring in some serious traffic if you get dugg. However, if you analyze the traffic that typically comes in during a traffic burst from digg, most readers load the page that they came see, then they leave. If your blog is in the beginning stages like this one, you really need to look for high quality traffic, where users want to read more, and will ultimately contribute something to your blog.

An example of some high quality traffic is the recent traffic I got by submitting an article to Probloggers 31 days to building a better blog group writing project. The users that came from this link browsed through my site, many linked to the article and some left comments. Overall, it proved to be very high quality traffic, and worthwhile for this blog.

What makes traffic to your blog good traffic?

In the case above the reason why I feel a lot of the readers from Problogger stayed and read more was that the subject of this blog is very similar to Problogger. Traffic from sites from with in your niche, with readers that will be interested in your content is good traffic to get. That’s is also why it is so important to leave comments on other blogs from with in your niche.

So what was the point again?

Although social networking sites are a good source of traffic, the readers that come from those sites may not be the types that will contribute to your blog or become regular readers. However, readers that come from referrals of sites from with-in your niche are likely to be very good contributors.


Tactics for Blogging success without SEO

Tadeusz Szewczyk has written a good article on Blogscoped called 10 steps to success without SEO.

The main points covered are:

  • Discover your niche
  • Use WordPress
  • Create a killer CSS design and submit it to CSS galleries
  • Allow trackbacks, use dofollow
  • Socialize, write comments and link other blogs
  • Include social media on your site, use social media yourself
  • Write your own content, say something new, express yourself
  • Compile what you know or what others said and publish it
  • Contribute to your favorite online publications
  • Add new content at least every second day

With each point more detail about specifically how the point helps is discussed. While I agree with all the points, as a blogger with a full time job I have found the last point the most difficult to follow. I often have a spare day or two, and I will write 2-3 posts, read a lot, leave comments etc. But then I am unable to look at my blog for a few days, and I often feel my good work is being let down by my inability to post daily or at least every second day. What are other peoples thoughts of this topic?


20 Tricks To Drive Traffic Away From Your Blog

  1. Use 5 Adsense blocks on every page, especially when you’re blog is new.
  2. Get music to play automatically when people visit…doesn’t everybody love “Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me”?
  3. Have so much blogger bling (plug-ins, badges, etc) that readers can’t tell the difference between content and bling.
  4. Use fonts that are too large, too small or too difficult to read. 
  5. Use a color scheme with poor contrast…light colors on light background.
  6. Don’t optimize images for the web – making your page loading time 7 weeks long.
  7. Use a rainbow colour scheme with rainbow gradients everywhere
  8. Don’t offer RSS feeds.
  9. Use a visible feed counter when you only have 2 subscribers.
  10. Don’t use points or subheadings and write posts that span 10 pages with no paragraph breaks.
  11. Design a site that is only usable in one web browser.
  12. Never trackback to other blogs – who needs links anyway?
  13. Never leave comments on other blogs, never reply to comments left on your blog or emails relating to your blog.
  14. Turn comments off. (is it really a blog if you don’t have comments?)
  15. Delete comments just because they disagree with you.
  16. Use popups…or pop unders for that matter.
  17. Require registration in order to leave comments.
  18. Use flashing GIF’s especially nice big ones that will give some of your readers a fit.
  19. Have a misleading title 🙂