A great feature within Google Analytics which is really easy to setup, is Site Search. It’s hidden within the content tab and once setup, you can find out how people are using your search on your site, and how it leads to conversion.
I have been building websites with WordPress for about for a few years now, I started with v1.0 and have made my way up to the latest v2.7. I started with this blog, then branched out to blogs for clients, and eventually I started creating some sites in WP and using it more as a CMS than blog. I found that over time, WP has some great benefits for SEO if you set it up right. StamfordCTGuide is a local guide for the town I used to live in, it has over 300 pages (posts) of content. By setting up WP with the right plugins and using some other tricks of the trade, I was able to secure some pretty high search engine rankings (#3 for Stamford, CT in Google). I have also created great rankings for this blog as well as blogs for clients. The thing I have learned about SEO is that its like Black Magic, there is no one way to achieve it and everyone has their own ways. As I have figured out certain things along the way, I felt that it would be important to share them, I’m not guaranteeing that this will work for everyone.
Here are my recommendations:
- SEO Title Tag – This is a great plugin, some people prefer the All-In-One Seo Page, but I’ve had great success with this one in particular. Title tags are probably one of the most important pieces for SEO, that people can often overlook. I always make sure that I include the name of the site along with the title of the post/article/page. An Example: Use Twitter to Find Jobs – Jake Rutter – User Interface Designer, CSS/XHTML Developer SEO Title Tag allows you to setup defaults to pull in the post title and also append the blog name to each title tag. And the beauty is that, you can go a step further and overwrite each title tag from the SEO Title Tag Manage tab.
- FeedBurner Plugin – FeedBurner is a fantastic service, if you don’t already have an account, you will need to set one up. FeedBurner is a service that takes your RSS feed and syndicates, tracks, standardizes your feed so that it can be easily picked up by many other sites/services. The company was purchased by Google in 2005, and since that acquisition it seems that it has helped with my Google rankings, although that could just be a coincidence. The best part of WordPress is that everything is RSS-able, you can RSS everything, by category, by date, etc. I have seen instances where I post something, an article to StamfordCTGuide and within about 2 hrs its in Google and getting decent traffic. By using the feedburner plugin, it gives you a direct route to Google.
- Google Sitemaps – This particular Google Sitemaps plugin is a great tool for generating an XML Sitemap of your site, which you then feed to Google via their Webmaster Tools. The sitemap will inform google of which pages are necessary to be crawled throughout your site. If you would like to learn more about Google Sitemaps, Google it!
- Permalinks – I setup permalinks within my wordpress install as “/category/postname.html” . I have been setting up installs of wordpress in this fashion for about 3 years and have always had great luck with SEO. Some people choose to add in a date, but I prefer to use category and postname, it seems to work best. You can find Permalinks by going to Settings > Permalinks in WordPress.
- Title Tags – Title tags are what you see on the bar above the URL when you are on any given page. That is also what you are usually searching for, when you do a search in Google. It will rely on the title tags and the content of the page. So the title tags are pretty important. If you wanted to be found when users type in: stamford ct restaurants. Then you would create title tags that reflect what you would like to be found for. The best thing about title tags, is that it can be achieved through trial and error. Once you are in Google, you can tweak those and about every 2 weeks (sometimes quicker), Google will pickup the new version of your site and your rankings should change if you have made changes to the title tags.
Above are the 5 ways that you can improve your SEO via WordPress.
Recommended Reading for Entrepreneurs/Startup Junkies
I love reading books and there are so many great books out there for us to learn from. Books are a great way to unwind from the day and learn about the world. When I was younger, I loved to read Travel Books. It started with A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson. From there, I read every book by Bill Bryson, then on to other similar travel books – I learned so much about other cultures.
Recently, I have taken the same path with Startup/Entrepreneurial Books. I also read books about code, but if I read those in bed, I tend to fall asleep rather quickly. So I have been sticking to business related books. I get so excited when I order a new one in Amazon, I cant wait to read it. Over the past few months, I have read 4 great books – but my list is growing. Below is a list of the books I have read and what I wish to read next.
- The Art of Start by Guy Kawasaki
- Getting Real by 37signals
- Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston
- Crossing the Chasm
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik
- Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz
Ah Finally, after about 3 months of being in the Sandbox for Google Search Results, Im out. I was in the sandbox as result of my wordpress install being hacked and hackers using SQL injection to place spam text in my posts. I was getting 200-300 uniques a day, which dropped to about 5-10 uniques a day after being placed in the sandbox, amazing how much our lives depend one search and Google. Im back to being ranked high for “actionscript 3.0, xml, flash slideshow”. Its good news all around!
For awhile, I have thought that its better to present your website to the internet (search engines) with url’s that are search friendly. What I mean here is, instead of having a url like http://www.domain.com/cat?=1294584854, which frankly doesnt mean anything to a search engine based on the URL, it would be much more beneficial to use a URL like http://www.domain.com/the-reason-for-search-engine-friendly-urls.html. Not only is it easier for your users to remember/understand but your url is chock full of keywords and we all know how important keywords are. Today, I actually stumbled across an article to back up this thought, you can read it here.