Let’s get into what’s happening in search right now. If you’ve been paying attention the past year you know that Google is really cracking down on spam. Penguin was the latest update that started in April and companies big and small were hit hard. Sites using paid links or even non-paid links that were seemingly built for search were disavowed. Pages that seemed as if they were built only for keyword purposes…no longer helpful. Basically a whole lot of people were shocked to find their site was no longer performing and was basically shot out of the index by this damn penguin.
Now, don’t get too sad. The good news is that even though Google is cracking down, they are telling us what we should be doing. They’re sending us email alerts if we have indexing issues, they are telling us how they are viewing links and what types of links we should have. They are giving us code to use and recommendations of what we should be doing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they aren’t still being jerks but they are offering help. And what it comes down to is this…best practices are still best practices for a reason.
So, what can we do? First and foremost, you’re here because you love wordpress and you clearly care about your SEO efforts. That gives you a lot of opportunity. Wordpress and the wonderful developers who create all of the awesome plugins we use, make implementing SEO practices into your site very easy. And that’s what we are going to get into. How you can make your wordpress site awesome for the search engines.
I’m going to start with something everyone thinks about when they think about SEO…meta tags. Meta tags are still a best practice and still something you should be adding to your website. And really this is what you need to know. You should have a good title tag, a good description and well, if you want keyword tags fine, but they don’t matter. Let’s look at why
When we start talking about best practices, the second area to look at is simple site architecture and off page elements. We need sitemaps and robots files and we want to make sure our URLs are structured properly. But instead of going through all of this, I am going to point you to the most amazing plugin I’ve ever used.
You can also use All in One SEO pack but it truly doesn’t compare to what the Yoast plugin now offers.
Broken links, image compression (helps with speed), xml sitemaps, w3 (speed)
What the latest updates have forced us to do is think about how we are connected with everyone. If you take away anything from this session, it’s this – SEO is now about relationships. There’s a whole thing around personalization and entities. – Someone at a recent seo conference noted that every single search result is personalized. It’s personalized based on your location, your web history and your connections…EVEN IF YOU AREN’T SIGNED IN! So what can we do to make sure are connected?
You need to make it easy for people to share your content. Google just went through this whole thing about using Google+ and making connections and search results changing based on who you are connected to. Bing has teamed up with FB and is doing something very similar. The easier you can make it for people to connect with your brand, your website and your content, the better.
A study a day or two ago announced that FB users spend 400 minutes a month on the site. That is ridiculous! But, if they are going to be there, you should be doing what you can to connect with them.
I mentioned Google + before and well, let me be clear. I think that Google+ is stupid. I hate being forced to do something I don’t want to do but in this case, I’m going to do it because at this point, I need to use all the advantages I can. Basically, when someone puts a + before their search, google+ pages will automatically come up. This isn’t open to everyone but basically all you need to do is include a link to your Google+ page on your site and then make sure your Google+ page contains a link to your website. It’s really easy and like I said, any option that’s simple like this…take advantage of.
As we continue talking about relationships and personalization, one thing that has come up is this idea of authorship and showing search results based on that. I searched facebooks stats 2012 and you can cleary see that the results that came up is someone I am connected with and you can see their face. So, how can you make sure the same thing happens for you?
Of course when we think about SEO we still think about links but instead of focusing on external ones, I want to focus on internal ones. Zemanta is an awesome tool. It basically gives you link and image suggestions based on your writing so you don’t have to go find other stories to link to. One thing I really love about Zemanta is that you don’t have to have the plugin, you can simply download it in your browser. The second plugin I have here is SEO Smartlinks. It will basically automatically connect your pages using the appropriate keywords. Personally, I like to do my own linking but if you don’t, it’s a good alternative. And of course we have ‘yet another related post plugin’ which is awesome and encourages your users to read other posts and stay on your site by placing related articles at the bottom. Just a couple of cool things to make sure you are linking both internally and externally.
The last thing I want to cover really takes everything you are doing and puts it into one place…measurement and learning what people are doing on your site and how they are getting there. The first tool is obviously Google Analytics. The fact is, you should be using some sort of analytics tool anyway but if you are using Google analytics, this plugin is an easy way to get additional info on how people are interacting with your site. It offers some serious customization stuff that you should want to know.
The last thing I want to leave you with is this plugin which is pretty cool. It actually tells you which social networks your users are logged into when they visit your site. This is especially important for those out there saying ‘my users aren’t on facebook or my users aren’t on twitter’…this will tell you. And it’ll help you decide where you want to spend your time and where you want to build those relationships we just talked about.
WordCamp Boston 2012 - SEO & WP: Killing it in 2012
SEO & WP: Killing it in 2012 @casieg Director of Online Marketing KoMarketing Associateshttp://www.slideshare.net/Casieg #wcbos
Who am I? Casie Gillette Director of Online Marketing Nerd alert I love SEO!#wcbos @casieg
What’s happening in SEO? • Article syndication • Blog networks • Paid links • ‘Over-optimization’#wcbos @casieg