Update: I've since switched to Genesis Framework and found it to be simpler, cleaner, and more user friendly.
When I first started blogging, I was overwhelmed.
Content creation, traffic generation, constant networking, blog design and updates – it makes my head spin just to think of all the things we, bloggers, have on our to-do list on a daily basis.
And then SEO?
Yes, please – I want to have more search engine traffic.
However, is there a way to get the most out of it with the least amount of work?
Search engine optimization takes time and effort no matter how you look at it. But…
There ARE some things you can do to make sure your blog is SEO-ready without it costing you an arm and a leg in terms of time and money.
That's why I bought Thesis to begin with.
No, this is not a push for you to buy Thesis theme, although if you do decide to buy it following one of my affiliate links in the post, I'd really appreciate it.
What Is Thesis Theme?
Thesis theme is a premium WordPress theme – a fancy way of saying it's an “out of the box” theme that allows you to customize it any way you'd like.
As a matter of fact, many refer to Thesis as a “theme framework” because you can create unlimited number of unique blog designs with it.
Just take a look around: Traffic Generation Cafe design is build on Thesis theme.
Thesis Theme: SEO Features
There are several key SEO features Thesis offers that you should definitely learn more about and use on your blog.
Below you'll find a brief explanation of what they are, what they can do for better visibility in the search engines, and how to set them in Thesis theme.
I will also offer some options for those of you who are not running Thesis theme just yet.
1. BLOG TITLE AND DESCRIPTION TAGS
These are the most important elements of on-page SEO that you need to pay attention to.
To see those elements in action, as well as how to correctly set them up for both your home page and your post pages, take a look at this video.
For those of you who'd rather read, here are the main pointers.
Blog title tag is the single most important factor of your on-page SEO.
Title tag is what you see at the top of your browser window, as well as in search results.
What you see below the title tag in the image above is your site description.
By default, Thesis theme will put together your site title based on the values you entered in the WordPress General Settings, under “Site Title” and “Tagline”, using the character separator you set between the two.
In my case, as you can see from my blog title, I use ” | ” as my separator.
To change this default behavior, go to Site Options and enter your desired values in the “Document Head” section.
Here you can add your title tag as well as your description tag (see the video above for details).
2. POST TITLES AND DESCRIPTION TAGS
This is the topic I extensively addressed in the video above as well.
Briefly, by default your title tags for your posts are your post titles.
Not a great choice, considering that you need to write the post titles to draw in as many readers as possible – make them as catchy and “click-worthy” as possible, and that doesn't always mean keyword-rich.
To change that behavior, you can use Thesis theme “SEO Details” section under each post.
A few things to remember when writing titles and descriptions for SEO purposes:
- Keep it short and sweet (title tag under 70 characters and description tag under 150 characters – that's all that Google will show in the search results.)
- Write your title for the search engines: use your main keyword in the beginning; don't use too many useless words that you are not trying to rank for; avoid using stop words like “and”, “or”, etc; use ” | ” to separate phrases when it makes sense.
- Write description for the search engine users. In a few words tell them why they should click on your site results over any competition. Still use your keywords though.
For non-Thesis users:
There are various SEO plugins that are available to you to get similar options.
Since I use Thesis theme with its built-in SEO capabilities, I can't give you a personal recommendation as far as which SEO plugin is better than others, but the two most popular ones are:
- WordPress SEO by Yoast
- All-in-one SEO Pack
The basic steps to add post titles and descriptions should be the same.
3. ADDING STAT-TRACKING SCRIPS IN THESIS
If you need to add any kind of tracking script to your blog, like Google Analytics, ad networks, etc. or verify your site in Google Webmaster Tools, this is where you add those codes.
This section is found under your Thesis theme “Site Options”.
Thesis will automatically add those scripts to the footer of your site to prevent the scripts from interfering with your page load.
4. CANONICAL URLS
I love this feature and it's imperative you use it on your blog.
WordPress is notorious for producing duplicate content within your blog.
This little check box under Thesis theme “Site Options” will take care of most of these problems.
When you use canonical URLs on your blog, you in essence are telling the engines that multiple versions of one page should be considered as one.
Here's a simple example: in the eyes of Google these two pages are two separate entities:
Of course, we know that's a bunch of hogwash and these pages are in fact one and the same.
That's what canonical URLs do: they combine those types of URL derivatives into one, thus ridding you of some duplicate content issues and directing all the link juice to where it should be – the main post URL.
For non-Thesis theme users:
WordPress itself now has canonical URLs capabilities, but I wouldn't rely on their default system and would install a plugin to take care of the issue, like Canonical URL's by Yoast.
5. ROBOTS META TAGS
These tags give you the ability to control which pages on your blog Google indexes and saves cached versions of, as well as to determine which parts of your blog you'd like to add a NoFollow attribute to.
This part could be considered a bit more on the technical side of things, yet it's something that bloggers need to have at least a basic grasp of.
Here's a brief description of each tags and the settings that I personally use on my blog:
The noindex robot meta tag tells the search engines to avoid storing certain pages of your blog in the search engine index.
There are many reason why you would want to exclude certain information from being indexed, some of which might be indexing pages that are very transitory, more private, or the printer and mobile-friendly versions of webpages – among many other instances.
It's advisory to noindex pages that will simply bloat your blog and dilute your main content, as well as possibly keep you from higher search engine rankings.
Here are the settings I use in Thesis theme for my noindex tags:
Another great way to fine-tune your blog SEO.
Nofollow tag prevents your blog from passing your site authority to unimportant pages.
In my case, here is how I choose to use it:
This tag is used for pages that you would like to prevent Google from saving a cached version of.
Generally, this tag is used to protect one's privacy.
The only reason it makes sense to use it in blogging is when you have posts on your site that you require a paid membership to view.
Other than that, there's no reason to use this tag, so all of the boxes under “Noarchive” tag are unchecked on my blog.
6. ROBOTS META TAGS FOR POSTS
The options above will set a default behavior for your entire blog.
However, Thesis theme lets you override these options on a post-by-post basis.
You can easily do that in your “SEO Details” section located right under each post in the edit mode.
For non-Thesis theme users:
Once again, you'll need to resort to using a separate plugin for that.
The most widely used one is Robots Meta by Yoast.
Thesis Theme and Your Blog Speed
As you can see, making your blog SEO-ready is a breeze with Thesis.
However, there's another additional benefit to all of this: using these build-in SEO capabilities within Thesis theme will prevent your blog from being overburdened by the various plugins you would otherwise have to use.
I can't stress this enough: Google is very keen on speed – as much so as it made speed one of the search engine ranking factors that will determine your place in Google search results.
So even if you are not a Thesis theme user yet, examine your blog closely, get rid of the unnecessary plugins, reduce your image files, don't use flash codes – all the steps that will help to improve speed and make your blog more reader-friendly.
What Else is Thesis Theme Good for?
Many bloggers I know are in search of a middle ground between a free, but generic theme that screams “Amateur!” and an expensive custom design.
The thing is that most of us just want to write, generate readership, network, and, in the end, maybe even make some money while at it, right?
We don't want to spend our time learning PHP and CSS, changing layouts, messing with the code – the likelihood of us “breaking” something is very realistic and quite scary.
We don't have time for that.
We don't have knowledge for that.
That's another reason I went for Thesis theme.
It simply made it possible for me to have a unique blog design without it costing me $1500 – $2000 and up for a professional design.
Check out Thesis showcase for more ideas of what you can do with Thesis.
Read this if you are torn between Thesis vs Genesis.
SEO is vital for passive targeted traffic generation from the search engines.
Thesis makes it easy.
I'd love to give you an awesome opportunity to experience Thesis for yourself – just follow the steps above to enter the giveaway.
Or buy Thesis here.
And let me know you did, so that I can say Thank You.
Image source: http://1bog.org/blog/