Sag Rising

Notes to Myself

SEO and MetaKeywords 0.1

Posted by Richard Cockrum on March 31, 2008

If your blog is anything like mine, almost half your readers or more arrive from a search engine. They went to Google, or Yahoo, or MSN, typed in a word or phrase they wanted to learn more about, and were shown a list of pages that related to that word or phrase. They clicked on a page that looked interesting to them, or highly relevant to what they were looking for. If one of our pages showed up early enough in the results, the page they click on may be ours.

There are a lot of factors that influence where our pages show up in search results. The authority of our site, the relevance of our site as determined by the words on the page, the page's title, the page's description, whether the search engine has been able to spider and index our site, the semantic markup of the pages.

I'm not very good at it, but I do pay a little attention to is search engine optimization. I want good descriptive page titles. I want to tell the search engines what pages to index, and what not to index. I want to do what I can to make sure what I write shows up in the search engines high enough for people to find it and read it.

I've incorporated some of these things into the theme I use here. Indexing instructions are used in each page's head. Each page's title is determined by the title of the content on the page. I've tried to be careful in my use of markup as far as heading tags go.

In other ways I've relied on plugins to help the search engines find and spider the site. I use the Sitemaps plugin (which is phenomenal in it's simplicity and elegance) from Habari Extras. I use the Autopinger plugin to try to notify blog update services when I post. I use the Pingback plugin to notify other blog authors when I post.

There are other areas that plugins can help with search engine optimization, though. One of these is generating a meta description tag for the page's head. The second is generating a meta keywords tag for the page's head. The latter of these I completed today.

MetaKeywords is designed to use your site's tags to create and inject a meta keywords tag for the pages on your site. It will use the tags for the individual post or page, the tag for a tag page, or all your site's tags (up to a limit of 50) for the home page. It takes these, generates the meta keywords tag, and injects it in the page head. The only requirement is that your theme have $theme->header() in its header.php template.

I know that the meta keywords tag has little influence on the search engines, especially Google. I created the plugin because it does have some influence with some search engines, and the logic was easy enough for me to start getting my feet wet in the field of Habari plugins.

To anyone who tries it, I hope you find it useful. To anyone who codes PHP, advice on better approaches to take is appreciated.


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