SEO Your Blog; Two Quick Fixes

Man, sometimes I feel really stupid. I’ve been missing something for a long time that I’m betting some of you know, but most of you are also missing. As a matter of fact I just took a quick sample and it seems that some of you knew about this, but aren’t doing it right, and the majority don’t have it right at all. Well, that’s what I’m here for. What am I talking about?

SEO Your Blog

SEO for your blog, of course; didn’t you read the title? Here’s the thing. Many people talk about proper SEO tactics for your blog and they get into talking about your content, keywords, etc. I’ve been on record in saying that it’s rare that I get into doing all that much SEO when it comes to my posts. When I write, I write, and I rarely go backwards I’ve always figured that my content will eventually speak for itself.

But I’ve missed some important concepts of SEO for my blog, something I’ve actually never paid any attention to, that suddenly hit me last night and, dagnabbit, I wanted to slap myself silly. I’ve lost 3 years on this, and now I’m ready to capture my traffic, the search engines, and watch this baby flourish! I’m going to tell you what I’ve done, then I’m going to tell you how I did it.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you, get to the point. Okay, a quick SEO lesson on how search engines begin looking through webpages. They start with the Title, which is the area at the top of your browser that says what your site is all about. If you’re going to do it properly, what you want to have at the top is what your website is about, then the name of your blog. You don’t want any “stop words” or “stop symbols”; these are things like “and”, “the”, and, well, symbols. You never start with the name of your website or blog unless it’s what your site is all about because if people already know your name then you don’t ever have to worry about titles, or even being found on search engines, to begin with.

What did mine say? It used to say “I’m Just Sharing”, which is the name of this blog. Do you think anyone was out there on the search engines searching for that? Nope. What does it say now? It says “Blogging Writing Social Media – I’m Just Sharing“. That’s what it should have said all along. Now it begins with what I mainly write about on this blog. Now the search engines will scan my title, then be able to match up my content with it; nice start.

But that’s my title page. What about all the other pages? Initially, after the first change, all my other pages said that same exact thing. Not the worst thing in the world, but it’s not proper SEO & it doesn’t always work. For instance, when I write my diabetes posts none of what’s in the title is going to help there. What shows up for each article as my Title now? Whatever the name of my post is, that’s what. That’s what I decided to go with, but one doesn’t have to stick with that. However, since for the most part my titles do indicate what I’m going to talk about (like this post, for instance), I think I’m good.

Okay, how did I make the change? By using the All In One SEO plugin, a plugin I beat up on for a couple of years until I learned how to upgrade my server to PHP 5.0 and had it suddenly start doing some of what it was supposed to do. I haven’t fully used it correctly until last night, and now it’s going to help this blog grow; I just know it will.

The first thing I did was change the Home Title to what you see above in quotation marks; that’s what now shows in the Title area. If you decide to hit Save at that point your home title will change and you’ll at least have that taken care of. But that’s not all you want to do.

The next stage, of course, is to fill in the next two boxes for your home description and keywords. Your home description should be what your blog is about, as that’s what will show up on Google if someone is searching for your topic, so either say something, like a line or two, or just type in more words, which will look kind of odd on Google as a description but hey, it’s up to you. In the keywords of course type in some of what you do. This is kind of “meta” like, which search engines don’t exactly look at anymore (actually they don’t look at it at all according to them, but go with me), but it helps the plugin do things for you that you might not want to do for yourself later on. Anyway, once you’ve done that then you need to check the box next to “Rewrite Titles”.

That’s it. Now, every one of your posts will have the title you’ve given for your post as the Title that will show at the top of the browser, the one that Google’s going to be checking out. Leave everything else there the same unless you really understand it all; everything’s pretty set, except for some of the boxes you might want to check or uncheck underneath.

For instance, I really don’t understand the concept of Canonical URLs all that much, even though I read about it, so I left that checked. Further down, I have checked to use Tags for Meta Keywords, which I’ve seen come across here and there through Google Alerts, told it to generate keywords for post pages, and told it to use noindex for my Archives, though I’ll have to think about that one a little bit more. My thought on it is that if everything else is SEO’ing itself properly it might be overkill having it coming through the Archives as well; search engines might not appreciate that too much, as it might seem spammy.

The only thing to finish talking about is when you’re actually writing your post you need to know that you have the option of overriding what you’ve told the plugin to do automatically for your title and description. I rarely change the title, though I’ve seen some people do it, but sometimes I add a specific description, otherwise Google will use the first few words of your post as the description. For someone like me that likes to introduce things in kind of a story form, that’s not the best lead-in for me all the time.

So, I’ve just helped you learn how to SEO your blog better, and trust me, it’ll go much quicker than all this stuff I just wrote. Good luck!

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

All In One SEO Is My Culprit

When last we left, I was telling you about some of the plugin problems I was having after upgrading to WordPress 2.9. In my parting shot, I said that it was possible that my problem was having an older theme that might be messing with everything I was trying to do.

I run a theme called Simple Balance, and the version I had was 2.1. I run that theme on two of my blogs, and I love it because I found it easy to customize, though many people might not. Still, the one thing I was missing that was irritating me was the check box, and 2.1 was an older theme.

I decided to see if there was an update to the theme, and there was, Simple Balance 2.2. It said that if you loaded it over what you currently had that it would show the checkbox for people subscribing to comments, and it was also more compatible with WordPress 2.8, which we’re obviously past by now.

I figured this was what I needed, so I downloaded the file and uploaded parts of it. By that, I mean when I was reading the page, it said something about if you were upgrading you could just copy all the files and it wouldn’t erase anything unless you had made changes to the theme. Well, I had made some changes to the theme, so a full upload wasn’t going to get it done for me.

First thing I did was copy my theme from the website to my computer so that I could reverse any changes that didn’t go well. Then I uploaded files I hadn’t changes, along with new files. I then went into files where I had made changes, did a big comparison with what was in each file, and only changed certain things manually.

What happened? Nothing really changed at all. It still showed me as being on 2.1, and I still had no check box. I decided then to try something a bit more radical. I decuded to just copy over the entire file to see what happened. Since I had backed up the original theme with my changes to my computer, I figured if anything went really askew I could fix it.


imagekind

I did that and looked at everything. Very few things changed, and all the settings I already had on my blog stayed the same as well; yeah!

Now it was time to look for that check box, but I still couldn’t find it. I’m not sure what the deal is, but it just didn’t come up as part of the theme or WordPress software like it was supposed to.

Now I was back at square one again, but I wondered about something. When I was talking about plugins in the other post, I mentioned how I had added back All In One SEO and how things didn’t work with it. I wondered if I deactivated that one plugin what would happen.

I deactivated it and everything came back except Other WordPress News. I mean almost everything. Broken Link Checker still doesn’t work, but every other plugin works again. So, I was able to put Subscribe To Comments back, as well as WP-Cumulus, and it all works great.

So, it turned out All In One SEO was the culprit. I kind of liked that program, but I had remembered some time back that there had been some discussions as to whether it really benefited you or not. After all, if you do your SEO properly, if you can, that should work just as well, right? Also, for what it’s worth, both Google and Yahoo said they don’t look at meta keywords anymore, and that’s what All In One SEO mainly did, right?

I went online to check some things out. I came across this post entitled What’s Wrong With All In One SEO Plugin, but it’s promoting a different SEO product instead. I came across another post titled All In One Update Extremely Dangerous where it talked about something set by default that, if you don’t know about it, could really kill your blogs search engine position. It also talks about all these people who use the Thesis theme and love the SEO aspects of it, but says that it pretty much locks you into it forever because the day you decide you want a different theme every post you’ve ever done anything with using Thesis loses all the SEO it created for you.

I continued doing some research online, and it seems other people have had problems with this plugin (which I’m now going to call AIO SEO), but for different reasons. Some people have found themselves losing page rank because of something called canonical url. Some have found that their meta tag words disappear. And a few have found that they’ve had some plugin issues. But it doesn’t seem like there’s this big outcry about it.

Too bad for me, I thought. I was ready to kill the plugin for that and other reasons. One was the constant updates; that’s quite irritating. The other was having the plugin keep making you have to activate it after updating it. The third was being hit immediately with their request for donations; it’s big and hard to miss.

Just as I was going to delete it, I noticed they had another update. My first reaction was “ugh, not again.” But I decided to see what the update said, and of all things it addressed problems with other plugins. So I figured what the heck, and upgraded it. This time, it didn’t ask me to go and enable it. I decided to take a look, and I saw that they had changed the settings so that it’s automatically enabled. Then I looked at my dashboard, and saw that it had brought back the WordPress Development Blog and the Incoming Links. Those were the two most important to me, so I’ve decided to keep it for a little while longer, but keep my eyes on it.

That’s on this blog. On the one I’ve upgraded to 2.9, it brought back Incoming Links, but that’s it. So, I’m not totally sold on it yet, and I’ll probably have to wait to see what happens when I upgrade this blog. I think I see at least one more post on AIO SEO coming; let’s hope it’s much shorter than these last two. And, as you can see, I threw in a picture just to break things up. Of course, it’s through Imagekind, which means you can purchase a print if you like it.

Overall, though, it proves just how important it is to keep testing your stuff when things are working properly. If you check your stuff and your dashboard is having problems, deactivate AIO SEO to see if that resolves anything. Then decide what you’d prefer to do afterwards.

Sounds True, Inc.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell

All In One SEO – Testing

On occasion I’ve mentioned this WordPress plugin called All In One SEO. It’s supposed to help blogs with their search engine optimization goals. I first added the plugin back in May, I believe, so it’s had some time to do its thing with posts after that. Let’s see how things have gone for me.

I figure that a good month to look at is August. We know that there was a page rank update in late September, and since I’d been running the program for a few months at that point, it should have been able to do something with some of those posts, or so I’m thinking.

What do we find? Unfortunately, at this point I’m not a good endorsement for the program. Out of 16 posts for the month, 15 of those posts are totally unranked. One of the posts is ranked at 0 out of 10, which is supposedly better than being totally unranked, but not by much.

I do know how to use the All In One SEO program. For those unfamiliar with it, you have the option of leaving areas blank and letting the program take over, or adding in some words and having the program help to enhance whatever you’ve stated. The three areas you get to write something in are Title, Description, and Keywords. If you leave them blank, the program is supposed to take care of it for you, though I’m not sure how it knows what to do.

Anyway, I thought that was somewhat interesting, but I wanted to try to be even more fair. So I went through all the posts for both June and July, and even thought to take a look at September, when comment started to grow. Nothing, nada, zip. I really wasn’t expecting anything for September, but one would think that at least one of my posts would have even a zero; nope.

Now, what I have done is gone into Google and looked up some of my titles, and they do show up on the search engines. But since I write my titles, one would expect that they’d show up, so that’s not really much of a test.

What does this tell me? Is the All In One SEO program at fault because it’s not doing what I was hoping it would do, or am I at fault for not purposely taking more time in making sure that whatever I’m writing about has lots of keywords to help it generate them? In other words, am I supposed to write keyword rich content for SEO purposes to help the program help me do the same thing? Isn’t that kind of like cleaning up the house before the cleaning lady arrives?

One more caveat. I agree with my friend Sire that page rank isn’t all that some people want to make it out to be. SEO tactics obviously may not always result in high page rankings, and that’s not really the purpose either. If your page is ranked badly but you still get visitors, that’s always a much more important metric. Still, I do go to some blogs where a post has a page rank, so I’m thinking it’s not supposed to be impossible. At least my site has a page rank of 3, so I’ll accept that for the time being.

Just wondering if my expectations of All In One SEO are legitimate, and, as a last thought, did I say the name All In One SEO enough times to get a page rank on this one?
 

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