WordPress SEO Made Simple with HeadSpace

Our host today is Andrew Kolyvas. If you're interested in getting in front of the readers of Site Sketch 101, check out our guest posting invitation here.

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This is final part in my series of posts discussing the advanced usage of HeadSpace 2 SEO plugin for WordPress. If you have not yet familiarized yourself with HeadSpace, now is the time to do it.

Discover the power of HeadSpace SEO plugin by exploring its features in SEO Tips & Tricks for Your WordPress Blog. After that review the basic installation and setup guide is in Supercharged SEO: A Guide to HeadSpace 2.

Now it’s time to really dive in and begin using the advanced features of the HeadSpace 2 plugin. Before we begin please be aware that this guide is only to instruct you on the possibilities and available options for this plugin. It is not intended as a how-to guide on SEO.

Plan For SEO Success

Before even considering the what, where, how and, why of the plugin usage, the first task you must take on is to plan your site. This means reviewing your theme, making certain that it contains all of the required elements and styling to make the most of the monster SEO plugin.

The first thing that you need to check is your site structure. Site structure simply relates to the way that the different areas of your site, such as menus, the category and archive pages, and so on, are styled and how much, or how little information is presented on the page.

Why Site Structure Is Vital To Your SEO Success?

In short, it will save you a lot of pain later on. What I mean by this is that with a poorly constructed site structure you will very quickly wind up with duplicate content.

Most people tend to only think of duplicate content as the body text on the page. However Google looks at all the associated parts that make up a page such as titles, and descriptions, as well as the body. These associated parts of you page will not get as big a penalty as duplicate page content, but get enough of them and the result is the same. Your pages that once ranked #1 will be ranked #41, #91. These are the default Google penalty boxes.

Understand WordPress and Site Structure

So let’s delve a little deeper into WordPress to discover why this is so important.

WordPress by design has many positive SEO implications all on it’s own without the use of any SEO plugin. In fact, it is possible to get good rankings with no plugins, simply because of the amazing job that WordPress developers have done.

But there is an equally massive downside. What a lot of people, particularly those not familiar with the WordPress platform is that by design, if you use the wrong theme, you could actually end up with 5 copies of the same page.

Say for example you have a page with the permalink of this-post. With a poorly designed theme here are the possibilities:

http://site.name/this-post
http://site.name/page-number/this-post
http://site.name/category/some-category/this-post
http://site.name/archive/da/te/
http://site.name/author/this-post

So if you remember back to the previous post I wrote, I advised to use a permalink structure of %postname%. Hopefully now you can see why. But it goes a little further than this. You must ensure that no matter how a visitor navigates to any post or page that only a single instance of the permalink is available. Without making certain of this, no plugin or other action you take can save your from duplicate content. So you should now see why site structure is so important.

Let HeadSpace Do The Work For You

Once you have a good site structure it’s time to start working with HeadSpace 2. There are really only 2 times to do anything. Once when you initially setup your global default from the Page Settings page, and after that when you write your posts.

Using the dynamic data features of HeadSpace though is where it’s all at. Let first take a look at the title META data for non changing pages such as the archives. Using other SEO plugins you would have to set this data up for each and every page, or suffer the consequences of duplicate data in your META tags. Then also consider if you blog has more than 10 pages of archives. You could potentially have 10 instances of the same META data, 1 instance for each page.

Now consider how you might use HeadSpace to handle this. Lets assume you have 10 pages of archives. Open your site settings page and expand the Archives section. In the title field you might use something like:

%%sitename%% > Archives for %%date%% > %%page%%

This would result in a Title of:

My Site > Archives for September 2009 >Page 1 of 10

So as you can see this is pretty powerful. By using the variable %%page%% you can totally eliminate any duplicate titles for any of the archives. For instance, with 10 pages of archives, if you didn’t use the %%page%% variable you would end up with the same title for every page. This is exactly what you don’t want.

So how would you then apply this to the META description? Simply apply a similar strategy. Let say that right now your archive META description says: View the archives of My Site. You already know the problem. Right? You have duplicate META descriptions for every archive page you have on your site.

But what if you did this with HeadSpace:

View the archives for %%sitename%%, %%date%%, %%page%%

That’s going to look a whole lot better to Google. Do you see the result yet? If not here it is:

View the archives for My Site, September 2009, Page 1 of 10

Voila! No more duplicate META titles or description for you entire site. Are you starting to really see the power of HeadSpace now?

Let me tell you that when I first discovered the power of this my head started to spin. My Webmaster tools show countless numbers of duplicate META data and I just could not find any solution to it for a WordPress blog. Now with the ease and power of HeadSpace2 I’ve totally eliminated that issue.

You should repeat this process for every Page Setting module in HeadSpace. It will take some time to get through but as you can see it is time well spent. You won’t even have to do anything in webmaster tools except to wait for the spider to recrawl your pages and update Googles index.

While you’re there add your keywords and setup which areas of your site you want the spider to follow links on. With the proper site structure there is in fact no reason not to follow any part of your site.

If you read I Stopped Using Nofollow & You Should Too on this site, then you know how the page rank is divided up amongst all the links on the page and anything that is nofollow will drop that page rank altogether.

Until now it was common practice to nofollow your archives, categories and author pages. It was also common to noindex those parts of your site in order to avoid those duplicate content issues.

With HeadSpace 2 you can now index and follow virtually your entire site. What’s the advantage of that? You’re moving page rank around more parts of your own site and not sending it out to other sites. Nicholas recently wrote about deep linking so I won’t rehash that information here, but it’s important to know that you will now be deep linking your site from every other page on your site.

It just doesn’t get any better than that. In fact some people have paid literally thousands of dollars to SEO experts to perform this type of page rank sculpting. Why pay for something like that when HeadSpace will do it all for free, and with out you needing to be an SEO expert?

How Can Marketers Get Even More Value From HeadSpace?

If you’re an internet marketer then you’ve probably already got more than a dozen websites all promoting different products. You may also have pages on your blog for these promotions. If you’re like me then you’ll want to have a unique page design for each of these pages. But how do you do that without having all those other elements that are built into your WordPress theme?

Use HeadSpace of course. It really doesn’t need a lot of explaining either but it does take a tiny bit of work. Simply create a completely unique theme that is suited to your product promotion. So for instance you’ll probably get rid of the sidebar, and you’ll likely have a totally different looking header and page layout.

Just create a new page in WordPress. Write your copy and format it to suit your offer, including all those things like call to action, testimonials, and your add to cart link.

Now just simply select the theme you want to apply to the sales page from the HeadSpace settings, decide if you want it indexed and/or followed and publish your page.

Voila! You now have a totally unique looking page that is still part of your WordPress blog but has it’s own perfect look and feel that can drive more sales for your product. Why not even register a new domain and simply redirect that domain to the page?

As you can see, with HeadSpace 2 the options are limitless. Do more, not only for SEO but for your marketing as well. Not only that, you’ll do it in far less time, and without the excess costs of experts or multitudes of websites or hosting providers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed, learned and been motivated to kick your own blog and sales pages into the next gear by using HeadSpace 2. It really is an SEO plugin on steroids.

SEO Tips & Tricks For Your WordPress Blog

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65 Vibrant Comments

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  1. September 23, 2009

    ZXT said:

    I’m having this problem in my plug in page inside WordPress admin.

    Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 155072 bytes)

    Is this related to Headpace2? How would I know which plug in doing this?


    • September 23, 2009

      Adam Haney said:

      That could mean that head space is taking up too much memory or that all of your plug ins combined are requiring too much memory. You should be able to adjust the amount of memory PHP scripts are given in your .htaccess file just add this line:

      php_value memory_limit 32M


      • September 23, 2009

        ZXT said:

        Yeah maybe that was it. I’ve tried to install Headspace using the search “term” inside WordPress and it did that. But when I downloaded it from a site and installed using the upload option then it installs without a problem.


        • September 23, 2009

          Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

          ZXT –> I had that same issue with another plugin and it fixed it by installing it through the upload option.


          • September 23, 2009

            Andrew said:

            Wow that’s crazy, I’ve never had that happen. I must just be lucky I guess.

            Perhaps you should run some diagnostics on your server and monitor just how much of your allocated memory is being used.

            It sounds as though you border lining it even with installing a plugin, just running WP could be peaking close to memory limits.


          • September 25, 2009

            ZXT said:

            Actually this is the third time it happened to me. Twice when installing thru the Term search option and once with the plug in update.

            I deactivated a couple of plug ins then the plug in update went through.

            I only have less than a dozen plug ins activated, is this excessive enough? How many plug ins do you have Nick?


            • September 25, 2009

              Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

              ZXT –> I run way more than most people recommend…but my server can handle it and I have a caching program so the front end load time shouldn’t be compromised. I actually have 32 active plugins right now. You probably need to switch to a better hosting provider.


            • September 25, 2009

              Andrew said:

              ZXT, if you’ve deactivate plugins and then it started working then that’s a good indication that it’s either a PHP or a MySQL memory issue.


        • September 23, 2009

          Ron Boracay said:

          Or maybe, it’s just a wordpress glitch, which is very common anyway.


          • September 24, 2009

            Andrew said:

            Ron you could be right about that but the only realy way to know is to check what is happening and it would only take a couple of minutes to do it.

            Maybe its just me but I hate guess work. I’m just far too analytical.


            • September 25, 2009

              Ron Boracay said:

              Yeah. Test and running some analytical tests can help you figure out what went wrong.


            • September 25, 2009

              ZXT said:

              Andrew would you kind enough to tell me how to do that test in a couple of minutes? Thanks in advance.


              • September 25, 2009

                Andrew said:

                ZXT. I’m not going to be able to go into great detail because it’s a big topic.

                Some things to do is check your log files. You’ll need shell access and an SSH client. Log into your server and review /var/log/messages and also review you httpd-error log. Sometimes php errors are redirected there.

                Also create a phpinfo page and review the allocated and used memory. To do this just create a php page in your root directory. In that file add this line:

                You’ll see a lot of data but you’ll want to focus on memory usage.

                Finally log into your mysql manager and check the memory allocation and usage there as well. If your using PHPMyAdmin you can just review the environment page to find out what MySQL is doing.


  2. September 23, 2009

    Digigirl said:

    Wow! Great information. I will definitely be spending some time messing with these settings. Thanks for taking the time to explain some of the intricacies of this plugin to us non-SEO experts!


    • September 23, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Digigirl –> Me too. Andrew convinced me to switch to this plugin here at Site Sketch 101 and I feel like I’m still playing with the bubble wrap. I can’t wait for Google to get a hold of my content on here!


      • September 23, 2009

        Andrew said:

        Nicholas, have you been able to configure all your options and data the way you want it?

        Don’t hesitate to ask for help or advice.


        • September 24, 2009

          Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

          Andrew –> It’s one of those things where I think I have it all set up right and so now I’m going to wait a week or two and then check my Google Webmaster Tools account and see if they have any duplicate content issues or anything. And that will allow me to see what keywords I can drill more specifically down into.


    • September 23, 2009

      Andrew said:

      Hi Digigirl I’m sure with a little thought and some planning you’ll quickly take things from the ‘messing’ around stage to the ‘I’ve got it’ stage.

      With so many options available fro dynamic data you can do just about anything with this.


  3. September 23, 2009

    Arisu said:

    Awww. it´s over yet? I know I could have used a couple of more tips, but I guess that now your available to be bothered with questions.

    Thanks for the posts and letting us all know about HeadSpace, is a really great plugin for wordpress.


    • September 23, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Arisu –> He’s the type of guy that will do whatever he can to answer your questions. I’ve been chatting with him on skype just a little bit and he’s really been providing some great feedback for me and my site. I’m sure he’ll be glad to answer your questions on here.


      • September 23, 2009

        Arisu said:

        Yeah, I know 😉 Good thing is everything works ok for now so no need to bother Andrew for now.

        But I do am overwhelmed with all the options HS2 has… I guess I should take it step by step. And I guess everything gets complicated with the content factor XD


        • September 23, 2009

          Andrew said:

          Just try not to over complicate what Google has already made a complex topic.

          Start with a site structure that works well for content, then allow HeadSpace to simplify it by handling all that ‘grunt’ work.


    • September 23, 2009

      Andrew said:

      Arisu, let me know what other things you want to know about and I’ll do my best to answer.

      As I said in the very first review post, I could go on and on about this plugin simply because there is so much to it. I had to be mindful of readers though and selected the most important information and concepts to cover.

      I hope I’ve satisfied.


      • September 28, 2009

        Arisu said:

        The one thing that I just don´t get are Site Modules… I configured Google Analytics, but I have no idea of the others… are all for external webmaster tools? wich ones are the best or more useful?


        • October 2, 2009

          Andrew said:

          Arisu, sorry I’ve taken so long to respond.

          Most of them are, others are pretty self explanatory like ‘Google Webmaster’.

          A couple that might need explaining are:

          Frame Breaker is is used if people are using I-frame to copy your content.

          First Time Visitor is used to leave a message for people in the head or foot of your post.


  4. September 23, 2009

    Judith said:

    Andrew you have outdone yourself! This is great stuff to implement if one is serious about using every opportunity available to acquire better rankings. HeadSpace = opportunity!


    • September 23, 2009

      Andrew said:

      Judith thanks so much for that compliment. That’s quite a statement and I hope everyone who reads this feels the same way and gets a lot of value from it.


  5. September 23, 2009

    Ron Boracay said:

    Andrew, this is a really in depth far better explanation of HEadspace 2. I am really now convinced of its effectiveness.

    But, there are few questions that comes to my mind, that relates to the HS2 usage. Here are few of them:

    Is it better to noindex those page that web spiders or crawlers might flag as dup? Or just nofollow them?

    Also, I think, Matt Cutts answered some Page Rank Sculpting questions and he said that, it’s not that effective anymore. Although a large debate and discussion is still going on regarding that issue.


    • September 24, 2009

      Andrew said:

      Ron, good questions. Nofollow won’t do the job of preventing indexing of dup content but you’ll see a lot of stories about nofollow to avoid dup content. The only way is to noindex an area of your site either with the META from HS2 or with your robots.txt.

      As far as Matt Cutts goes, personally I find he speaks very cryptic. I find I often very closely analyse every word he says because he’s notorious for spreading disinformation.

      What I got from the video that I believe you’re referring to is not that it won’t help you anymore, rather that Google doesn’t want you to do it because in a sense it is manipulating the search results.

      This is apparent from his videos on nofollow dropping PR as well the page sculpting video. Hence the reason I am suggesting to work as hard as possible to follow as much of your site as possible and instead of dropping rank that would have once been redirected, just send it back into your site from a different path.


      • September 25, 2009

        Ron Boracay said:

        Thanks again for further explanation. I think, as much as possible, try to minimize using nofollow tags, instead, just redirect or put those followed links to a much more better location.


        • September 25, 2009

          Andrew said:

          Ron part of the reason I do like HS2 so much is that with good site structure we can do exactly what Matt Cutts wants us to do except that we do it on our terms.

          At least that’s my perspective on it.


          • September 25, 2009

            Ron Boracay said:

            Right! Matt Cutts seems pushing out too far with their algo’s now. And, thanks to those plugins, like HS2, we are getting better and better.


  6. September 24, 2009

    lindsay said:

    Just an FYI
    Google made a statement today that META TAGS MEAN NOTHING> Literally, they came right out and said, dont bother, we dont pay any attention
    ““Our web search (the well-known search at Google.com that hundreds of millions of people use each day) disregards keyword metatags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present.”

    LINK


    • September 24, 2009

      Arisu said:

      Well, Google doesn´t, what about Yahoo or Bing?

      I don´t want to worry about meta tags if they ain´t worth it, but I also don´t think Google is the only search engine around.


      • September 24, 2009

        Reza Winandar said:

        Yes, some people use search engine that not famous, like searchengine.com, or maybe ask.com. But still Google is the best around the web nad now it is hard to beat Google because people knows how to beat it.


        • September 25, 2009

          Andrew said:

          Reza Winandar, what you say is correct to the extent that Google is the biggest engine and has the most market share however there is a perceived misconception about the whole thing.

          If you dig deeper into the search habits of that market what you soon see is that Google only dominates when it comes to searching for general information.

          Yahoo is still by far th worlds largest portal site and when people want to find ways around the www they look to Yahoo.

          MSN/Bing however has the most shoppers, so if you want to sell products or services then MSN/Bing is the place to be.

          Understanding your own market, the search habits of that market and your own objectives are also key indicators of how you need to approach search.


      • September 25, 2009

        Ron Boracay said:

        Right Arisu, Yahoo, Bing and other smaller SE’s seems to still depend (although not much) on the meta data, mostly the keywords and description of your site. So, best practices is, fill those meta’s with important information.


        • September 25, 2009

          Andrew said:

          Ron I would agree with that approach. Until we know for certain that ALL engines are ignoring the keyword META tag then use all the resources you have available.

          Google may be the biggest and have a large market share, but you don’t go to a Ford if dealership if you want to buy a Ferrari! The same theory can be applied here as well. Understand your market and their habits and you’ll know which search engine you need to be targeting.


          • September 25, 2009

            Ron Boracay said:

            Nice follow up!. Still, fill those meta’s with the most important information about yoursite or your product. Although google won’t be counting those as a ranking hint, but it will help you out in terms of your CTR rate.

            People still scan the SERP’s. Your site that have a good meta desc but placed on the 7th position at first page of google might have higher CTR than those at the top which, do have nonsense desc.

            I have seen those instances many times.


            • September 25, 2009

              Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

              Ron Boracay –> That’s exactly right. And I’ve been working recently to develop my descriptions and titles to be more attractive to real people who are viewing the Search Engine results while at the same time working to incorporate my desired keywords. I write for the people first and then for the search engines.


              • September 25, 2009

                Ron Boracay said:

                And I am also working on that thing too Nick.

                It won’t take too much time until, those web spiders, especially google owned bots, becomes more and more smarter, just like a normal visitor.

                So writing for people first really pays off in the long run.

                And, CTR plays a little prior to search engine ranking factors.


    • September 25, 2009

      Andrew said:

      Thanks for that link Lindsay. I think we need to clarify though that this relates ONLY to keyword META tags, and that title and description is still relevant.

      As they said in the article though, this has been known for many years now, but the difference here is that Google has finally stated it. Although I seem to remember them making a similar statement maybe 2 or 3 years ago.

      Either way though all other engines, as far as anyone has been able to tell, do still use them so it’s still worth putting them in there.

      But you might notice that my articles didn’t really focus on keywords at all, and this is the reason why.


      • September 25, 2009

        ZXT said:

        Yeah I thought at first all Meta tags were not important to Google.

        But yes Google maybe the biggest SE but of course everyone wants to maximize their presence so I guess continue to use those Meta tags for other search engines ranking.


  7. September 25, 2009

    RobertK said:

    Hi Andrew,
    It’s me again!

    just wanted to thank you for your prompt respond to my question yesterday, All I can say is WOW for this wealth of information.

    Andrew, I am a pretty simple man (with emphasis on simple more than pretty).
    You said we should put this
    (View the archives for %%sitename%%, %%date%%, %%page%%) in every “Page Setting module” in HeadSpace. Does that include the (global settings), (Home Page),(Front Page), (Taxnomy Archives),(Search pages),(404 page), (Attachment Pages), (Login Pages)

    I sort’a understand putting it the others, such as categories and archives and tags but just wanted to make sure and to make sure I understand, you recommend to go in every single (Page Settings) and include the above string in the description box, replace (view the archives) with (View the categories) or (view attachments), etc..??

    This stuff is pretty interesting, if all this stuff works, then it’s definitely worth the time and effort put into it. I’ll find out in couple of days.

    Thank you,


    • October 2, 2009

      Andrew said:

      Hi Robert, I thought I replied to this one already. Maybe a my comment got lost.

      Anyway, no I wasn’t saying to do that in every module, I just gave an example of how you could use the dynamic data to ensure that each page title and description was unique. The example was just for the archives section.

      There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to your description other than make it compelling and worth clicking on.


  8. October 2, 2009

    Ron Boracay said:

    Allright, I think I setup hs2 well in my blog; http://www.ronleyba.com

    Until:

    Bam, my post title is looks like really not fine.

    Please help!


    • October 2, 2009

      Ron Boracay said:

      Ow, just fix things up now. Seems like its a theme issue/problem. Changed my theme into a simple one and all works perfect (I think.).


    • October 2, 2009

      ZXT said:

      Whats wrong with it Ron? Can’t find anything unusual.


  9. January 26, 2010

    Chris Sinclair said:

    I really don’t know now to call out headpace function with my theme
    I figured out how to call out the title but not the description and keywords
    my site is http://www.forceonesecurity2.com and the header tag is below.
    Can you help me…


    • January 28, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Chris Sinclair » I’m glad that you connected with me on Skype and that we worked out a solution for this.


  10. February 1, 2010

    Bob said:

    First, thanks Andrew for the very informative series. Just read the whole thing and it helps a lot, esp. since documentation on the urbangiraffe site (Headspace home) is quite thin.

    I have a few questions tough. You wrote to put
    wp_title(”);
    First, it shows one double quotation mark in the parenthesis. Is that correct? Second, in my header.php, both of my theme and the WordPress default theme, it doesn’t say
    wp_title();
    but
    wp_title(‘«’, true, ‘right’);
    Should I replace everything inside the parenthesis?

    One question about the blog: I can’t find a date on any of your posts. Pretty much the only way to find out when they were written is to look at when the first comments were posted. Is that intentional?


    • February 1, 2010

      Andrew said:

      Glad you liked it and found the information you needed.

      I am partly to blame for the thin documentation since I am still in the process of finishing a complete doco. It’ll be posted on my marketing blog as well as the authors site once completed.

      Now to those questions:

      1: It’s 2 single quotes, not double.
      2: Your assumption is correct (just remember the single quotes). All the rest of the stuff in there is just for formatting the title. eg: &laquo produces the less than sign “<" to ne used as a separator. You will use Headspace to create separators and what not from here on in.
      3: This blog belongs to Nicholas Cardot and while I cannot speak for him, I do believe that the date thing is intentional.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: How To Digg Your Way to The Front Page =-.


  11. August 19, 2010

    Randie said:

    Fyi only- the “I Stopped Using Nofollow & You Should Too” link on this page is broken.


  12. January 6, 2011

    Dallas said:

    Thanks for this easy to read discussion… using headspace2 now but not sure how to put it to work.
    Cheers


  13. March 28, 2011

    Danny Michel said:

    I’m getting duplicate meta description tags for attachment pages. any way I can use the attachment name as the description? what’s recommended for attachment pages?


  14. September 2, 2011

    Steve said:

    Just installed headspace, thanks for the great article and advice!




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