Premium Series: Scribe SEO Plugin Review

In my Premium Series I’m taking a look at Premium WordPress plugins and WordPress themes that I personally use, either for myself and for others. All opinions are my own and not influenced by affiliate commissions or anyone connected to the product.

WordPress software is already known for being highly search-friendly. The templates are structured in a manner that’s easy for spiders like the Googlebot to read, and it’s super easy for even non-techie users to integrate some basic keyword optimization using the tags, categories, and permalink management features. Most bloggers looking to get paid for their efforts prefer WP for these reasons.

Continue reading Premium Series: Scribe SEO Plugin Review

Blogging To Increase Your Search Engine Ranking

Understanding and factoring in Search Engine Optimization when you’re posting articles can be a bit daunting. However, there are organizations out there that provide data to help which can help your search engine ranking. Every two years, SEOmoz survey 100 of the industry’s top SEO minds.

In 2009, 72 SEOs participated in the data gathering process, answering survey questions that consumed hours of time. The resulting document was a useful aggregation of data about how search engines rank documents.

This data is useful when we are trying to work out how to optimize our sites to improve our search engine ranking. It looks at the factors used in search ranking by major search engines, and outlines what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to Search Engine Optimization.

It’s worth looking at the data to apply it to your own blog, bearing SEO in mind when you post:

Factors that support good search engine rankings:

1. Anchor Text with Keyword from External Links
2. External Link Popularity (Quantity & Quality of External Link)
3. Diversity of Linking Domains
4. Keyword in Title Tag
5. Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains.

Once you understand the principles behind these positive factors, it’s easy enough to bear them in mind for search engine ranking when you post articles. Search engines respond well to well-chosen keywords, quality links to good sites, and a wide variety of diverse links.

Negative factors which lower your ranking:

1. Cloak with Malicious/Manipulative Intent
2. Link from link brokers/seller
3. Link from spam website
4. Cloaking by User Agent
5. Frequent Server Downtime & Site Inaccessibility.

These are pretty easy to understand – if you are using your site to spam, cloak malicious software or be badly behaved in any way, you’ll lose your credibility. Similarly, badly-built sites with broken links are going to be low-ranking.

Top 5 most contentious factors that put people off:

1. Cloaking by Cookie Detection
2. Cloaking by JavaScript/Rich Media Support Detection
3. Hiding Text with same/similar colored text/background
4. Cloaking by IP Address 15.3% moderate contention
5. Cloaking by User Agent 15.2% moderate contention.

If you don’t know what these are, then great! This report shows that there was very little change from the 2007 search ranking factors. The primary factors in SEO have not changed very much according to SEOmoz, despite the fact that search engines improve their features and technologies continuously.

Hopefully these search ranking factors will help search engine optimizers who are serious about managing positive changes in their sites. By sticking to the rules of good posting, using keywords and links effectively, and steering clear of spam or scams, you will be able to gradually climb up the ladder of the search engine page ranks and get to the top!

A high search engine ranking helps to bring your business to the attention of the people that matter – your existing and potential customers, and service users. SEO data provides us with the information we need to understand how search engine page rankings work, and what we need to do to enhance our own.
(source for data: www.seomoz.org)

Scribe SEO – 5 Ways To Improve ScribeSEO Plugin

First, Scribe SEO is a brilliant tool. It’s a premium (aka paid-for) WordPress plugin that will help with SEO for your blog posts. It attempts to make SEO copywriting much more simple than it is now, and while you still need to pay attention to creating good headlines and interesting content, it may help with the final optimization steps that you’ve been missing.

One of my clients called it “one of the best tools I’ve ever bought” and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s not often something as easy and useful as Scribe SEO comes along. If you haven’t checked it out yet, there is a free trial on the website. Like with anything great out there, I think it could be even better, so there are a few things I would do to improve it.

1) Have the Review window open in a new browser window/tab. The hover over window is no good to anyone, it opens up over the content you’re editing and areas that you need to alter, so you need to close it to alter then go back to it for the next section and so on – I end up opening the post in another window so I can edit it there without switching back and forth. At least give me the option.

Scribe SEO Review window

2) When it tells me I need my primary keyword near the start of the title, it should tell me what my primary keyword is and say “Move Primary Keyword Scribe SEO to the beginning of the Title”. Otherwise I have to look it up to see if it’s different to what I think it should be. Lazy of me I know, but it’d be a time-saver of at least 5 seconds.

3) The Tags page/tab of the Review window should allow me to edit tags right there with the list of suggested tags. Even an “Add all tags” button would be nice and handy.

4) The SEO Best Practices page is the same on every review. I know that’s not a criticism, it’s a comment, but it is. Why it bothers me I have no idea as it’s a gold mine of useful info, but perhaps it could be linked to and stored on the settings page or something. I won’t lose sleep if that one is never addressed though…

5) The Scribe Settings page tells me how many evaluations I have left as of today, but when do they expire? So having 20 evaluations left as of today is all very well and good, but will that need to last me 25 days or 5 days? [Side note: For those wondering if evaluations rollover to the next month, they don’t.]

Yes, some of them are picky and personal, but when a tool (and an SEO tool at that) is this great it’s the little things from using it that can make it that little bit greater.

You can watch my quick video of Scribe SEO here, or take a look at the Scribe website here.

SEO Plugin for WordPress – A Look At ScribeSEO

There’s a new SEO plugin for WordPress called ScribeSEO by Brian Clark from Copyblogger. There are still a few bugs but looks like it could be brilliant and is already very useful. A free trial is available as the plugin is based on the number of times you use it, and at the moment you can get the first ten uses for free.

If you want more info on the factors that go into search rankings, take a look at the search engine ranking factors for 2009 from SEOmoz. I bet you’ll be surprised with what you read on there, and how little actual page content is thought to have to do with it.

Get the free trial from ScribeSEO and take it for a test run. It attempts to make SEO copywriting much more simple than it is now, and while you still need to pay attention to creating good headlines and interesting content, it may help with the final optimization steps that you’ve been missing.

WordPress Through the Eyes of Google

Apparently WordPress automatically takes care of ~90% of the mechanics of SEO. The video below, from San Francisco WordCamp ’09, is pretty long (46 minutes) but more interesting than an episode of CSI. Recommended viewing if you care about SEO on WordPress, fantastic stuff.

“Matt Cutts from the Web Spam team at Google showcases the good and the bad of WordPress as seen through the eyes of Google, including basics on how Google search works and how you can boost your blog’s results in Google searches” (via wordpress.tv).

Google SEO Starter Guide

To follow up from my previous post on Google SEO, the big G themselves have an excellent Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide that covers around a dozen common areas that webmasters might consider optimizing.

From the Google Webmaster Central Blog:

“What are some simple ways that I can improve my website’s performance in Google? There are lots of possible answers to this question, and a wealth of search engine optimization information on the web, so much that it can be intimidating for newer webmasters or those unfamiliar with the topic. We thought it’d be useful to create a compact guide that lists some best practices that teams within Google and external webmasters alike can follow that could improve their sites’ crawlability and indexing.

We felt that these areas (like improving title and description meta tags, URL structure, site navigation, content creation, anchor text, and more) would apply to webmasters of all experience levels and sites of all sizes and types. Throughout the guide, we also worked in many illustrations, pitfalls to avoid, and links to other resources that help expand our explanation of the topics. We plan on updating the guide at regular intervals with new optimization suggestions and to keep the technical advice current.”

Download it for free here.

Two Minutes On WordPress SEO

Quick WordPress SEO notes:

Basics
– One topic per post, be specific. “What is…”, Top ten posts, best of posts, “How to…” and so on.
– Text in posts should contain keywords, but not keyword stuffing. Bold and italics help a little. Must be natural for the reader!
– Write unique content that’s useful!

WordPress specific
– Custom permalinks (your URL): as these are automatically generated (though you can change them using the Post Slug function) it makes you post title even more important, see later.
– Category names: broad categories.
– Tag keywords: specific words.
– Post and page titles: usually 5 -7 words containing your keywords. These will appear in either H1 or H2 tags, which show search engines they’re important.
– Image ALT tags (the description section of image upload): make these descriptive and relevant to the picture and article.
– Also sign up for Google Webmaster tools and opt-in to Google Advanced Images Search.
All-in-one-SEO plugin
XML Sitemap plugin

That was a very quick overview of what can be a complex topic, so please contact me for any further questions.