Time for These SEO Myths to Die

December 6, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Unless you’re in the thick of the search marketing business instead of the fringes, it’s quite accurate to say that a lot of the practices are downright mythical. Search Engine Land wants to debunk 36 of those once and for all. Here’s #4:

Having an XML Sitemap will boost your Google rankings. I just heard this one from a fellow panelist in an SEO session at a conference I presented at within the last month (I won’t mention who, or which show.) This made me cringe, but I bit my lip rather than embarrass and contradict them in front of the audience. Should I have spoken up? Did I do the audience a disservice by leaving this myth unchallenged? I struggled with that. In any event, Google will use your sitemaps file for discovery and potentially as a canonicalization hint if you have duplicate content. It won’t give a URL any more “juice” just because you include it in your sitemaps.xml, even if you assign a high priority level to it.

Most of the items in the list apply to Google and may or may not work the same way for other search engines such as Yahoo. For example, meta tags do not carry weight for Google but for Yahoo, they do.

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Optimize WordPress loading time by 75%

November 12, 2010 | No Comments Yet

So we’ve confirmed Google is factoring in site speed into their search ranking algorithms, but what exactly can you do to your WordPress site to make it load faster? David Kadavy shares his own website optimization story by doing the following:

  • Move from a shared hosting service (in this case Dreamhost) to VPS (virtual private server) hosting
  • Install the W3 Total Cache plugin
  • Use a CDN (content delivery network) such as Amazon Cloudfront: this works well with W3 Total Cache, which is why he recommends it over other WP caching plugins
  • Optimize with CSS sprites, inline styles and scripts, Gzip, and other recommendations from Yahoo.

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Improve your WordPress search results page

August 17, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Most of your visitors will probably arrive from search engines looking for something particular in mind. Make your blog as search-friendly as possible with this set of improvements from Pro Blog Design. Here’s one of the tips:

2 – Highlight the Search Terms in Results

When you search on Google or any other major search engine, the words you searched for are highlighted in the results to make it easier for you to scan. We can do the same with your search results page.

Little tweaks should go a long way!

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Marghil Macuha on SEO at iBlog 6

April 20, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Missed iBlog 6? You’ll be happy to know that both Carlo Ople and Marghil Macuha himself blogged about his SEO talk at the 2-day event. New Media Philippines posted a summary of basic SEO practices while Macuha.com posted links to SEO e-books you can download for free.

The first most important rule is to SEO keywords that are actually being searched for. There’s no point in going through the grueling process of link building if they keyword you’re targeting isn’t even worth the effort. Marhgil explained that a good tactic is to make posts that provide solutions and answers, something that I already tackled in a previous post.

Download Marghil’s slides here. Hope the other speakers can also post their presentations online!

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Google factors site speed into search rankings

April 12, 2010 | No Comments Yet

The search marketing and blogging circles have been buzzing about this for a few months now but Google put out the official word on site speed as a new factor in search result rankings just a few days ago. Webmaster Tools lets you measure the speed of your enrolled sites under Site Performance. The blog post also links to other tools like Page Speed.

It’s interesting to note, however, that Google itself says less than 1% of search queries will be affected by this new site speed signal. In any case, faster is usually better both for your visitors and for your site maintenance costs, not just your pagerank. Matt Cutts puts it nicely:

I know that there will be a lot of discussion about this change, and some people won’t like it. But I’m glad that Google is making this step, both for the sake of transparency (letting webmasters know more about how to do better in Google) and because I think this change will make the web better. My takeaway messages would be three-fold: first, this is actually a relatively small-impact change, so you don’t need to panic. Second, speeding up your website is a great thing to do in general. Visitors to your site will be happier (and might convert more or use your site more), and a faster web will be better for all. Third, this change highlights that there are very constructive things that can directly improve your website’s user experience. Instead of wasting time on keyword meta tags, you can focus on some very easy, straightforward, small steps that can really improve how users perceive your site.

Looks like some site spring cleaning is in order!

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Google SEO Report Card

March 4, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Google SEO report card

Grab the Google SEO Report Card and see how Google grades not your sites, but its own sites in terms of a dozen different categories.

These optimizations are intended to not only help search engines understand the content of our pages better, but also to improve our users’ experience when visiting our sites. Simple steps such as fixing 404s and broken links, simplifying URL choice, and providing easier-to-understand titles and snippets for our pages can benefit both users and search engines. From the start of the project we also wanted to release the report card publicly so other companies and webmasters could learn from the report, which is filled with dozens of examples taken straight from our products’ pages.

The great thing about this is: first, Google is leading by example and is using its own products; second, Google is being transparent, as most of their sites don’t even make the passing mark. But whether it’s Google’s sites or yours, it’s not too late to try! Perhaps Google can also come out with an automated tool for checking these SEO criteria as part of Webmaster Tools.

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Tips for speeding up WordPress

January 19, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Michael Gray of Graywolf’s SEO Blog has compiled a comprehensive list of tips for optimizing load times with your WordPress site. Since Google has announced that it would include page loading time as a factor in its search results rankings, and launched its Let’s make the web faster microsite, site performance & optimization is now the hottest topic in the SEO world. (If you need something to blow up so everyone else follows suit, trust Google to get things done.)

The trick is to look at all the plugins and widgets you’ve added to your site and figure out which ones you can do without. Do you really need that fancy lightbox zooming script to display your larger images? How about opting for a more compact, all-in-one solution for your social media buttons? Or a lighter theme?

But whether or not you’re on WordPress, website analyzing tools and techniques such as gzipping and caching should come in handy. Yahoo! also has a great resource page on speeding up your website.

It seems this will be the year of optimized page loads, so don’t get left behind!

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The best and worst SEO practices in 15 minutes

January 6, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Love it or hate it, we can all stand to learn from these easy dos and don’ts in search engine optimization by WebConfs.com.

If you’re pro-SEO then you probably have heard some of these tips before, but it’s always nice to brush up on them very few months or so. If you’re anti-SEO then looking at this table might show you how it’s not all bad, and a lot of the techniques are just the “best practices” out there.

The biggest dos? Unique, keyword-rich content. Biggest don’ts? Cloaking, duplicate content, and Flash. Check it out!

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Tip: editing post permalinks is easier than you think!

December 10, 2009 | No Comments Yet

WPLover shares a neat discovery about editing WordPress permalinks: you can type your custom link text as you would your post title, spaces and all, and it will fill in the hyphens and change the text case for you.

Usually, since permalinks are written in this-kind-of-format-with-dashes, I would have to write that way manually: must carefully keep them lowercased and dashed properly.

However, I just found out that you could simply write your title normally there (with alternating cases and spaces, even)

It’s a tiny little thing but can save you a lot of time customizing those permalinks for readability and search engine optimization. Have you discovered some other time-saving feature built into WordPress?

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Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag

October 9, 2009 | No Comments Yet

So Google loves WordPress for SEO, but here’s something it doesn’t care for: the keywords meta tag.

Q: Does Google ever use the “keywords” meta tag in its web search ranking?
A: In a word, no. Google does sell a Google Search Appliance, and that product has the ability to match meta tags, which could include the keywords meta tag. But that’s an enterprise search appliance that is completely separate from our main web search. Our web search (the well-known search at Google.com that hundreds of millions of people use each day) disregards keyword metatags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present.

In the same blog post, Matt Cutts also admits that they have not been using it for a year. However, Google does use other meta tags, so you might want to read up on that one.

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Win free passes to SEMCON Philippines 2009

September 2, 2009 | No Comments Yet

IMV Solutions and YugaTech are holding a blog raffle where 3 passes (worth Php9,500 each) to the Search Engine Marketing Conference 2009 are at stake. The event will be held on October 1 and 2 at the Grand Ballroom of Hotel Intercontinental in Makati City.

The Search Engine Marketing Conference (SEMCON) Philippines 2009 is the leading edge event for sharing real world information about the growing search industry, with key topics in search engine marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click, conversion optimization, web analytics, viral & word-of-mouth marketing and social media & community-driven marketing.

Answer the question “Why do you want to attend SemCon 2009?”, follow @semconph on Twitter, and link to the the two sites. Deadline is on September 15. Complete mechanics here.

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Google’s Matt Cutts praises WordPress for SEO

August 31, 2009 | 1 Comment

Take it from Matt Cutts, head of the Web Spam team at Google: WordPress is a “fantastic” choice for search engine optimization. That’s what he said at his talk at WordCamp San Francisco last May. Here’s the presentation video:

And here are the slides:

According to Matt, “WordPress takes care of 80-90% of (the mechanics of) SEO”. He goes on to explain PageRank calculation, and what you can do within WordPress to improve search engine ranking, from tweaking post permalinks (hyphens are best, followed by underscores; but no spaces are the worst) to securing your WP install (add .htaccess to your wp-admin folder and update often!).

(Via HowToMakeMyBlog)

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Achieving ultimate SEO satisfaction with WordPress

May 22, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Andy Beard has an extremely detailed article on tweaking WordPress themes and plugins to achieve real SEO satisfaction on your blog. He tackles two key elements, first link priority and referential integrity, and covers a lot of tips that will be of great interest for theme and plugin authors with an SEO slant.

I don’t think there is one “premium” WordPress Theme that doesn’t claim to be perfect for SEO “out-of-the-box”, so I thought I would bash some theme developer heads around and maybe knock some sense into them.

[…]

That doesn’t leave WordPress SEO plugins off the hook, there isn’t one plugin that gets beyond 60:40 or with some tweeking possibly 70:30, depending on what factors you feel are important, or are aware of.

As for bloggers looking for that “perfect” SEO theme or plugin, don’t be so easily convinced—it takes a lot of tweaking to get optimum results. Of course, he also talks about the simple solution: while making great content is top priority, you still need to “think like an SEO & Marketer”.

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WordPress Canonical URLs: Redirect WWW to Non-WWW Blog URLs and Vice Versa

February 18, 2008 | 2 Comments

Perhaps one of the number one tips expert bloggers will give newbies, particularly in the realm of search engine optimization, is to use consistent URL formats. Usually a website address can be accessed with or without the WWW. For example, http://www.wpphilippines.com/ and http://wpphilippines.com/ are valid URLs for this website but you don’t see a WWW in the address bar, right? That’s because we’ve redirected the WWW URL to the non-WWW URL.

The problem with having both a WWW and a non-WWW URL for your website is that Google and other search engines will assume . In the past, you could only fix this by adding a few lines of code in the your .htaccess file, or by telling Google they point to the same website. But if you’re running the latest version of WordPress (2.3), it automatically does that for you! Yes, just specify in the General Options page of the administration panel what your blog URL should look like. If you add a WWW, it will redirect all non-WWW URLs, and vice versa.

The truth is, there is more to URL canonicalization than I’ve mentioned here, but this is another proof of how WordPress has grown and incorporated these neat little features. It’s also a pretty good introduction to how the world of Search Engine Optimization works.

So now the question is if you prefer having WWW in your URLs or not! I personally prefer removing the WWW because it’s shorter and neater that way. How about you? What does your blog URL look like?

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