WordPress SEO Made Simple with HeadSpace
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:
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.