Stephan Spencer, VP of SEO Strategies at Covario, did a "lightning round" session at WordCamp San Francisco 2010 where he critiqued the search engine optimization (SEO) of WordPress.com.
Text of WordCamp SF 2010: SEO Critique of WordPress.com
1.A Critical Analysis of the SEO of WordPress.com Stephan
Spencer, Vice President of SEO Strategies (Formerly: Founder of
2. First Off... Who Am I?
Founded Netconcepts LLC in Madison, Wisconsin in 1995.
Lived in New Zealand for 8 yrs, returned to US in 2007.
Founded Netconcepts Ltd in Auckland in 1999.
Inventor of GravityStream, a pay-for-performance SEO (Search
Engine Optimization) technology
An author ofThe Art of SEO , published by OReilly. My
co-authors are Rand Fishkin, Eric Enge & Jessie
Netconcepts acquired by Covario January 2010
SpencerNetconceptswww.netconcepts.com[email_address] 3. 4. A Blog
is an Asset My 18-year-old daughter, Blogger & SEO. $5 - $30 /
day passive income. Started when she was 14. SEO: So simple even a
child can do it! 5. Now lets critique WordPress.com! 6. One of the
most important home pages on the Internet 7. So why is the
navigation so weak? 8. The lack of strong text-based navigation is
a real missed opportunity 9. Contrast this with the strong text nav
on Yahoos home page 10. Great that these are text links. Bad that
these are uber-generic keywords. 11. Whats the keyword focus? 12.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal 13. Sort by
search volume and switch to exact match 14. CTR: ~40% ~10% ~9% ~5%
15. http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com 16. 17. 18. 19. The SEO
power of WordPress.com lies with their community. Lets pick one of
their blogs... 20. Everything looks copasetic until you dig
deeper... 21. Duplicate content & canonicalization issues 22.
Also note the 319 estimated number of pages indexed is bogus. Get a
more accurate number with &start=990&filter=0 to the end of
the Google search results URL 23. Uh oh. The redirect is a 302
instead of a 301, which doesnt pass PageRank 24. Theres a lot of
SEO mythology out there
Our SEO firm is endorsed/approved by Google
Dont use Google Analytics because Google will spy on you and
use the information against you
Your PageRank score, as reported by Googles toolbar server, is
highly correlated to your Google rankings
Having an XML Sitemap will boost your Google rankings
Since the advent of personalization, there is no such thing as
being ranked #1 anymore because everyone sees different
Meta tags will boost your rankings
Its good practice to include a meta robots tag specifying
Its helpful if your targeted keywords are tucked away in HTML
comment tags and title attributes (of IMG and A HREF tags.)
Having country-specific sites creates duplicate content issues
You can keep search engines from indexing pages linked-to with
Googlebot doesnt read CSS
You should end your URLs in .html
25. SEO Mythology...
You can boost the Google rankings of your home page for a
targeted term by including that term in the anchor text of internal
Its important for your rankings that you update your home page
frequently (e.g. daily.)
Trading links helps boost PageRank and rankings
Linking out (such as to Google.com) helps rankings
Its considered cloaking and is thus taboo and risky to clean up
the URLs in your links selectively and only for spiders
If you define a meta description, Google uses it in the
The bolding of words in a Google listing signifies that they
were considered in the rankings determination
H1 tags are a crucial element for SEO
There are some unique ranking signals for Google Mobile Search,
and they include the markup being XHTML Mobile
SEO is a black art
The Disallow directive in robots.txt can get pages de-indexed
SEO is a one-time activity you complete and are then done
26. SEO Mythology...
Automated SEO is black-hat or spammy
A site map isnt for people
Theres no need to link to all your pages for the spiders to see
them. Just list all URLs in the XML Sitemap
Google will not index pages that are only accessible by a sites
Placing links in teeny-tiny size font at the bottom of your
homepage is an effective tactic to raise the rankings of deep pages
in your site
Using a service that promises to register your site with
hundreds of search engines is good for your sites rankings
Home page PageRank on a domain means something
Outsourcing link building to a far-away, hourly contractor with
no knowledge of your business is a good link acquisition
The clickthrough rate on the SERPs matters
Keyword density is da bomb
Hyphenated domain names are best for SEO
Great Content = Great Rankings
27. SEO Mythology...
An addendum of myths (courtesy ofDuane Forrester ):
SEO is a stand alone activity
You can apply optimization after launch
I just hired a killer SEO agency theyll hit a home run for
SEO is separate from SEM, social, etc.
SEO is free
I can hire someone with a years SEO experience and they can
manage the work as part of their job
Can you give me the top 5 things to do to rank better and drive
Because someone is senior in the company they must understand
everything and are making decisions with a broad knowledge base
inclusive of SEO
28. The Worst SEO Myth of All....
A plugin can cure all that ails your site/blog
What would this mythical magical super-plugin need to do?
Identify/evaluate keyword opportunities, keyword focus / usage,
authority/trust/PageRank of inbound links, internal linking
structure, tags, mass editing of elements like title tags and post
slugs, anchor text of internal links, canonical tags, Google
snippet simulator, top referring keywords, control PageRank flow,
sitemaps, pagination, post slugs, intro copy on category & tag
pages, tag cloud optimization, Googlebot crawl activity, presets,
RSS feed optimization, breadcrumb navigation, duplicate content
mitigation, excerpts, bad neighborhood detector, forced search
pages, URL shortener, etc.
Anyone want to pitch in and help me code the SEO plugin to end
all SEO plugins?
29. Thank You!
You can reach me directly at[email_address]
For a freeSEO Best Practices whitepaper and checklist , e-mail
me or pass me a business card.