The Wordpress Blog Blues

Posted On September 25th, 2014 by Ken Mozlowski

Blogs remain one of the best ways to get fresh content about your products or services that are a perfect complement to your static web site content.  If you are like many who have chosen Wordpress as their blogging software, your first question after you get a basic understanding of how Wordpress works is: will the search engines find our content?  The typical answer given by most and even the experts will be download certain plugins that will allow you to make your pages search engine friendly and make use of permalinks to avoid parameters in your urls.  This is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. 

Having worked on many Wordpress blogs after they have been loaded with content, we can tell you that the problem is not SEO of the pages but how the blog content is structured and classified using tags and categories.  An example of the problem: lets say you spend several years, as is the case with many company blogs, writing and posting a plethora of information about your company, services, products, opinions, musings, etc.  And as you go along in the process you tag and categorize your content as needed.  So today you write something and classify it as news and the next day you write another post and classify it as events.  This goes on for many months even years and you have hundreds of posts some tagged as news and some as events.  Sounds pretty normal.  However the end result are pages that search engines will not index for your most important search terms and hence get lost in the sea of other information on the web. 

To avoid this problem, before you start posting to your blog, develop an information architecture plan for your blog that fits your business goals and objectives.  The best way to do that is through the use of tags and categories.  Each post must be in at least one category and can be in more than one category.  Tags are optional and you can put as many tags as you want to a post.  A common mistake made by company bloggers is to create very broad categories and then tag each post with a unique tag.  This is an SEO double whammy.  Broad category pages that have way too many posts in them prevent them from being optimized for the keywords associated with that category and if each post in your blog has a unique tag then in essence you have created duplicate content between your original post and the tag for that post.

The solution is to first create an information architecture of categories and tags that reflect any and all things that the world is looking for related to your company, service or product.  If you did a good job in designing the navigation system and architecture of your web site, you might be able to use that exactly as is for the categories for your blog.  This has the advantage of then being able to provide fresh content that you can link back to your web site pages which will have the added benefit of boosting those pages in the search engine rankings. So it's a win-win relationship between your web site and your blog.  Your blog tags and categories should also include topics and keywords that may not have been primary to your site but can provide content to related or even unrelated content that will get you search engine exposure.  A good example, although a little cheesy, is to create a Celebrity tag because there are so many searches related to the celebrity du jour.  So for example if you are a pizza shop and there is some news about what type of pizza Lady Gaga likes and you have a post on her favorite toppings and tag it with "celebrity" as well as "thin crust".  You will get the added benefit of getting traffic from those searching for the latest news on Lady Gaga and for those in your area who had no idea that your pizza shop was just across town from them. 

In short, create your categories and tags before you begin posting because going back after the fact and reorganizing your blog for both users and search engines can be time consuming process that in the end may be full of holes and gaps.  Categories are best if they reflect the universe of core concepts and topics of your business, while tags are a subset of topics related to the core concepts with maybe a few wild hairs thrown in to keep it interesting.