Why Google’s Author Tag will Change WordPress SEO

Google introduced its author information initative a while back. It’s a way for content writers to explicitly mark themselves as the author of a piece of work – it’s more than just putting “By Steve Claridge” next to your post, it’s about tagging your work with a machine-readable attribute that uniquely identifies you.

This is a very hot topic in SEO and Marketing circles at the moment but a lot of people are only looking at the short-term win of using this tag to increase click-throughs to your posts from search results. The author tag is going to be way more important than that.

What is it anyway?

rel=author is actually an HTML attribute that can be used on link tags to signify that the person referenced in the link is the author of the webpage. It’s not a Google invention, they are just using it in a very smart and useful way. This means that if, for example, you are blogging and you have “By Joe Snow” above all of your articles you can modify that line slightly to make the “Joe Snow” part a link to your Google+ page and Google will then know that everything on that blog with “By Joe Snow” and the link on it was written by you. Not just written by a person called Joe Snow, but specifically by you.

Why Google and why Google+?

Identifying authors has always been a problem and the web has made it a much bigger one. Do a search for your name and it’s likely you will come up with thousands of different people; many of those results will be articles about people and many will be articles written by those people but which of those articles are written by Bob Duncan from Michigan, which are by Bob from Oxford and which are yours? You might be able to
tell by looking but how’s a machine supposed to know? Wouldn’t it be nice if you read a great article by Bob from Oxford and you wanted to see what else he’d written on the entire Web? If everything he had written was marked with his unique rel=authorattribute then that would be easy.

Google are in a unique place to make this happen. They basically are the Web for many people, they are already indexing most of pages on it and they hold a power over most site owners: if they say “jump” then we say “how high?”. If anyone is going to pull off a global author identification scheme then it’s Google.

But why Google+ for the author information when we could just point all our articles to our own site’s About Me page? Well, obviously Google has a strong interest in making sure Google+ succeeds so locking us into that is a smart move for them.

[Continue Reading…]

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  • Top 4 Online SEO Training Classes for WordPress Users

    There’s nothing worse than spending a considerable amount of time creating a website or blog, only to realize that hardly any web users are visiting your creation. While good content can get you far online, it’s rare that your good content will be enough to get you discovered. The best and fastest way to increase your site’s online visibility is to employ SEO techniques. Without SEO, it’s very difficult to attract large numbers of people to a site or make money off of a site. If you want to get the most ROI from your WordPress efforts, consider checking out these SEO training classes:

    1. Search Engine College

    Search Engine College’s SEO courses will prepare you to aggressively market your WordPress site in Google’s SERPs. The SEO Starter Course offered by this online education program is an excellent resource for beginners, particularly those who want to learn everything there is to know about important things like keyword research. If you really want to become an SEO guru, however, you should check out the SEO Advanced Course, which will help you figure out how to get the most ROI from your SEO efforts. Each of these courses will cost you $395, and you have options to pay a bit more for SEO certification as well.

    2. SEO Book

    If you’re truly dedicated to monetizing your WordPress site, SEO Book is a solid option. For $300 a month, you get access to 100 training modules, numerous training videos, and personalized advice from SEO gurus. Since SEO Books is one of the priciest and most comprehensive options out there, it’s ideal for business owners who want to start making profits from their sites and blogs. Everyday WordPress users may not need all the frills that SEO Book has to offer or may benefit from using it for just a few months.

    3. Yoast’s WordPress SEO

    Yoast’s WordPress SEO tutorials are a free option you should consider if you just want to learn the basics of search engine marketing and optimization. Since Yoast’s educational materials are WordPress-specific, you may prefer this option, especially because it focuses on how you can use WordPress tools to increase your rankings. Yoast is fairly comprehensive, considering it’s free, and it’s definitely a great starting point.

    4. SEO Gold Tutorials

    This is another free educational resource. It only covers the essentials of what you need to know about keywords and link building. It will take you less than an hour to read everything SEO Gold has to offer. So, if you don’t have much time to learn about SEO before you dive right in, this may be one of your best options. On the other hand, if you want to truly learn all the tricks of the trade, you’ll most likely need to explore more thorough and detailed resources, such as the ones listed above.

    Ultimately, your success online as a WordPress user depends on the quality of your content and whether or not you’re using effective SEO strategies. So, keep perfecting your content, and use the classes, trainings, and tutorials listed above to learn how to attract more search engine traffic.

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  • WordPress Tools for Simplifying SEO

    One of the rules of SEO is that it requires hard work. Sometimes companies propose a black hat service that can create piles of backlinks and send your site sky-rocketing in Google’s results, but such services are not a sound long-term strategy. If you invest in SEO for your website, you will reap the benefits for years to come.

    While long-lasting SEO is hard work, that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make it easier. That’s where a CMS like WordPress can team up with a variety of tools and plugins that will both save you time and produce better results for SEO on your website and blog.

    Use a SEO-Friendly Theme for WordPress

    You can create great, relevant content on your company’s blog, but if a search engine can’t sort out the code on your website and find your blog, there’s no point in writing it. Opinions vary about the benefit of paying for an SEO-optimized WordPress theme, but the key is picking out a theme that has clean, search engine-friendly code. Paying $50-$100 for a solid, SEO-optimized theme won’t hurt, but picking out a sharp theme with cluttered code will.

    There are a number of WordPress themes that boast the ability to boost your search engine ranking. Some free themes such as Vigilance provide a clean, SEO-friendly design that website developers can modify and optimize.  However, if you want to increase your search engine ranking right from the start, consider a premium WordPress theme.

    After switching to the Standard Theme, publishing and leadership blogger Michael Hyatt reported:

    According to my Google Analytics account, my visitors have increased by 38.4% and my page views by 43.8% in the week following the installation compared to the week before… I really think Standard Theme’s native search engine optimization (SEO) accounts for most of the uptick.

    The jury is still out regarding which theme is the best. For example, a recent review of Thesis and Genesis showed that they both offer many of the same features, and that the best theme may come down to personal preference and familiarity. You’ll find advocates of many premium themes, but for the purposes of SEO, each puts you on the right course.

    Optimize WordPress with Plugins

    There are many WordPress plugins that you can install in order to improve your website’s SEO, but there are only two main plugins that you need in order to immediately take your website’s SEO to the next level. For starters, you could carefully sort through your website and build a site map in order to make it friendly for search engines, or you could install and Google XML Sitemap plugin and get back to creating top notch content. It’s really that simple to create a sitemap with WordPress.

    Another top plugin for WordPress is the All in One SEO plugin. This plugin enhances both your site’s overall SEO and the SEO of each individual blog post, helping to optimize your titles and meta-tags, while also providing customization options for more advanced users. The All in One SEO dashboards for the post editing screen and for the general site are easy to use and provide SEO benefits “right out of the box.”

    Invite Search Engines with Scribe SEO

    While Scribe SEO is still technically a WordPress plugin, it is a premium service that requires a monthly fee. Though Scribe SEO may not be ideal for the casual blogger, its SEO services are perfect for bloggers who want a sure-fire way to quickly optimize their blog posts for SEO.

    After creating your blog post, Scribe SEO “shows you keyword phrases you might have missed… tells you how to gently tweak it to spoon feed search engines based on 15 SEO best practices… [and] tools help[s] you build back links from other sites, crosslink the content within your own site, and identify influential social media users who want to share your stuff.”

    This SEO tool takes all of the guesswork out of the process and lets you know how effective your efforts are. When you consider what it may cost to pay for an SEO writing course and the uncertain benefits that may come from it, Scribe SEO is a tool that will be well worth the investment if used properly.

    SEO requires effort, but it doesn’t have to be such a time-consuming investment. By using the right tools, you can make the most of your SEO efforts and see dramatic increases in traffic to your website.

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  • Maximize WordPress SEO with ScribeSEO

    For years now SEO has been one of those buzzwords which incites discussion and debate, whether you live by it or cringe upon seeing it.  Whether webmasters want to admit it or not, however, search engine optimization works if done correctly.  As a webmaster it falls upon you to maximize search engine optimization (SEO) on your website or blog.  Just a few years ago this wasn’t particularly fun or easy for webmasters, but that has changed with things like new software and of course WordPress plugins.

    For the past week I’ve had the opportunity to try out a new SEO service called ScribeSEO, a web-based SEO service from a team which includes Brian Clark (known in the WordPress community for CopyBlogger and the Thesis theme).   ScribeSEO offers a web-based SEO software service, a WordPress plugin, and now also offers Joomla and Drupal integration.  As most of my websites use WordPress in some way, I’ve primarily focused my attention on trying out the WordPress plugin.   Here is what I’ve found:

    Once installed, the ScribeSEO WordPress plugin adds a window to your post pages called the Scribe Content Optimizer.  Here you can run an evaluation prior to publishing your post which will tell you how to best optimize your post!

    In order to test out the plugin I decided to try it out on this post.  After my initial evaluation, I was given the following feedback:

    As you can see from the screen shot above the initial draft of this post received a 68%.  Recommended improvements include to move primary keywords towards the front of the meta description, to increase the word count to above 300 words, and to add a few hyperlinks towards the beginning of the post.

    At the top of the evaluation there is also a menu with additional analysis available.  When switching to the keyword analysis tab I was greeted with the following:

    This shows that after analyzing my post the search engines will think this post is primarily about the keyword “wordpress plugin”, then “SEO”, etc.   You’ll even get keyword density percentages!

    Next, I went to the Alternate Keywords tab to get an idea of keyword suggestions based upon relative search frequency:

    This is a great way for you to find high traffic search terms that you may have forgotten in your initial draft.

    Lastly, under the Tags tab, you’ll see a list of keywords found within your post which are recommended to be used as tags for your post.

    After gathering all the feedback provided and updating my posts I was able to improve my posts score all the way to 99%:

    If you run a professional revenue generating blog or build a lot of niche websites, I think that ScribeSEO is a perfect fit and well worth the price.

    If you’d like to learn more about ScribeSEO or get a copy for yourself you can find everything you need here!

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  • Is your WordPress Blog Wasting Google’s Time?

    Over the last couple weeks I’ve been focusing on traffic building, link building and SEO on my WordPress blog. All three of these website strategies go hand in hand and all build on each other. In this post I will discussing how to make sure your WordPress blog is running efficiently.

    WordPress does a lot of cool things in the background to make your website run smoothly. Have you ever noticed that when you change a blog post from one category to another, somehow, someway, you always arrive at the new location?  That’s WordPress doing it’s magic!  Unfortunately, Humans interact with a blog differently than search engine spiders, so while your permalinks might look nice and organized, the search engine spiders might see problems.

    The best place to start is with a blog audit. If your WordPress blog is not using Google Webmaster Tools, this is a great place to start.  Google Webmaster tools will not only show you how Google sees your website, but also recommend tips to improve the crawling of your site.

    I just did a blog audit and found a couple problems. My sitemap was not getting generated anymore due to permission problems. Even worse the old sitemap had many bad links. Using webmaster tools I could see that Google received 80 posts from me, but only indexed 4. OUCH!  Of course I have many more links in Google from other websites. The sitemap is only a recommendation to Google, but I highly recommend keeping up to date. I used the the Google XML Sitemap plugin.

    I also had a duplicate content problem. To me, this is really frustrating, because again, as a human, I see my blog a certain way and it looks fine. Then looking at my website from the search engine spider’s point of view, I see many of my posts repeated as many as 5 times.

    You might think that is great… 1 post, 5 entries in Google. Well, it’s not because instead of having one powerful link to your website, you have 5 at 20% power. Try cooking a potato at 20% power, it’s a waste of time.

    How does this happen? I was using All-in-One SEO plugin and that is suppose to have canonical links, but I still have duplicate content.

    So like any hacker, I built a simple Googlebot tracker to see how Google spiders my site… Wow, not what I expected. There is so much I’m learning from the Googlebot tracker, I will have many posts on this little bot, but for now let’s just say, I bet you are wasting Google’s time with your WordPress blog!

    The Googlebot doesn’t just come into your website and spider all your content. In my case it comes and grabs one page and leaves. It’s doing this every couple minutes for a total of about 200-300 per day. Webmaster tools will show you how many times you get spidered, but will not show you what pages get indexed.

    I was horrified to see that I was wasting Google juice on tags and categories. If Google is only going to hit your website 100 times a day, you better try to give Google 100 different blog posts. If you have 10 tags per post, you might be giving Google 1 blog post with 10 different links. Google then has to choose which page is the highest priority. You can see how 100 blog posts, can easily turn to 10 blog posts because we all love to tag our stuff.

    How do you solve this. First of all it takes time. you have many links in Google and the Googlebot will continue to follow them, which isn’t bad… Don’t try to shut off the Googlebot, just make changes for the future of your website.

    1. Make sure you have canonical link set up. This tells Google where the main blog post, and that all the links from categories and tags really are just pointers to the main blog post.
    2. Make sure you nofollow internal links to categories, tags, archive, sitemap, etc… Your goal is to drive search engine spiders to your blog posts, not to a category page full of links. There are a few plugins that do this, but I manually did it to my menu and sidebar widgets.
    3. If you change you permalinks, make sure you provide Google with 301 redirect messages pointing to the new link.  For this I use permalink redirect plugin.
    4. Make sure you sitemap is up-to-date. Not only does the Google XML sitemap plugin update your sitemap, but it also pings Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask every time you post.
    5. Audit your website often. Use Google Webmaster Tools to find mistakes and keep you blog running smoothly.
    6. Use analytic software to track visitors to your site.  A free service like Google Analytics will do this well.

    Please don’t just read this post as another SEO article. Put these tips into action and start with an SEO audit… If you see anything funny, post a comment below and we’ll see if we can help!

    This article was contributed by Matt of MattDunlap.org, where he writes about how to increase your conversion rates with a smarter blog.

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  • How To: Add Google Rich Snippets to WordPress (Without Editing Your Theme)

    When searching the web with Google, have you ever noticed that certain webpages with product reviews have a little star-rating and additional info that appears underneath the title?

    For example…

    Notice the additions under the hyperlinked title. These eye-catching additions are called “rich snippets.” Rich snippets give additional prominence to your review pages when they appear in search results and could help garner additional search engine traffic for your site.

    You can ask Google to show this sort of data for your review posts by adding hReview code to your WordPress blog. This process has been covered in other tutorials before, but previous methods required you to edit your theme’s code and fiddle with custom fields to get it to work. Not anymore — here’s the easier, plugin-only method:

    1. Install the SEO Ultimate plugin. (You can download the zip file here or you can go to the SEO Ultimate homepage and enter your blog’s URL in the Auto Installer field.) Activate the plugin once it’s installed. SEO Ultimate has many other SEO features besides rich snippets, but if you just want to use the rich snippet functionality, you can disable everything else under the “Modules” section of the plugin’s “SEO” menu.
    2. In the WordPress administration interface, find a post that you’d like to mark as a review and open it in the WordPress editor.
    3. In the “SEO Settings” box under the content editor, select “Review” from the “Rich Snippet Type” drop-down. (If your post has a category or tag called “Review” or “Reviews,” SEO Ultimate will pre-select the “Review” option automatically.)
    4. If you gave a rating to the product you reviewed in your post, select the most-applicable star rating from the drop-down.
    5. Click “Save Changes” to save your post. All done! If you want, you can put your post URL through Google’s testing tool to see a preview of your new rich snippets.

    Following these steps will tell SEO Ultimate to add the hReview code to your reviews. (Obviously, only add the code to posts in which you actually review something.)

    Note that according to Google’s FAQ, adding the code by itself won’t guarantee that Google will show rich snippets for your site. However, you can request that Google display rich snippets for your site using this form. Even if Google doesn’t show your rich snippets right away, having the code on your site ahead of time will help ensure you’re ahead of the game if/when Google rolls out rich snippets on a wider scale.

    Enjoy your rich snippets!

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  • Warning: WordPress 2.7 Comment Pagination Creates Duplicate Content

    One of the lesser talked about features introduced in WordPress 2.7 is the new feature that breaks comments into multiple pages to create faster load times.   By default, this feature is activated and set to allow 50 comments before the break.    The problem is, with this new feature activated, your WordPress blog is creating duplicate content.

    Here is what I found while checking my Google Webmaster Tools account for this website:

    Duplicate Title Tags


    Duplicate Descriptions


    Is this a huge deal?  Probably not, but you may want to consider unchecking this box in your Dashboard > Settings > Discussion tab.   Hopefully in a future version of WordPress this will NOT be checked by default and instead be an option.


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  • Google Releases Official Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide

    One of the things that has always made SEO so tricky is that Google doesn’t really comment much about search engine optimization techniques and they are always changing their algorithm, leaving testing as the only way to figure out what SEO techniques work.

    Well, in case any of our readers missed it, Google has released an official Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (PDF).  It doesn’t release any of Google’s algorithm secrets, but it does cover Google’s best practices for title tags, meta tags, URL structure, navigation, content, anchor text, headers, images and of course, Robots.txt, making this a good way to review the basics and make sure you have that stuff down correctly.

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  • Has All-in-One SEO Pack Been Replaced?

    About two weeks ago, we covered a story about the All-in-One SEO Pack and the fact that it was no longer being supported.  To the relief of thousands of WordPress users, about a week later, we found out that someone else had resurrected the plugin.   The lesson learned was obviously that too many people had come to rely heavily on a single WordPress plugin.

    Thanks to a heads up from my friend Leland at Themelab, it looks like someone has attempted to put a fork into the All-in-One SEO Pack plugin, with the release of a new plugin called Platinum SEO Pack.  Here are a few of the features that you will get on top of what AiO SEO Pack included:

    1. Ability to add follow or nofollow and noindex meta tags to any post or page.
    2. Automatic 301 redirect for permalink changes.
    3. Nofollow links to your archives, categories, and tags pages.

    To read more, or to download the Platinum SEO Pack, check out the authors page.

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  • Learn More About SEO For WordPress

    Search engine algorithms are always changing, so even for the top experts in search engine optimization, there is a constant need for studying the newest SEO techniques in order to compete in todays online world.

    WordPress has always been very search engine friendly by default, and when you add things like the All-in-One SEO Pack plugin or the SEO Sniper plugin to the mix, you have the potential for a very well optimized website without any real work.

    With that said, there are a variety of SEO techniques that you can apply to your sites setup that aren’t covered with a simple plugin, and Joost de Valk has taken the time to cover WordPress SEO in great detail.

    I have made it a habit to stay very current on the latest SEO techniques and I found this post extremely useful, well organized, and Joost did a great job of explaining things in a way that pretty much anyone can understand.    And hey, if you don’t like to read about SEO, you can at least click over to check out his new website design (and improved domain name).  Great work Joost!

    I have added this post to our WordPress resources page.

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