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18 replies to this topic

#16 Mhoram

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:26 PM

Ah, thanks, I wasn't aware that these plugins blocked search engines, and I still don't understand why they'd be considered a replacement for good writing or keyword research. When I used the All-in-One-SEO plugin, it was just to make sure my post titles got put in the important places. I still had to write good content and use good keywords.



#17 Michael Martinez

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 05:02 PM

So, it has been brought to my attention that I have been attributing some issues to "All In One" that actually may belong to blog themes.

Let me reiterate my opposition to the use of "All In One" and other SEO plugins -- they are not helping any blogs with search engine optimization. They are bells and whistles, busy working gadgets.

Some themes will embed "nofollow" by default on internal links. Thesis, a very popular theme (that we use on a number of our own blogs) does this. I checked the settings on one of our blogs and see we don't have the "nofollow" options checked. I don't know what the default behavior is.

Generally speaking, whether it's a plugin or a theme, anything that attempts to do the following should be blocked from doing it (or uninstalled if you cannot deactivate the option):
  • Embed "nofollow" on internal links or in page headers
  • Embed "noindex" on tag or category pages
  • Embed "disallow" or other directives in robots.txt
  • Autogenerate meta descriptions (unless you can overwrite them or configure how they are generated)
  • Autogenerate post or page titles (unless you can overwrite or configure them)

These are some of the features that people use to promote various "SEO friendly" features of plugins or themes. The problem with these "SEO friendly" options is that they are about as unfriendly to search optimization as you can get.

A typical default Wordpress installation does a perfectly fine job of allowing you to configure your page titles, URLs, and content. You don't need to embed "Keywords" in meta tags and your autogenerated descriptions will be no better than whatever a search engine would provide (and the search engines will ignore meta descriptions in many queries anyway).

I know that a lot of people are concerned about duplicate content but the whole duplicate content issue has gotten way overhyped. A few years ago it was a problem. Today it's not a problem.

The only place where an up-to-date blog (specifically a Wordpress blog) might produce duplicate content is in the daily/weekly/monthly archives. You should be able to configure your category and tag pages to just use excerpts (this may be an option made available only through themes like Thesis -- I'm not entirely sure at this point).

Archive pages tend to replicate entire posts but if you're only publishing excerpts on archive, tag, and category pages then your post pages (assuming you use them) will be unique. Hence, you don't need to fuss over duplicate content issues.

Those tag and category pages (at the very least) help your site's crawlability and they make great sitelink options (which both Google and Bing provide for many sites now). If you deindex your tag and category pages you limit the number of relevant and meaningful sitelink opportunities your blog has.

There is a LOT of confusion over what you need to do with a Wordpress blog. The less you burden it with so-called "SEO friendly" features, the less likely you'll screw up your site in the search results.

If you don't know enough about search engine optimization to do it yourself, then you're really in over your head when you depend on a theme or plugin to make the decisions for you.

#18 qwerty

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 12:10 PM

QUOTE
You should be able to configure your category and tag pages to just use excerpts (this may be an option made available only through themes like Thesis -- I'm not entirely sure at this point).

I'm fairly sure that option isn't available on a default installation of WP. If it is, I haven't seen it.

Here's how I see the issue: blog software offers site owners a lot of different ways to organize their content. You've got a page for each individual post, the home page with the most recent posts (or excerpts from them), and archives of posts based on date published, category, and tag.

Categories are great for organizing content by subject. Tags are potentially useful for breaking things down into subcategories. You may have a category about Graphics, and a tag for Graphics posts that are Photoshop tutorials, another for your own recent work, and another for reviews of graphics software and hardware. But what I see a lot of people doing is creating tags like "Photoshop Tutorials," "Photoshop Tips" and "Photoshop Tricks". Then whenever they write a Photoshop tutorial post, they give it all three tags. What's the point of that?

Obviously, the archive page for any of those tags is going to be identical (apart from its title and heading) to the archive page for the other two. Maybe they think it's going to get them to rank better in the SERPs for the names of the tags, but the duplicates are just going to get filtered out. Maybe they think it's the key to getting traffic from Technorati (if anyone still uses Technorati).

Blocking spiders from tag or category pages is just a band-aid for badly organizing your content. And obviously, if you do that, you can't have created all those tags and categories in the hope of ranking for them -- either that, or you did it for rankings, realized it wouldn't work, and blocked the pages from spiders because you couldn't be bothered to undo what you did.

I'm sure I've set up multiple categories and tags myself, thinking there was some important difference between them, but ended up putting everything from column A into column B anyway. Different intentions, but the same mistake in practice.

If you set up a sensible organizational structure for the blog (or any site, really), you're not going to have to worry about stuff like this.



#19 Michael Martinez

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 01:58 PM

Well, it just occurred to me to look at how the content is published on category pages for a "clean" WP site I created last year. You're right. The full posts are embedded on the page.

However, you would only have a duplicate content issue in a category that only includes 1 post.

People in the SEO industry have become hyperconcerned over duplicate content -- long after it was necessary to be concerned. It always seems to take about 2 years for most people to get the memo in our industry. I guess it will be another year or two before the needless chatter about duplicate content dies down.

In some rare cases, site structures that replicate content in volume need to be fixed or amended, but a typical blog does not need to worry about duplicate content.

That's just another SEO myth now.




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