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WP SEO Tips: Design like a robot

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March 12th, 2007
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WordPress Tips

This article will be focused on how SEO should be a focus when designing a theme (for those that really care about the search engine traffic).

Why should I design with SEO in mind?

Think of a robot as the same thing as a human visitor. What’s the first thing it’s going to see? This article is going to be a little shorter and to the point. When you’re designing a theme, put the key links and elements you want a search engine to see, up in the top part of the theme.

Here are two examples of good usage of header space (in the HTML, not in the actual design):

http://cutline.tubetorial.com/ | view-source
http://www.ginside.com/200..yword-search/ | view-source

So what do these two examples do well? Exactly that. Both of these examples put the head links in the portion of the HTML which tells the search engines “hey, these are some great links to crawl first…so before going anywhere else, go here please.” I’ve tested these practices out with various sites I run and I’ve seen dramatic traffic differences when structuring the HTML this way.

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12
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Comments

  1. Michael Visser (3 comments.) says:

    I’m very skeptical about generating traffic by placing links within the header of a document. Seems counter-intuitive as SE’s can read pages fine without being spammed further.

    I’ve created an open Google Webmasters thread discussing this approach:
    http://groups.google.com/group.....890e21dc28

    Feel free to join in and comment.

  2. patung says:

    The second example is appalling, so much useless junk, – css, links to js and multiple css files, javascript, pingback, content=”noarchive, google-analytics, etc. Hideous.

  3. Jenny (1 comments.) says:

    im lost….im so n00b and that was way to short…:(

  4. Jonathan (81 comments.) says:

    Eh, I’ve been focusing on the body lately. For instance, on my site each article and page title gets the H1, and the site name moves to the sidebar and assumes an H3 (H2 is the sub-title, and there are sometimes H3’s in the article/page content). Thinking out loud here, I could make the site name an H2 with subsequent headers in the sidebar being H3’s. Grey area, this header thing.

  5. Jonathan (83 comments.) says:

    Patung: The second example has yet to be cleaned up further, but web crawlers (robots) don’t look at the < head > information at all really, it’s what is in the < body > tags.

  6. Sonambulist says:

    Have you missed the point? Both of these are nothing more than source ordered as most good coders would do without a thought.

    More SEO snake oil and spanish fly!

  7. Jonathan (83 comments.) says:

    Sonambulist: “most good coders.” So how did those coders get to be “good coders”? Reading, trying, and learning. That’s the point of these articles. To help teach others how to be better at coding and learning how to do SEO better.

    You may be a “good coder” already, but that’s not everyone else.

  8. Michael Visser (3 comments.) says:

    This is a bad move, here’s the verdict from Google Webmasters Help:

    “I’m reasonably certain that the SEO benefit, if any, is very small.
    Time is better spent elsewhere.” – Phil Payne

    “It won’t help more than good site navigation or a sitemap page on the
    site would. If the spider can find a page from the site navigation
    and/or a sitemap, it doesn’t need multiple links within the site.” cass-hacks

    “Reminds me of Daron’s spider trap 1999-2001 or so … didn’t turn out
    to be effective considering thousands of sites disappearing from the
    SERPs once Matt spotted the technique. Illumini, that’s not really
    comparable but the intent is equal. Don’t trick the engines, optimize
    for users. There is no such thing as a working SEO shortcut discussed
    anywhere on the net.” – Sebastian

  9. Jonathan (83 comments.) says:

    I fail to see why that makes it a “bad move.” But thank you for your contribution.

  10. Jonathan (83 comments.) says:

    Keep a watch out for next week’s article, it’s a good one (yes, much better than this one, sorry if you didn’t think this article was up to par)



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