Social SEO for Christmas?

We got back from Ex’s parents yesterday evening after the traditional family meal to celebrate the 1st Advent. It was good to get together with all the family again and I think that seeing Kathrines (Ex’s niece) enthusiasm for Christmas reminded me what Christmas is all about again.

I was too tired when we returned yesterday after two full days of eating and drinking to even think about work, and today has been spent (so far) hanging new decorations and in the annual hunt for a nice Christmas tree. I refuse to have one of the plastic ones. They look crap, and the real ones smell so lovely. The pine needles all over the place are a small price to pay for that smell.

Last week Andy Beard took me to task (via email) for not running a tight ship on my blog in terms of SEO, especially when I own a company that does just that. Well, as I explained to Alex, I don’t let anybody from the company near my blog because it’s my personal place. Also, as this is a personal blog, I haven’t been concerned with the SEO that much.

Still, Andy was (is) right so I’ve started to pull in the SEO reigns around here. The first thing I’ve done, which I did last week when Andy mentioned it was to recode the Sociable plugin so that all links to the social bookmarking sites all employ a rel=”nofollow” tag.

That single change alone should save nearly 50% of my pagerank from seeping off unnecessarily. I was going to write an article on how to modify the plugin but Andy beat me to it, and since I’m not a fan of re-inventing the wheel, I’ll just link to his excellent explanation.

I’ve also added rel=”nofollow” to all the links for subscribing to my RSS (XML) feed. Well, all is not accurate. I’ve not added it to the default one as I want that to have “Google Juice“, but I have added it to all the others.

Next on the list was how to deal with the list of bookmarks from services such as Digg.com and Del.icio.us. I’ve decided to create a new page for these, which I’ve called “Social“. It no lists the latest bookmarks from my Digg and Del.icio.us accounts, as well as my recent comments on other websites as tracked by coComment. The major problem with these listings is that the JavaScript you add to your site calls the output from their servers, and their is no way to modify the code on your side to include rel=”nofollow” tags. Placing the output from all these services allows me to list as many as I want without bleeding pagerank away from my posts.

My next objective which I’ll do as soon as I finish with this post, is to add in the appropriate keywords to the various pages on my blog. This is something that WordPress itself doesn’t handle well, but won’t be a problem to code. I could do it by calling a custom header.php for each page complete with their own set of keywords, but that’s a lot of unnecessary work ;) I’m using the Jerome’s Keywords plugin and that allows you to add the keywords to each page with ease.

One thing that is on my mind, I’m going to ask the real SEO gurus in the office about it tomorrow is, should I reverse the default WordPress behavior of putting the blog name before the post title in the “title” field. So instead of getting: Blog Name – Post title, I get Post Title- Blog Name. After all, it’s the post title that most people are interested in when they search on Google etc.

Maybe dropping the blog name from the title field on all posts would be even more effective. Of course, it couldn’t be dropped from the main page.

Comments

  1. says

    Yes, a Javascript that you run on your site. But when its run, the content it pulls from the server is indistinguishable from content generated by your site to the search engines. Take the content generated by Digg.com or coComment for example. You have no control over it and no way to reformat it to include a “nofollow” tag.
    Unless I’m missing something…

  2. Andy Beard says

    Hi Paul

    Thanks for the mentions

    Javascript is client side, so any links that are pulled from a server and displayed using javascript you don’t really have to worry about.

    If you were pulling in an RSS feed using something in PHP, then you might want to be more careful.

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