Some tips on managing a Google happy site with WordPress, after Google Panda
Since the Google Panda search update was rolled out in February and April I have made some changes to the way I work. I use WordPress to manage my content and have utilised various plugins to help my website and content meet the new quality guidelines.
Since the Google Panda search update there is a greater need to ensure that your website is free from errors and that your content is well written and unique. Following these guidelines has always benefited websites, however, now having a small amount of bad content can actually drag your site down. So here is a list of the tools and plugins that I use to manage my work better.
Admin Word Count Column
This plugin provides a simple word count column in your WordPress admin panel. If you have many articles and receive guest publications then it provides a quick way to check for article length.
Broken Link Checker
This is one of the most important tools on a busy WordPress site. It simply checks your site for broken links on a regular basis and then reports them to you by email. A good site should link out a lot, but over time pages get deleted or moved. This plugin not only checks for broken links but reports on redirected links (and automatically fixes them) and also checks for images and Youtube videos. So if you embed an image or video you will receive an alert if that image is removed from the host server.
This is a really simply plugin but very important. Since Google Panda hates thin content tag pages with only 1 or 2 articles on could potentially cause a low quality penalty. I now ensure that a tag is used no less than 4 times, although ideally most are used much more. To clean up the site the Merge Tags plugins is really good as it allows you to do just that – highlight a bunch of similar tags and merge them into on.
Platinum SEO Pack
There are lots of SEO plugins for WordPress but this was the first that I found which adds noindex to sub-pages. Whether comment pages, tag pages, category or the home sub-pages, it will noindex them all so that you do not have duplicate content across those pages. Fewer pages listed in Google of higher quality and unique content is the result, thumb up from Google.
Recent comments widget with excerpts. If you have a busy community then you will have lots of comments. One problem with the default latest comments plugin is that it just gives the commenter’s name and the title of the post. If the last 10 comments are on the same post then you have 10 identical lines in the latest comments. This plugin takes the first part of the comment and displays that. Reduces duplication and also provides a more enticing link for readers to follow.
Simple Move Comments
If you have a blog with many similar articles you may choose to remove some poorer ones. However, there may be a relevant discussion on those. You can easily move all the comments to another blog post so that the discussion is not lost.
WP Facebook Like
Google says that post-Panda website owners need to focus more on social media and less on mass link building. If you chose only one social button then a Facebook like button is the way to go.
WP Minify + W3 Total Cache
Google now rates the speed of a website. These plugins help speed up your content by caching and compressing. Although W3 Total Cache does have its own minify feature I have found better speed improvements by using Minify instead.
It is not all about Plugins though. You also need to keep a careful eye on your analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Check for errors, check for unknown and auto-generated pages being crawled. Some themes are not good for SEO as they create duplicate files. Although this is all backend stuff it still makes the search spiders’ job harder. Also if Google highlights an error in Webmaster Tools make sure you fix it – they are telling you about it for a reason.
These tips are not guaranteed to make you site search bullet proof but I certainly find that they help a lot.