SMX Live: WordPress SEO

Mar 10, 2011 - 4:05 pm 2 by
Filed Under SMX West 2011

Live Blogging Coverage SMXBelow is live coverage of the WordPress SEO panel from the SMX West 2011 conference. This coverage is provided by Keri Morgret of Strike Models.

Disclaimer: The coverage is brought to you in real time, using a custom live blogging tool. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments for inclusion into the live coverage. During the live event, live notes will auto-scroll with newest entries at top. After the session is complete the archive version will have the oldest entries at the top. We ask you to please excuse any typos, as these are live notes.

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Keri Morgret: 1:16:21 pm
WordPress SEO
WordPress has morphed into a fully-featured alternative to traditional content management systems, with many web sites using it as a primary content publishing platform. But like other content management systems, WordPress isn’t always search engine friendly. This session explores how to deal with search engine optimization, scalability, security and other issues unique to WordPress.

Moderator: Matt McGee, Executive News Editor, Search Engine Land

Q&A Moderator: Chris Silver Smith, Director of Optimization Strategies, KeyRelevance


Sean Carlos, CEO, Antezeta Web Marketing
Joost de Valk, Search Strategist, Onetomarket
Rob Kerry, Head of Search, Ayima Search Marketing
Keri Morgret: 1:17:35 pm
We're up against Ask The Search Engines, which means the room isn't that full. Matt McGee does make a good point that it's ASK the search engines and doesn't imply that we'll get any ANSWERS from the engines.
Keri Morgret: 1:17:40 pm
Rob Kerry is up first.
Keri Morgret: 1:19:15 pm
Background about two types of Wordpress -- and He doesn't have much use for,, movable type. Large part is because there is so much spam.
Keri Morgret: 1:19:33 pm
From now on, I believe when we mention wordpress it will be the downloadable, self-hosted version.
Keri Morgret: 1:19:48 pm
WP is an easy to use CMS, doesn't have to be just a blog about kittens.
Keri Morgret: 1:20:11 pm
You can use Wordpress as an ecommerce platform [km -- I use this with our model warship combat site based in Wordpress]
Keri Morgret: 1:20:50 pm
Other uses: Q&A support platform. Gravity Forms and Wordpress! Answers are plugins that you can use for this.
Keri Morgret: 1:21:59 pm
Wordpress -- it won't get jealous.

You don't have to make it your entire site, you can have it in a subfolder or subdomain. Works on both linux and Windows, no matter what your IT department tries to tell you.

Ayima recommends using a subfolder setup.
- subfolders inherit the authority and trust of the root domain
- Google often treats subdomains as new and untrusted websites.
Keri Morgret: 1:24:11 pm
WP is good for Google news.

Easy platform to roll out for G News inclusion.
Change all references/links/URLs of "blog" to "news"
Rotate news article under three or more Wordpress usernames
Many WP themes have an "authors page" which can be used to prove you have multiple authors.

Use Google News friendly permalinks in Wordpress.
Keri Morgret: 1:24:23 pm
Don't trust all of the plugins that exist.
Keri Morgret: 1:25:00 pm
You're usually safe with the masses -- check reviews that other people have left.
Keri Morgret: 1:26:19 pm
Remember that Designers aren't SEOs.

Even if they make "seo friendly" WP themes, not necessarily so.

Make sure H1 tag is on homepage for descriptive title and not for logo.
Use WP minify to clean out comments from code, compress code, better for faster page load.
Keri Morgret: 1:27:52 pm
By default, the internal search result pages on Wordpress are indexable. Competitors can use this to negatively harm your site by posting links to these search pages using comment spam.

Adding hundreds of thousands of new pages to your site makes it hard for G to index properly.

Disallow:/*?s= into your robots.txt file
Keri Morgret: 1:28:25 pm
Oh fun, lots of code stuff to try to write down!
He's going over canonical tags.
Keri Morgret: 1:28:56 pm
I'm not going to be able to copy this in time.
Keri Morgret: 1:29:59 pm
Have you been drunk blogging? Even if you delete a post, Google will still make it hang around for awhile.

Use a 410 HTTP status code instead of 404.
redirect 410 /news/your-momma-is-so-fat.html

Use this in your .htaccess
Keri Morgret: 1:30:47 pm
Category hell and the spawn of Satan's archives!
So many different ways for a blog post and ton of categories to get indexed. Block this type of thing.
Keri Morgret: 1:31:13 pm
Sean Carlos is now up.
Keri Morgret: 1:34:25 pm
Apologies for out-of-order updates, having problems with wifi over here.
Keri Morgret: 1:34:38 pm
Always use the recent, if not the latest, WP version.
Keri Morgret: 1:35:05 pm
There is no 100% way to secure wordpress other than unplugging your server.
Keri Morgret: 1:35:58 pm
Change the default administrator account name from "admin".
Keri Morgret: 1:36:37 pm
Protect your WP admin area with a server-level password.
Keri Morgret: 1:37:49 pm
Rename your wordpress database tables. WP will still work, you've made your site less vulnerable to being compromised if something bad is going after default table names.
Keri Morgret: 1:38:10 pm
Remove version info from WP and plugins.
Keri Morgret: 1:38:39 pm
Hide PHP errors
Keri Morgret: 1:39:35 pm
change your password policy
connections: public wifi is not secure. Use secure FTP
Shared hosting: if hackers get into server, everything you've done may be in vain.
Keri Morgret: 1:40:27 pm
WP Security Scan -- let a plugin do the work for you. He himself hasn't used it, suggest you check out latest reviews.
Keri Morgret: 1:41:00 pm
He's going over a case study about search traffic dropping. He went into Google Webmaster Tools. No notice about being compromised, but no warning or information.
Keri Morgret: 1:42:11 pm
He typed in a query for a high-ranking page for that site. The problem is the page is now showing "buy viag---" in SERPs because Googlebot could see that content, but regular user would see the regular site.
Keri Morgret: 1:42:51 pm
Find the problem, then clean up your site. If you can find out when it was compromised and revert to a backup, that's usually the best solution.

If you can, figure out how site got compromised.
Keri Morgret: 1:44:02 pm
If your site was totally taken out of Google, you may want to do a manual reinclusion, though often Google will put it back in anyway after you clean it up.
Keri Morgret: 1:44:21 pm has more specific tips.
Keri Morgret: 1:45:11 pm
Next up will be Joost de Valk.
Keri Morgret: 1:46:48 pm
He usually copy/pastes slides then goes drinks beer.

Keri Morgret: 1:47:17 pm
He's giving us a background of what he's done in the past, including the popular post
Keri Morgret: 1:47:58 pm
This was all the plugins he was using when he started. He then did a plugin of his own to try to integrate things and make them play nice with each other.
Keri Morgret: 1:48:32 pm
Snippet Preview is one of the most important features of this, he feels. This shows as you are writing your post.
Keri Morgret: 1:49:37 pm
He gets a ton of comments that he doesn't have a place for meta keywords, and tells us in no uncertain terms to not spend our time on this.
Keri Morgret: 1:50:43 pm
He's going over his plugins and showing lots of screenshots. Some are available at
Keri Morgret: 1:52:41 pm
This shows the attachment URLs that get indexed. Use Yoast's plugin to fix.
Keri Morgret: 1:53:12 pm
He's added new stuff in his tools for WP 3.1 to take advantage of the admin bar.
Keri Morgret: 1:54:33 pm
Yoast is going back and telling the other speakers how his plugins will solve all the world's problems. [well, not quite, but he does have stuff to help them with things they highlighted]

Keri Morgret: 1:54:42 pm
Get rid of your cheap hosting!
Keri Morgret: 1:57:01 pm
Matt is making fun of the ask the search engine session, based on the twitter stream.
Keri Morgret: 1:57:21 pm
And it's Q&A time.
Keri Morgret: 1:57:59 pm
How many plugins are too many plugins?

Joost: not really such a thing. One plugin can be too much if it's a crappy plugin. He runs about 45 plugins on his blog. Pick them with care. There is a ton of crap out there.
Keri Morgret: 1:58:16 pm
If you can, get a php coder to review the plugin
Keri Morgret: 1:58:23 pm
Now it's time for dreamhost bashing.
Keri Morgret: 1:59:01 pm
Correction: more dreamhost bashing, there were bad comments previously as well. The problem is how they install so many plugins by default.
Keri Morgret: 2:01:05 pm
Question regarding Google's emphasis on dates on pages, should you suppress dates on pages.

Joost: reason he turned important articles on his sites into pages instead of posts.
Keri Morgret: 2:14:39 pm
And we're back! I was offline a bit due to server issues. We've gone over why cheap hosting is not good, several speakers don't like Thesis as a WP theme, plugins can slow things down. will have coverage of this session, as I'm sitting next to @lisabarone who has been writing up this session too.
Keri Morgret: 2:15:41 pm
And the session is over. One more session for the conference left.

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