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SAScon 2011: WordPress SEO

Chair: Joost de Valk (Solo Panel)

Structure & Taxonomies

A lot of people ask for SEO tricks/shortcuts… the most important thing is a a decent site structure.

For that we have taxonomies in WordPress. e.g. tags, categories, custom taxonomies and custom post types.

You can create custom post types for different types of content.

Custom Post Type UI is useful for this. You may want to update your theme to display the content more elegantly.

WP_best_practice & Plugin_Review are good examples.

Within this you have custom fields & custom taxonomies.

Breadcrumbs create structure & can help your sub pages rank – There is no difference between internal and external links in the Google Algorithm.

People sometimes tag things with ‘seo’ and put in a category of ‘seo’. This causes a duplicate content issue.

Be sure to use either of them for specific terms & use them sparingly. Joost uses 7 categories for rough structuring & tags for more detailed categorisation.

For a permenant structure – use either

/%postname%/

or

/%category%/%postname%/

Pagination in WordPress is previous/next by default. This isn’t sufficient, particularly forlarge sites.

There are some plugins that add in the page 1 / page 2 / etc.

But you should create a btree instead, so that each leaf is as close to the top as possible.

Speed

Tools to use:

  • W3 Total Cache (takes some work to set up but it’s better for your users than WP Supercache).
  • Use Google Libraries – so you can use their servers instead of your own, Google’s servers will always be faster that yours.
  • WP Smush.it – automatically compresses images without degradation.
  • Optimise social buttons – there’s an iFrame version  for each of the major social buttons that you can use to prevent these buttons dragging on your site load time.
  • Sprite.me – create image sprites to reduce http requests.

RSS Feeds

New Yoast  tool which auto creates an XML sitemap for the various sections/categories. You can then use Webmaster tools to identify non indexed areas.

Careful of Plugins

There are malicious plugins – more than you would realise. They can create a back door to your site, or send your users data to the plugin creator.

Ratings can be skewed really easily with just a couple of positive reviews.

Content SEO

New Full Page Analysis tool within the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin (data via Linkdex ). It’s like Scribe, but for free on your server.

SEO Data Transporter – Can use this to switch SEO data from one SEO plugin to another/one theme to another/ etc.

Google Analytics Plugin – Page speed analysis has been added recently. It can identify slow running pages within your site.

Q: There are malicious plugins – same for themes?

A: Yes, but themes are reviewed more thoroughly. You can trust themes from WordPress.org & big providers, but no-one else. Huge amount of malware.

Q: How much does it cost to have your own theme developed

A: Depends. We do it from £10K upwards. oDesk isvery cheap & good for simple designs, but careful about people just re-using existing designs.

Presentation Slides:

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