Platinum SEO Plugin, WordPress, and Basic On-Site SEO

Understanding Basic SEO Concepts

Basic SEO concepts apply to your use of Platinum SEO plugin to optimize your blog for search engines. If you understand these concepts, you are much more likely to configure and use the plugin to your best advantage. Note: for the remainder of this article, we will refer to Google; you should take this as shorthand for "any major search engine" as they all behave similarly. There are three major concepts that we will go over in this article, with an eye toward how they apply to WordPress blogs and how Platinum SEO plugin addresses them:

  1. Google can only analyze text content on your site
  2. Google weights keywords higher when they are emphasized properly
  3. Google dislikes content it perceives as "duplicate" and penalizes for it

Google Indexing of Content

SEO techniques operate based on a knowledge of how Google indexes your site. First, Google's indexing 'bots can only index the text content of your site. If you embed keywords into gif images or flash video, for instance, you are wasting your effort because those images are black boxes to Google. It cannot "look inside them" and find the keywords. So anything you want Google to analyze should be on your site in plain text. Second (and this is crucial), Google's 'bots use the links within your site to find their way "around" the site looking for pages to analyze. They will follow any links on the site that are not marked "nofollow". They will index any pages that are not marked with "noindex."

Keyword Phrase Emphasis

Platinum SEO Plugin enforces some behavior on your site to take advantage of another concept about how Google analyzes your content: your site will rank higher for keyword phrases if those phrases are "emphasized" in certain ways. There are several ways that keywords and phrases can be emphasized so that Google will rank pages higher for them. First, keyword phrases that appear in a page title will increase ranking for those phrases. And when we refer to the title, we mean the actual HTML TITLE tag which causes the content of the tag to appear in your browser's top frame, not just the title of an article (which is usually a header tag -- more on that next). Also, it is better for the keyword phrase to appear at the beginning of the title than in the middle or at the end. Second, keyword phrases that appear in "header" tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) will increase page ranking. Like title tags, try to put the keywords at the beginning. Finally, keyword phrases that appear as anchor text for a link are emphasized to increase page rank. So, if you are linking to content relevant to one of your keyword phrases, do yourself a favor and skip using a pretty gif for the link; use a text keyword phrase instead.

Optimize Out Duplicate Content

Optimize Google indexing of your site by preventing it from finding duplicate content. Note that in the list above, we talked about content that Google perceives as duplicate. Unfortunately, some of the functionality of WordPress could not have been designed more effectively to aggravate that problem. WordPress is all about making it easy to find the content of your blog. It does this by providing multiple "routes" to the content, using categories, author archives, historical archives, search results and article tagging with keywords as different means of accessing your posts. The problem is that if Google follows an historical archive link and finds the same post it found when following a category link, it will consider this "duplicate" content and penalize you. Platinum SEO plugin solves this problem for you without sacrificing the convenience of navigation by allowing you to automatically mark certain types of link as "nofollow," and versions of your posts accessed in certain ways as "noindex" so Google won't index pages that it might access "the wrong way." Effectively, it lets you choose the unique route you want Google to follow to access your content once, and only once, and then automatically enforces that choice with noindex and nofollow tags.

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