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Sunday, 20 December 2009

WordPress and Search Engine Optimization

For some years now, Internet marketing gurus have been preaching that static websites are a thing of the past and everyone hoping to profit from free search engine traffic should build their websites using a WordPress blog.

I hate to let the cat out of the bag, and if you want to build any websites in my markets I hope you ignore this article, but in my opinion this is not true.

First of all, if Google loves blogs just because they're blogs, you'd think they'd give first priority to Blogger blogs, because they own Blogger. But they don't.

Granted, WordPress is a lot niftier than Blogger. It has an enormous range of plugins and themes. No serious blogger should use anything except WordPress. But there's no intrinsic reason why a WordPress blog should automatically be preferred by Google for its search rankings.

At this point, WordPress advocates point out that WordPress has plugins to optimize your blog for the search engines. The most well-known one allows you to adjust your post names, and modify the title tag and put in the keyword and description meta tag.

Fine -- but you do that with a static web page. In fact, planning your directory structure and names pages and so on is a heck of a lot easier than customizing the All in One SEO plugin.

Yes, there's a Google sitemap plugin. But you can do that for your website automatically with online software.

Personally, I think that what Google loves is WordPress blogs that stay on one theme or topic. If you love cats and so every day you blog about cats and information about cats and nothing else but cats, then Google can analyse your blog and see that it's about cats. You'll rank well for cat keywords because you stick to that subject, not because you're using WordPress.

However, if you write about your pet cat today, and tomorrow about a movie you watched and next week about your girlfriend breaking up with you... then Google sees that your blog is not focused on anything and you won't rank for anything despite being a WordPress blog.

Most websites aren't so personal, but most are not organized well, and that's why they don't do as well as they could. For example, my website on computer careers contains a lot of pages on various computer subjects and technologies, but I didn't organize the directories. I piled articles on programming languages on top of operating systems on top of hardware on top of database terms. When one directory had about 100 pages, I started another one.

The one advantage WordPress has is the ability of visitors to interact with your site and leave comments. If that is important to your business model, then you need a blog.

But if you just want to put up a small site on a tightly defined subject so you can make money, static sites are easier and, I believe, just as effective. You'll rank as well as your onpage optimization and off page links.

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