Content is King

Just in case you haven’t heard. If you want your website to succeed online, Content is King. Search engines rank you based on originality. Adsense will display advertisements based on your content. And users will stick with you as long as you provide interesting, relevant and original content.

So don’t try to find a shortcut and copy and paste the data from other sites (especially not from Wikipedia). Write/create new content yourself that people will love.

Choosing the type of content is another thing you have to keep in mind. Certain topics are searched more and also provide better returns in terms of advertisements. Others may be interesting to you, but not to your would-be readers.

One way is to find the most searched terms and base your content around that.

Looking at Google’s Hot Trends page, you can see that Steve Perry and other terms related to entertainment are the most searched items at the moment. You might want to write about that.

In the long run however, posts on technical subjects often get the most hits. Any ads that you run on such posts also tend to be worth more so a post on say optimized network routing could be a lot better than my cat throwing up (then again, a funny video of a cat throwing up could become viral on Youtube and earn you lots of money and fame).

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Optimizing WordPress post titles

Optimizing WordPress post titles

You should be aware of the importance a site or page’s title plays in Search Engine Optimization. By default, WordPress displays the title of your blog posts in the format:
Site Name » Post Name

This post would be displayed with the title:
CSS Button » Optimizing WordPress post titles.

This is fine if you aren’t too concerned about SEO, or your site is named Apple and ranks top for it, but otherwise, you’ll be like the thousands of other sites out there. To set yourself apart, you’ll need to experiment and optimize WordPress a little, especially the title.

All in One SEO is one of my favorite plugins for WordPress. It runs a number of optimizations on your site and most importantly, it switches your site’s name with your post’s name, so your title is displayed in the format:
Post Name | Site Name

So this post would now look like:
Optimizing WordPress post titles | CSS Button

This is a lot better than the WordPress default, since now, the most important keywords are in the beginning of the title. But there’s still a lot more you can do.

Your site’s name is usually something unique and you should already be ranked pretty highly for that (try searching for “css button”). However, what’s the point of adding that baggage to your wonderful posts? You want your post to stand out and removing the site’s name will definitely help focus on your current topic. Something pretty simple to do with the All in One SEO plugin.

In your admin panel, under the Settings menu, click All in One SEO. The field Post Title Format: should contain:
%post_title% | %blog_title%

Change this to just:

That should do it. Wait and see what it does to your search engine ranking. It will also help your titles on social media such as Facebook and Digg.

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Dashes vs Underscores for SEO

Dashes vs Underscores for SEO

There has been a lot of debate about how Google indexes URLs and whether underscores are better for Search Engine Optimization or would dashes give better results?

I have yet to find a proper conclusion to that debate, though due to another realization, I’m now inclined in favor of dashes. Here’s why:

I’ve been using underscores for most of my filenames and URLs and have been avoiding dashes like the plague, probably because it felt like I was subtracting something and because underscores look a little neater.

However, if you know anything about regular expressions, you’ll know that \w is commonly used to match characters or words in a string. In standard regex \w will only match the letters a-z, A-Z and the underscore character.

This means that in a string such as That-the-quick-brown_Fox, \w* will have four matches (“That”, “the”, “quick” and “brown_Fox”) instead of five. If I was writing a script to chop up URLs and index the letters, this is what I’d get.

Even if Google has updated their algorithms to treat underscores and dashes similarly, chances are, most other search engines, applications and websites have not. Therefore, from now onwards, I’m sticking to the da4shes whenever I can. WordPress already sets the URL using dashes, but the same should come in handy for custom URLs and image filenames.

What are your thoughts? (More info)

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