Friday, December 17, 2010

Top five SEO Wordpress Plugins for 2011

I have been chatting to a bunch of people recently who are setting up websites in Word Press and want to know which plug-ins I use. So to save me having to list them out every time someone asks, here’s a post that lists my Top 5 Plug-ins for SEO. Of course there’s plenty more out there, but these are the ones that fall into my “Must Have” SEO plug-in list.

All-in-One SEO Pack: This is the top plug-in that any half decent SEO specialist will recommend for WordPress. It literally works straight out of the box (metaphorically) and is easy enough for beginners while giving more experienced SEO practitioners enough options to refine their approach. The plug-in provides a range of handy SEO functions which include auto page titling and meta data, avoid common duplicate content issues, navigational link management and more.

Google XML Sitemaps: Sitemaps are a proven tool in improving a sites indexing performance in Google, Yahoo! and Bing. This handy plugin creates the XML sitemap automatically and alerts search engines when new content is created. It also creates a priority for your posts based on the number of comments it receives saving you the time of adjusting them manually.

SEO Smart Links: Internal linking within a website or blog can have a dramatic impact on rankings. This plug-in does the hard work for you – identifying specific search terms within your website and linking them to relevant pages or content.

SEO Friendly Images: How often do website owners forget to add “alt tags” to their images? Given they’re a proven way to boost the keyword density of content, this plug-in ensures you don’t miss an opportunity with any of your images.

Redirection: Websites are constantly evolving. Changing pages and removing content is an ongoing part of this process. The redirection plug-in helps you manage your website’s page redirects ensuring URLs don’t end up on 404 pages and more importantly so that you can ensure the link juice for discontinued pages is redirected elsewhere.

There is some other great plug-ins for pulling in relevant content, adding tags and leveraging your comments, plus much more – but as a bare essential, every word press website or blog should have five plug-ins I have listed above to boost its SEO performance.

If you have any other essential SEO wordpress plugins you use, share them below.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quality Score Bug Hits Google Ad-Words Accounts

Are you a Google AdWord advertiser suffering from sleepless nights due to a sudden poor quality score from Google? Well you can rest assured you’re not doing anything wrong. There’s a glitch in the AdWords quality program – a ‘score bug’ is affecting your AdWords reports.

Every Google adword advertiser knows the importance of getting a good quality score from Google as their cost per click prices depend solely on this score. With a bad quality score your CPC prices will inflate and will force you to bid a higher price which is not good news during the holiday season.

About three weeks ago Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Land reported on a similar problem that hit Google AdWords creating turmoil for many advertisers by giving them poor quality score reports overnight. At the time, a Google representative assured all advertisers that the problem had been solved but it seems the bug is back again.

Here is the latest statement issued by Google on the AdWords Help forum:

It is understood that what is being described here is what appears to be a similar but separate issue that folks started seeing on Friday evening, November 19th. Engineering is taking a look into this, as a priority – and I will report back in this thread when I know more. In the meantime, my apology for the inconvenience and upset this issue has caused you.

So a word of caution to all Google advertisers would be that if you see any such sudden drops in your quality score reports Do Not Panic! As you just might have been become the latest victim of this bug which is only impacting reporting, not actual scores.

We are now waiting for a final word from Google confirming that the bug has been fixed and will update this post once that happens.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Did Google’s Indexing Issue Hide a Secret Ranking Update?

Almost a month ago we wrote about a major Google indexing issue that prevented thousands of new pages from being included in Google search results. Mostly impacting blogs, the Google bug prevented new content from being indexed across a whole range of sites including our own blog and major sites like

Shortly after reporting the issue, a Google representative stepped in and confirmed they were experiencing a problem. On October 25, Google reported that the issue had been fixed, stating that content from the 19th-24th October would be reindexed again shortly.

After further investigation of the issue there is a possibility that Google made a tweak to their ranking algorithms around this time. According to a blog post on Alexa, sometime around October 21st, they noticed a change in traffic for a number of websites. A quote and screenshot from the post can be seen below:

There’s also a 14 page discussion on Webmaster World with a number of other users also seeing changes in their rankings and Google traffic. There have been discussions around the impact on long tail keywords, but it’s tough to confirm the exact nature of this update.