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Jon Henshaw, co-creator of Raven Tools, presented on day 1 of Affiliate Summit in a session called, Supercharging WordPress for SEO. The session was jammed full of resources to help improve the search engine optimization of a WordPress blog, primarily via plug-ins.
To start, Jon explained how WordPress 3.0 now comes with the multi-user functionality previously created by WordPress MU. So running multiple blogs off of a single WP installation is now easier than before. Tools to enhance an MU WordPress set-up include
Jon then went on to discuss themes, and how powerful the Thesis theme is.
He then touched on HTML5 and its semantic mark-up with section elements, which are like comments within the HTML (not visible to the end user) that help spiders pick out the header, footer, nav, article, etc. within an HTML page. This feature of HTML5 sounds a bit like microformats, which help search engines read the content on a page, and understand what the content is about.
Jon then talked about many, many plug-ins, including ones for
The discussion then moved to permalink structure (use Custom: /%postname%/ – don’t worry about changing post titles or URIs, as WordPress will redirect appropriately) and then talked about speeding up WordPress.
Since page speed is now becoming a ranking factor (the primary reason I moved my hosting to Amazon EC2, and will be changing over to the Thesis theme), you should make sure your WordPress site is responding as quick as possible.
WP Total Cache is a powerful plug-in which will cache WordPress pages, so the data is pulled from a static file, instead of multiple database queries. Enabling Gzip compression will compress data coming out of the server, allowing it to transfer to the browser faster, and then automatically decompress and be displayed to the user. Google is a big fan of this!
Of course, if you have a popular blog, you’ll soon realize your content is being pulled from your RSS feed republished on other blogs. There’s a plug-in for this problem, which will give you a backlink from the auto-blog site back to yours.
A couple of other SEO plug-ins were covered, including Headspace and the All in One SEO Pack, but Jon warned that since these plug-ins do so much, if it breaks, a lot breaks with it.
Other plug-ins covered include:
- Scribe: analyze and improve content
- iFlickr / Photo Dropper plugins
- WordPress Video Plugin (be sure to create a Video sitemap)
- RSSdoodle: auto-creates digests from other sites
- cforms and Gravity Forms
At this point, Jon was going beyond SEO and I lost interest. The session was a good one to attend, but there were a lot of resources to write down. I think it would have worked better if he gave a single URL that listed all of the resources mentioned in the slides.
When the videos from Affiliate Summit are released, I encourage you to watch this session (if you had a Gold or higher pass). There were plenty of good ideas shared, and I’ll be using many of them to work on improving my blogs.
Great wrapup! I will be bookmarking this and looking at all the resources you linked to. Since we were manning the Raven Tools meet market table while he was talking we weren’t able to attend the session, so are looking forward to the video. I actually have Gravity Forms and haven’t set it up yet, and although not directly related to SEO it is a tool that will allow people to submit formatted guest posts and is supposed to be very easy to use to allow others to submit content to your blogs. Which increases your SEO value 🙂
Thanks for attending my session and for the write up.
Thanks for summarizing this session. It was one that I was interested in but couldn’t get to. It definitely sounds like it will be worth watching the video.
Cheers for the write up you’ve definitely sparked my interest in the Thesis theme. Sounds like a really worthwhile session.
Nicely summarized write-up, thanks!
I wasn’t able to make this aff summit and I was hoping for some good recapping like this. I’m bookmarking this post so I can refer back to it when I’m ready to optimize a couple of my blogs.
I use the Thesis theme but have not really gotten into how powerful it is for SEO. I mean, that’s part of the reason I started using it but I haven’t started dialing it in yet.
IMO, one of the best things about it is the ability to customize with hooks. It is a very powerful theme.