Blogs and content framework software like WordPress are by nature SEO friendly. Each post has its own title which becomes the title tag. The keyword tag in the meta section of the head area of the code isn’t very important any more. If your opening paragraph is keyword rich and aimed for a human reader, your description will be pretty good as well. (If there is no description tag used, search spiders index the first bit of page text they find.) So do you need to go to the trouble of adding a SEO plugin for your WordPress site?
The short answer is yes. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, the plugin will remind you to think of SEO when you’re writing. Not every writer does that and a little reminder can go a long way.
Secondly, a SEO plugin can give a writer greater flexibility and creativity with their articles. For the best SEO results, a writer will need to repeat their optimized keyword phrase as early in the first paragraph as they can. That’s limiting. I didn’t do it in this article, but I can remedy that later by optimizing my description tag.
Let’s take a look real quick at an example:
This was an article I wrote last week on another site. I wanted to optimize for the keywords “co-working salt lake city.” But I didn’t begin the article with those words. I wanted to put a more creative spin on it. In the screen shot you can see a field for “meta description.” That’s the language that shows up in the search engines.
The SEO plugin also provides statistics and allows alternate titles to be used for publishing on social media sites. I don’t think it matters which SEO plugin you choose so long as it has a custom description tag.
WordPress.com doesn’t use plugins, so how do you create a custom description tag there?
A feature called “excerpts” creates the description tag. If you like your first paragraph, leaving the excerpt tag blank will force the spiders to display the first text they come to. I don’t like to leave things like that to chance, so worst case I’ll quickly cut and paste my first paragraph as the excerpt.
I believe SEO plugins are so important, they’re usually the first type I install. In the next article for WordPress week, I’ll discuss some other useful plugins that are “must haves” for any WordPress site.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 24,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals
Yes, today is the biggest online shopping day of the year. And yes, Cyber Monday is a stupid name. Who came up with that anyway?
A group on Facebook has decided Cyber Monday is so stupid, it should be called something else. Why not “Talk Like Chewbacca Day?” It makes as much sense. If you hear me growl today, it’s not you, I’m just celebrating the holiday.
Let’s talk about what the online implications for today are. First of all, it appears more people are shopping online for Black Friday deals beginning as early as Thanksgiving Day. CNN Money reports:
It was a stronger picture for Internet retailing. The average online order on Black Friday rose 35% from last year, to $170.19, according to online retail analyst Coremetrics — an indication that people may be looking to buy gifts after a year of economic woes.
Online shopping will garner more attention Monday — the so-called Cyber Monday — when many Americans will take advantage of computers at work to shop for gifts.
This is a trend that will continue to grow. As the Internet becomes more familiar and more trust in the process is developed by consumers and businesses, it’s natural that more commerce will take place online. A 35% increase in online sales is quite substantial year over year.
With more people searching online it’s even more important to be found. I’m starting to notice more ads on Facebook with coupon offers for fanning a company’s business page. That’s a good idea for any of you e-tailers out there. Couldn’t a coupon work for a service or a restaurant as well?
I believe competition is good for consumers and as more of our eyeballs are on the Internet, we’ll see more innovation and more creative ways to capture sales online.
This Cyber Monday if you see an ad or a deal that catches your eye, let me know how it stood out by leaving a comment on this post. If you see something you don’t like, then growl at it like Chewbacca.
When I started blogging, one of the concepts I struggled with was that of “tagging” a blog post. A tag is a description given to the post that talks about subject matter.
During my days as a real estate blog author, I would create tags that had a few specific points from the post. I was also using the blog software from Google called Blogger. It took me a while, but I finally figured out I probably shouldn’t create new tags for each post. I should be more generic.
My SEO breakthrough for that old real estate blog was when I put a link to all the tags as a menu on my sidebar. Once I did that, my search traffic tripled. With WordPress, it’s a lot easier. Add the tag cloud widget to your sidebar, tag every post and you’re in business.
I take it one step further, because I want every article I write on this blog to have a link to another article. That way they’re all connected.
WordPress has another advantage and that is the tag categories show up in Google as their own entry. I just discovered a keyphrase “seo friendly filenames for photos” is showing up on Google under my “bing” tag. It’s interesting the article which contained many words in that keyphrase didn’t show up, but the tag for Bing did. Thank goodness I used the tags!
Here are five easy steps to get great SEO results from tags:
1. Tag every post, even if you only use one description.
2. Be generic in your descriptions, unless you have a very specific keyphrase you’re trying to rank on.
3. Make sure your tags show up on your sidebar as a menu. It could be a tag cloud or a link list.
4. Add new tags when necessary. Don’t create them if there isn’t something relevant to link to it.
5. Match tags with your keyword list. Those top search result positions you want may come from having the right tag.
I wanted to share with you a recent experience I had. Everybody reading this has probably experienced this at one point in their life…making a product return to a store.
What makes a person return an item for cash or store credit, versus a simple exchange? I submit that it’s perception and perception is created by branding.
Consider the item in the photo. It is a Bissell carpet cleaner that was purchased at Home Depot. About a month after its first use, it stopped working. So it was returned to Home Depot and exchanged for another one. What made me exchange it for an exact duplicate of the broken one was my perception the new one would work fine and for much longer than the old one. That perception was created by years of effort by the Bissell Corporation to create that image in my mind through TV and print branding. So far the new carpet cleaner is working fine.
The counterpoint to this story is another shopping experience I had with Home Depot. At the end of spring I bought a gas powered weed eater and chain saw to help take care of my yard for the summer. I purchased some off-brand that I’d never heard of and both items were very cheap. When I went to put these items to work, I couldn’t get either one to start. I finally got the weed eater to work, but it wouldn’t stay running for more than 10 minutes. After a few days of frustration, I took them back to Home Depot. But I didn’t want to trade them out for duplicates. I didn’t want them at all.
Why is there a difference in these two stories? How did Bissell wind up with a better outcome than Brand X? Perception. Bissell had branded a positive impression into my brain, so there was still trust left when their product failed. Brand X had no branding impression, so even though I purchased their product, its disappointing performance led me to take it back and never buy their product again.
The Internet has taken branding to an entirely different level. What the Internet says about you can make or break even the most expensive marketing campaigns. One night I was watching TV and saw some infomercial from a guy named Kevin Trudeau. I was curious, so I punched his name into Google. The search results are not pretty. I can’t imagine how much money he loses because of negative search results. Not everyone goes to the web, but I think as this medium matures more people will follow the path I just described – initial media contact – web search – buying decision.
I’ll continue this article in part two and discuss how the Internet can help or hurt with branding.