Training

Optimizing your site for Search Engines

Take the First Step.

The first step to properly using the Genesis SEO settings is to make sure that your site is on a responsible upgrade path. Make sure that you have the most current versions of WordPress and Genesis. If you are not on a proper upgrade path you may miss out on the most recent changes. Missing out on those changes will not help your SEO efforts.

Another important first step is to be sure that you have set up your website with Google Webmaster Tools. At a very basic level Google Webmaster Tools will inform you of any errors that have occurred while crawling your site (if you’re not sure what that means I recommend this Youtube video of Google’s Matt Cutts explaining how Google Works). If there is an error that means that there is something that is broken withing your site and Webmaster Tools will direct you to the error.

Importance of the URL

The URL is a very important aspect of your SEO efforts. Please refer to Steve Slater’s blog post on vimm.com regarding the importance of the URL.

SEO Settings

WordPress and the Genesis framework provide an excellent technical approach to SEO. Remember that creating original and unique content is the cornerstone to SEO success. You will also want to make sure that the content is sharable on social channels. Below you will find an outlined screen shot of the Genesis settings. Hopefully this will help you with the technical aspects of the SEO settings.

theme-seo-settings

Document Title – Also known as the title tag. This is very important element in SEO settings. What you put here should appear in 3 places. Browser tabs (on certain internet browsers.) Search Results Page as the title to your post. And finally, Websites that link to you will use your title tag as the link anchor text. Use a max of 70 characters.

Meta Description – The Meta Description may be used by search engines to summarize your post. Keep in mind, if there is a more relevant piece of content in your post search, engines may use an actual piece of your content instead of the Meta Description. The best practice for this section is to keep your content to 150-160 characters and write compelling copy that would drive users to click on your post.

Meta Keywords – The SEO impact of this field is often up for debate. I advise using no more than 10 keywords or phrases that are directly related to the content of your post.

Canonical URL – This is more of an advanced setting. If you have two places on your site where this content appears this is the place where you tell search engines which URL is the most important location.

Custom Redirect URL – If you need to redirect traffic from the URL of this post to another URL. For example: if you have two sites merging together and need to redirect traffic to a new URL.

Robots Meta Settings – Customize these settings to tell search engine robots what to do.

Checking noindex tells search engines not to index this post (meaning your content won’t be found on Google). This is best used for archived pages.

Checking nofollow tells search engines not to follow links from this page (meaning that you are not vouching for links that leave this page). Best used for forums where spammers may post malicious links.

Checking noarchive tells search engines not to archive the content on your page (meaning your page won’t be found on Google).